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Is it possible for the child support amount to be reduced?

Child support is one of those issues that no matter what it is set at, at least one of the parties involved is normally unhappy. Parents paying child support often believe that the money is not spent the way they think it should be, and those receiving child support may believe that the amount is not enough to cover the other parent's contribution to the children's expenses. In some cases, however, the courts do decide on a downward deviation for the child support if certain factors are present.

Some people believe that if one of the parties remarries and is supporting another family or stepchildren, the child support should change, but this is not the case. In most cases, even a legitimate change in living expenses has no bearing on an existing child support order unless the expenses are directly related to the children in the order.

Possible reasons for the courts to grant a downward deviation include the noncustodial parent spending a substantial amount of time with the child, including overnights, above the standard visitation schedule, expenses incurred in traveling to have visitation with the children, and if the paying parent is significantly contributing to the children's expenses outside of the child support order.

However, even if these circumstances are present, the courts may not grant the deviation. It can be an uphill battle to get a deviation in either direction, but this is where a family law attorney can help. Attorneys who work with child support orders on a daily basis are familiar with what the courts normally grant and what they don't and can help you better understand if you have reasons for a deviation and how to move forward with that process.

Source: Administration for Children and Families, "Essentials for Attorneys in Child Enforcement," accessed July 08, 2015

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