In the event of divorce, it is common for emotions to run high. As a result, it can be difficult to come to a compromise on many issues, including child support. However, you go through the process and agree on an amount. Things are copacetic for a while and then something changes that affects the amount you can pay or the amount you need to care for your child. What do you do? The below information should help you to understand circumstances that warrant modified monthly payments for established child support orders.
What justifies modified child support payments?
When life throws you a curveball you may have options. The amount a parent pays in child support is determined by state law. Although states may vary in their method of calculating the initial amount of child support, most have an established system that allows the court to adjust the monthly payments as long as it is amicable to both parties and/or a judge rules on a revised amount. In fact, most states agree that there are circumstances in life that significantly alter the needs of the child and the financial circumstances of the parent. In child support cases, most states base the original amount on what the paying parent can reasonably afford and what the receiving parent will need to ensure that their child or children are able to thrive. As time moves on, however, those situations change. Therefore requiring a change in the originally agreed upon child support order. The list below highlights some of those circumstances.
- Illness or injury that impacts the income of either parent- in the event that either the paying or receiving parent’s health is impacted and he or she is unable to conduct daily responsibilities as they once were, he or she may qualify for a modification in the monthly child support payments.
- Change in employment- if the income of either parent significantly increases or decreases, the monthly amount that he or she is able to pay will naturally change. In the event that the paying parent changes jobs for a lesser salary, he or she may not be able to pay as much. Conversely, if the receiving parent gets a promotion, he or she may not need as much support for their child or children from the other parent.
- Your child’s medical needs have changed and there are additional medical bills. If your child has an accident or receives a diagnosis that changes the cost for his or her daily care, the original child support agreement should be looked at and a modification may be necessary.
- As your child gets older, expenses increase. Naturally, the needs of a six year old are much different and less expensive than that of a seventeen year old.
- The paying parent has another child- Having another child may qualify for a reduction in child support, however, state laws do differ on this point.
How do I request a modification?
The most ideal way to request a modification in your child support agreement is to work directly with your former spouse. If that is not a possible solution, you will need to file for a motion to modify the original child support order and will go before a judge. It may be in your best interest to seek the advice of a family attorney Tampa, FL trusts who understands the nuances of your state’s laws, child support and family issues, as well as all the paperwork associated with the request for a modification.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at The McKinney Law Group for their insight into child support.