Payments of child support can only be modified at the court’s discretion whether it is going up or down. To have payments decreased, you will have to prove that the financial situation of one or both of the parents has changed dramatically. Read carefully and plan your case according to your situation regarding your payments.
Request a Modification
At any given time, a parent has the right to have their child support reviewed and modified if needed. A “downward modification” is when child support is requested to be lowered. Many times, the state will not modify child support with no basis, you will need to have proof that justifies your request for a lower financial obligation. Extenuating circumstances would be things like the loss of a job, sudden disability, a new minor dependent, or the sudden loss of a job. Beware, though, that the court can deny the request if you do not provide sufficient exculpatory circumstances.
Speak to the Other Parent
During a divorce emotions are all over the place and many times, the parents are not willing to communicate with each other. It is vital to remember that the court system likes it when two parents are willing to work out an arrangement with each other, and sometimes this includes a downward modification. If you don’t have a decrease in income but have an added expense, try to talk to the other parent and offer to help in another way in exchange for a reduction that is mutually agreed upon. This may be taking up more responsibilities during the week or being at the mercy of the other parent when they need care for the child. Whatever the agreement is, it will need to be notarized and presented to a judge or a hearing officer.
If it is not possible to have the other parent agree with lowering the payments, propose the suspension of payments until your circumstances change and you are able to begin paying the full payments again.
Provide Evidence for Your Change of Circumstances and Filing a Petition
What will you need in order to successfully lower the payments? Gather up your recent pay stubs or other evidence of your income if you are self-employed. If your familiar obligations have changed (like the birth of a child) provide evidence for this. If you have become disabled, collect your medical records. For instance, Beyoncé’s father had his payments lowered by about $9500 per month, in order to better fit his financial situation. If you believe you are paying more than what is required in other ways, like school tuition or medical insurance, this could qualify as substantial. When this has been gathered, you will need to file a petition with the court. Most courts have fairly simple forms that are basically fill in the blank. Some will as for a financial affidavit. You will also need to provide sufficient notice to the other parent. The easiest thing to do is to have the sheriff serve the papers to them for a fee.
Terminating Support Completely
In certain situations, the court will actually terminate the financial obligations of a parent. If you have no income, if you are going to be incarcerated, and if the child reaches the age of majority. On the other hand, your obligation for paying child support will be terminated if you obtain custody of the child. This will include filing a petition that outlines the change in circumstances, thus convincing the judge to grant you custody, and sometimes the assistance of an attorney is needed.
Often times, when parents get a divorce and custody, support is not split absolutely half and half – one of the parents will end up paying child support monthly. In some cases, the parent is not able to make the payments or feels that the payments need to be lowered. When the appropriate steps are taken, it is possible to have the payments lowered to an amount that is more sustainable.