Life has its ups and downs – and, sometimes, those ups and downs are steep enough so you need to revisit your child support agreement. Here are 5 life events that may send you back to court to ask for a change in your child support agreement.
1. You Pay The Support – and you just lost your job. Don’t wait. You can start by talking to your ex if you think the two of you can work out a new agreement to take to court, but, more likely, you need to call your lawyer. Child support doesn’t go away. If you get in arrears with your agreement, that’s money you owe and will owe. Even bankruptcy can’t clear the debt. If you and your ex can’t come to a quick agreement, file a motion. If you come to an agreement, get it in writing and have it approved by a judge. If you don’t make it legal, the original amount would still apply if your ex has a change of heart – and you’d be responsible for the back payments.
2. You Get The Support – and the life circumstances of your ex – the person that’s paying the support – has had a big upswing. He or she is making much more money and you’re still scrapping by on the minimal child support you agreed to take when that ex was struggling to get started. Income counts so talk to your ex – or your lawyer – and see if you can strike a new agreement that reflects the change in income.
3. Your Child’s Residence Changes. Your child (or children) used to live with your ex fulltime, but a change in circumstances means that now they’re under your roof on a regular basis. If you’re still paying support but now you’re supporting the child(ren) in your home, it’s a reason to see if you can reduce the child support you pay.
4. Illnesses Can Happen. Whether it’s you, your ex or your child, a sudden change in health and the financial problems that often come with such a change may be a reason to seek a change in child support. If the child is ill, more support may be needed. If the paying spouse become ill, he or she may need to reduce payments. Again, don’t wait. If child support needs to be changed, do it legally.
5. Temporary Changes Can Be Made. The courts can grant either a temporary or permanent change in child support depending on the circumstances. A permanent modification will be in effect until the support period ends or another change is legally granted. A temporary change might be granted to take care of a limited need such as when extra care is needed for the child because of a medical condition that will pass. Know what you need and how long you will need it before you seek the change.
Of course, it’s always best if you and your ex can work out a mutual agreement. But, even then, you will probably want to engage a family law attorney to make sure that all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. Since changes in support – like any money matter – can be difficult and contentious, if you can’t reach an agreement with your ex, you’ll want an experienced lawyer on our side.