Updated: Aug 11
If you would like to have you child support modified, here are a few things the court may look at:
Although your income may increase or decrease over time, that doesn’t mean that your child support order will be able to change along with it. Most states require a 10-20% change in income for any modification to be made. These modifications aren’t automatic either. The only thing that can change a court order is the court itself. You must petition from the court any change you want to make.
If there is a decrease in income due to unemployment, the courts will look at the reason for termination. In past months, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of people to lose jobs, or at least take a significant pay cut, through no fault of their own. If this has happened to you, the courts may view this as a substantial reason to modify your child support order.
Marital status is another factor when it comes to child support modifications. There was a case in the state of Idaho where the mother wasn’t employed at the time of their divorce. A few years down the road she started earning $25,000 a year and married a man who earned $47,000. The ex-husband petitioned for a modification of child support and it was granted to him by the Idaho Supreme Court.
Things to Remember
Make sure that you are paying your payments in full every month. If you aren’t paying them fully, or at all, it will be very difficult to reduce your current support order.
Petition with the courts as soon as possible. The sooner you petition, the sooner you will be able to modify the order. Your attorney can also make sure that your payments become retroactive from the date your petition was filed. That means any payments you made between filing the petition and your hearing, that were over the new amount will be paid back to you.
Finally, remember the goal is to do what is best for your children. Take them into consideration and make sure that their needs are still being met throughout this process. If you petition to have your support order reduced, do everything possible to make up the difference. Not only is this looking out for your children’s interests, but it also makes your case stronger. Petitioning to modify child support so that you can save money doesn’t look good in court. While child support is meant to reflect the income of the parents, it should also reflect the interests of the child.