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How to Modify Child Support
Life happens, and often this means that change is inevitable. Although it can be challenging to become accustomed to these changes, it’s a part of living and happens whether we want it to or not. If you have recently been through a divorce and child custody case, these new changes may affect the judge’s final ruling as well as your current orders. In some cases, you may be wondering how you can modify your child support agreement to coincide with these new changes; in that case, read on to learn more.
Who Can Modify Child Support?
You should expect that the child support set initially will not be the final one. This is typically due to the ability to petition to change the final order.
If the family law judge sets child support orders the first time around, both parties have the right to petition for a modification of those orders. This isn’t true in every state, so if you are unsure about your state’s laws, talk to a knowledgeable attorney to confirm them.
Still, either party can start the petitioning process these circumstances can range from one person who believes the other party is not fulfilling their responsibilities, duties, or if circumstances have changed to name a few reasons such as:
- new employment
- less money
- needing more money for increased child care
You should never forget that each party can take advantage of this option. If you are the parent paying child support, you could petition for a decrease in your payments if there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the last time the order was written. You could also petition if you could not pay as much as ordered because of a sudden change in financial status and income.
Not every life change warrants an acceptance to modify child support, and they may only be granted when the following criteria are met. The law provides guidelines for modifying orders for child support, but only under certain circumstances. If you are the custodial parent seeking a modification, you must show a substantial change in circumstances that affect the child’s needs or your ability to pay. If you are paying child support and want to modify it, you must show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances as it pertains to any of the following:
- there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the entry of the most recent order.
- the custodial parent is underemployed or unemployed, and the non-custodial parent’s income has increased, or the custodial parent’s income has decreased.
- the custodial parent is now living with a new partner, and that partner’s income is included in determining the ability to pay support.
- existing child support obligations are not meeting the child’s basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing.
- there has been a material change in the standard of living of both parents and child since the most recent order was entered.
- since the last order was entered, there has been an increased cost of health care, and that cost is not reflected in current child support obligations.
Ultimately, to understand how to modify child support and see whether or not you have a case for the court system, you will need to consult with a lawyer. This article’s information is purely informative and should serve as a starting point for your research. Here at Koleilat Law, our family law attorneys are ready to help you with your petition for modification; Contact us today to schedule a consultation.