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Friday, March 27, 2015

Child and Spousal Support in Virginia Part 3: How to Modify

     A number of things can happen after support is ordered that may make life more difficult. Courts allow for parties to come back and ask for an increase or decrease in support based on a "material change in circumstances". One of the most common questions I receive from clients is, "what is a material change in circumstances?" A number of every day life events can impact support and allow for a party to come back to court.

     Generally speaking, a material change in circumstances is an event that impacts someone's ability to pay for the child support or the need for child support. Here are some common examples of a material change in circumstances:

1. A new job or a loss of a job.

     When someone loses or gains a job, the amount of money they make may go up or down. This means that they may not be able to pay as much or they do not need as much money from their spouse. This is one of the more common change in circumstances that allow for a party to go back to court.

2. Medical needs.

     This primarily applies in the case of child support. When a child has some kind of medical emergency that was unforeseen, this can impact the need of the custodial parent for more money. If the medical emergency was not covered by the order, a parent can go back to court to seek a modification of support.

3. A new spouse.

     Many judges will order that spousal support ends when the person receiving support starts dating someone new. Another person that is able to take care of the spouse means that they do not need as much spousal support. If this happens, the parties may be able to go back to court for a modification of support.

4. Relocation.

     Another common event that can impact support is when one of the parties moves to a new area. Their cost of living may increase or decrease. If this happens, the people involved can come back to the court to ask for a modification of support.


     There are plenty of other situations that would allow for a person to modify support. For information about your specific case, please speak with a Family Law attorney in your area. Depending on the facts of your case, you may or may not be able to file for modification of support. Alternatively, keep in touch with the Virginia Department that is handling your case. They may have more information for you.

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