When a couple with children chooses to part ways, divorce proceedings will typically include a court order for child support payments. Usually, the noncustodial parent – the one without primary physical or legal custody – will make payments to the custodial parent to help with the costs of raising the children.
However, sometimes a change of circumstances can call for a change to the court-ordered child support amount. For example, if a noncustodial parent loses his or her job, he or she may be unable to make the same payments. Or if the custodial parent is in the same situation, he or she may need additional support to maintain the well-being of the children.
Other changes of circumstances that may justify a modification include:
- getting a new or additional job
- any other change in income
- a change in custody or visitation
- a change in the size of your family
- either parent becomes disabled
- either parent goes to jail or prison
- either parent is deployed to active military service
Either parent, other custodial party, or the child support department of any state can request a modification. This is usually achieved by going to court, either on your own or with a private attorney.
If your financial situation has changed in a way that affects your ability to collect or pay child support, do not hesitate. Get in touch with your state child support department or with an experienced family law attorney right away to prevent serious enforcement measures like wage garnishment or even criminal proceedings.