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Changed circumstances might call for child support modification

The Census Bureau reported that there were more than 5 million parents nationwide who were owed child support payments in 2015. In many cases, the parent who is behind on payments cannot afford to make them. Parents who owe child support they cannot afford to pay should begin by contacting an Alabama Child Support Enforcement Office to see about a modification of the relevant child support order.

The initial child support order determined the payment amounts based on the noncustodial parent’s assets, financial obligations and income. The amount of child support payments can be changed in situations where a parent has experienced a change in circumstances. Either parent can make a request for modification. Some of the changes that may qualify for a modification include significant changes in income level, losing a job, incurring medical expenses or increased costs of child-rearing as the child gets older.

Parents often orally discuss modifying child support agreements, but this is usually a mistake. Informal agreements like these might not be recognized by the court if a dispute arises. For the benefit and protection of all parties, it is important to make sure the new support arrangement is formally ordered by a court. Requesting a modification based on changed circumstances is better for everyone involved than not making payments because of lack of funds.

People in Alabama who have questions about the child support system, who need a child support modification or who have other child support issues might want to speak with a lawyer. A lawyer who practices family law might be able to help by gathering information about the client’s financial circumstances and any changes that have been experienced since the original order was entered. Attorneys may draft and file required legal documents with the Child Support Enforcement Office or represent the child during official hearings.