When you get a child support ruling during your divorce, it dictates how much you have to pay or what you should receive, depending on which side of the equation you’re on. This is usually set until the child becomes an adult and is no longer being cared for by the parents. But can you have the total modified or changed prior to that point? Or do you have to use the exact court ruling the entire time — potentially, for the next 18 years?
Child support can be modified if there is a solid reason to do so
While it is important to follow the child support guidelines that are given, that does not mean change isn’t possible. The amount of support being paid can be modified. The court just needs to see a valid reason to make that alteration.
One example is when there is a significant change to the income of the parent paying support. For instance, maybe the initial ruling was made when you had a salary of $200,000 per year. If you lose your job entirely, it’s not likely that you can make the same support payments for long. You can ask for a modification based on your lack of income or a reduction in income if you take a new job that pays less.
Another example is if the child’s needs increase, in which case the court can modify the arrangement to increase the payments. Perhaps the child was involved in car accident, suffered a brain injury and now needs extensive care. This can get very expensive and child support may be raised, if it’s feasible, so that the other parent helps with these costs.
Never change the payments on your own
One thing that you must remember is that you cannot change the support payments on your own. Even if you have a valid reason, you must go through the court. Do not simply start paying half of what you were ordered to pay, for instance, and tell your ex why you’re doing it. Tell the court and ask them to modify the order. Along the way, be sure you know exactly what legal steps to take.