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Kardos, Rickles & Hand Bucks County Divorce Attorney
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Montgomery County Child Support Modification Attorney

Whether we like it or not, families change constantly. That includes emotional and financial changes. Some children feel closer to certain parents at certain ages. And, most people change jobs frequently. As a result, it is a good idea to legally modify child support obligations at least once every three years. Self-help remedies are unavailable. As far as the court is concerned, the only enforceable obligation is the one in the most current paperwork.

The dedicated Montgomery County child support modification attorneys at Kardos, Rickles & Hand quickly evaluate your situation and determine if a motion to modify is appropriate. Income-based modifications are usually agreed and the discovery process is often brief. Emotional modifications might be more protracted, but the end result is usually the same. We work to ensure that the judge’s final ruling upholds the best interests of the children as well as your legal and financial rights.

Financial Changes

Most people change jobs frequently. These job changes almost always involve salary increases or decreases. Even if people stay put, their compensation usually changes at least once a year. Since Pennsylvania is an income share state, either the obligor’s or obligee’s income changes could support a successful motion to modify.

Not all income changes qualify. In general, the judge will consider modifying the obligation if the income change is:

  • Permanent: Self-employment income peaks and valleys do not normally justify changes. In these situations, the moving party must generally establish a pattern which has lasted at least six months.

  • Good Faith: People cannot leave high-paying jobs in order to reduce their child support obligations. People also cannot leave high-paying jobs to increase the other party’s payments. The same thing is true for spousal support payments.

  • Unanticipated: If the obligor was in law school at the time of divorce and gets a job as an attorney, that change is arguably not unanticipated. Ditto the obligee’s retirement. Of course, the facts determine the outcome.

Financial modification discovery could be rather straightforward. If both parties only have W-2 income, an exchange of paystubs might suffice. However, most people either freelance full time or have side hustles. In these cases, financial discovery usually involves extensive document reviews.

Moving parties must also establish a substantial change in circumstances. Generally, change is substantial if it is at least 10 percent different.

Emotional Changes

Roughly the same substantial change rule applies in emotional changes. If the overnight visitation schedule is at least 10 percent different, a modification might be in order.

The standard every other weekend/every other holiday distribution results in about a 75-35 division. An extra overnight or two several times a month is probably sufficient. For example, if the parents move from a standard weekend plan to an extended weekend plan (Thursday through Monday), the judge will almost certainly adjust the child support obligation appropriately.

Permanency is more difficult to establish. Typically, the moving parent must show at least a six month pattern. Generally, child support increases are retroactive to the date of the change. Child support decreases are normally not retroactive at all.

Contact a Diligent Attorney

Child support orders must be in the best interests of the children. For a confidential consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Montgomery County, contact Kardos, Rickles & Hand. Convenient payment plans are available.

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