How Often Can a Person File for an Increase in Child Support After the Divorce Is Final?

By Heather Frances J.D.

Generally, a judge orders child support payments in your divorce decree based on your family’s situation at the time of your divorce. Procedures vary according to state law, but courts can modify child support orders when a family’s situation changes, perhaps when one spouse receives a significant increase in income or the custody arrangements change.

Generally, a judge orders child support payments in your divorce decree based on your family’s situation at the time of your divorce. Procedures vary according to state law, but courts can modify child support orders when a family’s situation changes, perhaps when one spouse receives a significant increase in income or the custody arrangements change.

Limitations on Frequency

Most states don’t have a specific limit on the number of times a parent can request an increase in support, but states often have rules that, practically speaking, limit the frequency of requests. Technically, you can file modification paperwork as often as you like, but filing does not mean your requests will be granted. Courts can continue to reject your filings if you do not qualify for a modification.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Significant Change of Circumstances

Typically, courts grant motions to modify child support only if you or your ex-spouse have experienced a significant change of circumstances that affects your finances or care of your child. For example, if your ex-spouse receives a substantial pay raise, that raise may be considered a substantial change. Similarly, the court could consider it a significant change if your ex-spouse becomes disabled and cannot work. However, the court likely will not consider it a significant change if your ex-spouse marries a wealthy individual since the new spouse’s income is not generally included when calculating child support.

Percentages

Some states' statutes have a percentage threshold for when a modification is warranted. For example, Vermont considers a change substantial if the modified amount of child support, calculated using the state guidelines, would be at least 10 percent higher or lower than the previous amount. Arizona law allows a simplified modification procedure if the change is at least 15 percent, since that amount of change is presumed to be “substantial and continuing,” which is Arizona’s standard for modification.

Using State Calculations

If the child support terms in your divorce decree were not calculated according to your state’s guidelines, your state may allow you to ask for a modification to have this calculation done. However, calculation using the state guidelines may result in a decrease instead of an increase. If your state allows, you and your ex-spouse can also agree to a modification, even if it is not based on your state’s guidelines, and you may not have to go to court for a hearing since the court can simply adopt your agreement.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Can You & Your Wife Agree at Mediation Not to Increase the Child Support Payments in a Divorce?

References

Related articles

Spousal Retirement After Divorce in Arizona

Arizona courts typically base alimony and child support awards on the divorcing spouses’ financial situations at the time of the divorce, but when circumstances change, a modification of alimony or child support may be appropriate. A spouse’s retirement may cause enough financial change for an Arizona court to issue a modification of his alimony or support obligations.

Does Child Support Stop in New York When You Get Re-Married?

When you divorce, a New York court likely will order child support as part of your divorce decree. The amount awarded is a percentage of your and your spouse's combined income, based on the number of children who need support. Unlike alimony or custody, child support is not likely to change if you remarry unless your income changes.

How to Modify Child Support Payments in Indiana

Indiana couples with children typically obtain a child support order as part of their divorce decree, but often the order must be modified after the divorce to meet the family's changing circumstances. In Indiana, a court can modify a support order only in certain situations, including when a parent has experienced a substantial and continuing change in circumstances.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Petition for Alimony Modification

After divorce, life progresses as jobs and promotions are gained and lost, and health declines. Many changes affect ...

Can You Change Your Divorce Five Years Later in New York?

Whether you have been divorced for five years or five months, you may ask the courts in New York to modify your divorce ...

Can Child Support Go Up When a Spouse Makes More Money in California?

Child support orders are not permanent, but instead adaptable to particular changes of circumstance. In California, the ...

Modified Judgment of Divorce in Michigan

When Michigan courts make decisions in a divorce case, they base those decisions on the facts known at the time of the ...

Browse by category