Child Support Modification FAQs

Is it possible to change a child support order?

A child custody order is a court order. So if any terms of the order have to be modified or changed, it must be approved by judge. So even if both parents mutually agree to change or modify the terms, the changes must be approved by a judge.

If you and your spouse can mutually agree on the changes or modification, you can make a joint application to the court to modify the order. However if you can your spouse cannot agree on the changes for any reasons, you will have to fight it out in court. Divorce is stressful to everyone involved and more on the children. To ensure that no harm is caused to the children, judges do not allow easily modifications or changes to child support orders. Generally the court will only modify the order if the parent seeking the change can prove that there is a significant change in the circumstances necessitating the modification.

The modification and changes if granted can be temporary or permanent depending on the circumstances of the case. Temporary modifications are granted in temporary situations like a medical emergency or when the recipient parent loses his or her job or a temporary change in the child custody arrangement. If there is a permanent change in the situation of one parent, then the modification may be permanent. For example, when one parent remarries, the income of that parent will increase and as a result he or she may be ordered to pay higher child support. A permanent modification will also be allowed in situations like permanent disability of one parent, changes in the needs of the child, etc.

Is it possible to modify a child support order without going to court?

Yes. Some child support orders contain a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) clause. The amount of child support changes every year according to the changes in the annual cost of living which is generally calculated based on economic indicators. If your child support has such a clause, then you need not go to court to have the child support payment amount changed based on changes in the cost of living.

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