If a parent is paying or receiving child support, there may come a time when that parent feels the existing support order should be modified or changed. Often times, parents may find themselves having trouble making child support payments or caring for their children with their existing child support because of a change in their work or living situation. Below are some options for parents in this situation:
Parents Can Agree to Modify the Support
The parent seeking the modification should first try and communicate with the other parent and see if an agreement to modify the child support terms can be met. If an agreement can be made between both parents, the parents can simply ask the judge to approve the agreed upon changes. Modifying the child support agreement is normally not a problem, unless the agreed upon amount is significantly below the state’s guidelines. If the agreed upon amount falls below the governing state’s guidelines, the court will then require the parents to explain why the agreement is justified and how the amount agreed to will provide adequately for the children’s support.
Ask the Court to Modify the Support
Often times, the parents cannot agree upon a child support modification. If this is the case, the parents have the option to ask for a court hearing in which each of the parties can argue for the amount they deem appropriate. As a general rule, in order to get a modification, one must be able to show that current circumstances have changed since the court made the existing order. An example of a changed circumstance could be child’s medical emergency, or medical/financial problems on the part of the recipient parent. Depending on the nature of the changed circumstances, the court may make either a temporary or a permanent modification.
A permanent modification of a child support order will remain in effect until support is no longer required or the order is modified at a later time because of a new set of changed circumstances.
If the paying spouse can no longer pay the agreed upon support due to the fact that he/she lost a job or his/her income has dropped significantly, that parent should request a child support modification as soon as possible. Any missed or inadequate support payments will become what is called arrears. Once a payment is arrears, the debt obligation will not go away without it being paid.
For help with your child support modification contact us at (951)222-2228. We have may years of experience and will work hard to protect your financial rights while keeping your child’s best interest in mind.