As you pay child support, month in and month out, you recognize that you're doing something that betters the life of your child or children. You may also realize that these payments are taking a toll on your financial wellbeing.
If you become unable to make child support payments in the future, perhaps because of a medical problem or job loss, you have the legal right to request a modification. A modification is a change to an existing court order.
Before seeking a child support modification from a court, here are a few key questions to consider:
- Do you have a good reason for requesting a child support modification? It's not enough to say you don't want to make payments any more or that you think the amount is too high. In general, you need to prove that the payments are not affordable for you because your situation has changed. An example of such a change would be that you no longer have your primary source of income because you were laid off from your job.
- Can you prove that your financial situation has changed for the worse? Not only do you need a reason to request a child support modification; you must also back this up. Document all details associated with your change, as this will improve your chance of receiving a modification.
- Have you spoken with the other parent? Your first thought may be to head straight for the court, but this isn't always the right move. Depending on your relationship with your child or children's other parent, you may want to explain your situation and ask them if they would agree to a modification. The court still needs to approve it, but having the other parent on your side can increase your chance of success.
- Do you need to keep making payments? Don't assume that you can stop making payments just because you're in the process of seeking a modification. You can't do anything differently until the court gives you the go ahead.
- What's the best way to move forward? You won't receive a child support modification until you file the necessary paperwork and follow the required process. Having experienced legal representation can be extremely helpful.
Get your questions answered
These kinds of questions may be running through your mind if you are thinking about requesting a child support modification. As you get answers, hopefully you'll feel more comfortable with your current situation and consider how things can potentially change in the future.