Parents that are awaiting a decision on child support, can begin by filing for child support through a motion for Child Support Pendente light, which awards temporary payments to the custodial parent. Either parent is also allowed to file a motion to modify child support after the courts have already made determinations. Generally, this only happens when there is a significant change in circumstance for either parent, or for the child.
The initial process of filing for child support is rather simple; parents have the opportunity file an Order to Show Cause. During that time, parents may request temporary custody or alimony and child support payments. In many cases, the issues are a result of divorce. However, parents may file a petition for custody and support, even if they do not wish to file for divorce. In addition, custodial parents can be granted temporary child support before the final amount is determined. A motion for child support Pendente lite, requires the non custodial parent to pay child support while there are negotiations pending. Filing for child support is often necessary in order to for parents to come to an agreement. The amount of the temporary payments awarded is not always indicative of a final determination.
In order to file a motion to modify an existing child support agreement, the either parents must show evidence of a significant change in circumstances. Parents can also file a motion to terminate child support if there is a change in custodial arrangements. Filing for child support does not mean that parents will be granted what they request. Child support questions do not generally have easy answers. In reality, it is often up to the court to decide on the final answers. Judges do have some discretion when deciding on issues of child support and child custody. Although custody and payments are two separate issues in the eyes of the court, the judge will take custody into consideration when determining the amount of the child support payments.
The process of filing for child support should be taken very seriously. Child support questions should be answered before either parent proceeds with the process. Parents are often advised to obtain the services of a lawyer that specializes in issues of child support and family law. Lawyers will not only answer child support questions, but also try to ensure a fair outcome.