Modifying a child support agreement – how to proceed.
Either parent may request a change to the child support agreement to the court. Of course, whether the court will grant your request is another issue. Each state has their own child support laws and most courts need a very good reason to modify the agreement once it has been turned into a legal order.
Start by proving a change of circumstances.
When you request a change concerning child support, you generally must show that something drastic has happened in your life that makes the money you are receiving or paying no longer applicable. For example, if you have changed jobs and are making considerably less money, a court might review this as a significant change in your financial situation. Though, in some states the amount of income lost must by at least 10 to 20 percent before a court will change a child agreement.
Voluntary changes in income amount do not warrant modifying a child agreement. If you quit your job in hopes of expecting more or less pay for child support it’s not going to happen.
The court might change a child support order if the parent receiving support starts earning a great deal more money than when the court first issued the order.
If the child you are paying support for now resides with you instead of the other parent or if you are supporting more children than previously, this can also qualify as a significant change in circumstances.
Make sure there are no time limits for the child agreement.
There are state courts who discourage parents from asking for modifications by limiting how often a change can be requested. Some courts mandate a wait as long as three years before a request will be considered, especially reasons for your request is not significant.
Sometimes it is harder to change a negotiated agreement.
In some states, it can be harder to change the child support agreement than a post-trial support agreement. This can be especially true if one party agreed to a specific amount of child support in the original separation agreement, and that agreement was folded into your divorce decree. There are states who regard separation agreements as contracts, which are extremely harder to modify than court orders.
A Family Law Lawyer can help you with modifications.