Can I Modify a Child Support Order?

A child support order that might have previously worked, might not continue to work as time passes, especially if life has taken some sharp turns that warrant changes. Therefore, it is possible to have a child support order modified, whether you are paying or receiving. However, unless your spouse agrees to the terms, you will have to prove to the court that a modification is necessary.

Agreeing to a Modification of Child Support

As mentioned above, one way to go about modifying a child support order is by sitting down with your ex-spouse and having a discussion until you are able to agree on a modification both of you find acceptable. However, you must still ask a judge to approve the change. Assuming the amount you have both agreed is not well below your state’s guidelines, receiving a judge’s approval should not be an issue. If you do not formalize this modification with a judge’s approval and your ex-spouse later goes back on his or her word, you could still be held responsible for all the previous sums of money you did not pay.

Asking the Court to Modify the Support Order

If you and your ex-spouse are unable to agree on a change to the child support order, you can ask for a court hearing. You will both have an opportunity to argue for the amount you believe to be appropriate at this time. That said, to acquire a modification you must show that something about your circumstances has changed since the court initially made the existing child support order. Depending on your reasons for requesting a modification, the court might make a temporary or a permanent modification to the order. Some examples of changes that would warrant a temporary modification include:

  • Your child has a medical emergency
  • The payer is temporarily unable to pay due to illness or a medical emergency
  • The recipient is experiencing temporary financial or medical hardship

Examples in which it is possible for permanent modification to be awarded include:

  • One of the parents loses a job or changes to a new job that significantly decreases his or her income
  • One of the parents remarries and new spouse’s income substantially increases the household income
  • The cost of living increases
  • One of the parents becomes disabled
  • The needs of the child change significantly
  • Child support laws change

Permanent modifications to the child support order will remain in effect until either support is no longer required or the order is modified once more at a later date because of another change in circumstances.

If you are the paying spouse and are unable to continue to make your payments due to the loss of your job or a cut in your income, do not hold off on requesting a modification to your child support order. If you simply stop making payments, you will still be responsible for whatever you do not pay, so act now.

Child Support Attorneys in Bergen County

If you need to make a modification to your child support order, seek legal assistance now to ensure you are able to get through this process effectively and efficiently. At Sherwood, Johnson & Poles, our Bergen County legal team has the experience and knowledge to guide you through any child support matter, so do not hesitate to reach out to us for the help you need.

Get started on your case today and contact our law office at (888) 224-1218 to schedule your free initial case evaluation.