Hanover Child Support Modifications Lawyers in Worcester County

Child support is a crucial aspect of many divorce agreements. Family courts determine a parent’s financial obligation to support their children using a specific formula that calculates the support amount based on each person’s income and some allowable deductions. Once there is a child support judgment, any deviation from the amount ordered without the Court granting a modification can lead to severe consequences. However, there are situations where one or both parents can request an amendment to their existing order.

If you need help petitioning the Court to modify your current order or responding to a complaint for modification, do not hesitate to reach out to our extraordinary attorneys. With over 35 combined years of exclusive family law experience, our Hanover child support modifications lawyers can provide excellent guidance and discuss your options to petition for or contest alterations to your existing agreement.

Initiating the Modification Process

There are a several ways to modify an existing child support order. If both parents consent to an amendment to their existing order, they can jointly file a petition to request a modification from the Court. However, if one of the parents do not want to alter their existing order, the requesting parent will need to file a complaint for modification. Then, a judge will hold a hearing to hear the arguments and possibly review supporting evidence provided by either party prior to making a final decision.

In situations where the Department of Revenue is asked to enforce the existing order, the petitioning parent would need to provide compelling evidence to DOR or the court showing why an alteration is necessary. For instance, if you are requesting a modification to your child support amount because you lost your job, you would need to supply DOR or the court with documentation of your unemployment payments and any additional benefits or income you receive. If you can show that your current child support obligation should be modified as a result of a change that has occurred producing a different calculation that what was previously ordered, the judge will likely allow the modification.

Modifications That Can Be Made to a Child Support Order

There are several reasons why a parent may request changes to their current support order. For example, you can request a change to the amount of support you pay or receive, or you could petition the Court to modify other specific financial aspects of the current agreement.

The circumstances which prompted the complaint for modification impact the type of alterations you may request. For instance, if your child becomes ill and is incurring significant, ongoing medical expenses, you may request the Court to increase your ex-spouse’s contributions to your child’s healthcare costs or increase child support. Increased earnings by either party will usually have an effect on what the guidelines presume to be the correct support amount to be paid. The guidelines also change approximately every four years, which can automatically influence whether a child support order increases or decreases. A Hanover attorney can help you navigate the process of requesting specific modifications to your current child support order.

Situations that may Justify Changing a Child Support Order in Hanover

A variety of circumstances may prompt someone to speak with a local attorney about seeking a child support modification. Generally, a shift in either parent’s circumstances that makes the current order unsustainable, inadequate, or no longer applicable, is when someone will begin to seek a legally binding modification of a prior child support order.

For example, a parent who loses their job or becomes disabled and is no longer able to meet their current support obligation may request a change to their existing order. Alternatively, if one parent receives a substantial increase in salary, the other party may petition for either a decrease in the amount they must pay or an increase in their ex’s support obligation based on their higher earnings.

A change in the child’s current custody arrangement could also form the basis of a successful complaint for modification. In Massachusetts, generally, if the child support calculation produces a support order different than what the amount currently being paid is, one parent can seek a modification.

Whether it is wise to seek a modification can depend upon a number of different factors as well. If the prior order puts you at a likely advantage, even if you are able to seek a modification, you may not want to put anything at risk by filing in court.

For example, let’s say that Dad was paying $120 per week for two children at the time of his divorce based on his current income. Fast forward down the road to one child graduating from college and the other graduating from high school. Technically, the way that the child support guidelines are currently written, he can seek to have the older child removed from the calculation and have the automatic decrease in the child support calculation based on the younger child now being over the age of 18. However, Dad’s income is now three times higher than what it was at the time of the divorce and the child support guidelines would produce a child support order that is significantly greater than the $120 per week he is currently paying. In a case like that, it would not be wise to seek a modification even though you could.