There are many circumstances for which a modification of an existing child support order, but very few for enforcement of the child support order. Let us start with the easy one: when the paying parent fails to comply with the child support order by failure to pay as ordered, the other parent may commence and action to enforce the terms of the order. In short, the court is asked to compel the payer, the party paying support, to pay as ordered. Often, these are brought at the same time, or as part of, a violation petition asking the court to determine that the payer has violated the court’s order, is in contempt and needs to be penalized for that contempt.
One can easily see why violation petitions and enforcement petitions so often travel hand in hand. Violation only seeks penalty for violation, enforcement compels the payment to which the payee is entitled. One part alone does not derive the same result as can be obtained by the combination of causes.
As to modification of an existing child support order, as stated, there can be many reasons for this. For a successful petition for modification of support, there must be what is called a “material change of circumstances” that is ongoing in nature. Example would be the loss of employment by either party, through no fault of their own, or a transfer out of the area for one parent that will make a massive difference in the cost of visitation, or the 50/50 split in custody that greatly reduced the support order is not being followed and one parent only takes the child, or children, two weekends a month, or one parent becomes disabled and unable to earn income at previous levels. There are many other scenarios that warrant a modification of child support. Our Family Attorneys are here to help you sort through it in any way we can.