Philadelphia Child Support Modification Lawyer
Child support is often an issue in a divorce proceeding. When one parent receives custody of the children, the other parent may be required to pay for their ongoing care and upbringing in the form of child support payments. However, as children grow, their needs change and what might have been a sufficient amount of support to raise your child no longer is sufficient because of a substantial change in your personal circumstances. Fortunately, child support orders are not final, rather they can be modified and changed throughout the years to reflect life events.
At Sadek and Cooper we are prepared to help guide you through modifying a child support order. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with a Philadelphia child support modification attorney regarding your legal matter please call our primary Philadelphia law office at 215-814-0395.
Who is Entitled to File for Child Support?
Child support is designed as its name implies to provide support for a child. Anyone who is raising a child whether it be a parent, grandparent, relative, or even a county child welfare agency can file a request for child support. A person who is caring for a child who is under the age of 18 or who is still in high school can file for child support for the other parent or parents regardless of their financial situation. Even a parent who was never married can file for child support.
Filing for child support can vary depending on what county you are filing for support in. However, generally, the first step a parent who would like to file for child support should take would be to contact the local Domestic Relations Office. The local Domestic Relations office will prepare the support complaint and file it on your behalf.
Can a Child Support Order be Modified or Changed?
Parents can petition for the court to review and modify their child support order at any time if they feel that they have experienced a change in circumstances that may affect the amount of child support they may be entitled to. The following factors related to the child support order are considered:
- The income of either parent significantly increases or decreases. This is most common when one parent obtains another job, receives a promotion, or conversely when they lose their job.
- The child now has significant or continuing medical expenses. This is, unfortunately, common when the child has sustained grave or life-threatening injuries.
- Child care and/or medical insurance changes.
- The parents are now living together. Sometimes couples will work through their marital problems and move back in with each other.
- The child receiving support is 18 years of age and graduated from high school.
- The child starts living with the noncustodial parent or someone other than the custodial parent/plaintiff.
- The noncustodial parent is incarcerated.
- Other substantial changes in circumstance occur.
Additionally, every three years the Domestic Relations Section, which is charged with the enforcement of child support orders in Pennsylvania, will send each parent a letter and notice asking if they would like their child support case reviewed.
What Constitutes a Change in Circumstances?
However, it should be noted that just because there is a review of a child support order, it does not mean that a parent will be required to pay more or even less. The law requires that a child support order is modified only when there is a significant change in circumstances. Changes in circumstances that may lead to an adjustment of a child support order may include:
- A change in the child’s needs – Children’s financial needs can change dramatically, particularly if the child becomes disabled or ill. However, even as children grow their financial needs will change and require that the parent who is in custody of them and who is responsible for their care will have to expend more for their care.
- A change in the Parent’s net income or employment – Parents financial position may also change while the child is growing. Any significant change in a parent’s employment that affects their net income may serve as justification for modifying or adjusting a child support order. Some examples of financial changes that may be sufficient to modify an order include:
- Obtaining a new job
- Losing a job
- Receiving a promotion
- Increase in hours
- Decrease in hours
- An illness or injury that negatively affects a parent’s ability to work
- Receiving a substantial raise
- Receiving an inheritance
This can also include such things as medical expenditures that a parent may have to make out of their own pocket. However, it should be noted that these modifications will only be granted for unintentional changes, whereas if the parent has deliberately taken a lower paying job this will not support a modification of child support.
- Changes in custodial arrangements – In situations where the parents share custody and one parent has primary custody, it is very common for the child to want to live with the other parent at a certain point in their upbringing. Generally, because the parent who is in primary custody of the child is expected to provide the daily care for the child they are generally the parent who receives child support, however, if the parents reverse their role, the parent who was formerly in primary custody may be required to pay the former non-primary parent child support payments.
Other factors and events may support the court’s decision to modify or amend a child support order such as if the support order is no longer enforceable under state law, or there has been a change in the state’s guidelines that modify the terms of the order. However, child support modification hearings can be just as contentious and just as heated as divorce hearings.
Contact a Philadelphia Child Custody Modification Lawyer of Sadek & Cooper
If you are considering applying for or are preparing to go through a child support modification, you should contact one of our experienced attorneys today. Contact us at Sadek and Cooper to schedule a free consultation regarding all of your marital issues. Call Now: 215-814-0395