Many times, parents who are both receiving or paying child support payments ask when a child support payment amount can be changed. When there is an existing Court Order for child support, either party may petition that court for a modification of child support. The Pennsylvania Child Support Guidelines provide that a modification of a child support payment is appropriate when a party can show a material and substantial change in circumstances.
Proving a material change in circumstances requires that the financial situations of either party have either improved or declined since the date of the existing Support Order. The most common example of a presented material change in circumstances is unsurprisingly a dramatic increase or decrease in income to either party. However, a qualifying decrease in income for a parent paying child support must be involuntary. This means that a person cannot elect to take a lower paying job or quit a job with the goal of decreasing his or her monthly income to decrease a child support obligation. In a scenario like that one just mentioned, the court will use what is called party’s earning capacity to determine the appropriate income amount to be attributed to the paying party.
Anytime a party to a child support order loses a job or gets a new job that changes their monthly income, they are required to provide both the other party as well as the court with notice of that change. This includes both the parent paying child support as well as the parent receiving it. Sometimes parents make the mistake of verbally agreeing to modification of a support amount which can create problems at a later date. Any person who is court ordered to pay any amount of child support, is not relieved from their responsibility to pay that full amount until a further order of court indicates that.
If you have an existing child support order that entitles you to child support payments or requires you to make monthly child support payments and believe a child support modification may be appropriate contact our Western PA Child Support Attorneys today. Additionally, if you have questions about a child support amount you may be entitled to, but are not receiving, contact our office to discuss your options in filing for support.