Either parent has the opportunity to seek a modification of child support following the issuance of a final divorce decree. The threshold for seeking that modification involves demonstrating that there’s been what’s known as a significant or substantial change in circumstance.
And the statutes on this are very clear that there needs to be a significant increase or decrease in the amount of support that’s actually paid in order to justify taking the court’s time to modify it. That burden or that… We’ll just stop at the to modify it, and I’ll just pick up right there.
The specifics of that substantial change in circumstance involve two numbers that have to be met. There needs to be at least a 20% differential between the amount of support that’s currently being paid, and the amount of support that would be paid if the modification were granted.
In addition, that 20% must equate to at least $75 per month. Once those two numbers are established, you’re free to petition the district court for the modification.
Quite often what happens is that a child support magistrate rather than a district court judge will get involved. A magistrate is really someone who is hired by the state to entertain solely child support modification requests.
That process tends to be more straightforward than district court and a lot more user friendly. Once the magistrate has a chance to meet with the litigants and understand all of the underlying financial information, there will be a brief hearing where questions will be answered both among the litigants as well as by the court, and then shortly thereafter, a written decision of the magistrate will follow.