Whether you are the one receiving child support payments or the one paying the support, the amount of support payments is important.
How much you receive or pay depends on a number of things and South Carolina law takes into account that these important factors change over time. It would be unreasonable to keep the payment amount the same no matter what changes!
Has something in your life or your child’s other parent’s life changed that makes paying/receiving the amount of support ordered in your case just not work anymore? There is hope. Keep reading to find out how and when modifications can be made.
The Law on Modifications of Child Support Payments
A frequent question people ask is if they can get the child support they are paying or receiving lowered or increased. The short answer is yes, but only sometimes.
Child support can be modified any time a substantial change in circumstance can be shown. Some frequent substantial changes in circumstance are discussed below. If child support is through the Department of Social Services, the Department can review child support every three years.
Changes in the Child’s Needs
A substantial change in circumstance could include the child’s needs changing. For example, if the child’s medical needs have increased and the child now has extraordinary medical expenses, child support may be increased.
A substantial change in circumstance could also include one person’s income substantially increasing or decreasing.
One substantial change in circumstance that people may find strange is that when a person stops receiving alimony, that could be a reason for a modification in child support. The reason is that alimony is considered income, so when a person stops receiving alimony, their income decreases.
Changes in Family Makeup
A frequent substantial change occurs in families with more than one child. When an older child reaches the age of majority, the number of children needing support decreases. This is a substantial change in circumstance warranting a modification. Another substantial change is if custody of one or more of the children changes from the receiving parent to the paying parent. That would also change the number of children needing support in that household which would warrant a modification.
Process of Changing Support Payments:
Child support is modified when a parent requests a hearing either with the Family Court or the Child Support Division of the Department of Social Services if the Department was involved in setting up child support. If there is a valid reason for changing support, the child support will be modified.
Denials of Modification Requests:
There are also reasons why a request for modification may be denied. One reason could be that the change in circumstance was anticipated with the initial child support order was written. Another reason could be that the requesting party easily has the ability to pay the child support ordered. Another frequent reason for denial is that the paying person voluntarily left a job, took a lower paying job, or hasn’t tried to find a job.
Questions About Modifying Child Support Payments
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about child support. If you don’t see your question listed below, contact my office!
1. What is a child support payment modification?
A child support payment modification is an increase or decrease in the amount of child support a person is ordered to pay. It means that the person paying is ordered to pay a different amount than previously ordered.
2. Does child support change if my ex-spouse remarries?
Child support does not automatically change if an ex-spouse remarries. A person can request a change, but it is likely to be denied if that is the only reason for the request.
3. Does child support change if I have another child?
Child support can change if another child is born to either party. The reason is that the number or other children living in the home is a factor used to calculate child support. If that number changes, the amount of child support to be paid changes.
4. Does child support increase if salary increases?
Child support does not automatically increase if a person’s salary increases. A party has to request that the change be made.
5. How can I fight a child support increase?
Hiring an attorney to demonstrate to the Court that there has been no substantial change is circumstance is the best way to fight a child support increase.
While there is a standard formula to calculate child support, there are many reasons to modify or change that amount. There are also reasons to deviate from the standard formula. If you have questions about child support, you should contact an attorney. Paying too much child support or not receiving enough child support can be costly mistakes.
Do you have a child support payment problem?
Dealing with a child support issue can be stressful and confusing. There are a number of concerns floating around in your head, including the need to provide for your child, the ability to pay your bills, and what happens if you start receiving/owing a different amount of money.
Since the standard for support modifications isn’t exactly straightforward, it is very important to seek legal counsel. This is a very important issue whether you are the custodial or noncustodial parent, and you want to make sure your interests are protected.
If you have questions about child support modifications or are looking for a family law attorney in Summerville, South Carolina give me a call at 843.970.2929 or send me a message by completing this form.