Child Support Modifications

Child Support Modifications

A number of parents are not aware that under the right circumstances, child support can be modified. In most cases, the paying parent will seek out a downward modification and the receiving parent will seek out an upward modification to the standing child support order. In either case it will be up to the petitioning party to show proof that there has been a significant change in circumstances to warrant a modification to their current child support payments.

If you are interested in finding out if you are eligible for a child support modification, it is always best to obtain legal advice from a qualified attorney from The Firm. This is especially the case if your individual situation is complicated or unique since family law issues affect important legal and parental rights. Without a Las Vegas divorce attorney by your side, these legal rights may not be properly protected.

Modifications Under Nevada Law

If your child hasn’t lived in the state of Nevada for the last six months, then the court may not be able to make a ruling in your case; therefore, if your child lives in another state, you will want to consult with an attorney before you file a motion with the Nevada court.

When you file a motion with the court, you will need to include a filed copy of the Decree or Order that you want to modify, and if you no longer have your own copy, then the copies are available from Records, which is located at the Family Court. It’s critical that you understand that the judge’s orders will not be enforceable until after they have been put in writing, signed by the judge that heard your case, and filed with the court.

Job Loss or Wage Garnishment

There are two specific circumstances for a paying parent that can certainly give rise to a child support modification, these are a job loss or wage garnishment. Even if you lose your job, it doesn’t mean that you can automatically stop paying child support, unfortunately the courts don’t work that way. It’s important that as a paying parent you are made aware of the fact that child support payments don’t automatically change or cease because you lose your job or earn less money than you did before.

This is one mistake that a lot of parents make and quite by accident. They reduce or cease paying child support because they lost their job, and what they don’t realize is that their child support arrearages continue to rack up at the same rate according to the existing child support order. Before they know it, their arrearages can quickly add up into the thousands which can then make them subject to additional interest and penalties (some legal), without them even being aware of it.

Regardless of your income or employment, you are responsible for your child support payments (in full) until you file a motion for a modification with the judge, and only after the judge signs the new order and it’s filed with the court, will your child support payments be modified or lowered. Therefore, if you lose your job or if your income takes a drastic downturn, then the sooner you file a motion to modify your child support payments, the better off you will be and the less you will owe your ex in the long run, providing the judge awards you a downward modification.

If your wages are currently being garnished, then you may also be eligible for a downward modification. Perhaps you were out of work for a while and your arrearages added up, and now you are working at a lower paying job, and you can’t afford the support at the rate that was based on your previous and higher income. If this is the case, the sooner you contact an attorney from our firm, the sooner we can address this situation and possibly get your support payments lowered and less of your income tied up.

Change in Circumstances

In Nevada, a parent can file a motion for a modification to their child support payments at any time based on a “change of circumstances.” The court basically considers any change of 20% or more in the gross monthly income of the paying parent to be a reasonable change in circumstances that may warrant a child support modification. Therefore, if you were earning $3,200 a month and got laid off and are now earning $2,560 a month at your new job ($3200.00-$640.00 (20%)=$2560.00 a month, or a 20% difference from what you were earning at your previous job, then the court would deem that you had a “significant change in circumstances” that would warrant a downward modification to your child support payments.

Often times parents on the receiving end will request an upwards modification when they know that their ex-spouse has received a promotion, or when they have taken a higher paying job, or when there have been increased demands on the amount of money it takes to support their child due to educational or medical reasons.

If you are in need of an upwards or a downwards modification to your support payments, it’s encouraged that you get started sooner than later. At The Firm, we can take the mystery out of the modification process for you, and within a short meeting we can give you a pretty good idea whether or not you are eligible or not for a modification. Please contact us today so we can get started on resolving this matter for you.

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