How Can I Get My Child Support Lowered?
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How Can I Get My Child Support Lowered?
Many people often ask the question, "How can I get my child support lowered?" This is a valid question, and there are situations where it is legal to request to pay lower monthly child support payments. In fact, there are times when getting child support lowered is actually required based on the facts of the situation.
In most jurisdictions, there needs to be a “substantial” and “continual” change in circumstances in order to request a child support modification. "Substantial" means that the changes are important enough to affect the amount of child support; “continual” means that the effects of the changes are permanent or long-lasting, and not just a one-time irregularity.
What Are the Basic Requirements for Changing Child Support Payments?
The basic requirements for changing or modifying current child support payments is showing the court that there has been a "substantial change of circumstances" which make the current payment unfair. The substantial change may consist of change in income for either parent. The substantial change can also be change in the parent's schedule or the pattern of care that the custodial parent exercises which requires a more financial support.
The most common reason people modify their child custody payments is because there has been a change in their income. The change can be an increase in income or a decrease in income. Whatever the change of income is, the revised incomes must result in a change in the ability to pay the child support.
How Is “Substantial, Continual Change” Determined?
The substantial, continual change may either relate to the parent(s) or the child. The change must be supported by sufficient evidence, such as pay stubs from work or other formal documents.
Changes in the parent’s situation that can lead to a lowered child support order may include:
- Being terminated or laid off from work
- Having a dramatic decrease in pay rates and wages
- Becoming seriously ill or incapacitated
- Drastic increases in the cost of living
- The non-paying parent has remarried to a different person
- Changes in child custody or visitation schedules
What If There Is a Change in Expenses?
Changes in expenses that are related to the child often include: discontinued need for special school or education services (for example, if the child no longer needs day care); discontinued need for special medical treatments; or changes in the child’s custody and visitation needs. Certain changes in related expenses could justify changes in child support. These changes could include:
- Daycare expenses is now required
- Health care insurance is needed for the child
- Educational expenses have gone up
- Financial emergency occurred involving the child
- The other parent's income increased which makes them able to pay more
How Can I Get My Child Support Lowered Through the Family Court System?
In the majority of cases it’s necessary to request a lower child support payment through the court system. While informal child support arrangements do exist, they may not be fully enforceable if they aren’t approved by a judge.
The first step in getting child support lowered is to file a motion with the court requesting for a lowered child support payment. This is sometimes called a “Motion to Modify Child Support”, or some other similar term.
Before the motion is granted, the judge may order the parents to engage in court-supervised mediation in order to arrive at the appropriate child support payment amount.
What Do I Do If My Ex Is Still Asking for More Child Support Payments?
If the judge decides to approve the new monthly figure, the new amount will be enforceable as a court order. The non-paying parent can’t force the other parent to pay more than is stated in the modified child support order. In fact, failure to follow the guidelines of a court-issued child support order can result in legal consequences.
If your ex is still asking for the old, higher monetary amount, you aren’t obliged under law to increase child support payments if the order has been modified according to your request. The non-paying party would need to file a different motion if they feel that the modified order is unjust or inappropriate for the child’s needs.
Should I Get a Lawyer for Help with Getting My Child Support Lowered?
It is in your best interest to hire a family lawyer if you need to get your child support lowered. Your lawyer can help you file with the court to obtain the modification that is needed. In most cases, you can obtain a lower child support payment if you can prove that there have been substantial changes in you or the child’s life. Be sure to raise any questions with your attorney before the proceedings begin.
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Last Modified: 02-13-2017 11:11 AM PST
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