Divorces can be messy, and even when two spouses have come to a genial and fair agreement regarding child support and custody, situations can go awry. Although court may have ordered an initial child support agreement to be paid, changes in circumstances and situations could be means for modifications to payments, which means another trip to court. It is important to remember that in either the initial child support agreement or the modification of child support payments that the child’s general well-being is the main focus of debate. Decisions regarding child support payments will be made solely for the child’s stability.
Our attorneys in the family-law practice group at Adams Legal Group, PLLC in Morgantown, WV, believe in the stability and general well-being of your child, and will fight for any rights you may have to fair child support payments. If you need assistance setting up an initial child support agreement, or are seeking a modification to child support, please contact one of our best regarded WV family-law lawyers that have experience in successfully handling family law and child-support cases in West Virginia..
The Initial Child Support Agreement
Child support payments are court-ordered financial payments to one custodial parent (the parent given physical or legal custody of the child) after divorce to raise the child to the standard living situation that was maintained before the divorce. Child support payments are largely based off of the income of each parent, and the percentage of their income that was contributed to the child pre-divorce.
Factors that the court take into consideration before granting the initial funds to a parent may include:
- The income of each parent
- The number of children
- Special needs of the children
- The expenses of both the custodial parent and the parent supplying child support
- Health insurance plans for the child
- Tuition and school expenses
The payments are typically a fixed amount per month, but may be reduced while the child has extended visitation periods (such as a summer vacation) with the noncustodial parent. Child support payments are normally terminated when a child turns 18, but special circumstances can be made to provide for things such as college tuition fees or medical expenses once the child has surpassed the age of 18.
Child support laws vary from state to state, so it is important to be knowledgeable of state laws, and to contact a local attorney to assist you with any issues regarding divorce and child support agreements. Our understanding team of lawyers have experience in family law cases, and will lend assistance to any party seeking a just child support agreement.
Modifying the Amount of Child Support
The amount of child support paid may be modified (increased or decreased) in court by the request of either parties. To petition for a modification in child support payments, a change of circumstances of the child or parents must be proved in court. A change of circumstances is the legal basis on which a court modifies child support payments for a previously existing, court-ordered payment. Modifications may be permanent or temporary, and are largely determined by the discretion of the court.
Changes of circumstances that have a solid legal standing in court may include:
- Mental or physical health of either parent or child
- Employment status of either spouse
- General needs or expenses of all parties
- Change of child custody
- Increase or decrease in spousal income, including if a spouse gets remarried
To request a modification in child support, you must follow state-issued procedures at the court where the initial child support order was first granted. Even if there was a verbal agreement between you and the ex-spouse regarding the modification, you must still go to court to make the modification legal. The child’s overall well-being is the main concern of judges, and child support payments are meant to provide stability for the child. Modifications are not to be taken lightly, and all decisions made in court are for the benefit of the child’s mental and physical health through the chaos of a divorce.
Requirements for child support modifications vary from state to state, so it is suggested you consult with an attorney that has experience in family law cases to discuss all possibilities. We will help you exercise any and all rights regarding your financial situation and your child’s best interests. If you believe a significant change of circumstances has occurred and want to request a modified child support agreement, do not hesitate to contact experienced attorneys, to assist you with your case.