Let’s say you’re a mom, and you have a couple of kids. Things didn’t work between you and your spouse or partner. You went your separate ways, and now your ex owes you child support every month.
If you have custody, it makes sense for your ex to send you money. You need it for rent, bills, groceries, diapers, baby formula, babysitting costs, etc.
In this article, we’ll go over child support modification, including when it needs to happen and some possible mitigating factors.
How Does Child Support Modification Happen?
When we’re talking about child support modification, the first thing you should know is that it’s a judge who ultimately decides how much you should get. You can’t arbitrarily demand that your ex start giving you more. You will need to:
- Go to family court
- Request a child support order change
You can request such a change at any time. It’s up to the judge whether or not your ex will have to give you more, and how much.
What Are Possible Child Support Modification Grounds?
You can’t just insist your ex give you more money because you feel like it. You need to show why it should happen, and usually, a judge will ask about a “circumstance change.” Some reasons might be:
- You lost your job
- The child or children are spending more time with you than before
- The child or children’s financial needs have changed
If you lost your job, your ex might need to pay more until you can find a new one. You must demonstrate to the judge that you’re actively looking, though, instead of just sitting on the couch at home.
If you had partial child custody before, and now you’re going to full custody, you can probably get more from your ex. If the child is about to start kindergarten or a new school, that might be a reason why you need more money.
Essentially, if the child’s housing situation, educational situation, healthcare needs, etc., have changed, you can probably ask your ex for more money.
You Need Proof
It’s not going to be enough to just go before a judge and tell them you lost your job or that you’re moving to a bigger apartment and you need more rent money each month. You’ll need to document all of that if you hope to get the child support adjusted.
If your job laid you off, you need documentation proving that. You can’t expect more money if you quit your position voluntarily.
If you’re moving to a more expensive apartment, you need to show the judge your new lease. If your child or children are about to start at a new school, and you have new expenses related to that, you need documentation of that as well.
This is why many moms hire a lawyer before they appear in family court. An experienced lawyer can help you procure the paperwork you need.
What About Retroactive Child Support?
Some moms ask about whether they can demand retroactive child support. For instance, maybe your circumstances change, but you wait a few months before taking the matter before a judge.
If you do that, you can’t try to demand money from those previous months when you feel your ex should have given you more. That’s why, if something changes in your life, and you need more money because of it, you should waste no time in taking it to court.
Whenever you take your ex to court and seek more money or any child support adjustment, the judge will consider many mitigating factors. They will look at the evidence both you and your ex present.
They might find in your favor or theirs. The more evidence you have that you need more money for the child’s sake, the better the chances you’ll have a satisfactory outcome.
There’s no guarantee of that, though. The judge is the child or children’s advocate more than anything else. They’re trying to assess what’s happening in both parents’ lives and respond accordingly, so the child or children have the best representation and success chances.
If you’re getting ready to take this matter to court, get a good lawyer and all the documentation you can find. That’s your best shot at making this change happen.