While many couples emerge from the divorce process with clear terms and a positive direction, there are often unforeseen circumstances that can require the terms of an Alabama divorce to be reviewed and potentially altered based on individual circumstances. This is especially true in cases where children and child support are involved. Changes in individual circumstances, especially given uncertain economic times, are possible for anyone. Some of those changes may be significant enough to have at least a temporary impact on your Alabama child support terms, in which case it is possible for those terms to be modified.
Circumstances Where Child Support Can Be Modified
Alabama child support is designed to ensure that a child's best interests can be met by both parents sharing financial responsibility for a child's well-being. Once a child support payment arrangement has been ordered by the court, it is important that bot parties abide by the order. In cases where the paying spouse's income has increased dramatically, perhaps the result of a new job or promotion, a court might be willing to increase the amount of child support owed to ensure that the child benefits from this increased income. In an opposite situation, such as when a paying spouse involuntarily loses their job or receives a decrease in salary, a court may be willing to decrease the child support obligation until circumstances improve.
It is important to remember that defaulting on child support payments is a serious offense, and you may find yourself facing Alabama contempt charges for not complying with the terms of a child support order. If your circumstances have changed so that you can no longer afford current child support payments, you should seek legal assistance as soon as possible to avoid the potentially damaging consequences involved in child support default.
Process for Alabama Child Support Modification
As with many legal procedures, the process for modification of child support begins by filling out the appropriate paperwork. Either spouse may file a Form PS-02 Request to Change Child Support and Form CS-41 Child Support Obligation Income Statement/Affidavit, both of which are available through a court clerk or by clicking the links provided. Once a spouse has filled out this paperwork, they must deliver them to the court clerk in the same county in which their child support order was issued. You may also have to pay a filing fee if you don't qualify to have the fee waived. As this process can be time consuming and may sometimes involve lengthy travel requirements, it is important to make sure that all information provided on the forms is accurate and complete. A Birmingham child custody lawyer can help you with this process.
The other parent will be notified of your request to modify child support when the forms you file are delivered to them either through the mail or by a process server. A hearing on the matter will be scheduled where both parents will have an opportunity to present evidence that supports their position on the modification request. Your Birmingham child support lawyer can help you prepare for this hearing and give you more information on what you may need to bring. A judge will make a determination on the request after the hearing, usually within about 45 days.
Alabama Child Support Modification Assistance
A matter as important as your child's well-being should not be left up solely to the judicial system in the hopes that rights are protected and the best outcome is achieved. Child support is often a crucial way of supporting the needs and well-being of the children of divorces parents, and modification of a support order can have an extreme impact on the lives of everyone involved in the process. It is important to discuss potential modifications of child support agreements with an experienced Birmingham divorce lawyer that has worked with numerous clients on matters related to child support. Contact Eversole Law to schedule a consultation where you can find out more about whether or not a child support modification may be possible based on your individual circumstances as well as what that may mean for you and your children as you move forward.