What Are Some Possible Reasons for Filing a Petition for Modification of an Existing Support Order?

 In the state of Pennsylvania, divorce proceedings involved each of the issues separately, and in marriages where there are children there are additional important matters that need to be addressed – namely, child custody and child support. The state provides established child support guidelines that take into consideration a number of factors, including each of the parent’s individual incomes, how many children there are, where and with whom the children will reside, and what special expenses may need to be addressed. Once the calculations are completed, couples can either agree to follow the state guidelines, negotiate between themselves for a number that is appropriate for their family, or litigate the matter in court. Even once the matter has been resolved and a number has been agreed to, it is possible to have it changed. If you have established a child support agreement in the state of Pennsylvania, you should be aware of the grounds for these changes. Here are some of the possible reasons for filing a petition for modification of an existing support order.

The first thing that you need to know is that if you have been ordered by the court to pay a specific child support amount, then your only option to change it is to file an appeal within twenty days after you receive the order or the date of the order, whichever comes first. This appeal will represent a demand for a hearing to revisit the issue. Beyond this period of time and this remedy, the only other option that is available to change a child support order is to submit a Petition for Modification or Termination. There are only a few circumstances that the court will see fit as a basis for considering these petitions, and all of them have to represent a “substantial and material change in circumstance.” Examples of changes that might justify a modification in child support include:

  • Being able to establish that the other spouse has had a substantial increase in their income, assets or income sources.
  • Being able to establish a significant increase in the costs of child care or medical expenses needed for the child.
  • Where there has been a change in which parent has custody of the child.
  • Where the child for whom the support is being provided has been emancipated.
  • Where there has been a death of the child or the plaintiff receiving spousal support.
  • Where new guidelines have been published by the state
  • Where the parties have negotiated a new agreement in private.

The courts in the state of Pennsylvania are dedicated to ensuring that all actions taken with regards to children in a divorce are done with what is in the child’s best interest in mind, and this includes issues of child support.

If you are facing a change in your financial circumstances and need guidance or representation in defending against a child support modification or pursuing one, the attorneys at Erik B. Jensen and Associates can help. Call our office today for more information.