5 Basic Requirements for Modifying Child Support

As a divorced parent, you may not be aware that modifying a child support order is possible even if you and your ex-spouse disagree. Mediation helps many couples negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement and avoid expensive litigation fees. A neutral divorce mediator assists parents to compromise and reach agreements on common issues in a courteous and affordable way. However, to request an increase or decrease of support, you must demonstrate that a significant change in one of the following circumstances has occurred since the court issued the original order.

1. Change in Circumstances

In mediation, both parents discuss the changes in circumstances that are happening in their lives. The mediator de-escalates conflicts and guides the conversation to discuss the needs and expenses of the children. The goal is fostering communication between parents about their obligations to the children. The objective is reaching an understanding of the current conditions and finding common ground on a child support modification agreement.

2. Change in Parenting Time

The court establishes parenting time because it presumes that it is in the child’s best interest to have a stable relationship with both parents.  If your availability or that of your ex-spouse changes due to work commitments and meeting your parenting time obligations is difficult, it may be possible to modify the child support order.

3. Change in Expenses

Both custodial and non-custodial parents can request a review at any time to modify the support order, particularly if there is a significant variation in expenses. Several specific and limited changes in child-related costs may support the modification of child support orders, such as daycare, taxes, alimony, health insurance, and support decrees for other children.

4. Change in Income

A change in either parent’s earnings may be a valid reason to adjust the amount of support originally ordered by the court. This change could be the result of losing or changing jobs, lottery winnings, inheritance, or a variety of sources of income that alter the earnings of either parent from when the support order was finalized. However, the amount of increased or lost income between the proposed and existing order must be significant.

5. Change in Medical Needs

If a child experiences a substantial change in health issues such as becoming permanently disabled, it may be possible to modify the amount of support. Another example is a child with a chronic medical condition requiring regular, expert medical care.

Child support orders can be modified if it is best for the children. There has to be a reason to change it, such as ensuring permanent and regular custody and support agreements between the parents. A mediator can help you modify support orders and help you file the documents. After you and your ex-spouse agree on changes to the parenting plan, you can submit the agreement to the court for modification. Keep in mind that during the mediation process, other concerns about the children may arise while you are negotiating support adjustments. This is the perfect opportunity for you to discuss, improve, and adjust other aspects of their original parenting plan to benefit you and your children.

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