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When should I consider a child support modification?

It can take a lot of time and effort to establish a child support payment plan, and once it's in place, parents may be inclined to leave it as it is. Still, a lot can happen in the months and years after the paperwork is signed. A parent may become suddenly ill, lose a job, change marital status or receive an increase in income. These changes and others can mean that a plan that once made sense now needs changes. The law provides that parents can make these changes through requesting a modification.

If you are unable to pay your current child support obligation, it is important to request a modification, and to do so quickly. You will still owe any payments you missed, and that dollar amount will grow in interest. It is very difficult to discharge this kind of debt, even if you later declare bankruptcy.

One of the most important things you can do to establish the need for a modification is to document the changes in your life after your original child support order was issued that created the need for the modification. If it's a change in your work status, collect paperwork that shows the change. If it's an illness, collect records that establish the illness.

It's often a good idea to discuss your change in status with the other parent and see if he or she will agree to the modifications you need. However, you must formally request the modifications from the court. If the court agrees, it will issue a new child support order. A qualified attorney can help you understand how the law will apply to your circumstances and help you build your case for a modification.

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