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How Do Changes In Circumstances Impact Child Support Or Alimony?

After a divorce or separation, many couples must negotiate and reach an agreement on child support, alimony, or sometimes both. Once a court order is in place, there could be significant legal consequences for failing to uphold your obligations. In most cases, the child support or alimony court order will not expire until a child turns 18, someone passes away, or in some instances, the order may have a termination date. Reaching an agreement with an ex-partner can be grueling if disagreements lead to additional problems and long-term stress. The parties involved often have countless questions during the process and in the aftermath. One of the most common is how do changes in circumstances impact child support or alimony? Schedule an appointment with a seasoned family law lawyer at Colorado Divorce Law Group at 720-593-6442 for questions or help with your case.

Child Support and Alimony Determination

The family court determines child support and alimony amounts by reviewing finances and selecting payment amounts the individual can pay while also covering their expenses. However, life is full of many surprises, whether they are negative or positive. Circumstances change, and sometimes they can no longer afford the payments as the order requires. The court will consider various forms of income before they issue orders, including:

  • Employment income
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Social security income
  • Short and long-term disability benefits

When difficult situations arise that affect finances, there may be options to modify the orders. It is often an unpleasant jolt when someone realizes how fast they get in arrears for child support or alimony payments after losing their income. Therefore, it is vital to act quickly after significant life changes make it necessary to request a modification to decrease the court-ordered payment amounts.

Child Support Order Modifications After Changes in Circumstances

Family court judges follow specific statutory guidelines to determine child support payment amounts. According to theColorado Revised Statute § 14-10-115, they calculate child support by considering the gross income of both parents and each party’s separate obligations. If one or both people have other children outside of the relationship, they will also factor in expenses for that child.

An individual seeking a modification must provide evidence of an ongoing change in circumstances leading to a financial disparity of at least ten percent. There are various methods to modify the payments but showing a change in circumstances is the most straightforward and preferred choice for most. Acceptable circumstance changes to request a decrease in monthly payments include:

Involuntary Unemployment

People commonly lose their jobs for reasons outside their control, such as company layoffs for downsizing or going out of business. Involuntary unemployment may qualify the individual for a child support payment modification. However, it is essential to remember that the court does not consider quitting a job or termination for violating company policies as involuntary unemployment.

Significant and Ongoing Pay Reduction

Similar to involuntary unemployment, if an employer issues pay reductions outside of the individual’s control, they may be eligible to modify the court order. They must provide documentation to establish they received a significant pay cut, and that it is ongoing.

A Sudden Disability

An accident or illness leading to sudden disability is always stressful, especially when someone pays alimony or child support. In some cases, a disability may cause a reduction in hours or job duties and lower pay. Others may be unable to work altogether.

Providing evidence of a sudden disability to the court could be a valid cause for a child support payment modification. The first question many ask after a layoff or disability is, how do changes in circumstances impact child support or alimony? A compassionate family law attorney at Colorado Divorce Law Group could guide them through the child support or alimony order modification process.

The Requirements for Alimony Modification

Legislation regarding alimony after a divorce is clear that the payments must be reasonable and fair. The person responsible for making payments must also be able to cover their financial needs without struggling to find the funds. Per the Colorado Revised Statute § 14-10-11, the petitioner requesting a modification must establish that a change in financial circumstances is substantial and ongoing, making them incapable of making payments under the terms of the original order.

A Significant Increase in Former Partners Income

When an individual’s ex-spouse or partner receives a significant salary increase, the court may approve child support and alimony modifications. The family court has the authority to adjust and modify court orders. However, communication and cooperation are the best avenues for payment modification involving a former spouse’s salary increase.

If they approve the changes outside of court, it will save time, money, energy, and frustration for everyone involved. Family court judges always prefer seeing parents and former partners make genuine efforts to communicate and work together effectively. If an ex-spouse is unwilling to cooperate, filing a petition with the court is the last resort and may be necessary.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney for Help With Child Support or Alimony

Filing a request to modify a court order for child support or alimony will take place in the same family court that ordered the payments initially. Income calculations and the determination of approval are also similar. The entire process is often stressful for most, and hiring a knowledgeable and compassionate family law attorney could help significantly. They understand the process inside and out and could help navigate through the challenges while advocating on your behalf. They could also provide specific answers regarding the impact of changes in circumstances after a review of the case. If you face unexpected challenges and ongoing changes in circumstances, you are likely searching for every option and hoping for relief. Reach out to schedule a meeting for answers to all your questions, including how do changes in circumstances impact child support or alimony? Schedule a consultation with an experienced family law lawyer at the Colorado Divorce Law Group at 720-593-6442 today.