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When can there be a child support modification?

When a couple in Virginia shares a child, one parent is likely to be ordered to make monthly payments to the custodial parent to support the child. The amount that will be paid depends on numerous factors when the agreement is made. In some instances, the circumstances will change and one parent will request a child support modification. When this happens, there are reasons that must be in place for there to be an adjustment for either the supporting or the custodial parent.

When there is a review and possible adjustment of a support agreement, it means that the agreement will be examined to decide whether or not a change to the agreement is justified. These commonly occur 36 months after the date of the original order. The Division of Child Support Enforcement will be the initiator of this review after that period of time in a case involving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Those who do not fall into that category can request that a review be made for the following reasons. Parents can lose their job, take a better paying job or face other alterations to their income. If the change is at least 25 percent of the gross income, then it is allowable to request a child support modification. Custodial parents who use day care and face cost changes by at least 25 percent can ask that the monthly payments be changed.

In some cases, medical support was not part of the original order -- this can be a reason to request a change. Medical and dental expenses can be a reason to file a petition to change the order. If the cost of health insurance changes and the amount is at least 25 percent, there can be a request to change the order. Adding or removing a child is also justification to request a modification.

The request for review must be presented in writing and include the reason that the request is being made. Simply because a request is being made doesn't mean it will be approved for either side. When requesting that the support agreement be changed, there can be aspects that are difficult to understand. Discussing the matter with a qualified legal professional is the wise first step before moving forward with trying to receive child support modification.

Source: Virginia Department of Social Services, "Child Support and You," accessed on Jan. 4, 2015

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