When a couple has a child in North Dakota and divorces, there will be a child support order. In general, the noncustodial parent will pay support to the custodial parent so the child can be properly cared for. The amount in the order will be based on the state’s child support guidelines. Earnings are critical when determining how much the support order will be. There are other factors that will be considered in addition to income. Many people might be under the impression that once the order is made, it cannot be changed. That, however, is not the case. A modification is possible if the circumstances warrant it.
The modification will not be done automatically. There must be a court order to make a change just as there was a court order for the original amount. A review will be conducted every 18 months. This is 18 months from the order, the previous review or the previous change. It is done when one of the parents is getting Full Services from state. Exceptions to the rule that it will be done every 18 months include there being zero dollars awarded or if a parent who is ordered to pay begins receiving Supplemental Security Income or other disability after the order. Either parent can ask for a review.
There are certain forms that must be filled out for various circumstances. If, for example, there is split custody or the parent paying support wants the review, a financial affidavit and contact information form must be filled out. Reviews will sometimes be done even if neither parent has asked for it. Income is the main factor in determining child support. The child support guidelines must be used to come to the determination in any child support order. Once the review is completed, the parents will be informed and can agree or disagree with the decision. If parents take the action privately and there are no exceptions, they can request a review before 18 months have elapsed.
Child support can be a complex matter especially when a parent wants a modification to the order. Employment issues, the child’s needs changing and other factors can make a modification possible based on the guidelines. From either parent’s perspective, it is important to have legal advice when seeking a child support modification. Calling a law firm that helps parents with their family law matters is essential.