If you pay child support but recently lost your job, you may be able to request a modification to the child support order. The court will consider a range of factors alongside your financial circumstances to determine whether to approve your request.
Read on to learn how to modify child support in Massachusetts and other factors to consider.
Can You Modify Child Support?
Massachusetts courts recognize that circumstances change, and child support agreements do not always reflect a family’s current situation. If you recently became unemployed or experienced a pay cut, you may be able to modify your child support payments. You’ll need to go through the court to do so.
The court will evaluate your circumstances and determine whether a modification is reasonable and necessary. For instance, the judge may determine that you should be able to find another job quickly, negating the need for a modification.
How to Request a Modification to a Child Support Order
If you’d like to modify child support, the first step is to contact a family law attorney. Your attorney can help you gather evidence to support your request and walk you through the process.
The next steps depend on whether you and the child’s other parent agree on the modification. If you are in agreement, your attorney can help you fill out a Joint Petition for Modification to submit to the Probate and Family Court.
If you and the child’s other parent are not in agreement, the process will be a little more involved. Your attorney will help you file a Complaint for Modification with the court.
The other parent will be served with a notice of this complaint. Then, you will need to attend a hearing, where a judge will approve or deny your proposal.
If you cannot make your payments while waiting for the court date, your lawyer can help you file a motion for a temporary order to reduce your payments in the meantime.
Circumstances in Which the Court May Approve Child Support Modifications
The court will consider child support modifications after a material change to a family’s circumstances. The most common instances in which a modification may be necessary include the following:
- Loss of employment
- Changes in custody
- Changes in income
- Changes in health insurance access
- Changes in the child’s living arrangement
How Does the Court Determine the Amount of Child Support You Owe?
When you request a modification to the child support agreement, the court will examine a few factors to calculate the amount you owe. These may include:
- Your income
- The other parties’ income
- Your earning potential
- Your percentage of parenting time
Having a lawyer on your side can be highly beneficial, as they can help you gather evidence to support your need for a modification.
Contact Our Qualified Family Law Attorneys in Massachusetts Today
At Koiles Pratt Family Law Group, we’ve helped numerous clients around Salem navigate child support services, custody agreements, and related matters. We can help you modify child support to reflect your current financial circumstances.
Contact us today at 978-744-7774 to schedule your consultation.