Circumstances That May Modify Child Support
Child support is a policy issued to separated parents which generally requires an ongoing payment from one parent to the other. In cases of divorce, the child custody and child support arrangements must be made between the parents. In cases where the parents cannot amicably arrive at a consensus, the case is taken to a court where the judge will ultimately make the decision. In many cases, one parent will gain primary custody, referred to as the “custodial parent,” and the other parent may receive partial custody or visitation, referred to as the “noncustodial parent.”
The noncustodial parent will almost always be required to pay the custodial parent child support. The payment amount will vary depending on the state and the finances of the parents. In many states, the child support is calculated by examining the income of the parents, the amount of days per week or per month spent with each parent, cost of living, and other factors. Each state will usually have their own unique formula, however, those are some common variables.
Once the support order is given, the noncustodial parent is locked into that arrangement until formal modifications are made. Modifications may be requested should any of the following change after the initial order:
- Change in Income. If the noncustodial parent loses their job or experiences a demotion, they may be eligible to request for a reduced payment. Usually, a temporary modification can be requested for brief unemployment. In the instance that one parent’s income should increase drastically, the support may be conversely modified to reflect higher support payments.
- Medical Issues. In the event a parent should fall ill or be temporarily incapacitated, the order may be altered. Occasionally, the child custody arrangement may be modified while a parent is recovering in the hospital; along with changes in the support payments.
- Changes in Child Support Law. If the law regarding support changes, the order may be modified as well.
It is important to note that until the modification is formally approved by a judge, the original payments are still required by law. Even if both parents agree on a change, the court must formally approve the change. However, there may be clauses included in the original order to allow for modifications to be made without court approval. For example, some support payments may automatically change along with the cost of living — usually calculated in relation to the consumer price index. These pre-approved changes do not need to be formally requested in order to occur.
If you are in the middle of the divorce process, contact a divorce attorney. The attorney may help guide you through the divorce process, as well as negotiate a child support settlement. If you are looking to modify your current arrangement, a skilled lawyer, like a child support lawyer from Pioletti, Pioletti, & Nichols Attorneys at Law, may be able to assist you by providing the knowledge and tools needed to accomplish the modification.