It is normal for your life to have several changes after the court has issued your original child support order. Often, these changes may hinder your ability to make such payments, and you must request a modified order so that you can keep up with them.
Consult an experienced divorce attorney that understands your situation and helps you take the proper steps to file for and attain a modified order in court.
Keep up with your current payments.
While it may be difficult to keep up with the payments according to the original child support order, you must do your best to pay them. Ensure that you act according to the terms stated and pay promptly. The consequences for failing to pay the court-ordered child support can be severe, and you may face penalties such as fines, imprisonment, and wage garnishment.
Consult an attorney immediately.
Child support issues are legally complex. If you want to modify the child support payments, you must abide by the state requirements and prove the substantial change in circumstances. Your lawyer has highly specialized knowledge of child support laws and can provide you with the right advice to ensure a favorable outcome. They also protect your rights and represent and advocate for you in court.
Understand what substantial change in circumstances is.
It is not likely that the original order issued will be modified for minor and temporary changes. You must prove that the changes in your circumstances since the previous order are substantial. Common reasons for which orders are modified include several children from a new marriage, involuntary unemployment, a huge pay raise, and changes in the child’s needs. Based on these changes, the judge determines whether a modified order is appropriate.
Depending on your circumstances, you must collect appropriate evidence to prove the changes in your situation since the child support order was initially issued. For example, if you have been medically disabled, your doctor’s notes, medical bills, and change in income must be documented in detail. Your lawyer helps you collect and organize evidence after assessing your situation to help you build a compelling case.
Discuss with the other parent.
Litigation can be complicated and stressful. It is suggested that you try negotiation or mediation to agree with the other parent regarding the modified child support agreement. While the agreement still needs to be formalized in court, the legal procedure becomes considerably more straightforward. The court is more likely to approve modified orders on which both parents agree.
File a request in court.
You must file a request for a modified child support order to make it legally enforceable even if the other parent agrees. In situations where the other parent disagrees, several legal proceedings such as court hearings occur, and the judge makes a decision.
Without a lawyer’s guidance, you may make many errors that result in an unsuccessful outcome. They help you understand what you should do and make the right decisions for your case.