Is An Increase In Child Support Possible?

A prevailing myth about child support orders is that once they are issued, they cannot be changed. However, child support orders are routinely modified to reflect a change in circumstances for the custodial and non-custodial parent. One possible modification is an increase in the payments. If you are a custodial parent and need to request an increase, here is what you need to know:

When Can You Ask for an Increase?

Child support is not arbitrarily increased. There must be a good reason for the request from the custodial parent. If not, the judge will likely refuse the request.

What is considered a good reason can vary, but an increase in earnings by the non-custodial parent could lead to a modification. An increase could also be ordered if the needs of the child have changed. For instance, if the child has recurring medical costs that are not covered by medical insurance, a judge could decide that the non-custodial parent should share some of the burdens of paying the bills.

The income of the custodial parent could also have a bearing on if an increase is granted. For instance, if you lose your job, you could request a temporary increase to help with bills until you are employed.

How Do You Request a Modification?

Before asking for the modification, talk to the non-custodial parent. The process to obtain an increase in child support will be easier if the non-custodial parent agrees that it needs to occur. Explain your need for the increase to him or her. If the parent agrees, your attorneys can draw up an agreement and file it with the court.

If the non-custodial parent is unwilling to agree to the increase, you can file a petition with the family court in your area. Once your modification petition is received, a hearing will be scheduled.

Your attorney can use the period leading up to the hearing to determine if there are documents needed from the non-custodial parent to prove your right for additional support. For instance, the attorney might request a copy of the parent's paycheck statements.

Is an Increase Guaranteed?

Regardless of how solid you believe your claim to be, there is no guarantee that your child support will be increased. There are several challenges you might have to overcome.

For instance, the non-custodial parent could attempt to hide his or her assets to avoid a modification. He or she could deliberately delay providing documentation requested by your attorney. Your attorney can help you with dealing with any challenges faced though. 

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