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When Can I Ask the RI Family Court to Modify My Child Support?

Child support is one of those family law issues that often stirs up acrimony between the two parents. The paying parent often resents handing over that check each month, feeling as if they are “supporting” their ex’s lifestyle and the receiving parent often feels that monthly amount doesn’t even come close to covering the costs of raising a child.

Family judges may also find it a tricky issue to get right. On one hand, the courts strive to provide custodial parents and their children with enough to get by on in addition to any income of the custodial parent, and on the other hand, the court cannot put the noncustodial parent into financial ruin by ordering too great of child support payments.

Either parent has a right to request the court review the original order every three years to see if there have been any changes that could warrant a modification in the amount of support being paid.

However, there are situations that arise before that three-year expiration period that could also indicate a change in the support amount should be made. Whether the original support order was adequate or not, custodial parents do have the right to seek modification when circumstances have changed significantly and for the foreseeable future.

A Rhode Island family law attorney can provide information on how to proceed with a child support modification. The following are some of the common reasons why a parent may seek modification.

Cost of Living Increases

According to national statistics, the cost of living in Rhode Island is 10 percent higher than the national average. In fact, just a couple of years ago, Rhode Island was named the ninth most expensive state to live in by CNBC's the America’s Top States for Business study. The study used cost of living as one of their key categories of competitiveness.

These statistics may be no surprise to a single parent who is struggling to pay mortgage or rent, put food on the table, pay for utilities, pay for childcare, and save for the future. As a custodial parent’s cost of living increases and is beyond their control, they may seek a modification of child support to help make up the difference.

Medical Issues Arise

A tragic disease, accidental injury, or other serious medical problem can quickly balloon out of control for custodial parents relying on support payments that are simply not enough. The cost of medical care is rising rapidly, and even for children with insurance, medication, and treatment can cost an astronomical amount. It is the responsibility of both parents to provide health insurance in the state of Rhode Island, and it should be the responsibility of both to take care of out-of-pocket medical expenses, as well, when their child gets sick or injured.

Change in Income for Either Parent

Whether the custodial parent lost a job or had to take on a lower-paying position, or the noncustodial parent got a raise or a higher paying job, there is reason to seek a support modification. Child support is based on both parent’s incomes, and a significant change in either is grounds for a modification. The court’s position is that noncustodial parents should not be able to pocket their extra income while their child and the custodial parent continue to count pennies.

Contact a Rhode Island Child Support Attorney for Legal Assistance

The dedicated Rhode Island family lawyers at our firm have vast experience dealing with all types of child support cases can scenarios. We can help you modify the support your child receives to accurately reflect their needs. Call Kirshenbaum Law Associates at 401-467-5300 for a confidential consultation.