When parents in Michigan get divorced, they may reach an agreement regarding how much child support one person, usually the noncustodial parent, pays the other, usually the custodial parent. However, over the years, there may be circumstances in which it is necessary to change the child support amount.

Asking for a modification

Parents should go through the court system to request a modification in child support. The parent who pays support may request that the support be decreased if he or she begins earning less money. If the child’s financial needs significantly increase, the parent who receives support may request an increase. While people need to go to court to make any modifications, it is important that they only do so when the change is necessary. For example, if the paying parent receives a small cost of living raise, this is probably not enough to warrant an increase in child support.

Reasons for an increase or decrease

If a child develops a costly medical condition, the parent who receives support may need to request more money. A substantial increase in education costs may be another reason to ask for more support. If the paying parent loses his or her job or experiences a decrease in income for another reason, that individual may want to ask for a reduction in his or her child support payment. The court may require proof of income, and the court may deny a downward modification of support if the court believes that the reduction in income is not a substantial one.

Parents who need a modification or are trying to stop one from happening should speak with an attorney to discuss how to proceed. Even if the parents have come to an informal agreement about the need for a modification, they should still go through the official channels to make the modification legally binding. This protects the parents and the children. A person who begins paying less in child support will continue to owe the same amount until a family law court approves a modification, even if the parents already informally agreed that the payment should be reduced.