Children have a legal right to expect financial support from both their parents, and most parents willingly pay their obligations. Child support is usually based on a formula that considers the parents’ incomes, how many children require each parent’s support, the time each child spends with each parent, and other factors.
Many of these factors could change as time passes, and the changes might impact the child support calculation. Sometimes a parent might experience undue hardship if their child support obligation remains as ordered. In other cases, a parent’s financial situation might improve, leading to a higher payment.
If you are paying or receiving child support, our Ottawa child support modification lawyers could help you adjust a child support obligation to suit current circumstances. Because a revision to an existing agreement must typically be approved by a local judge, it is best to enlist the help of an experienced child support lawyer to assist with your case.
Federal guidelines determine the amount of support children should receive from their parents. When the parents or a court develop an original child support order or agreement, it reflects the facts existent at the time. If either parent experiences a significant change in circumstances that would alter the calculation, a modification might be appropriate.
If you or your co-parent experiences a substantial change in salary, the birth of another child, or a severe illness that affects the ability to work or requires ongoing medical care, a court might find child support modification is warranted. Similarly, child support modification might be appropriate to meet a child’s evolving educational, medical, psychological, or extracurricular needs. It may also be merited if custody arrangements change.
A knowledgeable child support modification lawyer in Ottawa could advise you about whether a given transition constitutes a material change in circumstances. If so, they could assist in seeking or defending a motion for a child support modification.
If you and your co-parent agree that a child support order requires modification, you could create a revised support order with the help of an Ottawa lawyer or a mediator. You could submit the revised agreement and the required forms to the Ottawa Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice.
A judge will review the proposed agreement to ensure that it meets the needs of the children. The judge could either approve it, request more information, or ask you and your co-parent to attend a hearing to discuss the proposed modification.
If one parent cares for the children at least 60 percent of the time, you could change a support agreement without working through the courts. If you both agree, you could handle a modification online through the Ministry of Attorney General website. You submit your updated information, and the government automatically calculates the new child support amount.
Although most families calculate child support based on the Federal Guidelines, that amount is not appropriate in all circumstances. Ontario law intends that children enjoy the same standard of living as they would if their parents resided together. If you and your co-parent’s households have disparate living standards, one of you could seek a modification based on undue hardship with evidence proving qualifying circumstances.
In addition to showing that the other parent enjoys a higher standard of living, a parent seeking modification based on undue hardship must prove that their circumstances make it difficult for them to pay the amount owed or to raise a child on the amount they receive. Circumstances that qualify include:
Courts are reluctant to reduce child support because a parent claims a hardship. However, an Ottawa lawyer experienced in child support modification issues could help a parent prepare a motion demonstrating that accommodating a hardship is in the children’s best interests.
If your child support order or agreement is not working for you any longer, you may be able to modify it. As with all family law matters, the process is smoother when both parents agree. However, a revision could be available even over the other parent’s objection.
An Ottawa child support modification lawyer could advise a parent on the best strategy to either pursue or fight against a change to an existing child support agreement. The Riley Divorce & Family Law Firm is ready to get started on your case, so call anytime.
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