Do you know all the reasons for child support modification? No? Didn’t think so. You could be eligible to petition for modification of child support payments and not even know it.
There are tons of reasons why a court might agree to raise or lower your child support obligations. Keep reading to learn about three common reasons for modification of child support and see if they apply to you.
1. Change in Income
A substantial enough decrease in income is a commonly accepted reason to petition for modification of child support payments. This is very likely the case if you lose your job, but it could also be from other reasons for a change in income.
If you were furloughed, have a long-term medical issue, become incarcerated, or get a demotion or pay cut, the court may agree to a downward modification of child support.
When petitioning, you should be ready to show evidence such as pay stubs, medical records, rental receipts, and other forms of proof that your income has dropped by a significant percentage.
That’s because when they consider your petition, the judge will take concrete circumstances and common sense into account when considering whether to modify a child support order or not.
In some ways, child support payments are just a math equation. If you decrease one variable, the other variables will go down as well.
2. New Family Obligations
Even if the non-custodial parent’s income doesn’t change, there still may be reasons to modify their child support obligation.
If you eventually have another child, you can petition the court to show that your circumstances have changed substantially. The court will recognize your responsibility to provide for the second child, as well.
This applies to children born biologically, as well as stepchildren or adopted children. You can also petition to reduce support payments if the cost of raising your custodial child has changed – for example, if they require costly medical treatment.
The purpose of child support is to compel the parents to do what is best for their children. The court recognizes it would be contradictory to ignore a new sibling or step-child in favor of the non-custodial parent’s first child.
3. Violating a Family Court Order
Family court orders are issued for a wide variety of matters — from domestic violence protection to custody agreements, medical care directives, or regular child support orders.
When a non-custodial parent violates a family court order, they can be held in contempt of court.
If the violation is small, you may get a warning. If it’s larger, the judge can impose more severe consequences.
If you violate a support order by refusing to pay, the judge can modify the existing order and compel you to pay arrears. Arrears are child-support back pay that accrues over the time during which you did not pay support.
So rather than paying a smaller amount each month, the judge can order you to pay a large sum — up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on what you owe — all at once.
Reasons for Child Support Modification
Now that you’ve learned about three common reasons for child support modification, is it possible that any of them apply to you? If not, and if you want to have your child support order changed, keep doing your research.
For more little-known facts and helpful tips, check out our Lifestyle section.