If it is one thing that the family courts know for sure: nothing is written in stone. As the years go by, children's needs change, jobs come and go, and ex-spouses move on with their lives and sometimes remarry and have more children.
After a judge signs off on a child support order, one or both parents may later want to change that order. To accomplish this, you have to show the court that there has been a significant change in circumstances since the last support order was entered.
If the judge presiding over your case ordered a child support amount that was below the guideline amount, then you have the right to ask the court to change that amount at any time, you are not required to show that there has been a change in circumstances.
Common reasons why a child support order is changed:
- The income of a parent has changed.
- One parent has lost their job.
- One parent has been arrested and incarcerated.
- A parent has had another child from a new relationship.
- There has been a significant change in the custody/visitation schedule.
- The child's needs have changed; for example, the costs for childcare have gone down, or the child's educational costs have increased.
- There has been a change in any of the factors used to calculate child support.
If the parents are able to reach an agreement on the new amount amongst themselves, they can have the judge sign off on the new arrangement and it can become a court order. If the parents do not agree, one of the parents must file the court asking for a modification (change).
Why You Should Not Wait
If something significant has occurred in your life; for instance, you lost your job, your hours were cut, or your time with your children has changed, you want to take action immediately to change your child support order to ensure it reflects these changes.
Child support is NOT RETROACTIVE. This means that if you lost your job several months ago, and you are planning to file papers so the court can change your support order because you have no income, the judge will NOT make an order backdating to the day you lost your job. Your child support will continue accruing at the current amount until you get a modification.
The judge is only allowed to modify your support from the date you filed papers asking the court for a downward modification. If you wait, you would not only be unemployed, but you would owe back child support at the old amount plus interest on the back child support.
Whether you are on the paying or receiving end, the best way to protect yourself when you go through any significant change in circumstances is to petition the court for a modification as soon as humanly possible. For help, contact The Law Offices of Robert Deller & Associates today!