Circumstances change. It is quite possible that after the child support order/agreement comes into force, the circumstances of the parents may change and the continuation of the existing order/agreement may prove unfeasible. If the paying parent suffers a serious illness or injury or becomes unemployed, then making the child support payments may become difficult for that payment. In such cases, the paying parent can seek to modify the child support agreement/order. A judge must approve the modifications for it to be effective. Likewise certain changes in the circumstances of the recipient parent may result in that parent needing additional support. If you are seeking a change in child support, here are some tips.
Act quickly. Child support does not disappear. If you cannot pay now, the dues will continue to accumulate against you. Child support survives bankruptcy. Only future child support payments can be reduced.
Be informed. Understand your state child support laws to know that is a significant change in the circumstances to warrant a change in child support. Seek the assistance of an experienced child support attorney near you.
Negotiate. Talk to the other parent and attempt to reach an agreement. You can negotiate directly or through your attorney or use an alternative dispute resolution mechanism like mediation.
Keep paying. You should try and keep up with the payments to the best of your abilities. Remember if you cannot pay, the payments will continue to accumulate. When you apply to the court for modification, the court will look to see whether you have been regular with the payments.
Document your change in circumstances. If there is any change in your circumstances – illness, injury, loss of job, job change or anything that affects your ability to pay, make sure you document it. You must demonstrate that there is a significant change in your circumstances. This change must have occurred after the order for support and before you seek a modification. You must also document the efforts that have made to deal with the change. For example, if you have lost your job, you should document the steps you have taken to get another job.
Appropriate court. You application for modification must be filed with the court that passed the child support order. The changes will take affect only when the court approves the changes. The parent seeking the changes must file the application and serve the papers on the other parent.