Some of the most difficult issues to settle in any divorce action relate to child support. Countless hours may go into finessing a perfect agreement that adequately meets the needs of your child. However, circumstances change over time. These changes may mean that you require an increased child support payment. The best way to achieve this increase is by going to court.
Understand Your State’s Laws
The circumstances for requesting and receiving an increase in child support are different in each state. That’s why it’s important to consult with legal counsel whenever you need to have a change made to your child support agreement. Your attorney can help you understand what’s required in order for you to qualify for an increased child support payment, file the necessary papers and even argue for the request before a judge, if necessary.
Showing a Change in Circumstances
If the custodial parent petitions for an increase in child support payments, they must prove that a substantial change has led to the need for the change. Usually, this means that the non-custodial parent’s income has increased by 10% or more or that the custodial parent’s income has dropped by 10% or more through no fault of their own. Other grounds for an increase in child support include a need to keep pace with the child’s requirements. For instance, a child that needs acute medical care or requires extra money for educational endeavors may be granted extra support. Child support may also be increased as the child matures and has greater needs or as the cost of living rises.
An Official Modification
Most often, a child support agreement is approved by the court, and this is also true of any modification to such an agreement. Even if the relationship between the parents is currently amicable and a verbal agreement between the parties is reached, it should still be ratified by the court. That’s because the relationship between divorced parents can become volatile. Without an official court order that stipulates the new child support agreement, it can be very difficult for the custodial parent to enforce their rights down the road even if the non-custodial parent initially agreed to the increase. In fact, most courts won’t even attempt to uphold child support agreements that are only made verbally. It’s definitely in the child’s best interests to make the modification official by going through the proper legal channels.