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What you need to know if you want to modify a child support order

On Behalf of | Jul 24, 2020 | Co-parenting |

Sharing children with an ex is not necessarily an easy thing to navigate, particularly when it comes to figuring out how much money each of you has to supply to take care of them. A child support order can be limited and only cover basic necessities, or it can be very detailed and cover a whole lot more. Regardless of what and how much it covers, there may come a time when the terms no longer work for you, your ex or your kids. Then what?

When a child support order is no longer sufficient for your needs, under certain circumstances, the laws of South Dakota allow you to seek an order modification. What are those circumstances, and how can you go about seeking an adjustment?

Acceptable reasons for a support modification

Currently, state laws allow parents who have support orders issued before July 1, 2017, to apply for adjustments without the need to show a change in circumstances. For everyone else, petitioners may only file to modify if they can show proof of a substantial change in circumstances or if it has been at least three years since the issuing of the current orders. A few examples of acceptable changes in circumstances include:

  • Job loss
  • Income reduction
  • Increased income
  • Promotion
  • Child’s needs increase or decrease
  • Cost-of-living increases

There are several more, but the point is, anything that changes a parent’s income or a child’s needs is generally required to justify a support adjustment.

How to seek an adjustment

If you wish to pursue a support modification, you’ll need to file a petition, which will need to include all required documentation and the filing fee, with the circuit court. If everything is in order, the court will assign a referee to your case who will schedule and conduct a modification hearing. The referee will then submit a recommendation to the court and the court will then choose to approve or deny the adjustment request.

If either party disagrees with the ruling, he or she has 30 days to file an appeal. The South Dakota Supreme Court handles the appeals process.

Don’t go it alone

Seeking a child support modification may seem like a pretty straightforward process, but several things can go wrong if you aren’t careful. Thankfully, you do not have to work through the adjustment process alone. With the right help in your corner, you can make sure you meet the qualifications for a modification, ensure your filing is submitted without error and have someone fighting with you to achieve an order of support that fits your family’s needs