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Can I modify my child support?

Imagine you have a $1,200 child support bill you need to pay each month. Your child support costs are higher than average, but because your income is higher than average, it's not a problem for you to provide a high level of life to your children.

The problem is, last month you suffered a massive heart attack. Now, you can't work, your income has all but disappeared, and there's no way you can pay $1,200 a month to your ex and your children. Can you modify your child support order or child support agreement to make it more affordable?

Circumstances that allow a child support modification

Virginia courts will usually grant a request to modify a child support order in the event of a significant and permanent change in your circumstances. For example, if you get a raise in income at work, the court might require you to increase your child support obligations. Conversely, if you suffer a dramatic decrease in income, the court might allow for a reduction in your child support obligations.

Courts may also grant a modification in the event of serious illness. If you suffer a heart attack and can't earn an income because you're medically disabled, this could be sufficient grounds to alter your child support payments.

Do I have to apply to the court for a modification?

Some parents may have a cost of living adjustment included in their child support order or child support agreement. This allows for the automatic adjustment of one's support obligations from year to year according to your income. This would prevent you from needing to file a request to a judge.

Additionally, you might be able to reach an out-of-court agreement with your ex-spouse to change your child support obligations. A judge would need to approve the change, but an out-of-court agreement like this could save you time and money.

Get legal help to apply for a child support modification

A Virginia family law attorney can review the facts surrounding your current income and life situation to determine if you may qualify for a modification in child support obligations. Your lawyer can help you consider your options and what legal strategies may result in the approval of your request.

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