Child support orders, like custody orders, are not written in stone. They are subject to modification if the correct legal standards are met. To successfully modify child support, modification is based heavily on the individual facts of each case. And regardless of whether you are seeking or fighting a modification, you need an experienced Greenville, SC child support attorney.
South Carolina law recognizes that child support payments may have to be adjusted periodically. Either the parent paying child support, or the one receiving it, can seek a modification. In order to modify, there must be a substantial change in circumstances that have arisen since the last order.
Modify Child Support Based on the Needs of the Child
Some changes focus on the needs of the child. During the initial child support phase, certain expenses for the child are factored in. These include the child’s health insurance premiums, extraordinary medical expenses, and work-related child care costs. If these expenses have changed, a parent may be able to request the court to modify the order accordingly. An increase in these expenses could justify a modification motion, but so could a decrease. Ask a Greenville, SC child support attorney about your right to seek a change in the monthly payment.
Modify Child Support Based on Parent’s Financial Circumstances
Often, parents’ own financial circumstances compel them to seek a change in child support. Both parents’ gross monthly incomes are factored into the child support calculation. Therefore, a substantial increase or decrease in a parent’s income could potentially support a modification motion.
Parents have to be careful, however, when it comes to issues of income. For instance, a parent cannot voluntarily quit their job and then claim to be unable to pay as much. The same is true if you are the receiving parent and you voluntarily quit your job. A related issue is when parents take lower-paying jobs. Unless you were forced to take a lower-paying job, e.g. due to a recession, this argument is difficult to make.
Parents occasionally choose to go back to school to further their career. If you were displaced from your former career or job and returned to school, this could support a modification motion. But again, if you chose to leave your well-paying job to return to school, it’s a tougher argument to make. Regardless, always consult a skilled Greenville, SC child support attorney for the best course of action.
Some parents overlook the role that alimony plays in this discussion. Alimony is a source of income, so if a parent suddenly stops receiving it, his or her income will decrease. This, in turn, could justify a request to modify child support.
Family changes can also lend support to your request. Families with multiple children often see these. An older child may reach the age of 18 or otherwise leave the child support system. Perhaps the paying (or receiving) parent now has another child with someone else not a party to the case. Custody changes also affect child support, since that information is included in the child support calculation. Major changes in your life will likely affect your ability to pay, or your need for, child support. Talk to a knowledgeable child support attorney in Greenville, SC about your situation.
No matter the reason for seeking a modification, make sure it’s done the right way. Until the court changes your child support order, it remains in effect as is. Agreeing to a different amount privately with the other parent will not change it. And not paying the correct amount could subject you to the court’s contempt powers. You should turn to an experienced Greenville, SC child support attorney to help with your case.
We Can Help With Your Family Law Needs
Child support matters are too important to tackle on your own. At Greenville Family Law, we’re committed to serving our clients and helping them through their family law cases. If you have a question about child support, we can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.