If you have lost your job or experienced a cut in hours, you may be struggling to pay your existing child support order. Still, because you have a legal obligation to pay child support, failing to pay has some serious consequences.
Rather than letting your support obligation go into arrears, you may want to seek a modification of your support order. Indiana law allows either the paying or receiving parent to pursue a modification in two situations.
A substantial and continuing change in circumstances
When the judge ordered you to pay child support, her or she considered the best interests of your child. Now, though, circumstances may be considerably different than they were when the judge made his or her order.
A substantial and continuing change in circumstances is sufficient for petitioning the court to alter your support obligation. Changes to any of the following are likely substantial:
- Either parent’s employment or income
- Either parent’s family composition
- The child’s needs
Because Indiana law requires changes to be both substantial and ongoing, temporary changes may not be enough to request a child support modification.
The passage of at least a year’s time
Even if there is no substantial and ongoing change of circumstances, you can ask the court to revisit your support obligation after 12 months have passed since your initial order or last modification.
To go this route, you must demonstrate the child support guidelines would now result in at least a 20 percent deviation from your existing support order.
If enough time has passed or you have a qualifying change in circumstances, asking the court to modify your child support order is probably a better alternative to missing child support payments.