Changing Child Support

One of the mistakes people make on a regular basis is to just agree to pay less child support than the figure set by the court. The reason it’s a mistake, and the reason you should avoid it is that even though the other parent is telling you it’s okay to pay less, that’s not up to the other parent. Every month you’re paying less than you’re supposed to pay, that’s a little more you owe anytime the recipient spouse decides to collect it. In most states it earns interest at a set rate, and you’ll owe that too.

If you and the other parent agree that child support needs to increase, you may not need to file anything at all. Just pay the higher amount. If the parent paying it ever gets horsey and reduces the payment again, you can always go back to court for a recalculation. It’s only if the child support needs to decrease that you need to make sure the court gets involved.

Fortunately, changing child support isn’t a big deal in most states. The system of child support most every state uses is pretty logical, including the procedure for making changes. Anytime child support would change by any significant amount up or down, the party who wants child support to change can go back to court and call for a recalculation.

And precisely because this is so cut and dried, there’s no reason for the recalculation to be adversarial. If it needs to change, before you have your lawyer file anything, just call the other parent, point out the change as you figure it, and see if the other parent won’t work with you to file a simple joint petition to modify. That way, the two of you cooperate to solve the problem, you pay less money to people like me, and you have more money left over to spend on your children.

And there’s an extra benefit. If you work together, the change will usually happen much faster, so you can begin enjoying the effect of the change sooner.