They say that nothing lasts forever, and that is true in child support cases as well. When there is some form of separation or there is a need to ensure that one parent is helping to provide assistance for the care and welfare of the children, courts often become involved, mandating that the noncustodial parent take financial responsibility for that care.
This usually happens for a short period of time after parental lineage has been established or as part of a divorce decree. To ensure that the children are having their educational, health, medical, extracurricular and daily needs met, the court can mandate that one parent supply child support payments to the other parent to ensure that the child maintains his or her standard of living through the separation.
There are also those instances where the two parents have agreed upon a financial settlement where one parent will pay a monthly support amount to the other for the care of the children. This does not involve the court or limits its involvement, which enables the parents to have an amicable resolution for the care of their children.
Things Change Over Time
The reality is that things can change over time. Your circumstances as to how much money you have available to you, what your children need, or the salary of the other parent may change over time. You may find yourself in a situation where you feel that you need additional support to help care for the children or where the other parent has a substantial increase in income and that should be passed on to the children as well.
This may make you wonder is if a child support case can be reopened after it has been closed?
The truth of the matter is that child support cases are never truly closed. There is always the potential for reopening the amount that is to be paid. The only caveat to that is that there may be a determination by the court that a certain amount of child support will be paid for a duration set by the court. But after that duration is passed, one or both parents can return to the court, filing a petition to seek a change in the amount of child support provided.
This kind of situation quite often occurs where there have been a number of changes in the child support in a very short period of time, or where one parent has filed a number of petitions in a short period of time. Judges become irritated when they see the same people returning over and over, and can mandate that a certain period of time must pass before a new petition for child support adjustment can be filed.
As Children Get Older, Their Needs Change
The needs of the children drastically change as they get older. A two-year-old child needs a lot less in terms of daily necessities than a teenager. A 16-year-old may need such things as car insurance, a college education, sports and activities fees, tutors, and other costs where the one parent may need to seek additional support to pay those costs.
The court is completely willing and available for these kinds of matters to be heard. They understand that it is not the obligation of one parent to be solely responsible for incurring all of these kinds of costs. Thus, a petition to change child support is perfectly acceptable.
There may be instances where one parent has lost a job or that the amount of money they are making in their job has drastically increased. These are perfectly valid reasons for someone to return to court seeking to adjust the child support payment. If they are unable to pay the kind of support necessary because of a lack of income, something should be considered. Conversely, if one parent is making a much larger amount of money, then they should be responsible for paying a larger share of the costs or care of the children.
There is also the instance where one parent may have children from another person, so they have additional obligations to meet. This can lead to a reduction in child support payments as well.
There are also those instances where the two parents have agreed to an amount that should be paid, but one parent has not been forthcoming of exactly the amount of money that they are making each month. This can lead one parent to determine that they should seek additional money to help care for their child.
Child Support Amounts Can Be Modified
There will be some out there who will tell you that once a child support amount has been ordered, it cannot be altered. That is simply not the case.
It is not a case of double jeopardy if you are seeking to alter the amount paid in child support. This is not like a settlement when a plaintiff sues the defendant over some kind of injury or wrong that has occurred to them. Child support is an entirely different issue because of a number of mitigating circumstances, first of which is the need to care for the children. The children are always the priority with the court, so child support adjustments can frequently occur with this in mind.
To Modify the Amount of Child Support You Receive/Pay, Speak With an Attorney
Whether you are seeking to have the child support amount changed or the other parent is seeking to have an alteration, you want to ensure that you are well prepared and represented in court. Understand that the court can go either way, and going against you can be detrimental to your own financial stability.
Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to hire an attorney.