What to Expect When Requesting to Modify Child Support

Are you unhappy with the amount of child support you are paying or receiving? If so, you'll want to know what to expect when requesting to modify child support.

Know Why Child Support Can Be Modified

You can't request a child support modification without having a good reason, or else the request may be dismissed. There should be a change in circumstances that is motivating the need to make changes to the child support order, which is typically due to changes in income for the parents. For example, you may have lost your job and are now working at a lower-paying job, or your spouse now has a better-paying job and requires less child support as a result. 

Another reason to modify the custody agreement is if the custody arrangement changes, and now the child is with the non-custodial parent more than they were in the past. As you can imagine, this will result in fewer expenses for the spouse that used to have primary custody, and child support payments can be modified as a result.

A child's needs may have changed over time, especially when it comes to health care. If the child has an ongoing medical condition that requires more financial support, that additional money can be requested in the form of higher child support payments. 

There may be some situations where a change in circumstances is not required, depending on the state that you are in. For example, you may have agreed to accept less than the state guidelines for the minimum amount of child support and find that it is not working for you. It will be possible to request that child support be increased to those state minimums. 

Know Who Can Change The Child Support Order

Once you have your reason to modify child support, know that it can only be changed by a judge that approves of the new child support order. You will need to request a hearing date by filing the proper paperwork. The person requesting the change will file a formal request document, a declaration of what they are asking for, and the evidence that supports their reasoning. You'll also need to submit an income and expense declaration so that the judge has the full picture of what your finances are like. If the judge agrees with your request, they'll approve the new child support order.

Know that child support is not changed retroactively, which is why it's important to act as soon as the need comes up for a change in child support. Work with a child support attorney to get your best chance at the result you want.