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Modifying your child support order due to a decrease in income

When a court establishes a child support order, it is based on the income of both parents at that time. You may reach a point in your life, however, where your income decreases for a variety of reasons. What was once a reasonable amount of child support may become a financial hardship.

If your income decreases due to the loss of or switching of jobs, you may be able to modify your child support order to better reflect your new salary.

Your request for modification must be valid

According to FindLaw experts, a decrease in income qualifies as an acceptable reason to seek an order modification in most cases. If you lose your job or must accept a different job with lower pay, these are valid reasons for a modification. If you quit your job, however, or refuse to find a new one, the court may be less inclined to grant your request.

It is important to note that the decrease must apply to your total income, not just your disposable income. If you are struggling to pay child support due to overwhelming debt, for example, the courts are unlikely to modify your child support order.

File a petition as soon as possible

If you find yourself in this position, it is important to file a request for modification as soon as you can. The adjustment will not be retroactive so the new payment will not take effect until the court approves the request.

If you are having trouble affording your child support payments, it is better to file for a modification right away instead of racking up back child support.