As this economic downturn continues, the attorneys and staff at Rubinstein & Holz are here to assist.
If you are obligated to pay child support or alimony and your income has decreased due to an involuntary change in your job or income status, such as termination, layoff or cessation of business income, you may be entitled to modify a support obligation, as least on a temporary basis. Involuntary unemployment or a reduction in pay of 15% or more, may qualify you to suspend or temporarily modify a child support or alimony obligation until you are able to secure stable employment or return to prior levels of income. Courts have held that when there is an inability to pay support, the proper thing to do is suspend payments until the ability to pay support is restored.
Filing for a modification of support does not automatically suspend support, however, this legal action must be taken because support obligations are vested until a lawsuit is filed. Be aware that filing for modification also does not prevent your former spouse or co-parent from requesting the court enforce, reinstate or increase the obligation.
When modification is sought due to these type of circumstances, you must undertake good faith efforts to regain or seek new employment in order qualify for a suspension or modification of your support obligation(s). You should also continue to pay some amount of support if it is within your means, especially if you receive unemployment or some type of subsidy or severance pay. Your children and former spouse still need and depend upon support, and courts will balance the interests of all parties involved when exploring the equities.
Our family law firm remains open and we are available by electronic means to assist. Please call the office to schedule an appointment if you are affected by these unprecedented circumstances and want to discuss your options under Florida law.
Alan Rubinstein, Rana Holz, Chris Santospirito, and the team at Rubinstein & Holz