Child support is a requirement for parents, whether they are together or not. Once a child support order is issued, the amount of support granted cannot be changed, unless a modification is requested and granted. In Rhode Island, there are specific reasons why a modification can be sought out and granted.
When can you request a child support order modification?
A parent cannot request a modification simply because they are unhappy with the amount of child support that had been ordered. For a request to be considered, the financial situation that was used to grant the original order must have changed significantly. Some of the changes that might be cited to request a modification include:
- A significant increase in a parent’s income due to a promotion or a new job
- A parent receiving an inheritance
- A significant decrease in a parent’s income due to switching to part-time work, involuntary unemployment or retirement
- A parent’s inability to pay support due to imprisonment
- A child’s new needs, such as those related to health or education
- A new child born to the parent paying support
Is a modification automatically granted?
A modification is not automatically granted when requested. The court must receive and review evidence of the change of situation. Additionally, there are reasons why a court might modify child support that are valid in some states and not in others. For example, some states do not consider imprisonment to be a valid reason to modify a support order as they see it as voluntary unemployment.
It is important to remember that neither parent can simply change the amount of child support because they feel it should be changed. Whether seeking an increase or a decrease in amount, the request must be officially made, and the amount can only change once the modification is granted.