If you’re getting a divorce for the first time, or if you’re new to the world of child support orders, you may not fully understand how they work. For starters, you cannot stop paying child support if your ex refuses to let you see the kids.
If you lose your job, you can’t stop paying either; the child support you owe will continue to add up until a court agrees to modify the existing order – and no, child support is not retroactive except to the date of filing of your new motion to modify support (at the discretion of your judge) or to the date of a voluntary change of custody (see blog on modification of custody for more details). Otherwise the court can’t go back and reduce the amount a paying parent owes starting with the date they lost their job.
Unfortunately, a lot of noncustodial parents don’t know that if there is a substantial change in their income, they can’t stop paying. They assume that since child support is based on their income, they aren’t obligated to pay if there is an interruption. It doesn’t work that way, though many parents wish it did! A noncustodial parent’s child support obligation DOES NOT CHANGE until a court says so.
Modifying Child Support in Denver
Do you pay child support? Or, will you be paying it in the near future? Either way, please be aware that if there is a “significant change” in your financial circumstances that will continue, you can ask the court for a downward modification. You can also ask the court for a modification if there has been a substantial change in the other parent’s income.
Often, a custodial parent will ask the court for an increase in child support if they learned that their former spouse got a pay raise, a major promotion, or their income increased dramatically for some other reason.
What does the family court consider to be a substantial change in circumstances that could cause the court to change an existing child support order? If either parent has experienced a substantial and continuing change in their income, meaning it has gone up or down by at least 10%, a modification may be in order. For a change to be “continuing,” it can’t be temporary; it’s expected to continue.
Lastly, either parent can also ask the court to modify a child support order if it does not address dental or medical support. In light of the information in this article, if you are interested in changing an existing child support order, contact our firm to meet with a Denver family law attorney.