How to Get a Child Support Agreement Modified

It's never easy to ensure that children are suitably cared for in the event of their parent's separation. In fact, it can take quite a while to make sure that proper arrangements are made for their financial future and that the parent charged with the main responsibility of looking after them has the right amount of cash to do so. Initially, this may cause both parties to sign a binding support agreement, but sometimes circumstances change in the years ahead. Can these agreements be modified in this case and if so what are the provisions?

Three Reasons

Usually, a court is reluctant to set aside an existing child support agreement but will consider this if a suitable argument is put before them in one of three areas. The first thing they will look at is whether an existing order can be simply upgraded to a new one with both parties in agreement. If not, will both parties voluntarily agree to terminate the original agreement? If none of these scenarios work, a family court could make their own order to strike it down.

New Information

This latter situation is only used in limited circumstances. For example, it could be subsequently discovered that the right amount of information was not provided, either through mistake or fraud and that this new information has proved material. It's also possible that circumstances have simply changed and that one or other of the parties is no longer able to provide the support or service called for in the initial agreement.

Significant Circumstantial Change

On many occasions, a dispute may subsequently arise about child support provided by (typically) the father. A certain amount will have been decided at the time based on the precise circumstances at that moment. Now, however, perhaps the mother has decided to move out of state with the children. In this case, the court could decide that the amount the father was initially required to pay is no longer fair and equitable and may side with him in getting the agreement overturned.

More often, individual financial circumstances change and perhaps one of the providers lost their jobs. In this case, it would be unfair to expect them to contribute the same amount of money, but the court will always want to see that the new circumstances were caused as a result of circumstances beyond their control.

Getting Clarity

Many different factors can come into the equation when considering the provision of a child support agreement. For this reason, it's best to talk with an attorney who specialises in this area of family law.