Is It Time to Modify Child Support?

The new school year is now in full swing. Most children have been back to the everyday grind of school for approximately two months and are already eagerly anticipating those holiday breaks. The start of school isn’t only important for children, it could mean that it’s time for parents to reexamine their child support arrangement.

A trial court retains jurisdiction to modify previously issued child support orders whenever there exists a change in circumstances. A change in circumstances exists when the previously ordered child support obligation and the potential new child support obligation varies by at least 10%. To determine whether a 10% change exists, a new child support guideline amount will need to be calculated. The statute lists several factors that should be considered in a child support calculation. Generally, the main factors to look at are the income of the parents, the cost of providing health insurance to the children and the cost of childcare. When children start school, the cost of childcare usually decreases dramatically. Daycare costs are a major factor in determining a child support obligation. If that cost has changed substantially since your order was put in place, it’s time to consider seeking a modification.

In addition to the 10% variance as a change of circumstances, courts are able to look to other substantial changes of circumstances in modifying child support orders, provided those circumstances were not contemplated at the time the previous order was issued. If you are a parent paying or receiving child support, you should contact one of our family attorneys to discuss whether a modification may be appropriate for your family.