Losing your job is frightening under most circumstances, but it can be especially troubling if you have children to support. A child’s needs cannot be put on hold, even in times of financial uncertainty.
However, child support payments are set up based on a parent’s income and earning potential, among other considerations. Because these factors are subject to change – sometimes at a moment’s notice – some situations require a child support modification.
What do I need for a child support modification?
To change child support payments, both parents must agree on the modification or have a judge review and order the change. When the request is reasonable and both parties agree to it, child support modifications are relatively straightforward. However, if the other parent doesn’t agree, you must request a hearing to present your case.
Generally speaking, the court will look for these conditions when considering modification:
- Your change in life circumstances is real and significant.
- Your request does not go against the best interests of the child.
- Your request will result in more good than harm to the child.
You will need to demonstrate to the court the significance of your change in circumstances. This may include proof of unemployment benefits, public assistance or documenting your attempts to secure new employment.
What is the process for changing a child support order?
To become an official court order, a judge must approve the modification. Even if you and your ex agree on your own or through mediation, you still must go before a judge for the change to be valid.
In Ohio, you can request a change to your child support order if it has been 36 months since the order was issued or last modified. However, losing a job may qualify a parent for an early review if it has not been that long. The courts understand unemployment can take a significant toll on a family’s emotional and financial well-being.
Losing a job is devastating, but it is essential to know you have options if you can no longer afford your child support payments. A support modification can help you to stay afloat in times of financial hardship. Lowering your payments can allow you to continue to be a supportive parent while you get back on your feet.