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How and why child-support obligations can be modified

Although it certainly can be rewarding, raising a child often becomes more difficult when the child's parents are separated or divorced. Most parents in Washington and elsewhere understand that the everyday needs of their children can only be met by child support, which is often determined during the divorce process or when a custodial parent seeks financial support from a noncustodial parent. The amount of child support depends on the judge's discretion, but sometimes the amount can end up leaving the parent who has to pay it with barely enough money to cover his or her daily expenses.

If the amount of child support becomes too burdensome, the supporting parent can seek a modification order that can get the amount of support reduced. Family law judges are only human, so approaching them with a child-support modification request should always be done calmly and respectfully. When waiting for a decision on a request for modification, the supporting parent should continue making payments and should settle any amount owed to avoid complicating the request. A parent should also understand that child support is based on the income of both parties, so any additional expenses - union dues, for example - or positive changes in the custodial parent's lifestyle should be included in the modification request.

A supporting parent should be able to live comfortably even after covering the everyday expenses of the child. However, both parents' responsibilities to their children go beyond financial support. They can also provide support by offering sound advice and simply being there when their children need them most.

For any child support issues and related concerns, a parent can seek sound legal advice from a family law attorney. By doing so, the parent will be able to avoid mistakes that could be costly or backfire in the near future.

Source: Nj.com, "Your legal corner: deviating from child-support guidelines," Victoria M. Dalton, June 15, 2014

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