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How do I request a child support modification in Virginia?

The law in Virginia recognizes that things usually change in the years after divorce. Exes find someone new to marry, or move out of state. Children grow into teenagers, and eventually reach adulthood. One ex might go back to school and enter into a lucrative new career, while the other suffers a disabling injury and can no longer work.

These are just examples of the myriad ways lives can go up or down as time goes by. Among the consequences of these events is that a noncustodial parent who has been ordered to pay child support may someday struggle to pay it, or gain the means to pay more to his or her kids.

If one or both parents believe the current child support is no longer appropriate, it is possible to request a review and adjustment. The Virginia Department of Social Services provides a form for requesting such a review.

Generally, in Virginia at least three years must have passed since the child support order was made for a parent to request a review. If it has not been three years, the parent must cite a “special circumstance,” such as:

  • A new child needs to be added to the order, due to birth or change in custody.
  • A child is no longer eligible for support at the current level.
  • One parent’s income has increased or decreased by at least 25 percent.
  • One parent is a in the National Guard or military reserves, has been called to active duty, and is experiencing a change in income as a result.

Even if three years have passed, you must provide a reason for requesting the review on the request form.

If granted, the requested change could make a significant difference in the children’s lives. For more information, please contact a family law attorney.

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