Once a court has ordered child support, those orders remain in effect until the child reaches the age of 18, or is considered emancipated via court order, enrollment in the US military, marriage or death. While child support orders are enforceable upon criminal penalty and civil sanction, the orders themselves can be changed at any time by one or both parents. Generally speaking, child support can be changed when the income of one or both parents has changed, or there has been a significant change in one or both parents’ earning capability (due to incarceration, job change, or health issues) or the child’s own needs have significantly changed. Remember that child support orders remain in effect until final order of the court – you should make every effort to pay the amount ordered on time until the court delivers a modified or terminated child support order.
Requesting a change in child support can trigger unexpected changes to the current court order. Once the court has taken all the new information and extenuating factors into account, either parent could end up being ordered to pay more than the original order. It is important to consider all of the economical circumstances impacting you, the child, and the other parent before requesting a change to the current child support order.
It is important to request a change to child support immediately after a significant change in the financial situation of you or the other parent. The current child support orders will remain in effect until the new orders are issued by the court, and in many cases the court’s order will not apply to previously due child support payments. In order to avoid additional penalties or civil/criminal sanctions, make every effort to pay the current child support order in full and on time until the court renders a new verdict.
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