Child support from a parent who has fluctuating income

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2022 | Divorce |

When you and your spouse divorced, you expected your child’s other parent to pay child support and it was even granted by a judge. The only problem, however, is that your ex-spouse has a fluctuating income. Maybe it’s because they work off of commissions, they’ve recently changed jobs or they were recently laid off, for example.

Child support fluctuates all the time for many parents, but that can be a problem when they’re trying to provide the best for their children and desperately need financial support. You may be able to contact a court to make child support modifications. A court won’t make just any change to a child support agreement.

Here’s what you should know:

Presenting evidence for a child support modification

The court will want to know why a child support agreement needs to be altered. If you just demand a new child support arrangement, then you likely won’t get far. Instead, the court will likely have to examine the cause for the fluctuating income and adjust the support given.

First, the court will likely review the income of the party who’s paying the child support. To calculate child support, the court may look at the paying parent’s overall income on a weekly and monthly basis. If there’s a 15% or more income change since the last calculated income, then the court may call for an alteration.

Alternatively, if a parent is requesting to alter a child custody arrangement and it’s been less than three years since the last alteration, then the court will need to find a substantial change in circumstances in the paying parent’s income. The following are three substantial changes in circumstance that may warrant a change in child support:

  • A parent’s income dramatically decreased involuntarily
  • A parent voluntarily decreased their income
  • A parent was incarcerated, thus losing their job

The court, typically, won’t make changes to a child support order within three years of its last modification without finding a substantial change in circumstances.

Having child support may be crucial for your child’s development and well-being. If you find your ex-spouse hasn’t been keeping constant payments, then you may need to know your legal options.