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When can parents get child support modifications?

In North Dakota, child support modifications are not always the easiest thing for a parent to obtain in court. Moreover, there are consequences for seeking a modification and not getting one. Parents will generally need a strong reason if they hope to succeed in changing the child support order.

One of the major misconceptions that many parents have is that any change in income or circumstances can lead to a modification. There needs to be a significant change in income to merit a modification. Each state has its own threshold for what is considered significant, but a regular annual raise would usually not be enough. The same thing goes for when a parent experiences a drop in income. They would usually request a modification when they lose their job.

Parents should go first to the Office of Child Support Enforcement when they want to modify child support. They can request a modification every 18 months in North Dakota. If they try and fail, they cannot ask for another change for another 18 months. This means that parents need to show good judgement about when to begin the process. The state will then request income information in order to see if there has been a substantial change. If that threshold is met, the state will make a new child support calculation. However, parents have the right to challenge the findings in court.

Child support modification issues can make a big difference in each parent’s bottom line. Many parents simply cannot afford to lose when a modification is at stake. A child support attorney may help their client make their case to the state and the court about whether the modification should be granted. Often, the issue is not as clear-cut as looking at pay stubs, so an attorney may help present their client’s case.