Unemployed & Going Back to School: Will the Court Decrease Your Child Support?

Are you a parent who has chosen to go back to school and not work -- after having children and having court ordered child support in place?  Be careful with expecting an automatic reduction in child support due to your new "student" status , as the Court may still inpute income to you as if you were still working.  This is because once you have a duty to support a child, your do not have the freedom you once did to make unilateral decisions like going to school instead of work. 

The court looks at several factors when deciding whether or not you should be entitled to a decrease in child support based on your unemployed/in school status, such as:

1. Is the program you are enrolled in/degree you are seeking a logical extension of your current career?

2. Are you guaranteed a substantial increase in salary once you complete the program/degree?  Is the temporary reduction in income part of a course of conduct reasonably designed to ensure the future economic security of the family?

3. Have you acted in good faith when making the decision to stop working and go back to school? (or are you simply trying to avoid paying child support)

4. Are you in need of retraining because a previous skill that kept you employed is no longer needed?

5. Will there be a financial detriment to the children (taking into consideration the other parent's ability to support the children during this time)?

6. Will the children reach the age of majority or be so close to the age of majority by the time of your graduation that they will not realize the financial benefits of your choice?

See  Overbey v. Overbey, 698 So. 2d 811 (Fla. 1997);Burkley v. Burkley, 911 So. 2d 262 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005)