Can I modify my child support?

A question I commonly receive from clients is whether they are entitled to a modification of an existing child support order.  This usually comes about when one parent is now earning more money or less money than they were when the original order was entered.  It can also occur where the expenses necessary to care for the child have dramatically increased or decreased (a child that was in daycare is now in public school, for example).

Any of these situations has the potential to meet the statutory burden of a substantial change in circumstances that would allow for a modification of an existing child custody order.

One quick test that can be used to determine whether the financial change is “enough” to constitute a substantial change, is to look at whether there is at least a 15% difference between the existing order and the proposed child support amount.  Also, you must look to whether the existing order is at least 3 years old.  If both of these tests are met, than you may have met your burden to prove a substantial change in circumstances.