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When and How Can I Modify Child Support Payments?

Child support orders provide the receiving party with a predictable source of income to help provide for the child’s needs. Once an order is in place, it won’t be modified automatically. Either party, however, can request to have the order modified if there is a sufficient reason. Whether you are paying child support or receiving it, you will want to know when and how to seek a modification.

Common Reasons Why Child Support is Modified

When a modification request happens, the courts will decide whether or not to make the changes. They will require a valid reason to change the order in most cases. Changing orders are typically referred to as a “change in circumstances” that justifies the adjustment. Some of the most common examples of valid changes in circumstances include:

  • Income Change – If the income of one or both parents changes significantly, it can be a reason to modify the support order.
  • Incarceration – If the paying parent is serving prison time, they can petition to modify the child support since they can’t pay. If the receiving parent is in prison, the paying parent can petition to stop making payments (and likely get custody of the child).
  • Additional Children – If the paying parent has another child that will adjust the calculations, this often reduces total support paid each month.
  • Change in Child’s Needs – If the child’s needs change, the child support amounts may also need to be adjusted. For example, changes may include medical conditions that require medication. In addition, the child gets old enough to no more prolonged need daycare and other similar things.

How to Modify the Child Support Order

To have your child support modified, you will have to petition the courts to make the change. In some cases, both parties will agree to the modification ahead of time. When this is the case, the courts will typically require the parties to submit all the necessary information, and the Court will enter the order. More commonly, however, the two parties will need to appear before a judge and argue their respective positions.

When seeking the modification, you will need to present a significant amount of information, including your income and expense reports (including unemployment and other payments), child care expenses, medical insurance expenses, disability information, other custody or support orders, and more.

Contact Us Today

As with any family law-related issue, you don’t want to face a child support modification situation on your own. Whether you would like to seek a modification or the other parent has already put in the request, please get in touch with us to schedule a consultation and get the representation you need right away.