Do I Need a Lawyer to Modify Child Support?
Circumstances often change after a divorce in finalized. Child support is usually based on the parent’s current earning situation and the child’s specific financial needs. When situations change, the child support order may need to be modified. Here are some things you should know.
Is it even possible to modify a child support order?
If child support was made official by a court order, it is possible to change the terms, but only if a judge approves the modification. Keep in mind that the court does not have to approve the modification. It depends on the circumstances and situation in each case.
How can you change a child support order?
Using the procedures in your state, you request a modification from the same court that granted the child support. Generally, one parent has to show that his or her circumstances changed to make the modification necessary. Typically, the court clerk can direct you to the forms you need to file, but they cannot offer any legal advice.
Even if you and the child’s other parent agree on the modification, the court still needs to change the order. It is beneficial if the parents agree, but things could get complicated without a court order. If the state is garnishing wages for child support, it cannot be changed without the court order, for example. Protect yourself by getting the court’s approval before simply modifying your child support agreement.
Are modifications temporary or permanent?
The judge will look at the circumstances of the modification. A permanent disability of the parent paying child support would probably be a permanent modification. A job loss or medical emergency could be associated with a temporary change in child support rather than a long-term situation.
How important is a lawyer to changing child support?
Technically, either party of the divorce can file a child support modification without an attorney. However, a child support attorney can discuss your options and increase your chances of obtaining a modification by giving you the steps to take to be successful. The family court judge will want to see a material change of circumstances to make the modification. Emotions won’t sway the judge. Evidence will.
Get experienced professional help with child support
Child support is your child’s right. A modification of child support should be in the best interest of the child. It’s worth the investment into legal advice and representation to make sure your child is taken care of. Contact a local child support lawyer to help you through the process.