After the dust settles from a divorce, many parents find that their child support order is simply not a good fit for their needs or the needs of their child. Courts aim to create a fair arrangement that focuses on the best interests of the child, but circumstances can change rapidly for any parent, and it is always wise to look carefully at a child support order if it is unsustainable or insufficient.
If you face a child support conflict and need to seek an adjustment, be sure to create a strong legal strategy before you move forward. Courts take child support delinquency seriously, and if a parent chooses to make "unofficial" modifications to their support, this may result in serious legal consequences. By using strong legal resources and guidance as you need them, you can create a strategy that protects your rights and priorities.
Why a court may approve a modification
There are many reasons that a court may approve a request for modification, such as a significant increase or decrease in one parent's income or the changing needs of the child. The child support figures detailed in your order are based on your income and the income of your child's other parent, as well as the needs of the child at the time of the divorce or separation.
Over time, parents' incomes often shift dramatically, which may make a modification necessary. If you suddenly lose your job or must take a pay cut, then it is not fair to expect you to continue paying support based on an income that you no longer have. Similarly, if one parent suddenly sees their income increase significantly, courts may consider easing the obligation of the other parent.
It is also important to consider the changing needs of the child. As any parent can tell you, a child's needs can change drastically over a short matter of time, and both parents must do what they can to meet those needs. A modification in support may be the most direct way to address these changes.
Proper modification is not optional
Too many parents who find themselves in hard times choose to decrease their support or stop paying support altogether. This is rarely a wise course of action. Minnesota courts are much less willing to work with a parent who works outside of the system, and may punish a non-paying parent with loss of privileges and even criminal charges.
If you believe that a child support modification is a good fit for your needs, make sure to follow the proper legal procedures. A child support modification can help alleviate financial pressure or provide much-needed help, as long as parents follow the proper steps and petition the court with a well-built case for the changes they need.