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What to know when requesting modification of child support order

When a Louisiana judge handed down a decree regarding your divorce, child custody and child support, the court undoubtedly told you that you are legally obligated to adhere to all terms contained therein. You had no problem with that since your main concern in your divorce was to make sure all new arrangements centered on your children's best interests. You were also glad to help financially support them as they move forward in life.  

You were making payments on time until you unexpectedly received a decrease in pay at work. Your boss mentioned something about cutting costs and everyone taking a hit for the team so the company won't have to close its doors, but the only thing on your mind at the time was how your new, lower income may not be enough to cover your current child support payments.

It is never a good idea to stop making payments. It is always a good idea to reach out for support when needed. 

What to do if payments are no longer feasible 

Your current need to lower child support payments may be temporary. The court allows this in certain circumstances, such as when a parent winds up in the hospital or suffers an income decrease or loses a job altogether.

The following information includes basic facts regarding child support modifications that may apply to your situation: 

  • If your child support order includes a clause regarding annual cost of living adjustments, you may not need to appear in court to modify your current plan. 
  • In addition to job issues, relocation to a more expensive area or a pay deduction, if you remarry and your new spouse brings children to your union, it may significantly affect your ability to keep up with child support payments as they stand. This would be another possible reason the court may grant a modification.
  • If you plan to request a child support modification, you must petition the same court that issued the initial order. 
  • You must be able to show concrete evidence of your change in circumstances and need for adjusted payments. 
  • Everything will likely go a whole lot better if your former spouse agrees to your new terms.  

If you disagree and there seems to be no way to negotiate an agreeable solution, you and your ex may have to present arguments to the court and await its decision. No matter how it all plays out, you must keep making payments unless and until the court grants permission for you to stop or to pay a lesser amount.

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