It isn’t uncommon for one parent or the other to eventually realize that the child support arrangement just isn’t working anymore. Life circumstances change, and a parent may request modification for a variety of reasons, including decrease in income level, unexpected illness or injury, or a change in parenting schedule. A parent may try to negotiate the adjustment directly with the other parent first, to hopefully avoid attending court over the matter.
Parents who want help preparing for such a conversation, can consult with a family lawyer. They can understand how this may be both an emotionally and financially difficult time for you. Here we have listed just a few tips to assist in you successfully negotiating a child support modification:
#1 Inquire About State Requirements
Talk with your attorney about child support laws for your state. It is important to understand what the court may decide if you and your former partner cannot resolve the discussion yourselves. By going over the regulations and statutes for child support, it can help you see what are realistic outcomes. Laws may vary by state and by doing your research then sharing it with the other parent, it can increase your chances of an agreement. In some cases, your former partner may be resistant to change no matter what, and so then filing a petition to the court for modification is needed.
#2 Collect Useful Financial Records
Before you start negotiating child support amounts with the other parent, it may be a good idea to collect all financial paperwork that supports your claims. If you were to attend a court hearing over the child support modification, the judge may request to see copies of your paychecks and bank statements, in addition to tax returns for the past couple years. If you are unsure what other documentation to obtain, an attorney can help guide you through the process.
#3 Prepare Child Support Paperwork Beforehand
It may help convince the other parent to agree to the adjustment if you have already prepared paperwork for the change, and present that during your negotiation. This can make it easier for the other parent to see your request laid out, and he or she won’t have the burden of creating the document themselves.
#4 Don’t Forget About Additional Expenses
When discussing changes in child support payments, don’t forget to calculate how much you have paid in other expenses related to your child. Provide receipts of costs that were on top of your already scheduled child support payments, such as health insurance, dentist visits, and medication. Depending on the rules for your state, you may receive a credit for these amounts when child support is calculated. Receipts for these extra bills can be useful when bargaining with the other parent about making changes too.
Parents who want to negotiate terms of child support can increase their effectiveness by getting assistance from an attorney. They can answer any questions or concerns you have, and inform you about state laws before finalizing the adjustment. Call a law office to schedule your no-obligation consultation.