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Cunningham Law Office
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Can your child support obligation be modified?

When you and your spouse choose to get a divorce in Missoula, you may naturally expect to have to pay child support. Like most parents, you probably have no issue with supporting your children financially, yet at the same time, you do not want your child support obligation to become a prohibitive expense. That might happen if your financial circumstances take a turn for the worse after your children support agreement has gone into effect. What should you do, then, if this happens? 

You do not want to miss any payments. Having child support arrears could put you in jeopardy of having your wages garnished or even being jailed. On top of that, your ex-spouse could use the fact that you have missed child support payments against you in an attempt to limit your custody. Rather than missing a payment, your best course of action is to inform of the court of your situation and seek a modification of your existing order. 

Per Section 37.62.2103 of the Administrative Rules of Montana, the court will consider a child support modification if you are able to show that one of the following changes has occurred: 

  • A decrease of at least 30 percent in your income
  • The adoption, emancipation or death of one your children (where you have multiple children subject to the same obligation)
  • A permanent move of one of your children between yours and your ex-spouse's home
  • One or more of your children developing special needs
  • Evidence arising showing that your original child support order was made without referencing the state's mandated guidelines

Conversely, if your ex-spouse experiences an increase in their income by more than 30 percent, you can petition that their child support payment be raised to reflect their new circumstances. 

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Cunningham Law Office is a family law-focused firm in Missoula, Montana. We serve Missoula, Ravalli County, and the surrounding area.