Where there is a change in circumstances of the child or of either parent, a modification of the amount of child support may be requested and will be granted where appropriate.
Change in Circumstances
Some changes in circumstances are sufficient to warrant a modification of custody or visitation but are not substantial enough to require a change in child support. A parent may move or a child may change schools, either of which might cause a change in the visitation schedule, without a change in child support. A child might become entitled to receive some type of benefit, such as a dependent child Social Security benefit from a stepparent. Many courts will not adjust child support merely because the child now has more resources. Other changes in circumstances do require a modification of child support.
Change in Circumstances of Parents
Where a parent loses a job because the only factory in town has shut down, the parent who lost the job may not be able to get another job at a comparable pay and a reduction in child support may be warranted. Where a parent gets a new job paying substantially more money, the change in circumstances of the parent warrants an increase in child support. If a parent becomes disabled and retires on a disability pension and Social Security disability benefits, the parent is entitled to request a modification. It should be noted that the disabled parent is not entitled to stop paying child support and assume that the child’s social security benefit will be sufficient to meet the parent’s child support obligation; modification by a court or tribunal is required. The fact that a parent remarries or subsequently has another child is usually not the type of change that requires modification of child support. If, however, the parent takes a job in another state, the end of sharing custody and the cost of visitation may require reconsideration of child support.
Change in Circumstances of the Child
A change of school or a change of after-school activities are not the type of circumstances that require modification of child support. On the other hand, when day care expenses or after school care is no longer needed, child support for such expenses should end, requiring a modification in child support. When a child has extraordinary medical expenses, those expenses may be added to basic child support, requiring modification. A child may inherit a large trust fund responsible for schooling or other expenses included in the child support obligation. The child support obligation should be adjusted to reflect the trust fund payment of this expense. When there is a change of custody, it is obvious that there must be a modification of child support.