What Should I Do to Get a Child Support Modification?

Parents who are having trouble paying child support (or are owed overdue payments from the other parent), may want to know if it’s possible to apply for a modification. Under certain circumstances, either parent may request a change in the child support payments. Parents who are struggling and don’t know what their options are can benefit from doing research and meeting with an experienced attorney, like a child support lawyer in Rockville, MD, for further insight. 

Q: Under what circumstances can I request a modification?
A: In most situations, the court will only permit child support modifications if there has been a significant change in the child’s needs or the paying parent’s income. If the paying parent has lost a job or isn’t earning the same as they were before, modification may be approved. The parent receiving child support payments may request a change if costs related to the child have increased greatly in recent weeks or months. Be advised that there may be limitations to how often a parent can file for modification. Depending on the state you live in, modification requests may only be reviewed every two years. 

Q: What if the non-custodial parent needs modification?
A: Non-custodial parents who are paying child support should not consider filing for modification unless there is a drastic change in income level. The court system is likely to look deeper into your request and compare past income to what you are earning currently. If the difference is not substantial enough, the request may be denied. If the change in income is temporary, then the non-custodial parent may want to hold off on filing for modification unless it becomes absolutely necessary.

Q: What if I think my former partner isn’t using the child support fairly?
A: Parents who receive child support from the other parent may not always use it appropriately. This financial support is intended for the child only, and anything left over in between pay periods must be saved. A parent who is taking advantage of the support payments may use that money to buy themselves personal gifts, vacations, clothing, or other items that have nothing to do with the child’s needs. If you think your former partner may be spending support costs unfairly, then it may be time to consult with a legal professional for advice on how to stop this from happening. 

Q: What if the non-custodial parent has stopped paying out of spite?
A: A non-custodial parent who is upset about having to pay their former partner money may try to halt payments out of spite. Sadly, this may really only prevent the child’s needs from being fully met. Some parents may feel that it is reasonable to hold back child support payments if visitations have stopped. However, because child support is court-ordered, this may get the non-custodial parent in trouble. If the custodial parent files a complaint, the court may decide to force payments by removing the amount from paychecks. 

Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into paying child support.