Courts make determinations about child support based on the circumstances of both parents and the needs of the children at the time that judges or magistrates make their rulings. If circumstances or needs change over time, a court may be willing to grant a modification.
In order to successfully make a petition to modify child support, parents must demonstrate that there has been a material change. Here are some situations that may entitle a parent to a modification.
Change in income
In Virginia, both parents’ income are part of a court’s calculation about child support. When one or both parents’ income changes significantly, a court may recalculate payment obligations.
How much time children spend in the care of each parent is a big factor in child support determinations. Changing a custody arrangement may call for a reevaluation of a child support schedule.
An increase in necessary expenses may merit a modification. For example, a considerable increase in the cost of health insurance premiums may entitle a parent to additional support to help pay for them. Likewise, other medical or dental expenses may necessitate an increase in support.
In general, courts will not modify child support orders retroactively. It is important that parents do not delay in seeking a modification because it will not affect prior payments. Also, even when parents mutually agree to a change, they must seek a judicial modification. Child support obligations are court orders, so any deviation from a prior order may result in a violation that could affect a person’s parental rights.