Can I Change My Child Support Order?

In Child Support by Elizabeth Stephenson

No one can dispute that parents have a responsibility to financially take care of their children. Child support orders are designed for this specific purpose. If you are currently obligated to pay child support, you know that you must follow this order. In fact, you likely want to follow this order because you know that your child benefits. However, we understand that circumstances sometimes prevent this from happening, despite your best efforts.

Life happens fast. Your job status and ability to generate income can dramatically and permanently alter your ability to comply with a child support order. What if you were a singer, but injured your vocal chords? Or if you were a business executive whose job became obsolete you’re your industry tanked? Unfortunately, child support orders are not fluid documents that automatically adjust to your income. Instead, they set up fixed payments based on your income level at the time the order was rendered. If you have experienced a dramatic change to your income and can no longer pay your child support obligation,, or you believe your ex has recently received a dramatic increase in income, you need to seek a modification.

What is a Modification?

A modification is a legal action that your attorney can file to ask the court to change its’ prior child support order. To obtain a modification, you must demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances affecting the welfare of the child. The state has suggested that there must be at least a fifteen percent difference in income since the prior order to modify the child support payment either lower or higher. In addition, another change in circumstance is that there has been a change in the child’s custody arrangements. For example, if the child is spending significantly more time with staying in your home, your child-related expenses have increased as well, justifying a decrease in child support. The order may also be modified if was entered at least three years prior to filing your motion to modify child support.

Even if your petition to modify the order is rejected, you have at least taken the step of informing the court that you are having trouble making your child support payments. This lends you credibility that you are making a good faith effort to follow the court’s orders. The lesser alternative is that the child’s other parent files a motion for contempt when you violate the child support order. This would only compound your problem.

New Direction Family Law has assisted clients with child custody and child support issues for more almost two decades. We know that you want to take care of your child and can help to modify and enforce current orders. Our team of hard working and compassionate attorneys will listen to you and give your best options to move forward. Call New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 for a free consultation or contact us at our website.