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Has something impeded your ability to pay child support?

Like many North Dakota parents, you may have felt relieved when the court handed down your child-support ruling because you then had a set plan and could move on in life without a court battle. Hopefully, you understood the fact that the court was legally binding you to the order, meaning you had a legal obligation to fulfill it.  

Life rarely remains the same for very long, however. Perhaps your income may change, or your boss asks you to relocate. That could land you in a new location where the cost of living is significantly higher than where you lived when the court determined your child support payments. It's often possible to seek modification of a court order, provided you have just grounds to do so. It's helpful to tap into support resources to guide you through the modification process, and it can be stressful. 

What to do if you need to lower your payments 

The fact that you think your spouse spends money frivolously and could have more than enough to provide for your children's needs were it not for lavish expenditures is not necessarily a legally valid reason to request modification of your child support order. The following list includes practical tips that may apply to your situation: 

  • Seek clarification of North Dakota child support laws to learn more about what types of reasons are valid grounds for requesting a change in your child support order. 
  • It's best not to procrastinate. If you know your life situation is about to change and that it will no longer be feasible for you to make your current payments, you should notify the proper officials. 
  • Unless the court grants a modification, you're still legally bound to adhere to your existing court order. 
  • If you stop making payments, not only might you face serious legal repercussions, the state will keep a log of the unpaid balance, and you will face payment through arrears at a later date.  
  • The other parent must agree to your request to modify your child support payments.  
  • Prepare to show proof of need, meaning any documentation that serves as evidence of your change in circumstances and need for lower payments.  
  • If you submit a request for modification, you should do so in the same court that initially issued the child support order.  

As a conscientious parent, you have no qualms about paying child support. You want to financially provide for your kids even though you and their other parent are no longer in a marriage together. Facing a financial crisis or serious need does not mean you are trying to escape your duties, only that you have run into some hard times and need a bit of reprieve until you get back on your feet. In many North Dakota situations, the court deems such requests as reasonable.

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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