If a parent can show that his or her financial circumstances have changed, it may trigger an adjustment to the current support order. This is because the original order was created based on the parent’s income at the time it was made. A parent doesn’t have to lose a job to have a valid change in circumstances; courts may agree to modify a support order if a mother or father incurs a medical debt or sees a decrease in income not related to a job loss.
Parents should know that only a formal modification will be recognized by the courts. If a custodial parent agrees to take less for a period of time, a judge could still order the noncustodial parent to pay any balance legally in arrears. Those who owe child support are encouraged to seek a modification in lieu of not making payments at all.
The best interests of the child are generally a court’s top priority when issuing a child support or custody order. Therefore, a parent should make an effort to comply with an existing order or otherwise provide as much support as possible. An attorney may help an individual petition for a modification to an existing support order. This may make it easier to make future payments in full and on time to avoid financial or other penalties.