After getting divorced, a parent in Pennsylvania may be mandated to pay child support to his or her ex-spouse. However, there are circumstances in which the amount paid may be modified by the court after an individual files a formal motion requesting a modification. A modification may be granted if there is a substantial change in a child’s needs or if the person who is paying support experiences a significant change in income.
Requesting an increase
If the paying parent’s income increases substantially, or a child’s needs for necessities, such as health care or education, become much more expensive, the other parent may want to request a modification. People should not go to court for minor changes in the income of the other parent, such as a cost-of-living increase. Modification requests should be limited to times when there needs to be a large change.
Requesting a decrease
Someone who is paying child support and loses his or her job or experiences a drop in income for another reason may want to request a modification from the court. That parent will most likely be required to submit proof of his or her change in income, and the court will determine whether it is enough to constitute a modification.
Parents may agree between themselves that a support modification is appropriate, but it is necessary to go through the family law system to get the amount changed officially. It is advisable to follow through with the legal changes since they provide protection in case one person does not stick to the agreement. If a parent needs to have the amount of custody he or she pays reduced and starts paying less, the state will still consider that person in arrears until a modification is approved. If a parent agrees to pay more, but there is no formal paperwork in place, there may be no recourse if that individual stops paying. An attorney may be able to assist with a modification.