Although there is a court order addressing the amount of child support that one parent owes another, circumstances can change. One parent may experience a job loss, or perhaps one gets a promotion and is now making significantly more money than before.
When there are substantial changes, there may be a modification of the original child support order. Although changes do occur, there are specific reasons why one can request a modification and a certain way to do so.
According to the Maryland Office of Child Support Enforcement, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are two times when a parent can request a change to child support. One can request a review every three years or if there is a major change in circumstances since the last order. This change needs to be something that is long-lasting, and some examples include:
- Income changes
- Health care costs changes
- Custody changes
- Financial needs of the child
- Work-related day care cost changes
After a modification request, a child support worker reviews the information. If there is at least a 25% change in circumstance, there is approval of the change. If both parents agree to the modification, they can sign the new order, which takes around 30 to 60 days for the courts to sign off on it. If parents do not agree, there is a judicial review.
FindLaw offers some tips to help navigate the process. If the person paying support is no longer able to afford the amount, he or she should take action right away. Even if unable to pay all of it, the parent should make an effort to pay as much of it as possible, as the existing order remains in effect until there is a new one.
To help the investigator, the parent should provide as much documentation as possible to prove the circumstance change. It may also help to begin having discussions with the other parent so they can come to an agreement, which speeds the process along.