When parents divorce, both are expected to provide for their children and spend time with them. Generally, children reside with one parent, and this parent is known as the custodial parent. The non-custodial parent typically pays child support as part of the court’s divorce order. Once child support is made part of the order, it is a legal obligation that cannot simply be withheld or changed. In order to make changes to a child support order, one parent must request a child support modification.
Why a Child Support Order May be Modified
The original child support order is made based on a number of factors including the income guidelines. A child support order may only be modified if it meets the criteria for change. A modification request may be made to increase or decrease the amount of child support or to provide medical support. Either parent may request a modification as long as the criteria are met.
A child support order may be changed if a review finds that the order does not follow the percentage of income guidelines, if the order does not include medical support, or if the change would affect the support payments by $50.00 a month, higher or lower. A parent who pays child support may need to request a modification to reduce support if he or she receives a significant decrease in pay or loses a job. A parent receiving support may request to raise support if the other parent is now making substantially more in income than is reflected in the original order.
How a Child Support Modification is Made
There are several ways that a child support modification can be made. The easiest option is when both parents agree to the change. When this occurs, the parents may use a Stipulation and Order to Amend Judgment for Support. It can be submitted through the child support agency.
The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families may review the criteria. If they find that a modification is needed, they can draft a legal agreement called a stipulation and submit it to the court. The change will take effect when the court approves the stipulation.
Most often, parents do not agree about changing the child support order. When a parent does not agree to the stipulation, the child support agency may request the court to review the stipulation. The court reviews the details of the order and makes a determination. A request to modify support does not mean that it will be granted.
Child support is one of the most common areas of disagreement between parents. As a parent with custody, you cannot withhold visitation from the other parent, even if he or she is behind on child support payments. As the parent paying child support, remember that support is designed for the care of your child and you should pay your fair share.
Do not take matters into your own hands. Instead, discuss them with an experienced family law attorney. Your lawyer will review the specifics of the situation and determine your options. Contact the experienced legal team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. for a consultation today.