Courts are often unwilling to consider making changes to a child support order unless there’s a serious reason to. Child support is for taking care of children, and courts know that children do better when they have more involved adults in their lives helping to support and care for them. Judges don’t like to reduce orders or increase them unless there’s been a change to income or circumstances for the parents involved.
When to request a modification
One reason a judge might revisit a parent’s child support obligation is if they lost a job or otherwise lost significant income. For example, if someone becomes disabled and can no longer work, the court may reduce their child support obligations.
Conversely, a judge may look at raising someone’s obligation if something has changed in the child’s life. Reasons for this may include an increase in essential expenses. If a child’s medical bills or education costs go up, the court may see fit to increase child support payments.
Issues to consider
Post-divorce modifications are not that common. Courts are sometimes unwilling to reduce payments when the payor starts a new family. In some jurisdictions, the family court system has taken steps to limit the number of modifications to child support orders. Depending on the state, the court may only be willing to look into modification once every two years or so. That means it’s important to only make the request when it really counts.
If you are in a situation where you believe a child support modification is justified, it’s important to reach out to a lawyer. An attorney may be able to help the court understand why the modification is necessary for your circumstances.