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How does disability affect child support payments?

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2022 | Child Support

After a divorce between parents, Florida requires one parent to pay child support to the other. However, because unforeseen problems can occur, it’s fair to wonder what might happen to the support order. If the parent paying child support suddenly becomes disabled, what happens?

Disability and child support

If the parent paying child support becomes disabled, they might have to stop working and collect disability benefits. In most cases, this means they will not be able to continue paying the same amount toward support as before. Modifying the child support order would be necessary in this situation.

Modifications to the child support order

Disability is a legitimate reason to request modifications to child support. The first thing to do is to speak with the other parent and explain the situation and the difference between the previous income and disability benefits. The individual should show a willingness to the other parent to continue financially supporting the child but stress the need to make lower payments.

Depending on the nature of the person’s disability status, this might be temporary or even permanent. If the parent receiving the support wants proof of the disability, the individual should provide them with a copy of the disability award letter and supporting documentation from their doctor.

The court must officially modify the original child support order. This should be the same court that made the original decision on the payment amounts. The parent should request a hearing for modification. The judge will examine various factors, including the earnings of each party, and then determine new amount to be paid toward child support.

Another factor considered is whether the disabled parent is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Typically, SSI payments are too small to cover child support. SSDI is often high enough to allow the parent to continue paying.