Child support is often a divisive issue in modern Massachusetts divorces. The parent receiving support on behalf of the children probably feels like the amount they get doesn’t come anywhere close to covering the costs incurred by the children, while the parent paying the support may feel like an unfair percentage of their income from each paycheck goes to support.
Given that unhappiness with the terms of child support is common, attempts to change or modify child support are also quite common in Massachusetts. Familiarize yourself with the reasons people seek support modifications to determine if you may qualify for a change in support.
One spouse has a substantial change in income
The income of both parents affects how much child support the courts order. If the spouse paying support earns multiple times more than what the other spouse does, that discrepancy in income can mean the high-earning parent pays more support to help ensure a consistent standard of living for the children.
If the spouse paying support loses their job or otherwise experiences a drastic downturn in how much money they earn, they may have to ask for a reduction in their child support. The parent paying support could also request a reduction if they learn that their ex has taken a new job and makes far more money than they used to.
The parent receiving support could ask for an increase in support payments if their income decreases or the income of their ex goes up substantially. If costs the children incur, such as childcare expenses, have gone up, that could also be a reason to request an increase in the support paid.
Generally speaking, the courts want to see a provable change in financial circumstances before they will grant a modification hearing. However, provided you can show that financial circumstances have changed since the time the courts ordered support, you likely have grounds to request a hearing and potentially security change to the amount of child support you pay or receive.