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When a child support modification can work

Child support ensures that the physical needs of a child are met, even after the child’s parents split. However, there are legitimate times when a parent may request an adjustment to the set divorce or child support arrangement.

Not all instances warrant such a change. A few key elements can help to determine if a child support modification request can work.


It takes time to put the initial agreement in place. Therefore, there is a timeframe requirement for how long a support agreement must be in place before a party can seek a modification. However, in emergencies, it may be possible to bypass this stipulation.


There are specific instances where a court may approve a child support modification. Some of the more common reasons include:

  • A parental income increase or decrease
  • Change in custody 
  • Change in family size
  • A parent becomes disabled
  • A parent goes to jail or prison

While these are a few of the most common reasons for a modification, it is not an exhaustive list. In short, the courts are likely to consider a modification request if an event happens that drastically alters the financial standing of either parent.


As with any court petition, the proper paperwork must be in place for the courts to even review the case, let alone make a favorable decision. However, it is important to understand that the decision may not always be what the petitioning party desires. The court utilizes a specialized payment calculator in determining the difference between the current amount and the requested modification. The judge will also take into consideration any evidence of change that may require an adjustment to that amount. After reviewing all the information, the judge then makes a decision.

Keeping these aspects in mind can aid in creating a strong modification claim. Along with knowledge, having the right supporting evidence is very helpful.