Changes To Child Support: When It Might Happen

As the custodial parent for your children, you've likely secured child support to help you cover the day-to-day expenses. However, it's important that you understand that your child support order isn't a guaranteed order for the rest of your children's lives. You should understand the situations in which you might find your support order adjusted at the request of the other parent. Here are a few of the times when your support order might be reduced.

Income Changes

In most states, the initial support order you're issued is calculated based on both your and the other parent's current income. That means that any substantial changes in income can lead to a change in the child support order. If the other parent loses their job or takes a significant pay cut, they have the right to petition the court for an adjustment to the child support order.

In most cases, the support amount will be reduced when the supporting parent's income is reduced. However, they will also have to show cause to the courts to prove that they are taking steps to secure adequate income again. This prevents underemployment in the effort to reduce child support.

Obligation Changes

If the supporting parent has another child that they are ordered to pay support for as well, that additional obligation may change the amount of support that you receive. The court-ordered support obligation for the other child will be taken into account when calculating the parent's income for child support purposes, so an added obligation like this that reduces income may also reduce your support amount.

Custody Differences

When child support is ordered, the calculation also takes into consideration how much time the child spends in each parent's home. The idea is that, if each parent has half-time with the child, the support need is minimal, and if the supporting parent has the child more than the other parent, a support obligation is often eliminated. 

If things have changed with your family dynamic and your child is spending more time with their other parent than with you, the other parent has the legal right to have the child support reconsidered and either reduced or eliminated.

It's important to understand that, despite its legality, a child support order isn't a permanent thing, nor is it guaranteed. These are some of the most common reasons why your support order might be changed. Talk with a custody lawyer near you today to learn more.