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Pohlmann v. Pohlmann - 703 So. 2d 1121 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1997)

Rule:

Court modification of a support agreement requires a party to show a permanent, involuntary, and substantial change in circumstances. Moreover, a noncustodial parent who agrees to the amount of child support, will face a heavier burden of proof to reduce such amount in a later modification proceeding.

Facts:

The parties' settlement agreement provided that the former husband would pay child support and 100% of the child's medical expenses not covered by insurance. Approximately two years after the dissolution of the marriage, the parties modified their marital settlement agreement to require the former husband to pay accumulated unreimbursed medical bills and other arrearages by conveying securities to the former wife. The modification also required the former wife to submit medical expense bills to the former husband within six months, and if she failed to do so, he would be relieved from any further obligations for such expense. The modification, however, was never submitted to nor approved by the court. The trial court found that there was no substantial change in circumstances which would justify a reduction in the former husband's child support obligations and that the statute was constitutional.

Issue:

Was Fla. Stat. ch. 61.30(12) unconstitutional, and had there been a substantial change in the husband's financial circumstances warranting a downward modification of his obligation?

Answer:

The court affirmed in part and reversed in part.

Conclusion:

The order denying the former husband modification of his child support obligation was affirmed in part as there was no substantial change in circumstances warranting reduction and was reversed regarding reduction in medical expense reimbursement paid by appellant. Further the matter was remanded for the lower court to consider a reduction in support for the extended visitation granted appellant. The court further found that subsection 61.30(12) furthered a legitimate state interest and affirmed the trial court's finding of constitutionality. 

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