Child Support can be modified either by agreement of the parties or by court order.
The Parties’ Agreement to Modify Support
The parents can always agree to modify child support. If the parties agree to do so, they still need to draft the proper documents and ask a judge to approve the change. Ordinarily, a judge will approve of the change unless the amount of support is below Michigan guidelines. If the amount is below guidelines, the parties must convince the judge that (1) it is justified; and (2) the amount will still adequately support the children.
Court Order to Modify Support
If the parents cannot agree to modify child support, they must petition the court to adopt a change. During this process, both parents will argue for the support that they feel is necessary in the case. Generally speaking, to get a modification, the party will have to prove there has been a change in circumstances that warrant a modification. The modification can be temporary or permanent, depending on the circumstances and facts of the case.
Reasons to Modify Child Support
Common reasons to temporarily modify support include a child’s medical emergency, the payer’s temporary inability to pay, and the receiving parent’s temporary financial hardship. A temporary modification order will be in effect only for so long as the hardship exists. Once the hardship is no longer an issue, the permanent order will once again be in effect.
Common reasons to permanently modify support include job loss, change of job with reduced income, cost of living increases, the remarriage of either partner resulting in an increased household income, disability of the child or parents, or the child’s needs change. A permanent modification order will supersede the previous order and remain in effect until support is no longer required or the order is modified at a later date.
If you are the party paying support and are unable to make support payments, you must not delay in seeking to modify support. Unpaid support payments will accumulate as arrears and there is absolutely no way to make them go away once you’ve incurred them. The penalties for failing to pay support are severe, including being charged with a felony (failure to pay support), revocation of licenses, real and personal property liens, booting your car, and passport cancellations, among others.
Free Consultation with a Michigan Child Support Attorney
If you have any questions about this post, child support, or anything family law related, please give us a call at (248) 785-3634 to speak with one of our attorneys. Your first consultations are always free and confidential. Call the Divorce Attorneys of Michigan today to learn about your options.