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What can I do to adjust the amount I pay in child support?

During the divorce process, one of the many issues the parents of children will tackle is child support. In many cases, the court will order a parent to provide ongoing financial support for their children, particularly if those children are to be placed in the physical custody of the other parent. The overall goal is to ensure the child, or children, receive the same amount of support they received while the parents were legally married.

Of course, the process of determining how much child support is to be paid takes place at the time of the divorce proceedings and is based upon the present financial situation of the parents. Over time, circumstances can, of course, change. A parent paying child support may change jobs - or possibly lose a job - that puts that person in a significantly different financial situation, for example. When this happens, it may be possible, and even necessary, to seek a change in the amount of child support to be paid.

How does a person go about this, though? The parent seeking the child support modification will be required to make an official request with the court. To successfully obtain the modification, the parent will need to show evidence of a change of circumstances.

There are a few factors that can lead to successful modification - both upwards and downwards. As noted, a decrease in income is one major reason for modification, usually due to a job loss or other long-term change in financial situation. Another is an increase in family responsibilities, wherein the non-custodial parent has additional children that also require financial assistance. In addition, as children get older, the costs of raising them often grows, requiring more money. Finally, a big inheritance or other increase in income could support a rise in the amount of support paid.

To successfully modify the amount of child support, the specific request will need to be backed up with items such as financial records or other proof of a change. An experienced attorney can help those seeking such a modification understand the steps necessary and how to present the strongest case possible.

Source: The Spruce, "Requesting Child Support Modification in Court," Debrina Washington, Oct. 23, 2017

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