When Can Child Support Be Modified?
Child support orders can be modified in Pennsylvania. However, there must be a substantial change in circumstances, which can include:
- A job loss or promotion
- Relocation (of either parent)
- Salary cuts or layoffs
- Health problems or disability
- Alteration of the child custody schedule
- Parental incarceration
- Changes in the child’s needs (i.e. special education, need for transportation, extracurricular activities, etc.)
It is important to note that a child support modification is not the same as a termination. While modifying a child support order either increases or decreases the payment amounts, the termination of child support ends the court-ordered support. Child support automatically ends when a child reaches age 18 or graduates high school; however, some parents may seek to terminate support if the parent reconciles and live together or because of other circumstances.
Do Current Market & Inflation Rates Affect Child Support Modifications?
Because of shortages, supply disruptions, and continuing economic effects of the pandemic, inflation rates are currently very high. Gas prices, rent, mortgage rates, and even chicken prices are at all-time highs. Childcare expenses have also likely increased because of inflation and the current market.
Common childcare expenses that have experienced an increase include:
- Clothing costs
- Costs associated with extracurricular activities (i.e. uniforms, equipment, etc.)
- Daycare or babysitter rates
- Food expenses
- Healthcare expenses
- School tuition and uniforms
- Transportation costs
While inflation can affect the recipient parent as they need more support with cost increases, the paying parent can also be affected by inflation. In some cases, the payee may not be able to afford current payments or an increase in payments because of inflation, which can prompt them to file a request for modification.
However, certain employers have been factoring inflation into employee salary increases and promotions. If a payee receives a raise, the parent receiving support may file a request for modification because of the change in circumstances (as it relates to their need for more support in the market and the other parent’s promotion).
How to Modify Child Support Orders in PA
If either parent wants to modify child support (i.e. to increase or decrease payments), they will need to file a modification request. When both parties agree to the modification, you can simply submit a signed agreement that outlines how the current custody order will be modified as well as the income of both parties.
On the other hand, if parents are not in agreement about the modification, one party can file a request for modification and petition the court to make a determination concerning whether the current orders should be modified.
Consult With Our Attorneys
At William Kirby Law, Family Law Attorneys, we are committed to helping clients achieve the best possible case results. If you or a loved one are considering filing to modify your child support orders, we can help you understand your legal rights and navigate the legal process. We can also help clients who do not have a legal child custody agreement; it is important to note that child custody orders can only be modified if you already have a court-ordered agreement in existence.
To schedule a case consultation, call (215) 515-9901 or reach out online today.