Common Reasons to Reduce or Eliminate Child Support / by Cassandra Hearn

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Almost the only thing that remains the same if you have children is change.  They are always growing and learning, and their needs are always changing.  Parents have to grow and change right along with their children to make sure that their needs are met.  Child support is just one of many ways that the law tries to make sure that both parents are doing their part to provide for the children.  Following a divorce or custody order, it is common for the situation of one or both parents to change such that a modification of child support is necessary and appropriate.  There are many common reasons why child support may need to be reduced or even eliminated.

The addition of a new child to the family of the paying parent can be one reason to reduce child support.  The number of children each parent has in his or her home or for whom he or she pays court-ordered child support is a factor in the child support calculations.  If the paying parent is the one who now has this additional financial and legal obligation, it is a valid reason to request a reduction in support.

A change in income is another reason that support may be reduced or eliminated.  If the parent receiving support ends up getting a new, high-paying job or at the very least a job that represents a substantial increase in his or her income, it is likely a good reason to reduce the support order.  Conversely, if the parent paying support suffers a substantial drop in income, dropping the support order to reflect the paying parent’s new reduced income capability may be appropriate.  However, in the case that a paying parent’s income suffers a substantial blow, the receiving parent can allege that the paying parent is willfully underemployed and ask that the court refuse to drop the support order and impute an income to the paying parent. 

Elimination of a support order is rare.  One of the only ways you will see a complete elimination is when the child has turned eighteen or graduated high school.  If primary custody is changed from one parent to another, you will likely not see a complete elimination of child support, but rather a reversal such that the paying parent is now the receiving parent.

We have extensive experience helping our clients to understand their rights and responsibilities regarding child support.  Call us today for a consultation