Common reasons why people request to modify child support

Many people are unaware that a child support amount established by the Providence Family Court, can be modified. The RI Family Court Court will require that the reason for the change is valid and that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the prior court order.  If you are in need of child support legal advice in Rhode Island, contact a RI child support lawyer. A Providence child support attorney will make sure that you get the justice that you deserve in Rhode Island Family Court. Simply not wanting to pay child support established during the divorce or custody hearings is not a valid excuse.

Can I modify child support?

  • You must file a motion to modify child support and serve the motion on the other party
  • There must be a substantial change in circumstances to modify child support.
  • A substantial change in circumstances include; loss of employment, decrease or increase of income of either father or mother, additional minor dependent and disability.

A child support order in Rhode Island can only be modified based on a substantial change in circumstances.

§ 15-5-16.7. Review of child support orders “In the case of a request for a review before the three-year (3) period, upon the request of either party, or upon the request of the state pursuant to § 15-5-16.2(c)(3), the amount of support may, in the court’s discretion, be modified if the court finds that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred in accordance with § 15-5-16.2….” Id.

Reviews after 3 years without change in circumstances

Pursuant to RI law, there must be a 10 percent adjustment in the child support from the prior RI child support order in order for a motion to modify child support in RI to be approved.

Every 3 years child support can be modified without change in circumstances

Pursuant to § 15-5-16.7. Review of child support orders,  a custodial parent in Rhode Island may request a modification of RI child support in Providence Family Court three years after a child support order was established or last modified. “Every three (3) years from the date the child-support order was established or modified, and upon the request of either party, or upon the request of the state pursuant to § 15-5-16.2(c)(3), the court shall review and, if appropriate, adjust the order in accordance with the child-support guidelines if the amount of the child-support award under the order differs from the amount that would be awarded in accordance with the guidelines. The adjustment of the order shall be made under this subsection without a requirement for proof or showing of a change in circumstances. In adjusting the order, incarceration may not be treated as voluntary unemployment that would prevent the motion from being heard or result in a denial of the motion. The periodic review of child support orders as provided in this subsection is in addition to the opportunity for review provided in § 15-5-16.2(c).”  § 15-5-16.7. Review of child support orders,

Retroactive modification of child support in RI only goes back to service of process

Child support in RI can only be modified retroactively to the date of service of process of the motion or petition to modify the child support order. “The court, in its discretion, may modify a child-support order retroactively only to the date that notice of a petition to modify was given to the adverse party if the court finds that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred; provided, that the court shall set forth in its decision the specific findings of fact that show a substantial change in circumstances and upon which findings of facts the court has decided to make the decree retroactive.” Id.

However, there are a few common reasons that the Court will allow support payments to be lowered. If you are in need of child support legal advice contact a child support lawyer in RI.

  • Disability

modify child support

Motions to modify child support in Rhode Island

If the parent that is paying the child support becomes disabled and as a result of this disability takes a loss in income, the Rhode Island Family Court may allow child support payments to be adjusted according to the parties new income level. A disability in itself does not prevent people from paying child support.

Are disabled individual on SSI or SSDI required to pay child support?

  • No. Non custodial parents on Social Security Income (SSI) are not required to pay child support support in Rhode Island.
  • Non custodial parents receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) receive a dependency benefit which is for the dependent child.
  • Non custodial parents on ssdi who have additional income over and above the SSDI payments are obligated to pay child support in addition to the dependency payments the child is receiving.
  •  When calculating child support for non custodial parents receiving SSDI benefits with additional income, the noncustodial parent is given a credit for the dependency benefits received by the child.

Parents who receive SSI are not required to pay child support.  The obligor parent, receiving SSDI, may be obligated to pay child support if the child support amount is more than the SSDI dependency benefit. If the child support guideline amount is more than the dependency benefit the obligor parent must pay the amount of child support that exceeds the SSDI dependency benefit.

  • Loss of Income

If a person becomes temporarily unemployed due to lay off or other reasons, the Court may temporarily adjust child support payments until that person returns to work. In addition, if the new job is at a lower wage than the previous employer, the terms of the support may be adjusted to meet the new income level.

  • Change in Medical Status

If the child support payments included payments for special needs or daycare and the child no longer needs this medical treatment, or daycare than adjustments can be made to the support. However, any new medical needs that may arise for the child may result in an increase.

  • additional dependent child

If either party has an additional dependent child to support, such change in circumstances may warrant a modification. There are other circumstances that may qualify for a change in child support. However, you must keep in mind that the reasons must be legitimate, and you must be able to prove those reasons in Court. A change in your lifestyle, such as deciding to move to a luxury apartment or buy an expensive car, will not convince the judge to change your child support payments so that you can afford these bills.

Rhode Island child support attorney

“In 2013, some of the lowest rates of receiving all child support that was due belonged to custodial parents who were under 30 years old (30.3 percent), who had less than a high school education (30.3 percent), whose child had no contact with their other parent (32.0 percent), who were Black (33.7 percent), or who had never married (34.1 percent). These rates were not statistically different from each other (Figure 5). Custodial parents who had at least a Bachelor’s degree (62.4 percent), who had joint legal or physical custody of their child(ren) (58.6 percent), who were 40 years or older (58.5 percent), or who were divorced (56.5 percent) had some of the highest rates of receiving all child support payments that were due in 2013. ”   U.S. Census Bureau, Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2013 By Timothy Grall Current Population Reports Issued January 2016