How to Modify Child Support Specifications

Why They’re Asked For and How To Request The Court For Them

Child support modification can be requested by either the recipient spouse or the payor spouse, regardless of whether it’s an upward or downward modification. This change is often asked due to a change in unforeseen, real and material situations since the court approved the child support order.

Reasons Why A Child Support Modification Is Asked For

The number one reason for a change of a child support order is the significant change in a parent’s income. If the non-custodial parent leaves his/her job voluntarily, a modification to reduce the child support payments will not be granted…unless the dissolution was for good reasons and justifiable.

A material change, a change that fits within the guidelines, can decrease or increase the current amount of the order by approximately 10 percent. There are certain situations and in some states that the Child Support Enforcement will ask for a change, according to the guidelines.

How To Get A Modification To A Child Support Order

In order to attain a child support modification, the parent will need to fill out a Petition to Modify Child Support. He/she will need to submit an affidavit demonstrating as to why the amount needs to be changed. The petitioner will need to complete a financial affidavit that lists his/her income and assets and pay the filing fee.

Now, parents can work together to modify the child support contract terms, putting them down in text and presenting their modification to the court for an approval. If both parties agree to the change, a Child Support Order must be completed and turned into the court by the both of them. They’ll also need to attach a child support worksheet and affidavits that relate to their incomes and assets. If parents are incapable of coming up with an agreement, a parent may ask for the court deal handle the Motion to Modify Child Support Payments.

The court can either grant a short-term or permanent child support order modification…based on the circumstances. A permanent revision remains in effect until the order is altered at a later date or when the maintenance is no longer required.  In order to have a modification awarded in some states, the difference between the requested and existing amount must be the minimum percentage every month.

Several Circumstances That Can Qualify Persons For A Modification

There are two things that can trigger a status change:

1 – Significant change in a parent’s economic status
2 – Child has a different situation

Courts will typically grant a temporary or permanent child support modification order when the following scenarios are presented to the court:

- Child’s needs have substantially changed
- Parental disability
- Involuntary loss of work
- Special education needs
- Tremendous inheritance
- Cost of living hike
- Promotion
- Inability to pay
- Parenting plan modifications
- Substantial income difference because of a change in job
- Financial/medical hardships
- Medical crisis for child
- Remarriage of father or mother with a substantial boost to income because of the spouse’s income

Adjustments For The Cost Of Living: How Does The Court Handle The Issue

There are cases where a child support order has a COLA clause, which stands for Cost Of Living Adjustments. This will give payments a yearly increase to offset the cost of living increase. The Consumer Price Index gauges such figures. Having a COLA clause inserted in the child support orders will simplify issues and eliminate the need to petition the court for a yearly modification.

Learn the facts about child support and tax obligations.