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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

Changing a child support order

Some divorced parents in Tennessee may be interested in learning more about the process behind modifying child support orders. Although changes in employment status can sometimes make the original support agreement difficult to uphold, the method of altering it is not always straightforward.

There are a number of reasons why someone would want to modify a child support order. Courts are often willing to consider loss of employment, medical problems and other such issues as viable reasons for amendment. In addition, orders are often modified to stay up-to-date with the child's circumstances as he or she develops. Although courts will prioritize the child's best interest in these cases, they're not necessarily deaf to the realities and financial fluctuations that either parent can experience over time.

Petitions to modify a support order most often need to be filed in the same court in which the agreement was originally signed. While all of the parties to the agreement can decide to the modification verbally, it won't have the force of law until it has been approved by the court through the appropriate procedures. If this is not done properly, a parent may well continue to be responsible for making payments regardless of his or her new financial situation.

Since child support orders have the potential to cause financial hardship even in the best circumstances, it's a good idea to talk to a lawyer about the matter before the situation becomes impossible. Child support orders are not retroactive, and failing to make payments can indeed have serious penalties. An attorney can help someone to determine their continued ability to make payments and build a case for modifying the order.

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