With a divorce and separation, you may be overwhelmed with the amount of paperwork. If you have an order for child support in Virginia, you may wonder what happens if you experience a significant life change. Can child support orders be changed, or are they set in stone?
Can child support orders be modified?
Yes. Under Virginia law, either parent can request changes to the original support order. You can make the request via this form. Some requests for child support can be accommodated online.
However, it’s important to note that the court will allow a child support modification only if certain things have changed since the order was made.
When will the court allow a change?
There are several circumstances under which Virginia courts will allow a modification. One of the most common involves a parent losing a job or facing another financial setback.
Virginia calculates child support amounts based on the child’s needs and the parents’ ability to pay for them. Courts look at both parents’ income and financial resources before determining child support payment amounts.
With that in mind, a change of 25% or more in either parent’s income can warrant a change in child support amounts.
Note that the 25% change can be an increase or a decrease in the income of either parent. A modification may also be warranted by a 25% increase in a parent’s health care premiums or child care costs.
Penalties for nonpayment
Requesting a modification can be crucial for parents who are having trouble affording their child support payments.
If a parent falls behind on their payments, the Division of Child Support Enforcement can issue subpoenas, warrants and a summons to appear. It can also garnish the parent’s wages and place a lien on their property.
The debt from unpaid child support can pile up quickly. Parents who are having trouble paying child support should investigate their options as soon as they can.