Changing a child support order, known as child support modification, happens when one or both parents experiences a change in their life that requires them to modify their child support order after divorce. Sometimes both parents can reach an agreement about a change in the child support order, which they can then have approved by a judge. Also, if the original amount of support is below the state’s guidelines, then the amount of child support can be changed at any time. If both spouses cannot agree on their own, and if the original amount of support is at the state’s guidelines, they can request a court hearing to determine a new child support amount, where the parents will have to show a reasonable change in circumstances.
The courts ask parents to show a reasonable change in circumstances in order to qualify for child support modifications, meaning that they have to show that something in their lives have changed that affects the way child support is determined. There are many things that apply, for instance:
You can request a child support modification at any time after divorce. However, it is recommended that you request a modification as soon as possible after the change in circumstances. Sometimes, a parent will wait to file for child support modification, because they think the change in circumstances is temporary, they are stressed about other things in their life, or they are in a situation that makes filing court papers difficult, such as jail or prison. They may think they will deal with changing child support orders later when it is more convenient, but this can be a big mistake.