When a child support agreement is drafted and enacted, it typically concerns itself with the circumstances of the time when it is signed and agreed upon. The parent assigned the support order pays until the expiration. While the goal is that the support order will function for the time being, circumstances between either parents may change. This may necessitate a modification of the standing child support order. A modification can help re-purpose the child support agreement to reflect the current circumstances, rather than the circumstances which were present when the agreement was initially drafted.
Possible Reasons To Modify A Child Support Order
In general, most courts rely on certain reasoning for modifying an order. A child support order cannot simply be modified based on a dispute between the parents. Instead, the court must see evidence to show that the order cannot continue in it current state. The court will hear a request from either side, and may increase or decrease the amount. Circumstances that may warrant a modification of a child support order include:
- Loss of income: If either one of the parents loses their job, or has a significant negative change in their income level, the court may consider modification of the standing support agreement. Loss of income on either parent can cause a disruption in the stability of the life of the child.
- Increase in income: If one of the parties gains a significant increase in their income level, this may also be grounds to modify the agreement, as the net income level has changed.
- Change in the child's expenses: If the child develops a medical condition or other need, it will bring costs that were unforeseen in the initial child support agreement. Because of this, the court will consider this in a child support modification.
- Change in additional support: If there has been a change in any additional support one of the spouses was receiving, such as alimony, and it disrupts the standard of living for the child, the court may consider this in a modification.
- Child has aged: If the child has aged past the age of 18, it is likely that a support order will no longer apply to them, depending on whether or not the support order was worked out to put the child through higher education, and if the child is in fact attending.
- Parents are living together or have reconciled: If the parents have reconciled or have arranged to live together with the child, child support orders may no longer be necessary.
Family court will consider these reasons and possibly even more when determining if a modification should be granted. The process for filing for a modification depends on your local county's practices for the matter, however, your attorney will be able to assist you with any filings and conferences that are necessary.
If you or a loved one is seeking a child support modification, or is engaged in other matters of Family Law, please contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.