What is child support modification?

Child support modification simply means the altering of the terms and agreement settled upon in court regarding the amount of financial aid the non-custodial parent has to give to the custodial one for their child, which may either increase or decrease. Because child support is non-absolute, meaning there is no one-size-fits-all policy, it is completely arbitrary on various factors that may affect the ability and capacity of a parent to pay a specific amount. It is essentially fluid and changeable. The frequency of a call for modification may vary depending on when you live in, but in most states, it is usually allowed every three years. This policy is catered to parents, especially considering that the nature of jobs and the pay that comes with it is volatile. To safeguard the parents, and the child as well, the modification is well responded to by the state.

Factors Gauging Child Support

It is already a given that a non-custodial parent’s economic situation is the general and primary reason for wanting to modify the child support. However, it is essential to discuss the extents of the aforementioned, along with other legally valid reasons that allow for child support modification to happen. Modification, or even constant modification, is not uncommon since circumstances that parents may be subjected to in life change all the time as well. These are some of the factors that gauge child support.

Shift of Salary : Aside from getting a new job, there are also other reasons why you may have a shift in your salary. As mentioned before, the nature of having your own income is volatile, and you never know what happens. This may be due to a cut in salary because of a few changes or shortages in the company that you work for, or perhaps a loss of clients if you are someone who freelances. These things are more often than not occurring by chance, as it may not be peak season for the kind of business or service that you hold. Another instance would also be if your work hours have been reduced due to company reasons as well. This truly is an understandable excuse, and one that will be considered legally.Duration of Time Spent with the Child : Parenting time is also a big factor to be considered in determining child support. Being a non-custodial parent does not necessarily mean that you have no right to see or spend time with your child anymore. During agreements, it will be settled how often you get to spend time with your offspring since it is proven how getting to know and being able to bond with both parents greatly support the child’s psyche and emotional quotient especially in its formative years. With that said, the parent who spends much less time, or does not meet the agreed time period in bonding with the child gets to pay higher, or may be mandated to do so. Being a parent requires you to alter your schedule for your child, and this is exactly what this metric demands for.Looking for New Jobs : If you are unemployed, it still does not translate to you not having to pay for child support in total. Courts still believe that you have the incentive to look for other jobs to be able to sustain yourself. This reason then becomes invalid since states can count this as voluntary unemployment, considering the plethora of options you may choose to have as your job in the status quo. Even if you file for unemployment insurance, it is likely that your child support fees are going to be deducted from it, hence leaving little for your needs. The more strategic plea is to inform the court that due to your unemployed nature, you now have to find a lower-paying job, thus allowing you to have a lower threshold for child support as well. This is a completely valid reason, and will surely give you the way to organize yourself and be able to buy your own necessities.Incarceration : If you are sentenced to go to prison, it technically removes your responsibility to pay for child support. The moment you are sent to prison is the moment you are unable to contribute to your community through working, hence you would have no source of income for the custodial parent, or for anyone to demand for your financial contribution to your child. Unlike the previous example, this does not count as voluntary unemployment due to the nature of the situation. Automatically, if you get sent to prison, your child support responsibility is immediately modified.Health Complications : This metric actually goes both ways, for the non-custodial parent and the child. For the parent, it inherently becomes hard to meet the original standards when she or he is not doing well. One’s health affects their lives greatly, as it makes their productivity become directly proportional to it. They may not be able to work as efficiently as they did before, or they may not even be able to work at all. This is a valid reason for the court to decrease their intended child support. On the other hand, if the child is experiencing medical conditions as well, this can also greatly merit an increase for child support. Additional expenses arise when additional bills start to loom. The non-custodial parent then needs to provide more financial aid for her or his offspring. To arrive to this settlement, the requesting party may have to present medical certificates, or documents that prove their claim.Necessities of the Child : As volatile as the nature of income of parents, that is also how a child’s needs are as he or she grows. Necessities grow with the human person, hence, child support may increase or decrease depending on the child. This may look like a child entering her or his prepubescent years, which means child care, or perhaps babysitting services would not be as needed anymore. It could also look like a child’s high school tuition fee being less demanding as opposed to elementary school, hence lessening the support order as well.

How to File for Child Support Modification

Child support modification is not given to either of the parents of the child on a silver plate. There are state laws that determine the parameters of the modification in order to safeguard the agreement, ensure that the child is well taken care of, and that the parents’ best interests are also catered to. There are specific steps or requirements needed in order for the child support modification to be approved of by the family judge or the court itself. Here are the necessary steps to consider when filing for child support modification.

Step 1: Have Proof of Claim

Reasons, even the valid ones as mentioned previously, will not be accepted unless there are supporting documents. These are things you need to bring to the court when you file for child support modification. This document could be an income statement, disability certificate, jail or prison status, or perhaps a medical form giving a nod to said ailments. Make sure to prepare proof of claim for the modification to be eligible.

Step 2: Negotiate with Custodial Parent

Before going to court, it is also important to discuss terms with the custodial parents for a smoother exchange later on for the legalities. In order to do this, perhaps see to it if the other parent agrees with your modification. In doing so, you may consult a mediator to help in sorting things out, as some parents have also resorted to one before due to the technical nature of child support modification, as well as the emotional and psychological labor that comes with it. It is better to have made peace with the other party before finalizing everything in court.

Step 3: Consult Your Lawyer

Because state laws differ, a few policies may not look like the others, hence, it would be in your best interest to consult your lawyer in order to make sure that your pleas are still in line with the laws upheld in your state, as well as to get help in getting the court to agree with your terms, should they be truly upsetting due to personal reasons such as low income, and the like. It is also generally important to have a guide with you in order for you to be walked through the whole process of child support modification.

Step 4: Filing for Child Support Modification Request

The child support modification request must be filed in the same court where the original order took place. The judge will evaluate your plea and see if it meets the standard of what calls for a modification. If it does meet the standard, a new court order will be issued and given to both parents, whether or not one of you disagrees with the decision. The requirements or the terms and conditions stated in the new court order will then take effect.


Is a lawyer necessary for child support modification?

It will surely be in your best interest to get one since your relationship with your child or children will be directly affected by this. But other than that, it is also a legal safeguard to have such counsel around during the request, review, and taking effect of your modifications. You are better able to go through the process with the help of a lawyer.

How should I write a letter to request for child support modification?

Be precise with your wording, and explicitly state your reason. Use a formal tone, but do not be pressured to use sophisticated and heavy words. Supporting documents such as medical certificates, bank statements, and the like should also be attached to the letter for reviewing.

How long do child support hearings usually last?

Considering that your case will not be the first one to be taken in judgement, waiting for your turn may take up to two (2) hours. However, the hearing only lasts for 15-20 minutes.

Parenting is not a walk in the park and entails a lot of responsibilities. Even more so when cohabiting with someone you may not be very fond of anymore. Thankfully, society has progressed into giving everyone chances at a new life, without necessarily getting to neglect previous commitments, such as a child. These mandates ensure that no parent gets away, because raising a human is essentially not cheap. However, even with that said, the existing conditions of parents are also things we cannot turn a blind eye to. Responsibilities are mitigated when circumstance prevents the person from performing them to the fullest extent. What is important is that there are societal safeguards that will help you get through it.