Child Support – Can It Be Modified?

Author: Miod & Company
Date: December 15, 2021
Category: Family Law
Average Time Reading: 6 minutes

When filing for divorce, it’s important to know the process of determining and modifying child support. Even if you devise a concrete plan and aim to stick to it, things can change over time, such as jobs, income, medical emergencies, and so much more.

To ensure your child or children have successful futures, it’s better to know what to expect in a payment plan before you step into the courtroom for the first time or several years down the road.

In this article, we will talk about child support and how it can affect your financial expectations after your marriage or divorce.

What is Child Support?

Child support is the amount of financial support paid by the noncustodial parent to provide a comfortable standard of living for their child or children. It covers their basic needs, such as education, food, clothing, housing, and medical expenses. 

It can also show up in other situations as well, but it is most often in the case of noncustodial parents or partners to ensure proper child care.

Based primarily on parental income and owned property, child support varies from case to case and by state. If living in different states, you may need to consider multiple sets of guidelines.

What Determines the Amount?

Each situation is different; depending on your state, your case, and your child’s needs, the amount of support is not the same for any two couples.

Often calculated through a specific formula, the court will take into consideration:

  • The income of both parents
  • Disposable income of the higher-earning parent on a monthly basis
  • Time the higher-earning partner is physically in charge of the child (percentage-wise)
  • Total combined disposable income of both partners on a monthly basis

Essentially, the judge and the family agencies will give you a fair price, but only if you don’t leave anything out of your “income.” Then what exactly should you show them?

The list of income evidence can be exhaustive; it will depend on specific circumstances.

However, it’s important to not leave anything out. From your wages, tips, bonuses, side job revenue, and even government benefits can count towards your total income amount. 

For your own safety and the best options to be given to your child, ask a professional to determine what you need to provide for the judge.

The judge wants to be fair and so should you. However, know that you won’t be the sole parent given the responsibility of providing for your child. Both parents are kept accountable and both of your abilities to provide will be considered.

Before child support can be decided, both you and your ex/spouse will need to fill out forms to determine both of your financial situations. Be honest; we’re trying to continue a normal lifestyle for you and your child or children.

If you and your spouse are eager to negotiate yourselves, then that may be a route for you to take. Nonetheless, the judge will have to sign off on it in the end. 

Can it be Modified?

Anytime after the child support has been issued, you or your spouse are allowed to (ask to) change it, such as an increase or decrease in amount.

Generally, the judge will not modify an existing order unless the parent proposing the modification also provides evidence of significant circumstances that have changed from the original issue order.

The court will ensure a fair decision for both parties but will not remain subject to frequent requests. If you both can’t agree on a modification, then it’s likely it won’t happen—or the judge will have to call you both to the courtroom.

Here are situations in which you should ask to modify your support plan:

  • Loss of job/income
  • Medical emergency
  • Getting a new job or means of income
  • Income from remarrying
  • Changes in custody or visitation rights
  • Increase or decrease in the child’s financial needs
  • Parent’s disability
  • Pregnancy from the previous or remarriage
  • Imprisonment
  • Military deployment or other services

Know that for whatever situation you find yourself or your partner in, the court will need proof of that change. After the child support agency reviews and accepts your modification request, they and the court will issue a new agreement.

Until the modified order is issued, the original agreement must continue. However, if it’s obvious that this order will help you with the child’s financial needs in mind, then it shouldn’t be much more than the processing of the right forms.

They want this process to be just as easy as you do.

Conclusion

Before you make any rash decisions about modifying your child support payments, you should consult professional help.

While it’s important that you take care of your child, married or not, you must know all of your options before bringing the order back to court or fighting against your spouse’s modification request in front of the judge.

Contact us today, and we will help answer any questions you may have surrounding child support. We are here for you!

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