When you and your ex first go to court for child custody, the judge may rule that one of you will need to pay child support to the other parent. The issue of child support and how to collect child support varies by state and by circumstance, so your own child support order will be based on your specific situation as well as the judge’s ruling.
If the judge has decided that you need to pay your ex child support, you may one day find that the child support order needs to be changed. However, the courts will usually only allow you to change your child support order if you can prove certain changes of circumstance. The following are a few examples of when it may be time to modify your child support order.
You lost your job.
If you have lost your job, it will be difficult for you to continue making timely and accurate child support payments. In this instance, you can try to modify your child support order. Keep in mind that if the judge does modify your order, it will likely only be temporary until you find another job, so don’t think that you can keep this low or non-existent child support payment for the rest of your duration.
Your income has changed.
If you have taken on another role that has made a significant change in your income, you could modify your child support order. For example, if you have taken a huge pay cut, your child support payments could be modified because of it.
If your new position creates a significant increase in your pay, you should also modify your child support order, especially if your order relies on a certain percentage of your income. If you fail to do this and your ex finds out, he or she could take you to court to modify the order, and you could end up owing back child support payments to make up the difference.
You spend more or less time with your child.
If you have increased the amount of time you spend with your child, this could be a reason to lower your child support payments to the other parent. If you can prove to the court that you now spend more time with the child and are responsible for feeding and housing the child on a more regular basis, the judge may use this information to lower your child support payments.
However, if you start to spend less time with your child, you may want to modify your child support payments in order to make up for the lack of time or essentials you used to provide.
Your child’s needs have changed.
Sometimes a change in what your child needs can have an influence on your child support. For example, if your child is diagnosed with a certain medical condition that requires certain machines or medications, you may have to up your child support payments in order to accommodate your child’s needs. At the same time, if your child’s costs decrease, such as they decide to go to a public school instead of a private school or they quit their extracurricular activities, you may also be able to lower your child support payments to accommodate this change.
If you need help modifying your child support, you can contact your local self-help center or use a company that helps parents resolve family law issues.