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When might the courts modify child support arrangements?

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2023 | Child Support

Child support is a significant part of a parent’s budget, whether paying or receiving. Courts base child support decisions on the circumstances at the time of the split.

However, most people experience changes in income level over the years. When a person’s personal circumstances or economic situation changes, the court may find a reason to accept a request to modify a child support obligation.

Permanent income changes

A judge may consider a sudden change in income due to a promotion or job loss to make a modification. A self-employed individual has to show sufficient records to demonstrate an income change. The court does not typically make retroactive changes to support payments, so a person who wants to decrease payment must display the difference promptly.

Judges will not change the amount if a person intentionally leaves a job to reduce a child support obligation. The parent receiving payments can supply evidence to prove such a scheme.

A parent receiving child support will likely find it challenging to prove a co-parent’s increase in income. Any increase must be substantial for the court to mandate a change. A brief spike in seasonal work or a bonus is not enough to prove an income increase, as the change must be permanent.

Other life changes

The growing cost of living, health care coverage changes, incarceration and a significant change in a parent’s or child’s health can motivate a judge to modify a child support obligation. Courts also factor parenting time into child support, so a custody change can involve a revision to the support obligation.

Courts design child support orders to provide an equitable arrangement that cares for a child’s needs. When significant life changes occur, either parent may petition to modify the obligation.

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