Legal Tips & Resources
Child support often needs to change as a child gets older. The person paying child support may need to modify payments for a job loss or other issue. Child support modification is one option, but there are some things you should know. Technically, you don’t need a lawyer to modify child support. However, a lawyer can help you through the process to protect your rights and make sure that everything is handled correctly.
Why Would You Need a Modification?
If you are the custodial parent, you may need a modification when your child’s expenses increase. You may believe that the other parent’s income has increased and feel as if your former spouse needs to pay more. You will most likely need to ask the court for a modification to increase child support because it may be difficult to get the other parent to agree to pay more. Keep in mind that many states have a limit on how often you can ask for a modification, for example, every 24 months.
On the other hand, if you are the non-custodial parent paying child support, you may want a modification to reduce your payments. This could be due to the child staying with you more, or because you’ve lost income. You should only request a modification due to a significant change, because the courts will investigate your request.
You file a child support modification request with the state agency that manages your child support. Even if your former spouse agrees with the modification, you should still go through the proper procedure with the court. It protects you in case someone raises a question later. There can be serious consequences when the court order isn’t followed.
How to File a Change of Child Support
When you need to ask for a modification, you should fill out the court forms. Your family lawyer can help make sure you’ve filled them out correctly. You want to make copies of the forms — either hard copies or electronic copies. Then, the forms are filed with the court clerk. Once the forms are processed, you get a court date. You may have to serve papers to the other parent to alert them. Show up at court prepared to demonstrate why you need a modification in child support.
Although you can go through the process yourself, having a child support lawyer, like a child support lawyer from Rockville, MD, ensures that you are following the right procedures. It can make your case go much easier and you know that you’re doing the right thing for your child.
Thanks to The Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into how to modify child support.