When child support is ordered by a court, it is imperative that it is paid according to court documents. If support is not paid on time or in the amount specified by court documents, the payor could be held legally responsible. However, some life circumstances create a need for the modification of child support documents. Here’s how to seek a formal modification of child support orders and when you should contact an attorney for help.
What Child Support Covers
Child support is designed to help cover the expenses often incurred by the primary custodian of the child. For example, these costs could include but are not limited to shelter costs, transportation costs, expenses for food, clothing, and personal care items, entertainment, and some medical costs. Child support is not simply buying diapers and wipes or paying half of daycare costs. There’s much more that goes into to providing for a child financially.
When Child Support Orders Can Be Changed
There are typically only two circumstances under which a child support order can be changed. Both of these circumstances are related to the income of the payor. If the payor experiences an increase or a decrease in income, child support may be modified. This ensures that an appropriate portion of the payor’s income is paid to child support. Generally, the recipient of child support will request a change to the order if the payor’s income has increased. On the other hand, the payor themselves will often request a change to the order if their income decreased.
What doesn’t affect the amount of child support specified in the order is if the primary custodian marries, if the primary custodian alleges that the child’s needs have become greater (if for example, the child begins enrolling in costly extracurricular activities), or the age of the child.
When to Contact a Child Support Attorney
A significant problem that payors can face is if their income is reduced and they can no longer afford to make the same payments as ordered by the court. The issue happens when they do not seek a formal child support modification. Simply stopping payments or paying less before the court approves a modification can lead to serious legal implications. These implications could include wage garnishment and jail time.
Whether you’re the payor of child support payments or the recipient, if circumstances exist for your child support order to be modified, you need the help of an experienced attorney. Contact Rita T. Jerejian for help today by calling 201.489.7714.