A judge determines how much a parent should pay in child support following divorce based on a number of factors. These include the parent's earning potential, current income and housing situation. The court also looks at the particular financial needs of the children.
However, situations can change unexpectedly for many parents making child support payments here in Minnesota. For instance, you may lose your job without warning. For this reason, if you are making child support payments but now find yourself in a situation that will prevent you from continuing to do so at the current amount, modifying your child support payment amount may be an option.
How do you go about changing your child support order?
To change the amount you are paying in child support to the other parent, you have to petition for a modification in the court that granted your child support order. Perhaps you and the other party have already agreed on a certain child support modification by yourselves. You still have to take the matter to a judge before you can legally change your order.
What happens if both parents cannot agree on the modification of child support?
In this situation, which is relatively common, you must ask for a hearing before a judge. During this hearing, you and the other party will be permitted to make your own arguments about the child support modifications you are proposing. However, the law generally does not allow a modification to take place if you cannot demonstrate that a substantial change in your circumstances has made modification necessary and appropriate.
Besides a job loss, what else may be grounds for a child support modification?
If you end up remarrying, your child support amount may increase due to the increase in household income you may experience. In addition, your child support order might change permanently if you suffer a disability that prevents you from earning what you used to earn, or you change jobs and thus earn significantly more or less than you did before. Your children's changing needs or family law changes may also lead to child support modifications.
Can child support orders change temporarily?
The answer to this question is yes. Your child support payment amount may change according to your circumstances. For instance, you can petition the court to change your child support order if you have temporarily lost employment or are suffering from a medical emergency. An applied understanding of the law may help you to successfully navigate the child support modification process following divorce when necessary.