Whether a child’s parents are married, divorced, or unmarried, the child is entitled to financial support from both of them. In the case of divorced or unmarried parents, this usually comes in the form of court-ordered child support that one parent pays to the other for the purpose of providing for the child’s needs. The amount ordered depends on a variety of factors, but the most important are the income of the paying parent and the placement schedule of the child or children. If a parent’s income changes after the initial child support order, it may be possible to ask that the order be reviewed and modified to account for the current circumstances.
When a Change in Income Can Affect Child Support
In the years after a divorce or child support order, it is common for parents to experience changes in income. This often comes in the form of a raise or promotion that could allow the parent to contribute a greater amount to child support; but decreases in income are also common due to unemployment or a disability that limits a parent’s earning capacity.
To account for these changes in cases where the payor of support has less than 92 overnights per year, Wisconsin courts will issue child support orders in which the payment amount is expressed as a percentage of the paying parent’s income. If the income increases or decreases, the payment amount may change, but the percentage remains the same.
However, if the parties are exercising a shared placement schedule where each parent exercises at least 92 overnights in a year, a change in income may qualify as a change in circumstances warranting a modification or revision. Parents have the option to work together to reach an agreement on the amount and file it with the court for approval, and they may seek the guidance of an attorney or assistance from a child support agency. If they are not able to reach an agreement, either parent can file a petition with the court and attend a hearing where the parent and their attorney can present their case.
In addition to a change in income, the court may consider some other situations as a substantial change in circumstances and a valid reason to review a child support order. These include:
- A change in the child’s physical placement arrangement
- A change in the child’s needs, perhaps related to their health or education
- The passing of two years since the initial order or any past modification
Contact a Waukesha County Child Support Lawyer
If you believe you have a case for the modification of your child support order, the Milwaukee family law attorneys at Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP can review your case, advise you of your options, and represent you in any legal proceedings. For a free consultation, contact us at 414-271-1440 today.