Child support is money one parent needs to pay to the other for the purpose of caring for their children. Courts examine a variety of issues when they set the amount of support. While the equations used may make sense at the time of the original agreement, changes can occur that should impact the parents’ support obligations.
Parents should never informally agree to modifications in support. Any changes need to go through the court to avoid future conflict, invalidation, and possibly even legal consequences. If you believe that there is a need for modifications to your child support arrangement, you will need the assistance of a Montgomery County child support modifications lawyer.
Why it is Important to Make Changes Official
Parents might have entirely legitimate reasons to change child support, but even if the parent is right that the circumstances warrant a modification, they need to do so through the court. One example is if a paying parent loses their job and can no longer afford the ordered support amounts. The parent might recalculate support or stop paying because they believe that the payments are no longer feasible or equitable.
Stopping payments without going through the court and officially changing support is a big mistake. Until the court changes an order, the parent must pay the agreed-upon amount. Stopping payment without an official change can lead to the state docking pay, suspending a driver’s license, placing liens on the parent’s property, and other serious penalties. The only way to modify a child support payment is by filing through the courts and the courts can only modify the child support order back to the time of the filing for the modification. Therefore, you must file as soon as possible.
The best move for a parent who needs to modify their support payments is to contact a Montgomery County child support modification lawyer. An attorney can help parents understand their rights and legal options.
Changes in Custody and Child Support
Courts also look at custody arrangements when they decide how much support one parent owes the other. In most cases, the non-custodial parent will owe support to the custodial parent. If the custody arrangements change, the courts might also need to modify support amounts.
When significant changes occur, parents might make modifications that will mean the non-custodial parent will have a lot more time with the children than they did in the past. If this happens, the paying parent might be able to reduce their support payments because they will be responsible for caring and providing for the child more of the time. Parents will need to consult with an experienced Montgomery County family lawyer to understand how to change custody and support.
Modifying Support Due to Income Changes
One of the main considerations important to the court when setting support is the gross income of both parties. Over time, the parties may get new jobs that earn them more money or lose their jobs and suffer a decrease in their income. In either case, a significant decrease or increase in income will impact the child support amounts for the parents.
The income of both parents matters for the equations. If the paying parent begins earning significantly more money, they may owe more. If the receiving parents earn significantly more money, the other parent may owe less. The reverse is true when one parent suffers a loss of income.
Courts will also attempt to avoid modifications if a loss of income is voluntary and not reasonably justified. For instance, if one parent quits a high paying job without finding another position, the court might be unwilling to modify because the parent voluntarily forfeited that income. A Montgomery County child support attorney can help a parent understand how they might be able to modify their agreement.
Hiring a Montgomery County Child Support Modification Lawyer
Child support is a significant ongoing expense that one parent will owe another parent. The payments can severely impact both parties’ financial situation. Courts want to ensure that parents are supporting their children, and therefore judges take these agreements seriously.
If you pay or collect child support and believe that the amount of support is no longer correct, you should reach out to a Montgomery County child support modification lawyer. Call today.