In short, yes. Child support orders can be modified, though their current terms remain legally binding until changes are finalized. Even if you and your former spouse or co-parent agree on potential changes, your child support agreement still officially requires you to meet the time constraints and payment amounts outlined therein. This is critical to remember, as failure to meet the terms of your child support agreement can result in jail time and fines, and it can throw a wrench in any efforts to reach a more desirable arrangement.
Can I Temporarily Change My Child Support Arrangement?
If you have recently become unable to make child support payments in the short run, you could be granted a temporary change. You may be able to make an appeal for a temporarily alteration to your agreement if you are experiencing a personal crisis, such as unemployment, short-term disability or injury, or a medical emergency. However, you cannot stop making child support payments until you have received an official approval to change the terms of your court-ordered agreement.
What Circumstances Warrant Permanent Changes to a Child Support Order?
You may be able to gain approval for a permanent modification if any of the following occur:
- Your ex-spouse or co-parent marries and experiences an increase in income
- Your ex-spouse or co-parent receives a promotion or lands a lucrative job
- The needs of the child (or children) grow and develop
- The overall cost of living increases in your area
Note that the non-paying or custodial parent may also appeal to have the terms of a child support order changed in order to fairly distribute the financial obligation. If you are the primary custodial parent and you begin to struggle to afford the cost of raising your child given the confines of your current child support order, you can appeal to change it and require your ex-spouse or co-parent to more fairly share the cost of parenting.
How Do I Change a Child Support Order?
In order to change the terms of your child support arrangement, a judge will have to change the original agreement or sign off on a new one. While this modification and approval does not have to come from the same judge, it does have to come from the same court that issued your original child support order.
As previously stated, it is critical to avoid missing child support payments, as there is no way to negate them later. Filing a motion to change your child support agreement must be done as soon as possible in order to avoid being stuck with payments you are unable to make or that place an unnecessarily heavy burden on you.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney in Fairfax Today by Calling (703) 935-4222
If you need to change the terms of your child support order for any reason, call one of our Fairfax family lawyers right away, especially if you are experiencing a personal emergency. At Malinowski Hubbard, PLLC, we are passionate about serving our friends and neighbors in legal family matters and providing compassionate, personalized service to all of our clients.
Speak with a member of our team today by calling (703) 935-4222 or contact us online to tell us about your case and schedule your complimentary consultation.