So you were divorced 6 years ago and child support was set for your two children at that time. You have since remarried, changed employment and now have a third child. Should you now seek a modification of the child support order? The short answer is, it depends.
First, you have multiple options on how to seek a modification. The Child Support Enforcement Agency will review every support order, at the request of either party every 36 months. There are however limitations to their review. As an administrative agency, they only have the power to review the statutory factors, such as change in: income, child care expenses, health insurance coverage, etc. They do not have the legal authority to modify a prior child support order and include any prior deviation (agreed upward or downward amount of support) in the support order. Therefore, many parties who have a shared parenting plan, where they have deviated from the statutory amount of support, would be bound by a straight child support order if reviewed by the Agency.
You may also chose to modify support by filing a motion with the court. The court, as well as the agency, will require a finding that there is a minimum of a 10% change in the amount of support before they will accept a modification. The Court will review all relevant changes to the past child support, including any original reasons on why the order should be deviated.
Simply because there have been many changes in your life, does not necessarily mean you should seek a modification in support. For example, if you have recently had another child and you decide to leave your job to be a stay at home mother, the Court may still assign to you your prior income, and the addition of the new child may not justify a 10% change in the overall amount of support. Likewise, if you paying child support and you have increased your income by $25,000 since the order was issued, you may still want to file a motion to modify your support obligation if your children are now out of daycare. Every situation is unique and different.
In short, if it has been over three years since the last support order was issued, you should contact a local family law attorney to review your current situation. He or she will need to review your prior order, however the consultation can typically take place over the phone and in a few minutes you may save yourself hundreds of dollars over the next year.