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Things to know regarding child support modifications

Balancing a divorced home can be challenging, especially when children are involved. Different factors may affect the need or availability for financial support.

Therefore, a modification to a child support plan may be necessary.

Grounds for modification

The court does not support changes to child support orders lightly. The petitioning party must show a drastic change in a situation for the courts to consider it.

If the child support order has been in place for more than 36 months, any party may request a modification, with a reasonable explanation for the request. Some common changes include a change in the needs of the child or a shift in the parent's income.

In cases where the order has not been in place for at least 36 months, receiving a modification may be more difficult, but not impossible. In such instances, if the shift is due to an emergency, the courts may grant the modification. Some common reasons the court may approve it include unemployment for more than 30 days, permanent disability or parental institutionalization or incarceration.

The calculation

The financial status of both parents is important in determining if the courts will warrant a modification. The courts must operate in accordance with the law, which requires a comparison of the previous and current financial standing of the parties. If there is at least a 10 percent difference between the parents' standing, the court may grant the modification. Therefore, it is important for each party to represent their finances properly. In the case that the court does grant a modification, the new rate goes into effect in the following month after the determination.

Though there are other aspects to consider in the modification process, understanding these key facts can help in the process. It may also be beneficial to review the law in full to determine the best course of action.

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