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Tips for modifying a child support order

Sometimes, a child support order that made sense when you got divorced no longer fits your situation. If you lose your job, for instance, or suffer an injury that makes it impossible for you to work, you simply can’t afford those payments. However, if you don’t have the order modified, you’re still expected to make them on time. You must take the proper legal steps to have the order changed, and these tips can help.

1. Talk to your ex. Explain the situation and ask if he or she would be fine with a modification. If you are both on the same page, the process can be far smoother than it will be if your ex is trying to fight you at every turn.

2. Don’t wait. The longer you put this off, the more you’re liable for in missed payments. You still owe that money, even if the order is eventually changed. Changes typically are not retroactive, so you’re not going to see the total due reduced, even if you realistically couldn’t afford the payments.

3. Try to pay as much as possible, even if you can’t pay everything. This helps your case. It shows that you’re not trying to skip out on the payments, but that your circumstances have just changed.

4. Get documents that support the change. If you saw a reduction in hours at work, for instance, get the memo telling you of the reduction and copies of your pay stubs, both before and after the reduction, to show that you really are working and earning less.

Above all else, remember that you have to legally have the support order modified before the payments will change. This isn’t something you can do on your own, even if your spouse is fine with it.

Source: FindLaw, “Child Support Modification Tips,” accessed Dec. 22, 2016

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