Life is always changing, so it makes sense that child support payment amounts can change too. However, some parents do not seek child support modifications because they do not realize when it is appropriate to do so.
If you or your ex-spouse have experienced a change in circumstances, you can agree to have the child support order changed or you can petition a judge to order the change. Understanding when to seek child support modifications can help you ensure that the payment amounts remain fair for everyone involved.
Did your income or your ex-spouse’s income change?
When a judge initially calculated your child support payment amount, he or she probably considered how many children you have, your custody arrangement, your income, your ex-spouse’s income, each parent’s contributions to child-related expenses and other factors. If one of these factors have changed, it may be possible to modify your child support orders to reflect the changes.
Usually, a change in circumstances involves a change in one or both parent’s income. A parent may receive a promotion that comes with a large raise, or a parent could lose a job and have significantly less money coming in.
Has there been a change to health insurance coverage?
If you live in Massachusetts, you may also seek a modification of your child support order if a change has occurred that impact’s health coverage for your child. This may include the ordered coverage becoming unavailable or no longer being offered at a reasonable price. You may also seek a modification if new coverage options become available.
Have three years passed since your current amount was calculated?
If you live in New Hampshire, you may request a review of your child support order once every three years. You are not required to wait for the three-year mark if there was a change in your income or your spouse’s income. However, every three years you have the right to ask the court to change the order without needing to show a significant change in circumstances.
Although your child support payment amount may have been appropriate when it was initially calculated, it may no longer reflect the current situation as it should. Understanding what changes can affect payment amounts can help you determine when it is the right time to seek a modification.