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
How to Modify Parenting Time After a Divorce

References

Related articles

Child Visitation Laws in Kentucky

Any parent who does not have custody of a minor child is entitled to visitation with the child, according to Kentucky law. However, a judge will limit or deny visitation if the court finds that visitation is not in the best interests of the child. For instance, a parent who is accused of abusing alcohol in the presence of the child could lose his visitation rights. Kentucky also gives grandparents the option to petition the court for visitation rights, which is not possible in every state.

Alabama's State Laws on Child Support Payments

Alabama law requires a court order to establish child support payments. Depending on the facts of your case and whether the noncustodial parent pays the child support correctly, further court orders may be necessary for issues like modifying the amount of payments or collecting past due amounts.

What Percentage of Income Does Child Support Take for One Kid?

Each state's laws determine how much child support a non-custodial parent must pay after a divorce, and the rates and method of calculation vary between states. These payments are intended to pay for a child's normal expenses, such as housing, food, clothing and education. Though courts frequently use the guidelines to set child support amounts, courts do not have to follow them in cases where they would not be appropriate, such as when a child needs special medical care because of a disability.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

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 ...

North Carolina Modification of Child Support Laws

When North Carolina courts enter divorce decrees, they address topics such as child custody, child support and property ...

How Often Do the Courts Evaluate Child Support in Missouri?

Circumstances can change after the court issues a final divorce decree or child support order, causing the ordered ...

Can I Go After My Ex-Husband's New Wife's Income for More Child Support in California?

As part of a California divorce decree, the court generally issues a child support order, which is based on your living ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED