The decision to file for a divorce is difficult and requires a lot of strength. However, it can get even more difficult if children are involved, and there isn't a mutual understanding concerning them. Hence, you might have to face challenges in most situations because of your ex-partner after the divorce. One of the most concerning subjects is child support modification. The process requires an understanding of the law and to apply it only when necessary.
Whether you are a parent who is receiving child support or is responsible for it, there can be unforeseen circumstances due to which you could wish to change the amount. If you are unaware of the processes, here is everything you need to know about it.
How is Child Support Determined
When a couple files for divorce with kids involved, the court decides an amount that the parent providing child support is obliged to pay. Several factors determine this amount. While the rules followed are generally the same, there is a possibility of slight changes according to the state you live in. However, some standard processes include the income of both parents, how much time the child will spend with each, and additional expenses (if any) including health and education. Apart from these primary factors, the judge can make decisions based on subjective elements pertaining to your specific case.
Child Support Modification
Since the factors based on which the initial amount is determined can change with time, there is a process through which any parent can request a modification. While the option exists, it doesn't mean that it will be easy for you to increase or decrease the amount based on your interests. You need to have a genuine reason due to which you require the change. Furthermore, you will have to follow proper procedures and guidelines depending on your state to get a positive response from the court.
Depending on the needs of either the child or any parent, the changes that the court may approve can be of two types. There can be a temporary change based on an unexpected expense that requires extra contribution. However, if the situational change is to remain the same for years to come, the modification will be permanent.
Reasons to Request Child Support Modification
There can be various reasons due to which any parent could feel the need to request a modification. Here are some of the most common reasons due to which a change is identified. However, if your situation doesn't fall in any of these, you can contact our experienced lawyers and determine whether or not your case is likely to get approval.
- There has been an increase in the child's expenses. This could be due to a health condition that has been developed, an educational cost, or any other change.
- There has been a significant change in the income of one or both parents. It could be a positive or negative change.
- Either parent's health insurance has changed, which eventually impacted their ability to pay for child support.
- There has been a change in the visiting hours or the time a child spends with each parent.
Ways for Requesting a Modification
While each state's guidelines can differ slightly, generally speaking, there are two ways to go about the process. Depending on the situation and your relations with your ex-spouse, you may want to opt for one or the other option.
If you have a basic understanding with your child's father/mother, both of you can agree on a change required for the betterment of your child or while keeping their needs in mind. However, you need to understand that there is a legal procedure that needs to be followed. Hence, even if both of you agree on the change, you still need to get it signed by the judge while following all the necessary protocols.
It is imperative to follow legal proceedings because in no way is it confirmed that the change both of you agree upon will be approved by the judge, especially if it is to decrease the amount. All the documents will be reviewed, and only then approval will be provided.
Suppose the above situation doesn't resonate with you, and you have issues with receiving or giving the agreed-upon amount, but your partner isn't cooperating. In that case, you can always request a modification. In such situations, hiring a lawyer gets even more essential. Your partner might try to play around to decrease/increase the amount depending on their situation. Hence, to be prepared, you should always have a lawyer by your side.
How to Make a Request
If you have finally decided to put in a request, you can do so by contacting your state's child support agency. The modification process will start by reviewing your request. A notice will be sent to the other partner, and both of you will have to submit various documentation. If they think that the claim is plausible, the case will be forwarded to the court.
The modification process may differ slightly for each state. To be ready for any situation, we would suggest you contact our experienced family lawyers at Tommalieh Law today and understand the intricacies of your case.