When a couple who have children together decide to split up, the court will usually order one or both parents to pay child support. This is to ensure that both you and your ex fulfill your parental obligations and the child’s needs are sufficiently met. Over time, your situation may change, meaning that the terms of the initial child support order are no longer reasonable. It is possible to modify a child support order, but it requires the court’s involvement and can be a complicated process.
If you are interested in a child support modification, here are some important things you need to know first.
1. Modifications Do Not Happen Automatically
There are a number of financial factors that go into the initial determination of child support, such as your earning potential and current income. However, if one of these factors changes, your child support order does not automatically modify. Except in limited circumstances, such as when the order contains a Cost of Living Adjustment clause, you must request a child support modification from the court.
2. There Are Two Methods of Child Support Modification
There are two ways to modify child support, but both involve the court. You and your spouse can negotiate a modification yourself. If you are able to come to an agreement, you must submit a request for a new order to the court and wait for a judge’s approval.
However, it may be that you and your ex-spouse are unable to agree on new terms. Your ex may be unwilling to negotiate in the first place. If that is the case, you can request a hearing and have the judge make a decision as to modification of the child support order.
3. Modifications Can Be Either Permanent or Temporary
Either you or your spouse may undergo a change of circumstances that may warrant a permanent child support modification. Such changes may be positive or negative; examples include a change in employment, a disability, or a remarriage. However, sometimes emergency situations can arise that can necessitate short-term modification, such as temporary unemployment or a medical emergency. When requesting a modification, you can indicate whether you wish it to be permanent or temporary.
4. Hiring an Attorney May Be Beneficial
Though you can submit a request for child support modification yourself, it may be helpful for you to hire an attorney. The requirements to request a modification vary by state, and you may not be aware of everything you need. A knowledgeable attorney can help you to gather the necessary documentation and avoid mistakes that could unnecessarily delay the process.One of our child support lawyers at PIOLETTI PIOLETTI & NICHOLS, can provide the assistance you need.