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Getting a child support modification, what needs to be done?

There are several reasons parents in Massachusetts or elsewhere may want to request changes to standing child support orders. Successfully obtaining a modification is a possibility -- under the right circumstances. However, it can take a little work.

Why might a custodial or non-custodial parent want a child support modification? One of the biggest reasons is due to changes in income. Custodial parents may seek higher amounts of child support if the paying parent's income increases. Non-custodial parents, on the other hand, may seek a reduction if they experience a reduction in income, loss of employment, disability or incarceration.

The other main reason modifications are generally sought involve health care coverage. One parent is usually ordered to provide health care coverage for his or her child. However, if that coverage is no longer available, he or she may seek to have that obligation removed from the order of support.

Seeking a child support modification in Massachusetts or elsewhere requires that certain petitions be filed in court. Parents will generally have to attend a hearing on the matter, specifically the parent who is requesting the change. He or she will have to provide proof of a substantial change in circumstances in order for the court to consider making the modification. While this can be done alone, having legal counsel on one's side may prove invaluable. One's legal representative can help prepare the necessary documents and argue one's case in court, which could certainly relieve quite a bit of stress and pressure from one's plate.

Source: mass.gov, "How to Make Changes to Your Court Order", Accessed on March 23, 2016

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