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When can I request a child support modification?


When the parents of a child are not married, the child is still entitled to the financial support of both of the child's parents. This generally means that the parent without primary custody over the child will pay the other parent a certain amount of money each month for the care of the child. This child support helps to cover the everyday expenses, medical care, educational expenses, child care costs and other costs related to the child.

There are situations, though, where you may be having a hard time meeting your child support obligations, or situations where you -- as custodial parent -- need additional money in order to meet the needs of your child. In either of these situations, a child support modification may be possible.

According to the Rhode Island Officer of Child Support Services, you can request a modification in two instances. First, you can submit a motion to review the child support order after three years. Then, the court will apply current guidelines and issue a new order for the child.

Second, you can bring a motion for child support modification when there has been a substantial change in the circumstances. This motion can be brought to the Family Law court at any time, but the court will ultimately decide if the change is necessary. Examples of a substantial change in the circumstances include a significant change in parenting time or an increase or decrease in income.

Since each case is different, specific legal advice -- which this blog post cannot provide -- is necessary in each case. Therefore, those seeking a child support modification should find help understanding the law and asserting their rights.

Source: Rhode Island Officer of Child Support Services, "Modifying an Order," accessed Aug. 31, 2014

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