Guide to a Child Support Order Review
When parents get divorced or separated and they have a child or children, the non-custodial parent often needs to pay for child support. The court may set the amount after an agreement between the parents but this is not a fixed amount. It may change whenever there are special circumstances depending on the child’s needs and the financial situation of the paying parent.To change the amount initially calculated for child support, there should be a request for modification, which would require a review process. This process involves studying the current amount of support and the circumstances surrounding the child and the non-custodial parent.When to Ask for a Reduction in Child SupportIn most cases, the request for child support modification usually entails reducing the amount of money that needs to be paid. If the parent wants to add more money, there is no need for any court hearing to do this. A request for reduction is usually caused by any of the following circumstances:• The financial capacity of the paying parent has changed drastically. This may happen in the cases of the non-custodial parent’s medical disability, demotion, or unemployment. Some cases also involved having to support more children with another partner, which corresponds to having increased parental responsibilities along with the changing needs of the child.• The income of the custodial parent has increased. This may happen when the said parent’s salary has increased or has married another partner with a higher income.• The child’s needs may have reduced. For non-custodial parents paying for more than a single child with an emancipated eldest child, the need for support would change significantly.When Child Support Payment IncreasesThe custodial parent may also request to increase the amount of payment for the child’s needs. This may be granted if the said parent has lost a source of income, if the child’s needs increased or if the non-custodial parent’s income has increased.Possible Consequences and Oral AgreementsEach state implements different laws and guidelines when it comes to child support. Jurisdictions may also differ when it comes to imposing the guidelines involving emergency and emancipation. They may also implement different guidelines that would help qualify a request for an increase or reduction in the amount of money intended for supporting the child.However, states do agree that any oral agreement is invalid and not binding when both sides discuss about the support of the child. For instance, a non-custodial parent may only pay what he can afford to since this is what he has been told to do so but he would later discover that he has been placed in contempt of court or has arrears after not complying with the order. On the other hand, the parent in custody of the child who has obtained the agreement of the other party to receive an increase in payment cannot have any legal solution if in the end the non-custodial parent refuses to pay a higher amount. A modification with written changes has to be in place first before the amount is officially and legally changed.The review process considers the non-custodial parent’s financial condition and the child’s need. The reduction or increase of the child support payment may not be granted at all times. There are even instances when the request in reduction may lead to the increase of the payment.