Most people think of needing a Birmingham family law attorney when they are about to file for a divorce
And it's true that it's certainly important to secure solid legal representation before you even initiate divorce proceedings.
But you might find yourself needing the assistance of a family law firm long after the divorce order has been finalized, particularly if you and your ex share children. These are called "post-divorce actions."
One of the primary reasons is child support modification.
The court won't typically allow for a child support modification – unless there is some material change in circumstances that is both substantial and also continuing since the last order of child support. This kind of material change could involve any of the parties involved – either parent or the child.
That said, there are no hard-and-fast rules for when a modification will be awarded and when it will be denied. That means a lot of is going to depend on the strength of the argument presented by your attorney – so the person you choose to represent you may have a great deal of influence on the outcome.
Just to give you an idea, though, here are some general reasons that would the court would grant a review of the current child support order:
- The parent who is paying the child support has been spending more time with the child. This might in turn lower the amount of support being provided to the parent who is on the receiving end.
- The parent who is paying child support has been earning more money. This could result in an increase of support payments to the receiving parent.
- The parent who is paying the child support has encountered a severe financial hardship. Some examples of this might be if he sustained a serious injury that rendered him unable to work or if he suffered a major illness resulting in astronomical health care expenses that left little left over. Any situation like this might be grounds to have the support payments lowered.
- The parent who is receiving the child support has had a change of income. That could be the result of a remarriage or a job promotion or it could be the result of a job loss or health issue. Depending on the circumstances, an increase or decrease could be warranted.
- There are some extraordinary costs for transportation for visitation purposes that are being substantially shouldered by one of the parents. For example, if your ex moved with your children out of state and you now must pay the cost for flights every time you wish to see them, that could factor into decreasing the support payments.
- Your child has a medical emergency or becomes disabled or requires some level of extra care that makes the current level of support inadequate.
- The passage of time. The cost of living may increase over the years. So too does the cost of raising a child as he or she gets older. If you can prove that the changes have been significant, you may be entitled to an increase in support.
Note that these are not the only reasons why the court would consider a modification, so if your situation varies somewhat, it's certainly worth it to discuss your options with an attorney.
If you are contemplating a divorce in Birmingham, contact Birmingham Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.
Rule 32, Child Support Guidelines, Effective Oct. 4, 1993, Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration, www.alacourt.gov