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Can you modify a child support agreement later?

During divorce proceedings, one of the most contentious issues that often comes up relates to child support and custody. Both state and federal laws mention that both the father and mother are responsible for the fiscal well-being of any children they share. The law states child support must continue until the child graduates from high school and is at least 18 years old, or when the child turns 19 and either joins the military or marries. 

couple may divorce when the child is still fairly young, and a person's financial situation can change greatly over the course of a decade. It is possible to request a modification of child support payments as long as there is a significant change in circumstances.

Grounds for modification

A parent making child support payments must meet certain criteria to receive a modification. These situations include:

  • Decrease or increase in income
  • One parent has had a new child
  • Financial needs of the child have changed
  • One parent has gone to prison
  • One parent has lost a job or gotten a new one

Both sides can present evidence

The couple will need to go to court to make the change official. During this time, both sides can present evidence as to whether the parent making child support payments needs to pay less or more. This means it is possible for a parent to go into court wanting a reduction in child support payments, but due to evidence presented by the other parent, a judge may actually decide to increase payments. 

Evidence that can help with modification

Evidence the court will consider includes paystubs, tax return forms and copies of unemployment checks. Parents can use eyewitness testimony as long as the individual can attest to the person's financial standing. Going to court is an essential component of this process because a simple verbal agreement between the two parents can result in legal problems down the road. 

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