Can Child Support be Modified?
When circumstances change, child support can also be changed to accommodate those changed circumstances. But the reasons for modification are limited, must be adequately proven, and must be approved by the court with a new child support order issued to replace the original one. That all takes resources, like time and knowledge of this specific area of the law.
Child support is for the child, and because of that, it is almost always modifiable (with some restrictions depending on the jurisdiction). A modification can be made based on the request of either party, and the support may be increased or decreased depending on the circumstances. Parties may agree among themselves to modify a support order. If they cannot agree, the matter will be heard by a judge who will decide whether or not to modify the order.
Modifications to child support may be temporary or permanent. Temporary orders are typical in cases where an emergency arises. For example, if the custodial parent becomes injured and the non-custodial parent assumes care of the child while they recover, support may be suspended for the period of time the child is with the non-custodial parent.
Factors Considered for Child Support Modification
Child support orders are typically modified when there has been a change in circumstances by either party or the child. Courts will consider many different factors when determining if a support order should be modified. Common factors are described below.
When one or more children subject to the order have reached the age of emancipation, the order may be modified to remove them and order support only for those children still under the age of 18.
If any of the parties become disabled, the court may consider modifying the support amount. This includes any special needs the children under the order may develop.
Change in Income
If either of the parties becomes unemployed through no fault of their own, the court may consider the reduction in income as a reason to modify the support order. On the other hand, if either of the parties has an increase in gross income, the court may consider that as well.
When either of the parties has another child, the court may use this information to modify child support.
How are Changes Made to Child Support?
Either party may file a motion with the court to have the matter of child support modification heard by a judge. They also have the option of hiring an attorney to help with a modification, or they may seek the services of their local child support office.
The parties may agree to modify the support, but keep in mind that the original order is still in effect until a new order is entered. This means that even if the parties come to an agreement outside of court, that agreement must go through the court system to become enforceable.
To modify child support, an already existing court order must be changed. This can be a complicated process for someone unfamiliar with the court system. An experienced family law attorney will know how to have the child support modified and can advise you if the modification you are seeking is feasible.
In cases where both parties mutually agree to the modification, a family law lawyer can make sure the modification is fair given the changed circumstances. Ultimately, it is your choice but you want to keep in mind that it is your child's well-being at stake. Any changes to child support, whether it's increased or decreased, can alter your child's experience and ability to continue to develop strong bonds with both parents.
We understand the importance of child support but we also know that some circumstances demand modifications. Our child support lawyer at Giammichele Law, APC, will guide you through the process so that mistakes are not made and your child continues to benefit regardless of the modification.
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