Divorce and Finances

Can I Increase My Child Support Payments?

If you are divorced and receiving child support, the time may come when you have a need for an increase. While laws differ by state, there are some basic requirements for requesting an increase in child support.

Child Support Payments

Requesting an increase

If you're a divorced parent, part of your divorce settlement may include child support payments. But what happens if at some point in the future those monthly payments are no longer enough to cover your child's basic needs?

If there ever comes a time when the court-ordered child support payments issued in your divorce settlement are no longer adequate, you may be able to request a modification to increase your payments. Although every state has its own requirements and laws regarding increases, here is some basic information that you may need to know about the process.*

You must have a need

You've probably guessed that in order to request an increase in child support payments, you must demonstrate that you have a need. In other words, prove that certain circumstances now exist that justify the need for the increase. These can include:

  • A change in the child's needs such as medical and educational expenses;

  • A substantial decrease of the custodial parent's income due to an involuntary job loss.

You may also be able to request an increase if the non-custodial parent's income (the parent who pays the support) has substantially increased.

You must make it official

If you're seeking a modification to your divorce settlement to increase the amount of your child support payments, you must go to the court for approval and request the new specified amount. In other words, a verbal and/or written agreement between you and your ex-spouse doesn't constitute a legally binding agreement.

If the courts decide that the request for an increase is in your child's best interest, you may be approved without a formal court hearing. However, if you and your ex-spouse are in disagreement, you may have to present and argue your case in the courtroom.

Divorce can be a difficult time for everyone involved - especially if you have young children. Be sure that you take the time to get the emotional and financial help that you need. That includes enlisting a qualified divorce attorney who can provide you with specific advice regarding a request to increase child support based on your individual situation.

If you'd like to read more about child support and alimony, visit the Protective Learning Center.

*This is a high-level overview regarding child support increases and is meant for informational purposes only. If you have questions, concerns, and are in need of legal advice, consult with a qualified divorce attorney in your particular state of residence.

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