Many clents come through our door asking how they can change their child support payments. Some clients lost their jobs, spouses have received raises at work, they changed health insurance, or parenting time has been changed. Each of these examples could potentially change child support payments. Unfortunately, saying “I just cannot afford my child support,” isn’t enough to change the monthly child support payments.
So how can child support be modified? The big question is whether a party has had a substantial change in circumstances. Of course the next question is, what exactly is a “substantial change in circumstances” in the eyes of the court? A change that causes a child support monthly payment to go up or down by 10% or more is considered a substantial and continuing change in circumstance. For example, if monthly child support payments are $100, then a modification may occur if factors make it either $90 or less or $110 or more.Some changes that may affect child support payments include income changes, daycare expenses, the number of overnights each parent has for the year with the child or children, or health insurance coverage. Each of these factors may arise, but a modification is only warranted if there is a change of 10% or more in the child support calculation. Additionally, remarriage by either party is not reason enough to modify child support. Also, a party cannot shirk their responsibility to pay child support by intentionally quitting their job.If a substantial change in circumstances is found, a modification in child support will generally become effective as of the date of filing of the motion to modify child support. When both parties agree to alter the physical care arrangements of the minor child, child support may also be modified as of the date when physical care was changed.If you have questions about modifying your child support and feel that your circumstances have substantially changed, contact one of our attorneys at the Family Law Group to assist you and answer any questions specific to your case. The Family Law Group is here to help you map a route through life’s journey.