If you are paying child support and your financial situation changes, can that support be modified? Or if you feel the amount you are required to pay is unfair or it has become a financial hardship, can the amount be lowered?
A court can change your child support amount, but in order to do so, the judge has to approve your support modification request.
What is the Procedure for Modifying Child Support?
The first step is to request a modification at the same court where the initial support order was granted. You must follow your state’s procedures. The change must be done in front of a judge, even if you and your ex-spouse have already come to an agreement amongst yourselves. A family law attorney that is qualified in child support can assist you with the proper procedures.
If you and your ex-spouse cannot mutually agree on the amount of the child support modification, you must request a hearing to appear in front of a judge. At this hearing, the judge will listen to arguments from both of you as to why or why not the amount of child support needs to be modified. This change cannot just be made arbitrarily. One party must show that their financial situation has changed in a way that makes it necessary to modify the support.
Can a Modification of Support be Temporary?
If there is an emergency situation that disrupts your finances, if you lose your job, or there is a medical emergency that happens to either the child, parent, or supporting parent, the amount of the support can be modified temporarily. If a medical emergency necessitates the need to temporarily change custody of the child, the support and custody change can be done in the same modification order.
What Situations Would Permanently Change the Amount of Child Support?
There are several situations that would permanently change the child support conditions. If one parent remarries and as a result their income increases, this may increase the amount of child support they are required to pay. Other circumstances that may necessitate a change in support include any changes to family law which affects child support, if one of the parents becomes permanently disabled, the child’s needs change, or one parent experiences a change in employment.
Is it Always Necessary to Go Through a Judge to Change the Child Support Amount?
There is a clause in all child support orders that includes a provision for a cost of living adjustment. Each year the support may increase in conjunction with the Consumer Price Index. If your child support order includes this clause, there is no need to appear before a judge to modify the support payment if all you are requesting is the standard cost of living increase or decrease.
Contact a Family Law Attorney
If you have questions about how to modify the child support payments, contact a lawyer, like a child support lawyer from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols, today. Your lawyer will always put the best interests of your child first.