When a divorce with children is finalized, custody, visitation, and child support details are all included in the final divorce decree. With luck, both parents will accept those terms and act in line with them.
But things can change, especially if either of the parents is experiencing financial difficulties. Then, it may be necessary to go back to the negotiation table and petition for a change in child support payments.
In this post, we offer a brief overview of how the child support modification process happens in Colorado.
Who Can File for a Change in Child Support?
Either of the parents can request a change in child support through the court. However, in most cases, such petitions have to be backed by a reasonable need. Below are several common scenarios when child support modifications may be necessary:
- A payer loses a job and is unemployed, or forced to take a job at significantly lower pay, or has become disabled (temporarily or permanently).
- A recipient loses a job or becomes disabled and can no longer support the children on their current support payments.
- A recipient of child support learns that the payer has had a significant increase in income and determines that increased child support is a reasonable request.
- A recipient needs to modify medical child support orders due to an increase in costs.
What Do You Need to Modify a Child Support Order?
First, the pre-requisite: The party wanting a modification in child support must be requesting a change, up or down, of a minimum of 10% of the current order.
If that is your case, a petition for modification of child support must be filed with your district court. And depending on what type of modification you are asking for, you may need to complete any or all of the following forms:
- A sworn financial statement
- A certificate of compliance with mandatory financial disclosure
- The existing support order
- A verified motion to modify child support
- A stipulation regarding child support modification
The responding party will be served with the modification petition and will have to complete some of these forms as well, depending on the details of the request. The goal of the court is to understand what financial circumstances have changed and by how much to make a fair decision on the matter.
As in all matters of custody, such as visitation or support, if both parties agree to the change in support, the agreement will be filed with the court and goes into effect upon filing. No court appearances will be required.
When parties do not agree on a change in child support, they will need to appear in court and provide their arguments. It is at this point that as a petitioner or a respondent, you will need to consult with an attorney who can represent your interests in the matter.
Once a change in child support is decreed, it is retroactive to the date of the filing of the petition.
Do You Need an Attorney to File for Child Support Modifications?
Chances are you do, if only because you are not an expert and can make costly filing mistakes along the way. Tolison & Williams family law practice is here to help you build up your case and represent you as you go through the child support modification process.