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Reasons for Modifying Child Support

Whether you agree on a child support amount or have to fight it out in court, child support amounts can change before your obligations end. Either parent can petition for modifying the support order, but in order for it to be granted, there must be valid change in circumstances. Here are some common reasons you might be able to modify child support:

  • Changes in income: Parents may request reductions in child support obligations when they’ve taken an involuntary pay cut, their hours were reduced, or have developed a permanent disability or illness. Conversely, the non-paying parent may be able to require more support if the paying parent experiences a significant increase in income. In fact, if you have a 15% change of income, that would be a basis to modify support.
  • Changes in parenting time: If your custody arrangement changes, such as one child moving in with the paying parent full-time, child support will be modified. However, minor changes in custody, such as taking on an extra weekend a month, is not a basis to modify child support.
  • Changes in the child’s needs: Ongoing special expenses and needs such as medical care, education and other extraordinary needs may be grounds for adjusting your child support order. Whether those needs increase or come to an end, some recalculation may be in order.
  • The passage of 3 years since the last order: Under the current law, after 3 years since the last order of support is a basis to recalculate child support.

As inflation affects the cost of living, many parents want to know if that’s a significant enough change to justify modifying support. In fact, if your support is payable through the support collection unit, the order will be subject to cost of living adjustments (known as COLA adjustments) which is tied to the consumer price index,. These COLA adjustments can only be made once every 24 months. If the paying parent hasn’t seen a similar salary adjustment, you’re less likely to receive a modification based on inflation alone unless you are granted a COLA adjustment.. However, it’s always worth discussing possibilities with a child support and custody attorney.

If you’re interested in learning more about modifying a child support order, contact the experienced divorce and custody attorneys at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP today.