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When is it possible to change a child support order?

The intent of child support is to provide your children with stability and security long after your divorce is final. This money is to help pay for things like daycare, medical bills, extracurricular activities and more. You understand that it's important to carry your fair share of the financial burden that comes with having children, but what happens if you can no longer afford it?

In some cases, it may be possible to modify the terms of your child support order. There are certain circumstances that may merit this, but you will want to be careful to follow the appropriate steps to change your support order. While a verbal agreement with the other parent is good, there are still things you will want to address to ensure that you protect your rights and interests.

How has your situation changed?

After divorce, you probably experienced significant financial changes. Everyone goes through financial changes when their marriages end, but sometimes, those changes don't stop. You may find yourself in a place where it's impossible for you to make full payments or even make payments at all. This does not make you a bad parent. It simply means you may need to modify your support order. Consider the following: 

  • If the current order is exceptionally unfair or beyond your financial capabilities, you can ask the court to change it.
  • To get a modification, you will have to petition the court for a change and present your case. You can also speak to your former spouse about it.
  • If you are experiencing a financial emergency, you can also ask for a temporary change to your child support order.
  • Just like you can seek to have lower child support payments, the other parent has the right to seek additional support if there is grounds to do so. 

Changing your child support order does not have a bearing on your ability to be a good parent or to have an active role in your child's life. The other parent cannot reduce your visitation time or limit access to your kids simply because you sought a modification to your support payments.

If you need to change a court order pertaining to your divorce, you may want to speak to a Virginia family law attorney about your legal options. This can help you see if you have grounds to seek a modification due to your current financial circumstances and how you can take the first steps in this process.

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