Child support is a touchy subject. On one hand, people want to provide for their children however possible. On the other, court-ordered payments can become overwhelming, and anyone could find it hard to keep up. This leaves someone feeling defeated on two levels. First, they can’t provide for their children. Second, they could face legal troubles for failing to pay.
If you’ve experienced a significant life change, you may be eligible for a child support alteration. Here are some examples of such changes.
Changes in Income
If you lost your job or were demoted, you may be eligible for a modification. Keep in mind, however, that this comes with stipulations.
First, the loss or demotion cannot be your fault. If you were fired for poor performance, the court may not be compassionate to your situation. Similarly, if you willfully quit or took a lower-paying position, that can hurt your eligibility.
The permanence of your income loss and your future prospects are also relevant. The court considers market forces and your skills. If you are in an in-demand field with many job opportunities, the court may simply assume that another job will be available soon.
Keep in mind, income changes swing both ways. If the custodial parent has a change in income, this can affect your payments. Child support assumes that the custodial parent also contributes to child support. If they lose income, the kids may need a greater amount of support.
Income changes also include making more money, and this applies to both parents. If the custodial parent earns a promotion, you may be eligible for lower payments. Likewise, if you get a boost in your salary, your ex could request a greater amount of child support.
If either party remarries, this could affect child support calculations. Initially, support rulings are made based on both parents’ incomes and life circumstances. A remarriage can change all of that.
Let’s look at the custodial parent’s remarriage. Legally, a married couple is shares all their finances. Therefore, a remarriage could significantly change the custodial parent’s income. If so, a child support modification may be appropriate.
A New Baby or Another Child Support Order
Child support is based on your income and the number of children you support. If you have another child, that could affect payment calculations. Similarly, if you are asked to pay child support for another child, this affects the overall outcome of the formula.
Changes in Custody
Child support formulas also include the amount of time spent with the children. The law assumes that while the kids are in your care, you are using a portion of your income to support them. If the time you spend with them increases, you would theoretically spend more of your paycheck on them. Meanwhile, the custodial parent is spending less money on them. Therefore, you probably don’t need to pay as much for child support.
If you suffer a debilitating event, you will probably use a good deal of your income on your treatment. Depending on the disability, your employment could be permanently altered, and you could rely on disability benefits to survive. Such a drastic change requires alterations in every aspect of life, child support included.
When a soldier is deployed to foreign lands, their finances are complicated. Sometimes, they are paid more to cover their expense. That boost, however, may not be enough to appropriately cover all their continued bills, foreign and domestic. If deployment makes child support payments untenable, you can request an alteration.
When someone is sentenced to jail or prison, they can earn a very limited income. The amounts are barely enough to be significant on the outside. Moreover, a guilty verdict can affect someone’s ability to obtain work after release. When someone is sent to serve time, they may be able to change their child support payments.
Getting Help from an Attorney
To make a child support modification, you must submit a request to a child support agency. If they agree with the need for alteration, they can appeal to the court for you. You may also bypass this process and appeal directly to the courts.
Either option is complicated, and it’s easy to get lost in the paperwork and deadlines. For help, you can secure the services of a good lawyer. They can oversee every step of the process. By following their guidance, you can make a strong case for modification, creating a better outcome for the future.
If you need help with child support alterations, contact our firm today. We can offer you a free consultation, and we may be able to help guide your next steps. Call us today at (916) 299-3936. You can also reach us online.