When Life Changes Can Your Child Support Order Change Too?

By Jones & Associates Law P.C.

When you and your spouse divorce, the entire experience conjures a bevy of issues, many of which revolve around money. Specifically, if you have a child together you will most likely either pay or receive child support.

An existing child support order may work for a while, until something unexpected comes up that causes your finances to either take a major hit or experience a pleasant windfall. With less money to spend (or more money to provide) you or your child’s other parent may want to change your existing child support order.

Modifying a Child Support Order

If you want to change your current child support order, you will need to ask the court for a modification. You can ask the court to increase what you receive or decrease what you pay, depending on your situation.

However, whether your support order goes up and down is at the court’s discretion. For example, even if you ask for a decrease in what you pay, the court could examine the circumstances and decide to keep the child support order the same or even increase what you pay.

Change in Circumstances

The court uses a specific standard to determine whether to modify a child support order. It will examine whether there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances.

Some examples of such a change include, but are not limited to:

  • An increase or reduction in income

  • Change in childcare expenses or medical expenses related to the child

  • Changes in an existing child custody order

Also, you are always free to work together with your child’s other parent to reach an agreement between yourselves regarding child support. A private agreement, however, cannot result in the child getting less support than what they are owed.

Many parents have money problems from time to time. These problems are stressful, and sometimes warrant a change to an existing child support order. Still, any child support order must be in your child’s best interest and cannot deprive your child of what they need.