If you have filed for divorce but you have children involved, you have to deal with child support and custody orders. While the judgment made in the court is final, it is not written in stone. If your circumstances change, you can file for a child support modification to the existing order.
Child Support Modification Order
A modification request can be filed through a number of ways, which we will be discussing today so that you can have a clear idea. We understand that after divorce your situation or that of your partner will change. This change can affect the life of your child in both a negative and positive manner.
However, the court has certain limitations to ensure that the well-being of the child is not affected by the divorce. Hence, if you are willing to fight for a child support modification order, you need to be well-equipped in terms of knowledge of the subject at hand.
Here is everything you need to know before you finalize your decision.
When can I apply for a Modification?
The first question that anyone should think about is whether they are even applicable or not for modification. This is necessary because your case will not even be considered if it does not fulfill the minimum requirement.
According to the statute of limitations set for a child support modification, an order will only be passed, or the case will be considered to start with if the amount of change will affect the original amount by at least 10%. The 10% change could be both an increase or a decrease in the amount.
However, another aspect to consider is that a 10% change in the salary of the parent providing the support will not always mean that there can be a 10% increase according to the calculations. Similarly, if there is a 10% increase or decrease in the custodial parent’s salary, the calculations do not necessarily have to change by the same percent.
It is quite risky to file for a request without contacting your lawyer first with all the estimations involved. You need an experienced attorney to determine at least a fair estimate of the amount that you can expect in the court if the judge decides to proceed with a hearing.
Are the Modifications Retroactive?
To give a direct answer, no. However, it can be more complicated than you might consider. For those who are unaware, not being retroactive means that the decision can only come in effect from the date of filing and not before that.
It is one reason you should file for a modification request as soon as you think that your situation is not the same. Similarly, if you believe that your spouse recently experienced a change in their wage, you need to file a request at your earliest. By doing so, you will be able to get a fair decision at the right time.
While sending a request on time is necessary, you also need to understand that it may not always be processed. For example, if you recently got unemployed or had to resort to a job with less salary, the judge might not decrease the amount of child support if the change is relatively recent. Just because you had a demotion doesn’t mean your child will have to suffer as well. Secondly, if you are qualified for a better job, it is assumed that you can find one soon.
Due to these contradictory decisions resulting from legal matters, it can be more complicated to modify a child support order than to get a desired one at the beginning. Therefore, it is for your betterment to consult with an experienced lawyer before filing for a modification request for a current order.
Is Verbal Agreement Enough?
Under no circumstances should you rely on a verbal agreement between you and your ex concerning any substantial changes needed in the child support payment. Whether you are receiving or giving it, you should always get it approved from the court and follow the legal procedure to file it.
While you and your ex may have a great understanding, you should still file it and get it changed to avoid any sort of allegations in the future.
What Should You Do?
For those partners who agree on a change, you can write a stipulation and submit that to the court. For the said purpose, you can also share the same attorney who can take care of the legalities to be relaxed that your case will get sorted at its earliest.
In contrast to that, if you are not on the same page with the other parent and think that a change in their consequences should result in a difference in the child support amount, you can file a motion with your attorney’s help and legal advice.
A copy of that motion will be sent to the other parent too. After that, the judge will either pass a judgment directly or call you in for a hearing. Do ensure that you are clear about the expected results and have discussed it with your lawyer. You should always have an experienced attorney like the ones at Brighter Day Law by your side when representing your case in the court. For any further queries, feel free to contact us.