Getting child support modified can feel like an uphill battle. The court won’t simply change an existing child support order because you ask—there are legal standards to meet and procedures to follow.
However, having an experienced family law attorney guide you through the process can greatly improve your chances of success.
In this article, we’ll share our best tips and strategies for winning a modification case.
Reasons to Request Modifying Child Support
So what constitutes “changed circumstances” warranting an alteration in child support?
There are several common scenarios:
- Job loss or major income reduction
- Significant pay cut or drop-in hours
- Major increase in expenses like childcare
- One parent relocating far away
- A major change in custody split
- New education costs
- Rise in healthcare or disability care costs
The bottom line? Significant changes concerning finances, custody/parenting time, or major child expenses must be shown for courts to modify existing arrangements.
Meeting the Legal Standard for Modification
Modification requests don’t automatically get approved just because someone asks. The requesting parent must prove a substantial enough change in circumstances rendering current support inadequate for covering the children’s needs per state guidelines.
Generically asserting “my expenses went up” or “my income went down” typically won’t cut it. Parents must provide evidence like:
- Tax returns
- Financial statements
- Proof of termination
- Documentation explicitly showing how custody splits, parenting plans, visitation, or related factors have tangibly changed
Courts assess the percentage change between current circumstances against those when the present order was established. Much depends on accurately showing contrasts through documentation.
Having an advocate familiar with family law intricacies is invaluable for parents seeking modifications.
How to Request a Modification of a Child Support Order
If you’ve experienced major life or economic changes making current support inadequate, the modification process need not be overly daunting.
Here are key steps our firm guides clients through when petitioning for amendments:
- Consult with a family law attorney – Having a legal expert assess if your situation meets the change in circumstances threshold is vital. We can analyze your documentation, provide reality checks on case prospects, discuss strategies for demonstrating impact, and ready paperwork to present to the court.
- Gather tangible evidence – As noted above, parents must provide concrete proof of economic, custody, or child care changes warranting amendments to support orders. Collect documentation like financial statements, tax returns, employer records, receipts, revised parenting plans, etc., tipping the scales.
- File motion and paperwork with the court – Once evidence is gathered, we formally request order modifications by submitting motions to the court detailing the substantial changes in circumstances, accompanying documentation, and the specific relief sought.
Armed with admissible evidence and a seasoned divorce lawyer, meeting child support modification burdens of proof is far less intimidating. The prospect of revising outdated support orders to better provide for children’s needs feels less daunting. With newly modified agreements, parents gain greater financial clarity, custody predictability, and, most importantly – improved care for the children.
Tips on Building a Successful Modification Case
When petitioning the court to modify support arrangements, parents must provide satisfactory proof on key areas of change to justify order amendments.
Here are some tips for building a winning case:
- Clearly, document income changes. Provide concrete proof like pay stubs, tax returns, and employment termination notices if you lost your job. Quantify decreases or increases over time.
- Track increased expenses. Keep all receipts and records related to things like medical and childcare costs, children’s extracurricular activities, and insurance premium hikes. Note dates and amounts.
- Note changes in custody split. If one parent now has children more or less nights per year, spell out the specifics. Courts focus on percentage changes in overnights.
- Research your state’s laws. Modify threshold in your jurisdiction may be 15% or 30%+. File within deadline windows – usually rapidly after job loss.
- Gather evidence on the child’s needs. For example, if they now require special education or medications, provide medical documentation.
- Consider contacting a child support lawyer. Those with experience specifically challenging or changing support orders can be invaluable.
Remember, courts won’t approve modifications solely because someone asks. The more precise data you can provide around significantly changed financial, custody, child rearing, or child need circumstances, the stronger your case.
A Child Support Modification Could Provide Relief
If your financial situation or child’s needs have changed significantly, seeking a child support modification in Minnesota may be the right move. However, the legal process can be complex and risky to handle alone. An experienced family law attorney can evaluate your case and fight to get payments adjusted in your child’s best interests.
The Minneapolis child support lawyers at Martine Law have helped many parents through this process successfully. If your existing support order needs to change, contact their team today to schedule a case review.