From housing and health care coverage to day-to-day expenses like clothing and school supplies, child support payments are an essential part of providing for your child after divorce.
While your original support order may have worked initially, life can change quickly. Whether due to a job loss, medical issue or increased childcare expenses, current payments may not be enough to make ends meet.
However, support amounts are not set in stone. In Pennsylvania, either you or your spouse may petition the court to review your support case and modify it if needed.
What factors does the court consider?
The court may agree to modify a support order if you or your spouse have experienced a substantial and ongoing change in income or if your child’s care expenses have increased significantly. Examples of substantial changes include:
- Reduced parent income or job loss
- Increased parent income
- Changes in custody arrangements
- Increased medical, educational or extracurricular needs
You can ask the court for an order modification at any time. However, the Domestic Relations Office also reviews support cases regularly. Every three years the DRO should notify you and your ex-spouse of the option to have your case reviewed.
Is court review necessary?
If you and your spouse agree to a new support arrangement, a judge is likely to approve the change as long as it is fair and in the best interest of your child.
However, it is not enough to make a private agreement. For the change to be legally enforceable and to avoid potential penalties, you must file a petition with the court.