When a couple decides to divorce or separate, the court may direct the non-custodial parent to pay child support to the custodial parent. This payment is intended to ensure that the child’s expenses such as food, clothing, housing and healthcare are met.
However, child support payment is not always set in stone. Sometimes, either parent may seek a modification to the existing child support order. Sometimes, both parents can negotiate a new child support amount on their own. However, if they are unable to agree on the modification, then the parent seeking the modification will have to file a petition in court.
Here are some of the questions you will be asked while petitioning for a child support modification:
Have your finances changed?
This can go two ways. If you have lost your job, and thus are unable to fulfill your child support obligations, you may petition the court for a temporary modification of the existing order until you can find another job. The same applies if you have experienced a pay cut, reduced work hours or loss of business income.
On the other hand, if the paying parent’s income has grown significantly, then the custodial parent may have a valid reason to seek a child support modification.
Have the child’s needs changed?
Children’s needs constantly change on their journey to adulthood. As these needs change, so do the expenses. For instance, a child support amount required for a preschooler’s daycare may no longer be applicable when the child in question becomes a teenager. Other changes to the child’s needs may arise from enrollment in extracurricular programs and healthcare issues. While petitioning the court to review and modify an existing child support order on grounds of changing needs, be sure to focus on how substantial the financial shift will be to meet the need in question.
Child support modification is not uncommon as life circumstances keep changing from time to time. However, before petitioning the court for a child support modification, be sure to find out if your reasons are valid. Getting experienced guidance can help.