The amount of child support that you pay is based on your current income. However, if your income declines, you may find that you are unable to pay your child support. Your child support payments may also increase, such as if you have inherited a large sum of money or if you receive a raise. Under these circumstances, you will need to have the child support payment changed.
Reach an Agreement with the Other Parent
The easiest way to modify the child support payment is to see if you can reach an agreement with the other parent regarding how much child support should be paid. The only time this will be a problem is if the modified amount is far below the state minimum.
Have the Amount Changed Through the Court System
Usually, the modification is not granted unless the increase or decrease in the non-custodial parent’s income is more than 10 percent. Unless one of the parents goes to court to have the child support modified, the original order will stand. Also, many courts place limits on how often the child support payment amount can be changed.
The non-custodial parent will need to prove that there has been a change in his or her income. This may be done through a tax form or through pay stubs. Do not try to hide your income because this could lead to legal penalties.
Decide if You Need a Temporary or Permanent Modification
When you apply for a modification, the court might either grant a temporary modification or a permanent modification. For example, if you experience an increase in your income, but this increase is temporary, you may only have to pay a greater amount of child support until a specific period has passed. Also, a temporary increase in your child support payment may result from if there is an increase in the child’s needs, such as the purchasing of school uniforms. However, if there is a long-term increase in the child’s needs, such as if the child has special needs, there might be a permanent increase in the required child support payments.
If you are a parent who cannot make child support payments, you must not delay in having the child support agreement changed because the child support payments will become arrears. These cannot be discharged even through bankruptcy and can only be eliminated by paying them. While you are in the process of modifying the child support payments, try to make your payments as best as you can. Even if you are not able to make the full payments, try to make partial payments. While you might feel like panicking, if you stay informed and follow the law, you have little to worry about.