If you are experiencing financial difficulties, you may need help figuring out how to modify child support. Most support orders are issued to a parent who either does not have custody of a child or has joint custody but makes more money than the other parent. If your situation changes, you may be entitled to modification of your support order.
How to Modify Child Support for Undue Hardship
There are some situations in which you may be able to pay less than the state suggested amount for child support. Shared custody and cases of undue hardship may be eligible for adjustment of child support orders. Undue hardship exists when there are factors that make it difficult for a parent to pay the mandated amount of child support. The factors must generally stem from the family situation, but may include debts incurred to support the family prior to separation or a legal obligation to pay child support or alimony to another family.
A judge has wide discretion when making decisions to offset assets and income by making specific support orders that are appropriate given a couple's financial situation at divorce. The judge's priority will be to act in the best interests of the child or children from the marriage regarding child custody and support orders. Changes in support orders and custody arrangements will also take into account the best interests of the child.
Joint custody is another reason that some spouses pay less child support or none at all depending on the income of each household after divorce. Joint custody can be fifty-fifty or some other arrangement based on the needs of the family. If a court orders a support adjustment it must be based on change of circumstances that would justify such an order.
Getting Legal Help
If your circumstances have changed and you want to modify your child support order, you can get the legal advice and help of a family law attorney to help you with filing the paperwork and answering your legal questions and concerns. An attorney can also advocate on your behalf in a court appearance regarding the support order in your case. You will need to prepare evidence to present to the judge; a family law attorney can advise you of what evidence you will need and other steps you can take to help justify your change in support payments.