Child Support Modification: What You Need To Know

Posted on: 12 July 2017

It isn't uncommon for your circumstances to change in life. After you get separated or divorced, you may be required to pay child support. However, this doesn't mean that the amount that you are initially ordered to pay by the court is set in stone forever. It is possible to go back to court and request a modification. This modification may be temporary or permanent, depending on the exact circumstances and reasoning. Here's what you need to know about child support modifications:

Why Might You Need to Request a Child Support Modification

  • Decrease in Your Income – As a non-custodial parent, if something happens and you lose your primary source of income, it could result in being unable to pay the full amount of your court-ordered child support. Alternatively, a custodial parent may seek to modify an agreement for an increase in support if the initial amount is no longer enough to fully support the child.
  • Increase in Your Income – If a custodial parent learns that a non-custodial parent has started to get a substantial increase in their income or possibly even a significant inheritance, they may decide to request that the court increase the amount of child support that is paid.
  • Increase in Responsibilities for the Child – As your child gets older, his or her needs are going to increase. As a result, this could take more money, thus requiring a request for additional child support from the non-custodial parent. This could be for extracurricular activities, braces, etc.
  • Change in Familial Responsibilities – If a non-custodial parent remarries and has more children, he or she may ask for child support payments to decrease since he or she will need to provide financial support for other children as well.

Understanding the Difference Between Temporary and Permanent Modifications

When the court decides to grant a child support modification, it may either be temporary or permanent. Temporary modifications will be for a short period of time and is typically for a large expenditure for a child's needs. This may be for school uniforms, braces, a school trip or something similar. Permanent modifications are for long-term, substantial changes in the life of a child, such as the costs associated with a child's special medical needs following an accident.

Child support orders need to be enforced, as they help to support your child. However, there may come a time when you need to ask for a change in the amount that you pay. If this time ever comes, contact a family law attorney, like those at Reagan, Melton, & Delaney LLP, for help in modifying your current child support order.