Life doesn’t stop changing just because the divorce is over. At some point, you may find that certain provisions of your divorce order no longer work with the rest of your life. Often, financial changes impact child support capabilities and needs, and these changes could be significant enough to merit a court-ordered increase or decrease in the amount of child support you pay or receive each month.
There are specific legal requirements for a Colorado parent to secure a modification to an existing child support order. It is not always easy to secure these changes, but with help, you may be able to secure new terms that more effectively match your financial capabilities or your current needs.
Grounds for a child support modification
Either parent may have grounds to seek a modification to a child support order. The non-custodial parent may find that he or she is no longer able to manage payments due to unforeseen circumstances beyond their control such as loss of a job or catastrophic medical expenses. The primary custodian may find that care of the children requires more financial support, for things like children’s medical needs, educational expenses and/or work or school related child care costs. Some of the reasons you may need a support order modified include:
- Loss of job
- Birth of additional children for whom you must care
- New educational needs of the kids
- Diagnosis of new medical condition for a child
- Uninsured medical expenses
- Child care costs
Basically, the parent who is seeking the modification must show by a preponderance of the evidence that there has been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances that warrants a modification of the existing support order. Not everyone who wants a modification will get one, and you would be wise to consult and retain an experienced family law attorney to represent you in pursuing a modification of your current support order.
How often can I get a modification?
There are no limits on the number of times you can request a modification, however the changed circumstances must be significant enough to make modification worth pursuing, otherwise you are wasting your time and money going back to court. Any modification must represent at least a 10 percent increase or decrease in the current amount.
Protecting the best interests of your children
A foremost concern of presiding judges in domestic cases is ensuring that children’s reasonable needs are met. Judges have discretion to deviate from guideline support amounts for good cause related to the needs of the children. Colorado child support laws are complex and many different factors can influence the amount of support ordered. It is best to address your questions about child support modification to a licensed Colorado attorney before attempting to litigate on your own.