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Can a parent have child support orders modified?

Some areas of life are always changing, while other areas seem to stay the same. Your relationship with your child's parent may have changed, but as a parent, you continue to have a responsibility to support your child. Depending on your situation, this support may be partially in the form of child support payments.

However, your child support obligation could change as time goes on. As your life, your child's life and your ex-spouse's life change, it may be reasonable to petition the court to modify your child support obligation.

When is it appropriate to seek a modification?

Pennsylvania's child support guidelines are designed to ensure children with unmarried parents receive the same amount of support from their parents as they would have if their parents were married. Child support payments are intended to help cover expenses associated with the child's basic needs, such as food and clothing.

The amount of support a court orders a parent to pay depends on several factors. These factors include the child's need, each parent's ability to provide support and the amount of time the child spends with each parent. If circumstances change substantially, you may pursue a modification to your child support orders.

It may be reasonable to petition for a modification if:

  • Either parent takes a job that earns significantly more or less income than their previous job
  • Either parent gains additional sources of income
  • The child custody arrangement changes
  • Child care costs increase
  • The cost of the child's medical coverage increases
  • The child is emancipated
  • Child support guidelines are revised
  • Parents have reached an agreement regarding child support

There are many reasonable reasons why a parent may want to modify his or her child support obligation. However, it can be important to avoid implementing any changes to your child support payments until a court has formally recognized those changes. A legal misstep could have serious consequences.

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