When a couple with children gets divorced, child support is a big part of the discussion and the decree. But that discussion can, and often does, continue even after the decree is entered.
A lot of that has to do with a person’s ability to pay the court-ordered child support as his or her circumstances change and income fluctuates. After all, people change jobs or might even become unemployed for a while. In some cases, parents don’t realize that the state is looking to get money from them for what might be previously owed.
Typically, modifications can be determined three years after the initial decree is signed, and in three-year increments after that. However, if circumstances change for the person paying child support–changing employment or becoming responsible for another child are the two main ones–a review can be requested and a modification can then be made.
There are a few different ways to reconcile child support issues. It’s certainly possible to go to court and argue it before a judge. It’s also possible to engage in what’s called the Child Support Review Process. This typically happens in an Office of the Attorney General’s Child Support Division Satellite Office, and involves parents agreeing on an amount in a conference with an OAG Child Support Officer, and then that agreement is taken to a judge to sign. My colleague (and wife) Durime Fahim recently wrote a blog article explaining the process–which included information about how a lawyer can help that process along.
It is also possible to use a lawyer to help file an agreement between the parents. If a couple can agree on a modification without using either the courts or the OAG, it can be more expeditious to use our Limited Scope services to draft and submit the modifications.
While some couples do need the courts or the OAG negotiation conferences to come to agreement, they also have to do so on those agencies’ schedules. Both the courts and OAG offices are overloaded with cases, and may need weeks or even months to get a couple on the schedule.
If you are looking for a child support modification, or you have an ex-spouse who is seeking modification, it can help to talk to one of the experienced family lawyers at the Law Office of Lisa Vance to know which option might be best for you, your timetable, and your situation.