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How can a child support order be modified?

Things change over the years for Detroit residents in many different areas of life. New jobs may be taken and new additions to the family are welcomed, for example, which leave a big impact on a person's financial, personal and family circumstances.

This is certainly the case with divorce, which involves significant family and financial changes. Of course, things will continue to change well after a divorce is finalized, which can call into question orders that were entered in the divorce.

For instance, a payor or recipient of child support may seek a modification of an existing child support order when circumstances change. Michigan law permits a person to file a motion for child support modification, but only when certain circumstances are present.

Often times, a modification is sought when there has been a change in the income of one of the parents. The custodial parent might have a decrease in income, for example, which may lead that parent to request an increase in child support from the other parent. Likewise, if the payor's income increases, the recipient may seek to have a greater share of that income applied to child support. On the other hand, if the payor loses a job or experiences a decrease in income, that person may seek to modify the child support order in light of the inability to satisfy the existing payments.

In order to warrant a modification, the person who files a motion with the court typically bears the burden of proving the change in the order is necessary. The party usually must demonstrate a change in circumstances exists that warrants altering the existing order, and it must demonstrate how the order should be changed. Accordingly, while it is possible to change the child support order, legal standards are in place that must be satisfied before the court will do so.

Source: Michigan Supreme Court, ">It's important to know your rights . . . concerning child support review and modification," accessed on Oct. 17, 2015

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