Do I need a lawyer to modify child support?



Our road in life can have many twists and turns. We may start out going in one direction and end up going in a vastly different one. Sometimes the changes are significant enough that the ordered child support no longer makes sense for the current circumstances. In that case, the child support agreement may be amended.


The amount of child support is generally based on a percentage of the paying or non-custodial parent’s income. If the parent is not able to pay much at the time of the original order but later earns much more, that would be a legitimate reason to amend the support order. The same could be true in the reverse circumstance when the payer is no longer able to maintain the original obligation of the support payment. Though it is advisable to consult an attorney before the agreement is settled upon, it is not a required step in the process of amending a child support agreement.


Agree on the Change

The first step to changing the order is to agree on what the change will be. It is not difficult if the parents are both working only for the best interests of the child and have had an amicable split. Unfortunately, this is the exception rather than the rule. Even when both parents are committed to doing what they feel is right for the child, the parents may have differing views on what that means.


Request a Hearing

Once there is an agreement, you will have to request a hearing in the same court that approved the original order. A judge will want to understand the change in circumstances and how that affects the child. The judge needs to make the best decision for the well-being of the child and will rule accordingly.


Get Approval by the Judge 

Once the judge has heard from both parents and reviewed the new agreement, he or she can make the final decision. If both parents are in full agreement, it may merely be a formality to approve the changes. If not, the judge will have to hear from both parents before making a ruling that determines the final order. Either way, without approval by the judge, the old agreement must be adhered to until the judge sees a contract that reflects the best interests of the child.

Even though child support agreements may be done without legal counsel, it is not usually advisable. A licensed child support attorney can advise you of your parental rights under your state laws. For questions regarding child support, contact a lawyer, like a divorce lawyer from The McKinney Law Group, today.