Child Support Modification
Memphis Child Support Modification Lawyer
It is rare for a child support obligation to continue unmodified for the duration of the child’s life. A child support obligation order entered by the court is able to be modified at certain points in time as the situation of the parties changes. A modification of an existing child support order can be initiated by either party, by the court, or by the Department of Human Services.
Just as legal counsel is recommended to ensure an initial child support order is properly calculated, legal counsel can help you to determine whether your existing child support order is capable of being modified. Douglass & Runger, PLLC, Attorneys at Law, can assist you in making this determination.
When Can a Child Support Order be Modified?
A child support obligation should be able to be reviewed every two years or so. If the income, expenses, or situation of the parties has changed, a modification of the child support order will be entered. If one party seeks a modification of an existing child support order sooner than two years, that party bears the responsibility of showing there is a significant variance between the existing order and the proposed modified order. In most cases, a “significant variance” is defined as a 15% or greater difference between the existing order and the new order. For example, if a current child support obligation is set at $100.00 per month, a significant variance would exist if a new order calculated under current information for the parties would be either $85.00 per month or $115.00 per month.
An important exception to the “significant variance” requirement relates to the healthcare of the child. If the child’s health situation requires (i.e., the child becomes disabled or requires significantly more medical treatment due to a newly-diagnosed condition), a child support obligation can be modified at any time.
Parents Cannot Avoid Paying Child Support Obligations
A modification of an existing child support order is generally only available where there is a genuine variance. That is, one parent or the other cannot voluntarily change his or her circumstances solely in order to change the child support obligation. This general prohibition prevents child support orders from being modified where, for example, the obligor parent (the one required to pay child support) quits his or her job in order to reduce his or her obligation. Similarly, the custodial parent cannot quit his or her job solely to increase the amount of support the other parent must pay.
Child support orders can be modified, however, where one parent:
- Receives a raise or experiences an increase in income that is projected to last;
- Receives a demotion, is laid off indefinitely, or is fired (so long as this is not done solely to avoid paying a child support obligation);
- Bears a child belonging to the parties (if, for example, the mother was pregnant at the time the original child support order was entered for the parents’ existing children and the new child is determined to be the child of the parents);
- Becomes permanently disabled or temporarily disabled for an extended period of time;
- Loses health insurance through his or her employer that had also covered the child; and/or
- Other voluntary and involuntary life changes.
A Dedicated Memphis Child Support Modification Attorney is Ready to Help You
Determining whether the income of the other parent has changed sufficiently to warrant a modification in the child support order can be tricky. There are methods whereby a Memphis child support modification lawyer, such as those at Douglass & Runger, PLLC, Attorneys at Law, can help in determining whether grounds for a modification exist. Contact them at (901) 388-5805 and learn whether your child support order is ripe for modification.