5 Facts – Change Child Support
In the aftermath of the finalization of a divorce, the time may come when a parent desires to change child support. In some instances, the custodial parent seeks to increase the child support obligation. In other cases, the noncustodial parent desires to decrease the amount of child support. There exist five fundamental facts associated with the process to change child support.
Change Child Support Guidelines
All jurisdictions have developed child support guidelines. The guidelines are designed to provide general parameters regarding the amount of child support that is to be paid in a particular case. The guidelines are utilized by courts when child support is established in the first instance as well as when a desire to change a child support order arises.
Change of Circumstances
In order to change child support, there must be a notable change in the circumstances of the child or the parties. For example, if the child develops some sort of health-related issue, increasing a child support order is likely warranted. However, if the noncustodial parent quits a job based on his or her own volition, the court is not likely to decrease a child support obligation.
Time Frames to Alter Child Support
Most jurisdictions also impose time frames regarding when a request can be made to alter a child support order. A specific period of time must elapse before a court will entertain a motion to change child support, unless there exists some sort of emergency or compelling need to alter an order before that time frame elapses.
Deviation from the Child Support Guidelines
Although child support guidelines are to be followed as a general rule, they are not formed in concrete. There exists some room to deviate from the guidelines in certain situations. Whether a deviation is permitted is determined on a case by case basis.
Facts that may warrant a deviation from the amount of child support set forth in the guidelines include a noncustodial parent who ends up with a permanent impairment that prevents that individual from maintaining gainful employment, or a child that suffers a health condition that necessitates higher level of financial support from the noncustodial parent.
Parents can agree to a modification in child support. However, as a general rule, an agreement by the parents to modify an existing child support order does require approval by the court before it takes effect.