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Reasons to Request a Child Support Modification

Published July 8, 2020
Circumstances in life shift constantly, so it makes sense that even seemingly permanent agreements like child support orders are also subject to change. If you’ve lost your job or your child requires more financial support from your ex, you can request a modification to the existing agreement.

There are so many twists and turns throughout our lives, so it stands to reason that even legally binding documents may eventually become outdated or irrelevant. When you finalize your divorce and a child support agreement is put into place, the specified terms will likely need to be revisited and changed in the future. If you are going through a divorce right now, or if some time has passed since your divorce was finalized, it’s worth it to take some time to understand why you may want to seek a modification to a child support agreement and how the process works.

Understanding the Modification Process

As part of the divorce proceeding, you and your ex will work out the terms of the child support agreement. Typically, the non-custodial parent will make monthly financial payments to the custodial parent (the one with whom the child resides the majority of the time). Child support payments are intended to ensure that the child’s financial needs are met, even after the parents separate. Once the terms of the child support agreement are reached, the court signs off on them and each parent must uphold their respective responsibilities. However, the court recognizes that circumstances change, and a parent may no longer be able to afford the child support payment each month. If this happens, that individual may petition the court to ask for a modification to the existing child support order. In order for the petition to be successful, the person requesting the modification must provide documentation or evidence that shows how their circumstances have changed.

Most Common Reasons to Seek a Modification

There are many reasons why you may request a modification to an existing child support order. One of the most common events that prompt people to pursue a modification is a sudden decrease in income, typically through the loss of a job or a demotion. Or, the non-custodial parent may decide to remarry into a family with other children or have children with a new spouse. When this happens, they may request a modification in order to be able to financially support more dependents in this new marriage. Sometimes, the custodial parent may seek a modification—perhaps it’s discovered that the non-custodial parent has inherited a large amount of money and should therefore be expected to contribute larger monthly child support payments. Or, maybe the child is growing older and needs more financial support in order to participate in sports or other activities that require substantially more money. Whatever your reasoning maybe, you have the right to pursue a modification as long as you are able to provide a valid reason for making this request.

The Court’s Response

Once you have petitioned the court to consider your modification request, it is up to them to provide a response. They will carefully review all of the factors involved and come to a decision. Sometimes, they may grant a temporary modification for a specified length of time—say, for a one-time financial contribution for a particular medical expense your child needs. Or, the court may grant you a permanent modification that alters the terms of the agreement indefinitely.

A Skilled Modifications Attorney Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

Whatever your specific circumstances may be, it is in your best interest to work with a knowledgeable family law and modifications attorney who understands every aspect of the process.  If you are thinking about seeking a modification to an existing child support order, the dedicated family law attorneys at Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C. are here to help you achieve your goals. Call (503) 233-8868 today to get started.

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