When do courts allow post-judgment modification of support?
Even if years have passed since the court has issued a child support order, parties can request to amend its terms, typically involving the amount. However, not every situation calls for modifying the existing order. Family courts allow changes in support terms only under certain circumstances to avoid unnecessary and repetitive modification requests.
When there is a significant change in circumstances
Parents and other involved individuals can request support order modification if there are substantial changes in circumstances involving the child or their parents. Common situations the court considers as significant changes in circumstances include the following situations:
- Changes in the child’s needs
- Changes in either parent’s work schedule
- An increase or decrease in income of either parent
- A job loss or promotion of either parent
- The relocation of either parent
Generally, any change directly or indirectly affecting a child’s well-being or detrimental to their best interests justifies support modification.
When the change in support order amount is notable
Not only does there have to be a significant change in circumstances, but there also has to be a notable change in the support order amount if the court would modify it. By notable, the support amount would change by at least 20% or $50, whichever is less.
The request holds only with appropriate proof
The parent claiming substantial changes in circumstances has to prove its existence in court. This includes providing documents on parents’ income and child care expenses. Without these, the court may not consider the petition. Hence, it is essential to review the circumstances and establish a well-grounded petition for modification.