Both parents are responsible for supporting their children, but in a divorce when one parent has primary custody of a child, the child’s other parent is often responsible for making child support payments. Judges also grant child support to single parents who were never married to the child’s other parent. These payments are intended to give the child or children the same quality of life they would experience if their parents were living together. But a support order may need to be changed when circumstances for either parent or the child change over time. At Susan E. Murray, in Media, I represent parents throughout Pennsylvania who seek to modify child support payments.
Child support awards and agreements are based on the circumstances of the parents at the time of the proceedings and the foreseeable needs of the child or children. Changes in the lives of either parent or in the needs of the child may necessitate revisiting the amount of support awarded to account for life changes.
Often, the need to change a child support order is obvious. Unfortunately, this process is not always a simple one. It varies by state. In some states, judges will approve modified plans when both parents agree. In other states, a more formal court proceeding is required. I help parents create a new plan. When parents do not agree, I represent you in court to get a support order changed.
The desire or need to change a support order is often based on the changing circumstances of one of the child’s parents. In other cases, it is based on a child’s changing needs. Some of the many common reasons why parents seek to have the amount of support increased or reduced include:
I have experience helping Media parents successfully get their child support orders modified for a wide variety of reasons.
Financial problems or the changing needs of your children may alter your circumstances. Still, you must continue to pay child support at the current level until the court modifies your order. Sometimes parents believe that they can decide on their own to decrease or stop child support payments. This is almost never true. In reality, failing to follow a child support order can lead to fines or even imprisonment. I help you petition expeditiously for a modification to avoid undue hardship.
Even in the case of a drastic and obvious change such as being arrested and jailed, you cannot stop making your child support payments without the permission of a judge. While you are in jail, all of those payments will keep adding up and you may never be able to have the debt discharged. If you cannot make your payments for any reason, you need to speak with me right away.
If your spouse has fallen behind on child support payments, you may need assistance to collect the money that rightfully belongs to your child. I guide parents through the process of enforcing a child support order.