As the name suggests, child support payments cover the cost of food, shelter, clothing, and other necessities. Child support is paid by the parent who does not have primary custody to the parent that does. Many areas of family law remain open to interpretation; child support, on the other hand, doesn’t work that way.
Can you modify child support after the final divorce decree?
Yes. Either parent may be able to petition to alter the amount of child support if there has been a substantial change of circumstances.
But. As with most court orders, once established, it’s quite a process to change a child support obligation. It’s not impossible, but it’s difficult and can be expensive. It can and usually does take time, money, and energy. Modifying child support is similar to establishing payments in the first place. The courts follow the same guidelines and take into account the same factors.
When can you modify child support?
You can seek an adjustment in cases of substantial changes in financial circumstances. Essentially, if the numbers you initially used to determine the amount have undergone dramatic change, you may be able to recalculate.
There are also many boxes to check off. If you pay through the Division of Child Support, you can request that the Oregon Child Support Program look at your case if it’s been at least 35 months since the order was entered or reviewed. Also, you must show a significant change in circumstances.
This often includes:
- the income of one or both parents,
- a change in physical custody, or
- shift in the child’s needs.
Even if you meet the requirements and follow the procedure, you still may not succeed. You must submit a written request, which the Oregon Child Support Program reviews. This often takes months.
Because it’s difficult to alter, it’s in your best interest to get child support obligations right the first time. Meeting with an attorney before pursuing a modification can save you a great deal of grief and money.
Since child support is formula driven, you can get the answers to the test before taking it.
Many people file independently because of one particular change but don’t account for other elements that have also changed. This can lead to the opposite of the hoped-for result.
Modifying child support is a lengthy, complex process, one that has a huge impact. It’s often in your best interest to retain a skilled lawyer. An attorney experienced in these cases, like the members of our Portland team, can help you avoid missteps and make sure you pay a fair amount.