By: Alexis Doree |
HOW TO MODIFY YOUR CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATION
In North Dakota custody cases, generally, one party will have a child support obligation set in accordance with the North Dakota Child Support Guidelines. Modifying such an obligation is not always easy; however, it is possible. Here are a few popular misconceptions about modifying a child support obligation:
1. Modification is automatic. While a child support obligation can be amended, it is not automatic. The Court must order such a change. Typically, the Child Support Office will review the obligation every 36 months after the order was entered or 18 months since the order was entered, last reviewed, or amended when requested by the parent receiving Full Services. Keep in mind that there are some exceptions to this rule. The parties may also request a review by filling out a Request for a Review or by sending in a written request to the Child Support Office. When the review is finalized, the parties will receive notice of the results. The parties are given a chance to agree with the State’s child support proposal or contest the amount and appear at a hearing on the issue. A Court’s approval is required to finalize the order, even if both parties agree on the amount.
2. Child support cannot be amended within one year of its original order. The parties may request a review before one year if they take the action privately and if none of the exceptions apply. There are certain forms the party must file with the Court. If it has been less than one year since the order was entered, the requesting party must show that there has been a material change in circumstances. If it has been over one year since the entry of the order, the party need not show a change in circumstances. The child support amount is then calculated under the Guidelines.
3. Any change in income or circumstances warrants a modification. As discussed above, if a party requests a review within one year of the order’s entry, the moving party must prove that there has been a material change in the financial circumstances of the parties warranting a change in the amount of support. The Court defines a material change as a change that substantially affects the financial needs or abilities of the parties and that was not contemplated by the parties at the time of the original decree. The Court will determine whether a material change has occurred, the reasons for the change (i.e. whether it was voluntary or involuntary), and the extent to which the changes were thought about at the time of the original order.
4. A party can request a review whenever they want. It is important to note that if a party requests a review and fails, they cannot ask for another change within the next 12 months. Thus, parties must show good judgment in determining when to request a review as they only get one bite at the apple.
Navigating child support is no easy task. If you are considering requesting a review, it may be in your best interest to have an experienced family law attorney at your side.
Please contact Rosenquist Law Office at (701) 775-0654 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* The information contained in this article and on this website is for informational purposes only. This information is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as so.