Act Quickly To Modify Your Child Support Order

Child support agreement Common sense dictates that if a father’s income decreases then his monthly child support should go down accordingly. Unfortunately, when and how to modify child support are questions that many dads find so confusing that they end up doing nothing at all and end up with payments they can’t afford.

Doing nothing can be an enormously costly mistake as arrears can quickly accumulate and before you know it you are caught in an unending cycle of debt. In extreme cases, unpaid child support can even result in jail time.

If you are confused about when and how to file a petition to modify child support, you should contact a family law attorney immediately. They will be able to walk you through each step of the process, and while this might cost you in the short-term, it is an investment that can save you a lot of money down the road.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

It’s especially important to act quickly because courts typically cannot modify child support prior to the date the petition is filed. That means if you are laid off on Sept. 1 but file to modify Nov. 1, the court can modify the child support obligation as of November but can’t go back to September.

Many fathers are also concerned that they will be required to pay the original ordered support until the obligation is lowered, which might result in an overpayment if the child support is lowered as of the date of filing. However, if payments are lowered, the court can adjust to burn any accrued overpayments.

Some dads also fail to file a petition to modify child support because they only expect their income to be lower for a brief amount of time. For example, they might be completing one contract employment position and preparing to start another. If the period of time is a known quantity, you can simply do the math as to how much support you will owe. However, if the period is unknown, you can file to preserve the earliest possible date for modification.

Furthermore, you should consider filing a petition to modify child support if you meet any of the following criteria:

  1. You are fired or permanently laid off. Even if you expect to land a new gig soon, you should still file a petition to modify. The only exception would be if your new job is already lined up.
  2. You are temporarily laid off with no call back date. This could happen to union members between jobs. The layoff might be expected to be only temporary, but if there is no firm call back date then you need to act quickly to protect your right to the earliest filing date.
  3. You reach the end of a contract position. Even if you expect to land a new contract quickly, it is best to not assume.
  4. You are injured either at work or away from work or come down with an illness.
  5. You are activated for the military. Statutes exist addressing this situation as well as the process for modification. Make sure you notify all parties and the court as soon as possible.

The longer you delay filing a motion to modify the more money you can end up costing yourself. Keep in mind that you can always withdraw your motion, so there is no reason to wait around hoping your situation will go back to the way that it was.

When there is a significant change in circumstances, file the motion to modify as quickly as possible to ensure you have the earliest possible modification date.

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8 comments on “Act Quickly To Modify Your Child Support Order

    How can I take my ex husband off child support since we will be getting back together. He currently owes 17k in backowed child support and would like for remove the child support order.

    My income increased 7 years ago but I did not file a modification to increase my child support. My ex-partner has now filed for back payments on the basis I “concealed” an increase in salary. Can she do this?

    Hey, Keith! I have been doing a lot of research on the topic of retroactive child support in the state of Missouri; specifically in relation to a “concealed” or a misrepresented salary increase. Were you able to get your question answered elsewhere? What was the outcome of your situation?

    My ex got a raise in child support and did not tell court son was not in her home any longer, his housing is pd by medicaid she has zero parenting time,is this fraud?

    Idk bout other states but modifying your support in ohio if your not working is not a good idea it speeds up the process of the first….
    Acknowleding your bout working so they watch your case closer and will suspend your license in the time Frame ending when no support payments are made. (Job or not)
    Unless your income changes with a 30% increase or decrease in wage which the original support was established, you cannot petition for modification. Also you can only modify support once every 3 years….. But no guarantees it will be decreased…. It could also increase!
    This system is set up for females back in the 30s when husbands were sole providers od families and with no changes now days the fathers get screwed over and over again no matter what Like we’re criminals trying to raise kids!!! Its pathetic everything is geared toward female in favor of all they have too do is have kids and the kids dad and government will take more than care of them… While we as fathers struggle to make it day to day!!!

    My divorce was finalized in late 2015. At the beginning of 2016 I lost my second income which was more than half of my primary income. I was still living with my ex and daughter for about a year after the divorce I needed a lot of money to move out. When I moved my daughter did not want to live with her Mom (they fight all the time) so moved in with me. It’s been a year since she moved in with me.
    I paid child support according to the agreement until I lost my second income.
    My ex and I made verbal agreement about our daughter living with me and she agreed.
    I filed a petition for child support modification and later for mediation the court denied the motion until the department of revenue is served of both petitions, (I also petition to modify alimony). Sorry it’s so long any comments would be appreciated, thanks.

    What if I lost my job and filed the petition to modify and the judge triple the amount of child support! Then what do you do?

    If a father loses his job, how is going to continue to fight in this “corrupt” system? My judge went against recommendations by the GAL by about 180*. Also awarded her tons of money. She has made more than me the whole time of our marriage. It is very corrupt

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