Once the divorce process is finalized, most people in Pennsylvania are ready to put the whole thing behind them. However, for those who have children, there is a chance that life changes will also necessitate changes for their custody or support orders. For example, something as seemingly minor as a job change could mean that it is time to modify a child support order.
When to seek a modification
In general, it is necessary to modify a support order when there is any type of significant financial change. What that change is will differ depending on the situation. In addition to things like job changes, a modification might also be in order depending on:
- A change in a child’s needs
- Higher costs of living
- Parental unemployment
- Parental incarceration
- If one parent remarries
Child support modifications do not apply retroactively. This means that if one parent loses his or her job and is no longer able to make monthly support payments, it is important to seek a modification as soon as possible. Verbal agreements between two parents are not a replacement for a modification either. It is possible for parents to agree on a lower amount in writing and to petition the court for its approval, though.
Ensuring that a child is both emotionally and financially supported after a divorce should be a priority for all parents in Pennsylvania. Having solid child custody and child support orders in place by the time a divorce is finalized are great ways to accomplish this. However, when circumstances change it is often necessary to modify an order to better reflect a parent’s financial situation.