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When is a Louisiana child support modification appropriate?

Baton Rouge separated and divorced parents: remember the word "significant." You'll hear Louisiana family judges use the word when making decisions about changes in child support agreements. Modifications of monthly payments aren't likely to occur unless a court feels significant changes have occurred in a payer, recipient or child's life.

If you're working out a support modification independently with an ex, put children's needs before your own -- that's what a judge will do. Any new agreement you make must have the court's approval before support changes take place. Courts might be inundated with parental petitions if support orders were changed for anything but significant – there's that word again – reasons.

Let's say you pay child support and receive a promotion with a pay raise. If the raise is small, a judge may not rule the new income justifies a support increase. However, if you take a major step up the job ladder with a substantial pay hike, a court may feel just the opposite.

On the negative side, a payer can be terminated or forced to take a job that pays a lot less than he or she got when the support agreement was written. It is better to contact an attorney about support modification than it is to start missing payments or sending partial ones. The sooner you act, the more quickly the terms of a child support agreement may be altered, which cannot change retroactively.

Support modifications aren't one-sided. A recipient's change of marital status or income may lighten obligations to pay support. Agreement modifications are also dependent upon temporary or permanent life-changing events like serious health conditions, accidents, disability, bankruptcy or imprisonment.

You still may be unsure whether a present child support arrangement should change. Because each case is unique, this is something you probably would want to discuss in depth with an attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Can I Change a Child Support Order After Changing Jobs?" Aug. 12, 2014

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