A court order to pay child support is not always easy to follow, but you do your best to stay on track to provide your child (or children) with the financial means necessary to live their best life.
However, you must also take your own financial situation into consideration. If you’re unable to comfortably make child support payments, it’s time to learn more about a modification.
Here are the steps you should take:
- Take charge: The court has no way of reading your mind. So, if you don’t take charge by requesting a modification, they’ll expect you to pay in full and on time every month.
- Talk to your ex: Your ex alone can’t agree to a child support modification, but if they’re on your side you’ll have a much easier time getting the court to comply. Even if you’re struggling to get along post-divorce, don’t skip this step.
- Keep up: Don’t assume that receiving a child support modification will relieve you of all missed payments. It won’t. You need to keep up with your current obligation until the court approves a modification.
- Prove your change in circumstances: Telling the court that you don’t want to pay the full amount in child support isn’t reason enough for a modification. Just the same, overspending on luxury items isn’t likely to get you sympathy. However, there are other changes in circumstances, such as a job loss or serious illness that’s keeping you out of work, that could qualify you for a modification.
After you take these steps, the last thing you should do is file a request for a modification with the same court that issued your original order.
Keep in mind that just because you receive a child support modification doesn’t mean it will remain in place indefinitely. For example, if you lost your job but secure another position in the future earning the same amount of money, you can expect your obligation to increase to the original amount.
It can be a challenge to seek a child support modification, but taking the right steps at the right time will protect you against mistakes and help you receive an answer from the court in a timely manner.