Child on swings

When and How Can I Modify Child Support Payments?

Child support orders are meant to provide the receiving party with a predictable source of income to help provide for the needs of the child. 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 you can seek a modification.

Common Reasons Why Child Support is Modified

When a modification request is put in, the courts will decide whether or not to make the changes. In most cases, they will require a valid reason to change the order. This is 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 used as a reason to modify the support order.
  • Incarceration – If the paying parent is incarcerated, they can petition to have the child support modified since they can’t pay. If the receiving parent is incarcerated, 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 results in a reduction of 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. Changes may include medical conditions that require medication, the child gets old enough to no longer need daycare, and other similar things.

How to Modify the Child Support Order

In 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 just 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 in front of 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, any 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 contact us to schedule a consultation and get the representation you need right away.