Can Child Support Payments Be Altered?

In the unfortunate event of divorce, various decisions must be made. In many divorces, there will be litigation required to arrive at an agreement. Between distributing assets, child custody, child support, and alimony, divorces can be far more complicated than an ordinary break up. Issues many parents will face after arranging custody pertains to child support. In some cases, ex-partners can mutually arrive at an agreement without trial. However, there are instances where that isn’t the case and the court will determine the child support payments. Whether you can agree outside of court or not, however, you may still need approval from the judge. Even if the arrangement has been made and both parents are in agreement, situations can change. 

Change in Income

It is not uncommon for the noncustodial parent to request a modification to the arrangement after a change of income. If the parent has lost their previous job or is now earning less money, it may be particularly challenging to meet the original support order. A modification may be made, however, a request will need to be filed with the appropriate court and approved by the judge. Even if the noncustodial parent and the custodial parent agree on the change, a verbal agreement may not be legally binding. The modification must be in writing and approved by both parents as well as the court. 


A modification may also be requested if an ex-spouse remarries. The modification may be requested by either spouse and the result may vary drastically depending on the details and the state in which the request was filed. For example, if a noncustodial parent remarries someone who is very wealthy, the custodial parent may request an increase in support since the noncustodial parent now has less financial burden. Or, the contrary may be the case. An ex may marry someone who requires more of their financial support and may request a decrease in child support. Frequently, when an ex remarries and has additional children, the court may grant the request to reduce previous support payments to allow for appropriate allocation of finances for the new children. Regardless of the reason for the request, the payments in place at the time of the request are required until the request is granted. 

Contact an Attorney

If you and a spouse in the midst of a divorce, contact a family law attorney. The attorney may help file all necessary documents with the city and state in order to formally submit your divorce.