Child support battles are one of the most common courtroom issues today. If you are in a situation where you wish to modify your child support terms, you may feel overwhelmed and intimidated by legalese or the other party.
This article will walk you through the process of winning a child support modification case and how to find the best lawyer for you.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to Win a Child Support Modification Case
- 2 Reasons to Modify Child Support
- 3 Factors That Can Influence a Modification
- 4 How Long Does a Child Support Modification Take?
- 5 Inconveniences That May Arise When Filing for a Petition for Child Support Modification
- 6 Child Support Modification Lawyer
- 7 Conclusion
How to Win a Child Support Modification Case
There is no one-method-fits-all solution to child support modification cases, but there are some general steps you can take to improve your chances. Winning these cases can be tricky, especially if your partner has an extensive legal team.
Also, as every state has different laws and statutes surrounding child support modification, ensure you know what you can and cannot change.
Choose a Trusted Lawyer
Do not pick a random lawyer that has no experience in family court. Doing so may mean a lost legal case and wasted money.
Choose a trusted lawyer with family court experience and one that is well-respected. Try to find their bar information and read reviews.
Demonstrate That You Want to Resolve it on Good Terms
A little politeness and courtesy go a long way. Try reaching out to your ex and stating your case. The worst that can happen is that they say no – but if you can reach an agreement, that will make modifying it in court much smoother.
If you do not have an amicable relationship, you still need to show the judge you are level-headed. Show evidence that you have attempted to contact your ex and find a resolution.
Establish Good Communication With Your Ex-Partner
You have to communicate with your ex in some capacity. The earlier in the process you begin communicating, the better. There is no need to become best friends, but you should at least be capable of holding a civil conversation.
Provide evidence that you communicate with phone records, emails, and social media (if applicable). Doing so demonstrates that you actively try to have a civil relationship with your ex.
Complete the Child Support Modification Form
Each state has its form for child support modification, but they mostly have the same components.
You have to list your name, your ex-partner, and the children involved. Next, you provide the amount you pay currently and the amount you wish to pay. Some forms require that you put a reason for the modification.
There are plaintiff and defendant forms available. Check before submitting the document that you have completed the correct one.
Answer Questions Calmly
The courtroom is not the time to argue with your ex. Instead, answer all questions calmly and honestly. You are legally obligated to do so.
If you are calm during questions, the judge will again see you are emotionally stable and be more likely to approve your case.
Reasons to Modify Child Support
There are tons of reasons people request child support modifications, such as:
- Change of income
- New or worsening health problems
- The child needs more expensive items
- Other parent goes to jail
- Change in availability
These are all valid reasons for modifying your child support payments. As long as you can prove your situation, most judges will hear you out.
When to Request a Child Support Modification
You should request a modification as soon as you suspect you will not be able to make a payment. In some states, alterations are only possible after the filing date. So, if you lose your job in January but do not file until May, you will not receive modification until June.
Factors That Can Influence a Modification
Every case is unique. However, below are a few elements that may affect a modification.
Children’s Health Problems
Has your child recently been diagnosed with a chronic illness, needed surgery, or prescribed expensive medications? If your child requires additional medical care than average after receiving a diagnosis, you have the right to request a change.
Most judges understand healthcare costs and how detrimental they are. Provide whatever information you can from your physician regarding your child.
Health Problems of Parents
Parents are not getting any younger. The more you age, the more likely you will have health issues. That said, some are much more devastating than others.
For example, if you are diagnosed with cancer and require chemotherapy, you can use this as evidence for decreasing your child support payment. But if you have seasonal allergies or something minor, that does not qualify.
Unfortunately, some factors affecting the child support modification process are outside your control. Inflation is inevitable. You can adjust payments according to the cost of living – otherwise, your payments will match the inflation rate. Inflation, unfortunately, typically means that your payment increases.
School is not as cheap as it was in the past. More and more public schools require electronic devices, Wi-Fi, and costly materials that can put a significant dent in your finances.
Private schools that require tuition affect this, but most judges will argue that your child can attend public school for free and that cost is voluntary.
How Long Does a Child Support Modification Take?
The amount of time it takes for your request to process varies depending on your specific case.
Most requests take anywhere from 2-3 months. Factors like the pandemic may result in a lengthier process.
Inconveniences That May Arise When Filing for a Petition for Child Support Modification
Whenever paperwork is involved, inconveniences are bound to arise. While the legal modification process is relatively streamlined, there are a few things you may want to prepare for before you go to court.
Some are out of your control, such as an emergency with the judge. Others might be lost or slow-moving paperwork. Request any records you will need as early as possible to avoid waiting. Hiring a lawyer may help reduce the risk of inconveniences popping up during the process.
Child Support Modification Lawyer
A lawyer can be beneficial in the often-tedious realm of family court when it’s time to modify an existing child support agreement.
How to Find the Best Lawyer for You
The world is full of lawyers, so finding the right one for your case may seem impossible. Consider your budget, the relationship between you and the other parent, and your current financial status before hiring the most expensive attorney out there.
Family lawyers are your best bet. They understand the process thoroughly and will do whatever they can to help you win your case. A good lawyer makes all the difference.
How Much Do Child Support Modification Lawyers Cost?
Well, that depends on how much you need their services and the extent that they help with your case.
How much does a child support lawyer cost? Modifications may only cost you about $3,000 – $5,000.
Modifying child support can be stressful, but there are ways to alleviate some difficulties. Hiring a family lawyer with plenty of experience is the best way to win your case and decrease monthly payments – regardless of your situation.