Getting a child support modification can be difficult, but the family law attorneys at Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC can simplify the process of requesting those changes. We understand that ensuring your child’s financial security is of the utmost importance. By clarifying the crucial steps, legal requirements, and other considerations involved in seeking child support adjustments, we will support you each step of the way while seeking a modification of your current child support arrangements.
Circumstances That May Warrant a Modification
Although some fluctuations in your income, such as those due to inflation or getting remarried, do not impact the amount of child support you must pay, certain circumstances may warrant a child support order modification:
- Change in income – A child support order may be modified if either parent experiences a change in their annual income of at least 25%.
- Medical reasons – If a parent or child experiences a significant medical issue or becomes disabled, this may necessitate a change in the order.
- Expenses – Significant increases in the cost of the child’s care may warrant a support modification. If an increase of 25% or more occurs for a child’s daycare, tuition, insurance, or medical expenses, a request to modify the support order may be necessary.
- Job loss – A child support order may need to be modified if either parent loses their job. Child support could increase or decrease depending on which parent lost their job.
Specifically, if one parent loses their job, the amount of support could decrease, whereas if the custodial parent loses their job, the support payments may increase.
- Child’s status – If the child covered by the support order turns 18 or becomes emancipated, the order may be modified.
- More children – The amount of child support may be reduced if the parent paying support becomes financially responsible for more children.
- Passage of time – If 36 months have passed since the order was reviewed, either party can request that the court review and update the order.
Filing a Request for Modification: The Process Explained
In Virginia, either parent can request that a standing child support order be modified. The process is initiated by filing a motion with the court demonstrating that the circumstances under which the original order was issued have changed, thus requiring a modification.
Required Documentation and Supporting Evidence
Your attorney will assist you in gathering the necessary documentation and evidence to request the modification of an existing child support order. Proof of changes in income can be demonstrated through pay stubs. Invoices and receipts for childcare expenses may be necessary. For increased costs for health insurance, documentation from the insurance company will be required. Otherwise, any information related to the child’s increased expenses and your reduced capacity to pay should be provided to your attorney so they can assess its value as evidence and whether a modification is warranted.
Negotiating with the Other Parent
Although some parents believe they can modify a child support order by simply negotiating changes without court intervention, this is untrue. The parent who pays child support cannot verbally modify the child support arrangements. Even if both parents agree, the modification will not be enforceable.
In the alternative, if the other parent won’t agree to an increase that seems to be required in the circumstances, a Virginia child support attorney can help. Your attorney can negotiate with the other parent or with their lawyer to work out a support arrangement for the court to approve. If the parties can’t agree, your attorney can present your case in court.
Monitoring and Adjusting Child Support Over Time
Virginia courts recognize that circumstances can change after a child support order is entered. Whether a significant increase in the parent’s income or the child’s expenses occurs, modification of the original order may be necessary. You may be eligible to modify your child support order if it has been more than three years since the last order, your income has dramatically changed, or in other circumstances, such as a change in child custody.
When you work with an experienced family law attorney, you can rest assured you have a legal advocate to help you determine when requesting modification of a child support order may be necessary.
Contact Our Experienced VA Child Support Modification Attorneys Today
At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, we will assist you in seeking the child support modification you need. Your child’s financial future is a top priority, and we will do everything we can to support you during the process. We offer a solutions-based approach as we strive to provide cost-effective, professional family law legal services. Call us in our Fairfax office today to learn how we can help in all aspects of child support modification.
Posted in: Family Law