The law in Virginia recognizes that things often change in the years after a divorce. Exes find someone new to marry or move out of state. Children grow into teenagers and eventually reach adulthood. One ex could go back to school and start a lucrative new career, while the other suffers a disabling injury and is no longer able to work.
These are just examples of the myriad ways lives can go up or down as time goes on. One of the consequences of these events is that a non-custodial parent who has been ordered to pay child support may one day find it difficult to pay it, or obtain the means to pay more to their children.
If one or both parents believe that the current child support is no longer appropriate, it is possible to request a review and adjustment.
The Virginia Department of Social Services provides a form to request such a review.
Generally, in Virginia, at least three years must pass from the time the child support order was issued before a parent requests a review. If three years have not passed, the parent must cite a “special circumstance,” such as:
- A new child must be added to the order, due to birth or change in custody.
- A child is no longer eligible to receive support at the current level.
- One parent’s income has increased or decreased by at least 25 percent.
- One of the parents is a member of the National Guard or has been called to the military reserves for active duty and is experiencing a change in income as a result.
Even if three years have passed, you must provide a reason for requesting review on the request form.
If granted, the requested change could make a significant difference in children’s lives.
When can child support orders be changed?
Child support orders cannot be changed on a whim or because a court thinks “the time is right.” It must be based on evidence showing that there is a good reason for making the change. In general, requests to review child support may be filed after three years have passed since the original child support order was established. This usually requires a person who wants to make the change to show a changed circumstance. You must show that the facts that existed when the last order was entered have changed. In the many years that a child support order has been established, the circumstances of the parents may change many times. For example, in Virginia, If one parent’s income has changed (increased or decreased) by at least 25%, it is considered a change large enough to require a change in the support order. You can request an amendment before the three years are up or for a minor change in income, but you will need to show special circumstances to support the requested change and a change in support order is not necessarily guaranteed.
Circumstances that might warrant a change
You cannot request a child support modification simply because you think the other party is not paying enough. There must be evidence and justification to justify the change. Modifications can be made to increase or decrease the amount of child support. Some reasons that might warrant a change in child support include:
- A child becomes disabled or ill and requires additional care.
- Loss of a job or substantial loss of income by a parent.
- A new job or substantial raise by a parent.
If you need a Virginia Child Support attorney to help you with your Virginia Child Support case, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Virginia child support attorneys can help. C