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Modifying Child Support Because of Changed Financial Circumstances: What Payers Need to Know

Child Support Orders Are Not Set in Stone

You have been consistent and timely in your child support payments. You follow the custody agreement down to the minute without fail. You did everything in your power to make the process of divorce as smooth as possible for your children emotionally and materially.

But now you have lost your job, or your healthcare plan will cost significantly more, or your pay has been cut. Yet, you are still bound by law to provide payments to your ex-spouse at the level you were before your earnings took a hit. What are you to do?

You need to call our office for a skilled family lawyer who can help you file a Complaint for Modification to your child support judgement.

Defining “Temporary” and “Final” Judgements

There is a bit of confusing nomenclature around child support judgements in Massachusetts courts. A judgement may be either “temporary” or “final.” Many parents worry that “final” means “inalterable” or “eternal.” This is not the case.

A “final” judgement is one in which there is no ongoing litigation on the matter. The order is expected to stand either until the child becomes an adult or is emancipated, barring any Complaint for Modification. A “temporary” order is one issued when there is ongoing litigation in the courts as the divorcing partners have not yet reached an agreement.

Child support is owed by one parent when the other has sole or primary custody of the child or children. Child support is also owed in joint custody situations in which there is a significant difference in the parents’ respective incomes.

Changes in Finances that May Justify Changes in Child Support Owed

The Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines gives a number of reasons why child support modification may be sought and granted:

  • Inconsistency between the amount that is currently being paid and the amount that would be paid if the child support guidelines were applied to the current circumstances. This most commonly happens when one parent’s income changes dramatically.
  • Child health insurance coverage that has previously been ordered has either become unavailable (such as because of job loss) or has become unduly burdensome (such as when an employer no longer covers the same portion of dependents’ premiums)
  • New health coverage is available through one of the parents. If you are paying child support and seeking modification, the most likely scenario here is that your ex-spouse is now able to provide health insurance for your children but will not do so without a court order.
  • Any other “material and substantial change in circumstances.”

Experienced Family Law Attorneys, Here for You

If you are seeking to modify how much child support you pay because of your financial circumstances, you need skilled family law attorneys on your side. We have years of experience applying child support guidelines to changed circumstances and can help you file your Complaint for Modification. Call our office today to discuss your unique circumstances.

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