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How to change your child support obligation

Child support is not set in stone. The court does allow parents to modify their child support orders under certain circumstances. This article will go over what constitutes an opportunity for change and how it affects your ability to modify child support obligations.

There are two conditions under which you may be able to have child support orders modified. One possible condition is if it has been three years since the order was established and the actual child support payment differs from the payment that would have been ordered under the guidelines by either 20 percent or $100.

The other possible condition for modification is if you had a material and substantial change in circumstances since the original order was set. A "substantial change in circumstance" occurs when at least one of the following situations occurs:

  • The child's living arrangement has changed.
  • The child's medical insurance/coverage changed.
  • The non-custodial parent's income either increases or decreases.
  • The non-custodial parent becomes legally responsible for more children.

You can seek to modify child support orders through either a court hearing or the Child Support Review Process. The court generally recommends parents use the CSRP because it is faster and cheaper. However, this process only works if both parents can agree on the new arrangement.

If you are going through a severe change to your economic circumstances, then you may want to speak with an attorney to get your child support obligation changed. Modifying child support does not necessarily alter your conservatorship arrangement or serve as evidence that you don't love your child as much. Don't let anyone scare you away from requesting a modification to your obligations. Life happens and sometimes you need a little break.

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