Challenging Child and Spousal Support

After a judge’s child and spousal support order, one or both parties may wish to change the order. If you find yourself in this situation, you must prove there has been a significant “change in circumstances” from when the child and spousal support order was made.

There are a number of reasons why a support order might be modified. If the parties can reach an agreement on a new support order, they can write-up a new agreement and hand it to the judge for signature; however, if the parties do not agree on the modifications, the party wanting the change must file a motion with the court requesting a modification of the child and spousal support amount.

Qualifications Required To Challenge A Child/Spousal Support Order

Reduced Income

If you have experienced an unexpected reduction in income, or, if the decrease is voluntary but for the eventual advantage to the child, this may qualify to decrease your payments provisionally. For example, you work fewer hours in order to finish your education to increase your future income potential.

Higher Income of Custodial Parent

You may have a chance of modifying your payment if your child’s custodial parent has a substantial increase in earnings.

Increased Expenditures

If your expenses have increased considerably, you might be entitled to modify your support payments. However, this must be within reason. The cost of a newborn might be fine, while that of a new vehicle may not.

The Child’s Needs Have Decreased

If your child’s expenses are not as much as they were before, your payment may be reduced. For instance, your child may have required a private tutor that is no longer needed.

The Child Is With The Custodial Parent More Than Intended

If your child starts to spend more time with you than originally agreed, their basic living expenses will come out of your pocket on a day-to-day basis. If the original agreement was for the child to spend weekends with you but now they spend half the month in your care, you may be awarded a modification. However, this should be done with the court’s approval, or the payment arrearage can get out of hand quickly.

Keep in mind, child support and alimony, besides student loans, are two debts that never disappear, even in bankruptcy, and are nearly impossible to change without a court appearance.