After the dust settles on a divorce, it can take some time for parents to get the hang of sharing custody and child-rearing responsibilities and privileges. While some parents handle the transition better than others, it is very common for divorced parents to have numerous conflicts as they rear their children together, especially when it comes to child support.
Typically, courts do not allow parents to determine their own child support obligations. Some parents feel as though they get stuck with an unfair financial burden they cannot sustain. They may feel that they bear too much of the financial responsibility for raising the kids and want the other parent to contribute more to help cover the children's expenses.
In these instances and similar others, parents may find the relief they need by petitioning the court to grant them a child support modification. If you suspect that you might benefit from a modification, be sure that you pursue it the proper way. This allows you to avoid potential conflicts with the court and to protect your rights and the best interests of your child.
Seeking official modifications
Some parents may think that it is fine to simply communicate to the other parent that they cannot pay their full child support obligation for a period of time. Alternatively, they might need more support than the court ordered the other parent to pay. If two parents have a very strong relationship and neither parent is likely to get the law involved, this may have merit, but it is much riskier than you might realize.
A parent who does not hold up his or her end of a child support agreement is technically breaking the law, even if it is situational and beyond the parent's control. If you have a casual agreement with your child's other parent, he or she may use any underpayments against you in the future. This could potentially result in nonsupport charges filed against you.
It is much wiser to go to the court and make the case for why it should modify your child support order. While this aspect of the process does take longer than a handshake deal with your ex, it is much safer and legally defensible. If you pursue modification through proper channels, then you have much less to fear if things take a turn for the worse in your relationship with your ex.
Protecting your rights and future
Seeking a modification through the court may resize your obligation to something you can afford, while ensuring that your difficulties don't needlessly harm your relationship with your child. Protect your rights as a parent now by using the court to preserve your parenting and personal rights while also providing you with the relief that you need.