When a Mississippi married couple with children files for divorce, they must address a number of issues regarding their children. Some of these issues pertain to things like physical or legal custody, including where the kids will live and who will have the authority to make decisions about their health, education and other important matters. Child support is another priority topic, and some issues even arise long after a court order has been issued.
What if a parent can’t keep up with child support payments?
If a parent is no longer able to afford child support payments in accordance with an existing court order, he or she may petition the court for modification. This does not necessarily mean that the parent is trying to get out of providing for his or her children. Many people have legitimate reasons for requesting lower payments, such as an unexpected job loss or a change in employment that results in a lower income.
A parent might also seek modification of a child support order for the following reasons:
- Remarriage that brings stepchildren into the home and increases financial obligations
- Cost of living increase
- A child’s financial needs have decreased
- Medical emergency has caused financial distress
The court bases all child custody and child support decisions on the best interests of the children in question. A judge overseeing a petition to modify a child support order has discretion to grant or deny the request.
What happens if a modification request is denied?
If the court does not think a parent has shown just cause for requesting modification of a child support order, the parent must continue to make payments on time as provided in the original court order. However, the court understands that financial problems often arise that might make a current payment system no longer feasible. A concerned parent can ask an experienced family law attorney to help draft and file a modification petition.