updated: March 24, 2023
When you divorced or established paternity over a child or children, you and the other parent or the Court determined an equitable amount of child support based on your current gross income, amount of parenting time with the child(ren) and the custodial arrangement for the child(ren), who pays the cost of insurance for the child(ren), any childcare costs for the child(ren), if you had custody of other child(ren) not of this relationship, if you paid child support for other child(ren) outside of this relationship, and the amount of child support that you pay for the other child(ren).
So, what happens if you lose your job or find another job that doesn’t offer the same pay? Are you expected to keep up the same payments even though you have less income? Thankfully, the answer is that you can seek a child support modification to reflect your new job situation, so long as it has been 12 months or more since the last child support order was established.
However, it doesn’t happen automatically. The courts don’t just learn about your change in employment and adjust your payments accordingly. It’s up to you to notify the proper people. The first person to notify is the other parent to whom you pay support. If you explain to him or her your new circumstances and the two of you can work out a new agreement, you’ll just need to reduce it to writing and have your judge approve it.
Even if you can’t come to an agreement, you can file a petition asking the court for a child support modification. The court will determine whether you experienced a big enough change in circumstances to warrant a modification and either grant or deny your request. Typically, your overall child support amount must be decreased by at least 20% from what you are currently ordered to pay to receive a modification in Indiana.
It’s important to act quickly and not miss any payments in the meantime. The process can be a tricky one, so it may be a good idea to speak with an attorney about your situation. He or she can help you file your request and may be able to get you an arrangement that better fits your new income.