In a divorce proceeding involving the modification of child support, when the court makes an allocated award for each child, the modification is retroactive to the date the child reaches majority, and pre-dates the filing of the modification petition. In Gilbert v. Cole, the Florida Court of Appeal stated that: “The final dissolution judgment named the parties’ two children and gave their birthdates. Addressing child support, the judgment provided: 6. Beginning on the day following closing of sale of the marital home, husband shall pay wife $3,500 per month child support. Such payment shall continue on the corresponding day of each successive month thereafter so long as wife continues to be primary residential parent for two children who have not become 18, married, or self-supporting, whichever soonest shall occur.
If either child upon becoming age 18 is a high school student projected to graduate from high school prior to becoming age 19, child support shall continue as to such child so long as the child otherwise is entitled to child support and continues to be a good faith student in pursuit of graduation from high school. The parties later entered into a court-approved mediated settlement agreement which reduced Former Husband’s child support obligation to $2,625 per month. Appellant then fell into arrears in his child support payments, prompting Appellee to petition the court for enforcement of the child support decree. Appellant later filed a petition for modification of his child support obligation in November 2010. Meanwhile, the parties’ oldest child reached the age of 18 in November 2008, and graduated from high school in June 2009… We interpret the divorce decree to create an allocated child support award, with each child to receive half of the amount until the child is emancipated, as defined in the agreement. Although the decree awards a single monthly sum for both children, it also provides that Appellant’s support obligation ended with each child’s respective emancipation…Where an award is allocated, an obligor is entitled to seek a modification retroactive to that event. Furthermore, when the issue is arrearages, the obligor is entitled to a retroactive reduction pre-dating a modification petition, consistent with the statutory child support guidelines.”
To speak with a Martin County, FL family law lawyer, contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (772) 463-2121.