To make a change in your child support payments, you need to file a “motion to modify” in your state court's family law department. For the court to make a change in the child support order, there must be a compelling reason. Generally, the court will change the order if there has been a substantial change in the financial situation of one or both parents. Some examples include:

  • Job loss due to disability
  • Increased health insurance payments
  • Unexpected educational expenses
  • One parent earning more money
  • Increased daycare and travel costs
  • Decreased visitation time
  • Decreased income so that it “deviates substantially” (more than 15% in some states) from state child support guidelines.

Most states provide child support calculators that adhere to state child support guidelines to let you know if you qualify for a modification if your income has decreased. Child support payments usually range from about 20-50% or your income, depending on how much you make and the number of children you need to support.

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What's a Child Support Order?

A child support order is an official court order containing instructions for child support. This is often issued during a divorce or custody proceeding, but they can also be requested independently of other proceedings. Child support orders contain information such as:

  • Payment responsibilities of each parent
  • Names and information of the children involved
  • Schedules for payment
  • Consequences of non-payment
  • Procedures for adjusting or modifying support payments

Read More About It Here: Child Support Order

What If Child Support Provisions Are Violated?

Court-issued child support orders are enforceable under law. Failure to comply with child support orders can result in serious consequences including:

  • Contempt orders
  • Court fines
  • Decreased credit scores
  • License suspension
  • Child support liens
  • Garnished Wages
  • Bank accounts seized

People Also Read: Lowering Child Support for Changed Financial Circumstances

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Child Support Modification?

Changing or modifying a child support order can be a complicated process and often involves examining multiple different factors. An experienced family law attorney can identify if you qualify for modified child support, file the necessary court documents, and advocate for you in court. In addition, if you have fallen behind in your child support obligations, or have failed to receive child support payments, a family lawyer can help protect your financial interests.