Due to high unemployment and other adverse economic factors, modifying an existing child support order is no longer as uncommon as it used to be. If you have lost your job or have had your income adversely impacted by recent economic conditions, there are two ways in which you can seek a change – either an increase or a decrease — in child support payments.
First, you should work with your ex-spouse to determine if they might be agreeable to a modification in child support terms. If you agree, then you only need to ask a judge to approve the modification.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on modified child support, you will need to go to court. The court can grant either a temporary or permanent modification, depending on your individual circumstances.
If you are seeking an increase in child support, you may be able to get a temporary modification if your child has had a new medical condition or emergency, there is an increase in school, daycare or other cost of living expenses. If you have suffered a job loss or disability you may also qualify for an increase in child support until you are able to find new employment.
Conversely, if you are seeking a decrease in child support, the court may grant it if you have suffered a job loss, pay cut, disability or if your income has changed for any other reason. If your spouse has an increase in income from a new job, pay raise or remarriage, you may also qualify for support modification.
If you are the paying spouse, it is important that you contact a divorce attorney to file a modification of support request as soon as possible. If you violate the terms of your current court order by not paying, the consequences could be severe.