When should you modify your child support order?

When you have children and you get divorced, you will likely have an initial child support order established. Unless you and your spouse decide to agree on everything without going through the courts, this binding document will tell you how much you will need to pay per your support order.

There may come a time in your life, however, where it is necessary to have the child support order modified or adjusted. It is important to understand what circumstances warrant a child support order modification if you are considering applying for one.

Substantial changes in circumstances

According to FindLaw, you must provide proof of a change in circumstance if you wish to modify your child support order. The change must be unforeseen, substantial and continuous. Some examples of situations that qualify as substantial changes in circumstances include the following.

  • You have lost your job
  • There has been a change in the amount of time you spend with your child
  • Either you, your spouse or your child now have a permanent disability

If any of these situations apply to you, it might be a good idea to file for a modification of your child support order.

Other adjustments to child support

There are also situations where the court will make certain adjustments to an existing child support order without a substantial change in circumstances. For example, the state requires a cost of living adjustment every two years for existing child support orders. In these cases, each party will get a notice of the proposed COL adjustment and will have 30 days to contest the change.