One very common question we get is:
“How do I modify my child support and how often can I do so?”
Because circumstances change as time passes and children grow (new activities, teenager’s expenses, changes in parental incomes, etc.) a child support order which was adequate for a child of three will likely be inadequate when she is 13.
To address the child’s evolving needs and changes in parental circumstances, the court will consider modifying the child support order if the change in circumstances is “substantial.”
The definition of “substantial” varies from state to state, however.
In Kansas, for example, the new circumstances must result in an increase or decrease in the old support amount of at least 10%; in Missouri, on the other hand, the change must be 20% or more.
Each state may also consider other changes “substantial.” In Kansas, a child’s movement to an older age bracket (6 to 11 or 12 to 18) or the passage of three years since the most recent child support review will also suffice.
To get the court’s attention to the matter, one party must file a “Motion to Modify Child Support” and several related documents, including a proposed new child support worksheet. Similar documents will be required of the other parent, too.
There are a lot of factors that can affect child support. Factors like large changes in income (up or down), a parent moving a long distance away but still visiting regularly, or increased health care costs are all examples of things that can influence child support amounts up or down. To know whether your child support amount has changed enough for the court to consider modification, you need to recalculate it on a regular basis.
As you enter your data into ChildSupportTools, we’ll keep your data secure until the next time you need a calculation. Then all you have to do is log in and update the entries with the most current information, generate the reports and compare it to the current child support order. If it meets or exceeds the criteria for a modification then you can begin the process of filing the motion to modify.
We hope this helps you better understand this very common question about how to modify child support and how often you can do so.
As always we recommend speaking with a lawyer about any of this if you need assistance.