Modifying child support is something that parents must do through the court system. Courts take child support obligations seriously, and any attempt to modify the terms needs to go through official channels. There are reasons that parents can and should seek such changes, or when altering a support payment is necessary.
Child support payments are no small expense for the paying parent. Recipients of this form of support often rely on it as a way to provide for their children. If a parent loses their job, support payments may need to change, even if the modification is only temporary.
If you are looking to modify your child support order, you will need the help of a Frederick child support modification lawyer. Your child support attorney can help ensure that your efforts to modify the support meet all technical requirements and avoid the consequences of improperly or unofficially modifying the payments.
How Can a Parent Change a Child Support Order?
A person seeking to revise a child support order cannot change the payments until the court approves the modifications. If a paying parent loses their job and their support obligations become a severe burden to their ability to care for themselves, they should act promptly to change to the order. The parent who wants to alter the order will have to file a petition to modify child support. The payor’s child support can only be modified back to the time of the filing of the petition to modify, so the person seeking to modify must file immediately.
The court will evaluate the petition and decide whether or not to grant the petitioner’s request after a full evidentiary hearing. Until the court issues a modified order, the paying parent must continue to pay the prior amount of support.
When Will a Court Agree to Modify a Support Order?
A court may agree to modify support when the family’s circumstances change significantly. Income changes for either parent can lead to a modification of the support order. However, if the income changes do not amount to at least a 25 percent difference, the court may not agree to the requested modifications.
The 25 percent difference can be an increase or decrease in income. A job loss would be a good reason to modify support, but remember that the modification might be temporary. The court can impute income to a parent if it believes that the person is purposely impoverishing themselves.
Modifications to a parenting schedule or major changes in the child’s needs are other compelling reasons for a court to change a child support order. Anyone who believes that they have a good reason to modify their child support order should reach out to a Frederick child support modification attorney to learn their options.
The Risks of Modifying Support Without an Order
Modifying support payments based on a verbal or written agreement are not enforceable. The order can only change by having a court enter a new order.
Imagine that one parent loses their job and asks the other to allow a reduction in payments until they find work. The other parent agrees, and the parent pays half the ordered support for six months. Technically, the recipient parent still has the right to the other half of the support payments.
In this scenario, if the parent who received only 50 percent of the support brings the paying parent to court, the court could order the obligor to pay back pay for the past six months. The safer option is to make the required payments and move the court to modify the terms or to have one of our skilled attorney’s draft a consent order to reflect the new agreed upon amount. A Frederick family lawyer can help parents take the necessary steps to protect themselves from these sorts of situations.
Hiring a Frederick Child Support Modification Attorney
The courts can order and enforce child support payments. The consequences for failing to abide by a child support order can be severe. There are many events that can lead to a legitimate need to modify these orders, but you have to take the right steps when doing so to protect yourself.
If you believe that your family’s circumstances changed enough to warrant an altering of support payments, you will need to speak to a Frederick child support modification lawyer. Your attorney can ensure that you take the appropriate legal steps to discuss possible changes the amount of support you pay or receive.