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When can I petition the court for a change in child support?

According to your divorce decree, you are required to pay a certain amount in child support every month. While some months have been difficult financially, you have kept current on those payments.

Recently, your employer was forced to close his doors. You were fortunate enough to find work quickly, but it is at a significantly lower salary. What can you do now?

You can file for a child support modification. This is a petition to the court asking for a decrease in the monthly child support payment due to a decrease in pay. The court will consider many factors to determine if you have had a substantial change in circumstances. If you and your ex can agree on the modification, then all the judge would need to do is approve the modification under the terms you submit.

Should you get a job with a higher salary, it is possible for your ex to petition the judge for an increase in child support. There are other reasons why a change in the amount of child support may be approved, including:

-- The child's needs change significantly

-- An increase in the cost of living

-- One parent has been sentenced to jail or prison time

-- The non-custodial parent becomes unemployed or disabled

It is important to act quickly when requesting a decrease in child support. If not, you may find that you now owe any back payments in addition to the new amount. Child support modifications are not considered retroactive. The new amount takes effect the day the judge approves the modification.

If you are not sure if your circumstances meet the qualifications for a modification, an attorney can provide more information.

Source: Findlaw, "Can I Change a Child Support Order After Changing Jobs?," accessed Feb. 03, 2017

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