Child support modification requests can be important for parents struggling with child support obligations or struggling to collect child support. Based on a change in circumstances of either parent, child support may be modified by the family law court or administrative agency. Parents should know when child support modifications may be possible and how to request one.
Child support modifications and how to request one
A child support order may be modified based on a change in circumstances of either parent. It is important for parents to understand that child support must be legally modified for the modification to be enforceable and they should continue with the terms of their existing order until a modification has been officially made. The parent requesting the child support modification will need to demonstrate the change in circumstances.
Typically, the change in circumstances must be involuntary, substantial and permanent to qualify for a child support modification. To demonstrate a permanent change in circumstances, the parent requesting the modification will typically need to demonstrate the change will last for 6 months or longer. A severe illness could create a permanent change in circumstances but the loss of a job may be viewed as a temporary change in circumstances when the parent is able to find a new job right away. An involuntary change cannot be caused by the parent such as being laid off or suffering from an illness. Quitting a job can be viewed as a voluntary change and the fault of the parent.
A substantial change is one that would cause a change in the child support order amount of at least 15% but not less than $50 if it has been fewer than three years since the child support order was issued at the time of the child support modification request. If it has been greater than three years since the child support order was issued, reviewed or modified, a substantial change may be one that would change the child support order amount by at least 10% but not less than $25. When parents need to modify child support, they should know the family law resources and legal options available to help them through the requested change.