Complying with court orders is a crucial responsibility for parents after divorce. This includes your child support orders. However, over time, circumstances change. And these changes can make existing orders insufficient or impossible to keep up with.
In these situations, parents should understand the options for seeking a modification of support.
Events that can warrant modification
Being unhappy with a child support order is generally not a strong enough argument to persuade Pennsylvania courts to modify a court order. Rather, parents will need to prove there has been a material or substantial change that would alter the calculation of support.
Some examples of these events might include:
- Parental involuntary job loss
- Significant increases in a child’s educational costs
- A severe illness causing massive medical bills
- Relocation to a new state
- Changes in parenting time
- Increase or decrease in the child’s financial or medical needs
- Changes in child support guidelines, including routine adjustments to reflect cost-of-living increases
Under these circumstances, parents can request that the courts review the existing order and determine whether an increase or decrease in payments is appropriate.
Common misconceptions about support modification
Misconceptions about the family legal system are not uncommon.
For instance, parents may believe that they can change an order themselves, or that a slight fluctuation in a parent’s income will surely support changes to the existing order. A parent might also think that they can simply stop paying if they lose their job or can no longer afford payments.
Unfortunately, as minor as these might seem, these assumptions can have costly consequences for people who make ill-informed decisions. Parents who make decisions based on these and other mistaken beliefs can wind up overpaying support or facing serious enforcement actions.
Post-decree modifications can be complicated, but they are often necessary when parents or children experience significant changes. If you believe it is time to modify your child support order, calling 814-833-2222 to speak with an attorney at the Quinn Law Firm can help you explore your options.