Modifying Child Support
Either the parent paying child support or the parent receiving child support may seek to modify the amount of a child support order by setting a hearing with the court and showing that there has been a substantial change in circumstances.
Substantial Change in Circumstances Rule
Among the things that a court is instructed to consider when determining whether a substantial change in circumstances has taken place are:
- Whether any material change is temporary or permanent;
- Material changes in custody;
- Material changes in the relative wealth or assets of the parties;
- If one of the parent’s income has fluctuated by 30% or more;
- If one of the parent’s has experienced a material change in employment potential and the ability of that parent to earn income;
- Material changes in the medical needs of the parties’ child(ren);
- Material changes in either of the parents’ legal responsibilities to support other individuals (i.e. other children, incapacitated adults).
If any of these factors above are present, the court will determine whether the substantial change in circumstances results in a 15% difference between what the paying spouse currently pays in child support, and what the paying spouse would otherwise be ordered to pay in child support given the substantial change in circumstances. If the court finds a 15% difference exists, the court may modify the parent’s child support order.
10% Difference Rule
Either the parent receiving child support or the parent paying child support may seek to modify the amount of child support payed/received by showing three things:
- That there is a difference between the paying spouse’s ordered child support amount and the amount of child support the paying spouse would have to pay now based on the parties’ current incomes;
- The difference between the previously ordered amount and the amount the paying spouse would have to pay now is 10% or more; and
- The difference between the previously ordered child support amount and what the child support amount would be now is as a result of a permanent change and not a temporary change (i.e. a permanent change would be a new job, a temporary change would be overtime hours during the holiday season);
- Additionally, the court will consider the best interests of the child when making a determination of whether to modify the current child support order.
Under the 10% difference rule, it is not necessary to show a substantial change in circumstances, like it is in the rule described above.
Other factors that a court may consider when modifying a child support order are provided by statute, here.