Guide for Noncustodial Parents Wanting to Modify Child Support Payments

Child support agreement paper

In some cases, child support arrangements whether ordered by the court or agreed upon by both parents could prove impractical. Certain life events, including loss of employment, a severe illness or injury, or a change in household income or marital status, could be the basis for requesting child support modification.

However, in order to reduce a child support amount, the court must order the change or the parents should agree to it. That said, below are some tips to help you when considering child support modification:

The Time to Act is Now

The Law Office of Dorene A. Kuffer explains that if you suddenly can’t afford to pay the current payment, you’d still be liable for all unpaid payments in arrears. The problem with this is that arrears can’t be lowered retroactively and can’t also be discharged in the event that you file for bankruptcy. With this in mind, the moment you experience a change in your circumstances or find that out that your circumstances would change, you need to take the necessary steps to prepare for a child support modification, advises a top family lawyer in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Continue Sending Child Support

Your existing child support arrangement would remain effective until the court modifies it, so you need to continue paying support or suffer the consequences. For one, if you stop paying child support, it would pile up and hurt your request for a child support modification.

Consider Discussing Your Circumstances with the Custodial Parent

Depending on your relationship with the custodial parent, you could ask him or her if you could both agree to the modification.

Keep a Record of Your Change in Circumstances

You need to clearly demonstrate to the court your change in circumstances, whether it’s a severe injury or illness, job loss or change, or other significant life changes. For example, if you lost your job or got another one that pays less, you should document your attempts to secure a better job.

If you are looking to modify an existing child support order, specifically to reduce the support amount, you need to observe your state laws and processes. First, you must learn about child support laws specific to your state and determine what constitutes a significant change in circumstances so that the court would support your modification request. Work with an experienced family lawyer who will assist you in requesting a child support modification.