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What Happens to Your Child Support Obligations If You Have to Retire Early Because of a Disability?


The only thing worse than hearing the amount of child support you must pay each month is knowing that you must keep paying it until your child turns 19 or graduates from high school, whichever happens first.  If you have more than one child, the amount will get lower as each child reaches adulthood, but it is still a lot of money to pay for a long time.  The legal boilerplate about how the purpose of child support is to enable your children to have the same financial support they enjoyed during your marriage is little consolation.  The good news is that the court will modify your child support order and reduce the amount you must pay if you present evidence of unavoidable financial hardship.  Living with a chronic health condition that requires you to leave the workforce while your children are minors is stressful even if you are happily married to your children’s other parent, but it is worse if you are divorced.  A Boca Raton child support lawyer can help you if your health problems cause you to suffer a reduction in income and you are struggling to meet your child support obligations.

You Are Still Your Children’s Parent, in Sickness or in Health

Florida case law includes a story that, at first, sounds like something you would read on one of those news feeds designed to make your day worse, but justice prevailed in the end.  Around the time that a couple finalized their divorce, the husband suffered a catastrophic injury after which he was never again able to work.  He was hospitalized for six months, and after he got out of the hospital, his only source of income was Social Security disability payments.  The court reduced his child support obligations to reflect his new financial situation, and it applied the modification retroactively.

If you become unable to work because of a disability while your children are minors, you have the same rights and obligations as able-bodied parents have.  The court will calculate child support based on the same factors it uses for all families, namely the children’s expenses, each parent’s income, and the number of days of parenting time for each parent.  If your ex-spouse has a modest income and most of the parenting time, the court may still order you to pay child support.

You are still entitled to parenting time pursuant to your court-ordered parenting plan.  If you need assistance with daily tasks related to childcare, the court may require another adult to be present during your parenting time while your children are young.  If a family member lives with you or nearby, the court may require the family member to be present to help you supervise the children.  The court might also require you to hire a nanny to assist with childcare, and the court will figure the cost of the nanny’s salary into the children’s expenses.  The family courts have addressed this matter in other cases.

Contact Schwartz | White About Co-Parenting in Times of Hardship

A South Florida family law attorney can help you if you suffer a serious health problem and need to reduce your child support obligations.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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