Reasons to Modify Child Support, and How to Do It

Life is predictable. Even well-thought child support plans may prove unsuccessful. If your incoming child support payments no longer covers the basic needs of you child, then you will to go back to court.

After your child support order is set in place, both you or your spouse can request that the court raises or lowers the payment amount. Learn how and why you may need to modify child support below. For help with child custody modification, contact Law Offices of Rick D. Banks.

You Can Modify Child Support Due to Substantial Changes in Circumstances

In most cases, in order to successfully modify child support payments, you must prove to the court that a substantial change in your circumstances has occurred. This substantial change may include the involuntary loss of a job, a decrease in salary, or a change in your child’s basic needs.

Here are some common reasons to modify child support:

  • Non-custodial parent gains a 10% or more increase to their income. The court generally finds that a child should experience equal circumstances when living in either parent’s home.
  • Custodial parent loses a 10% or more decrease to their income. Sometimes, the court will grant a substantial increase to child support payments if the custodial parent involuntarily loses their job in a difficult economy.
  • Child acquires a substantial increase to their basic needs. This can include educational expenses, medical expenses, or increases to cost-of-living.

Remember, the substantial changes listed above are not based on the intentional actions of either parent. In instances where one parent quits their job or voluntarily accepts a pay cut, the court will not recognize that as valid reasons to modify child support.

How to Make Your Child Support Modification Official

For any modifications you or your spouse makes to child support, you need the court’s approval. The parent requesting the modification must go to the court and specify the new amount. If you do not get the court’s approval, then you will have to uphold the original child support order.

Even if you enter a verbal or written agreement with your spouse for a modification to child support, you should take that agreement to court and get it official. Otherwise, if your relationship with you spouse deteriorates, the parent that accept the new amount can renege on the agreement and seek legal action against you. Judges will only recognize child support orders approved by the court. Therefore, if you do not get the court’s approval, you can be held accountable later on.

Courts will not enforce any verbal child support agreements. When the paying parent fails to make their proper payments, the court will invoke the original support order. The original order will not include any verbal agreements you and your spouse made.

In most cases, obtaining court approval for a modification to child support can be as easy as filing the proper forms and submitting a small fee. The court will generally approve any modification, without a hearing, if the modification does not conflict with the child’s best interests.

If you or your spouse cannot agree on a modification to child support, then you will need to argue your cases in court. This means you’ll need to deal with attorney’s fees and other court costs.

If You Have Reasons to Modify Child Support, Speak to an Attorney

Unfortunately, you will probably find yourself in court if you and your spouse cannot agree on a requested change to child support. For the most part, courts will not make changes to child support unless the requesting parent presents reasonable arguments. Because court procedures are complex, consult with a family law attorney to better represent your position in court. Contact the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today.