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Change in circumstances and your child support obligation

When you first learn of your child support obligation, you may be okay with the idea of making the monthly payment. However, as time goes by, your financial situation could change. If your circumstances no longer allow for you to make your monthly payment in full, it's time to consider your options.

While not always the case, a change in financial circumstances may result in a change to your child support obligation.

These five child support modification tips may help put you in a better financial position moving forward:

  • Quickly assess your situation: If you realize you're unable to keep up with your payments, take immediate action. You still owe the monthly amount, as well as any unpaid amount, so you don't want to wait too long to take action.
  • Inform yourself of your rights: Learn more about child support modification laws, including what the court considers a substantial change in circumstances.
  • Ask the other parent for help: It's tough to swallow your pride and do this, but the other parent may agree for you to pay less child support until your situation improves. Even if this happens, you're still required to receive a new court order. The good thing is that your chance of a modification is greater if the other parent is on board with the idea.
  • Keep making payments: Even if you can't pay in full, don't stop altogether. You are required to pay the original amount until you receive a modification.
  • Prove your change in circumstances: The family law court that issued the original order will require proof that you're no longer able to make your payments in full. A job loss or serious illness that keeps you out of work are among the most common changes in circumstance.

After you collect more information, you can decide if requesting a child support modification still makes sense. If it does, you need to move through the formal court process to receive a final answer.

The key to changing your child support obligation is proving to the court that a change in circumstances has altered your ability to keep up with payments.

Browse our website for more information on child support, child custody and other family law-related matters.

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