When can child support get modified?

Child support orders are fairly robust after they get handed down, but they are not written in stone. With the right set of circumstances, it is possible for either parent -- the one paying support or the one receiving it -- to ask for a modification.

For instance, perhaps you have been paying out $1,000 every month to your ex, who has full custody of your child. You just have visitation rights. You can afford to payments for a year or two, but then your company downsizes and you lose your job. You get a part-time job -- or cannot find work at all -- and those payments become far too high. You may be able to get a modification if it's clear that your income is reduced for the long term.

Or, perhaps you are on the other side of that equation, getting the $1,000 every month. That helps pay the bills until your child develops a medical condition and the costs skyrocket. If your ex can afford it, you may be able to get a modification to cover those costs.

In some cases, an income change may also trigger a modification. Perhaps your spouse was only earning $20,000 per year when the court order was written. Now he or she has a job for $100,000 per year. The court may agree with you that the old payments are far too low and that more money is both necessary and easily affordable.

These are just a few examples, but the key is to know exactly what steps to follow, as all modifications must be made in court, not on your own. If you would like to learn more about how to proceed, our website can provide a lot of helpful information.

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