Child support serves as the ongoing financial support provided by one parent to their child. This monetary continuous, periodic payment is given to help cover the child’s cost of living. The Court issues this order. However, there are certain situations or circumstances when a custodial parent, the parent having custody of the child, may petition the Court to modify the child support order.
However, as discussed below, modification of child support order is not necessarily an easy feat. The modification is subject to specific criteria and review before the Court issues a change in the existing child support order.
What is Child Support Modification?
Child support modification refers to the change of the previously established child support order by the Court. This modification is within the discretion of the Court. Moreover, each petition by the custodial parent to seek a change of the child support order must fulfill one of the criteria listed below for the Court to issue a modification.
What Are The Criteria To Seek Child Support Modification?
In Louisiana, either parent can file a request from the Court to modify child support provided that it fits one of the following conditions:
- The child support order was established or been last modified more than three years ago; or
- There is at least a 25% difference between the monthly amount of the child support order and the child support guidelines; or
- There is a material and substantial change in circumstances since the child support order was last established.
Can I Ask For a Modification of Child Support If My Ex Gets a Raise or Change Jobs?
As noted above, a modification of child support in Louisiana must meet certain conditions to be valid. A requirement to modify child support applies if there is a material and substantial change in the circumstances, and a change of employment or income may fit in this category.
This change in income must be substantial and material concerning the child’s expenses and cost of living. Although the law doesn’t list the exact threshold or amount, the reviewing body assesses all information to the case to determine whether substantial and material change applies. They look into the totality of the matter by calculating if the increase in income and other work-related benefits of one parent could alter the child’s way of life.
How Do I Ask for A Modification In Child Support?
It requires a court order to modify child support. If the child support was set in a lawsuit between the parents, one of the parents will need to file a motion into that proceeding to ask the Court to reconsider the amounts and issue a new order. If the child support proceeding was originally initiated by the Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS), then DCFS can conduct a review of the modification of child support requests. If DCFS has determines that the proposal to modify the existing child support order is valid, then it can request the Court to issue the modification.
Generally, a review of the DCFS is only required if one of the parents applies for public assistance. The state would assess why public help is needed and why the other parent is not paying or providing insufficient child support. In these situations, a parent can request a review of your active child support case through DCFS by filing an online request through their website, call their offices, mail in a formal request, or contact your worker through the CAFE Self Service Portal.
Once the request for review has been filed, the following documents are needed within 30 days to process your request:
- Your income, which includes written proof of current wages and most recent federal income tax return;
- The claim of other’s parent’s substantial increase in income;
- Child care costs, including, but not limited to, housing and food; and
- Any other expenses incurred by the child may include health insurance and additional medical-related costs, education-related expenses, and transportation expenses.
After the review has been concluded and established that there is a valid basis to modify the current child support order, the Court can rule on the modification request.
However, if none of the parents applies or is receiving public assistance, then a parent can directly file with the Court for a motion to modify child support.
In Louisiana, all requests for child support modification must be made through the court systems even if both parents agree with the changes.
It is also important to note that Louisiana Revised Statutes 9:311 states that a petitioner filing a frivolous claim to modify child support may be ordered by the Court to pay all court costs and reasonable attorney fees of the other party. Therefore, it is crucial to seek the assistance of a dependable family attorney to guide you with this claim.
Louisiana child support guidelines, including modification of child support orders, are complex and technical. Seeking the representation of a highly experienced family attorney is recommended to help you navigate through this process. If you need to file or defend a claim for a modification of a child support claim, please give us a call (225) 963-9638, or you can click here to contact us about a free consultation. Our highly experienced family law attorneys can help you assess your case and represent your and your child’s interests.