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Can a child support order be modified or canceled?

A child support order in Pennsylvania can sometimes be modified or canceled due to a change in the income or circumstances of one of the child's parents. In order to lead to a cancellation or modification of the child support order, the change that took place would have had to be substantial according to the trier of fact.

Before the child support order can be modified, the party who is requesting the modification will need to file a petition with the court. The petitioner may be the noncustodial parent who is requesting lower child support payments due to the loss of income. Automated methods that are used to identify additional income or new assets acquired by the noncustodial parent could also lead to a child support order being increased.

Once a petition has been filed for a modification of the child support order, the petition cannot be withdrawn except when both parties involved or the court agrees to withdraw it. A judge may modify the child support order or terminate the order in any way that is deemed appropriate. Unless the parents have an agreement about child support payments for a special needs adult child, a child support order may be canceled when the child turns 18.

A parent who would like to have a child support order modified to more accurately reflect their current financial circumstances may want to seek help from an attorney. Likewise, if a parent is facing a hearing about a proposed increase in child support payments, an attorney may be able to help defend the client's position. It is important for a parent who is requesting that his or her payments be lowered because of a change in circumstances continue to meet the required obligation until the request for modification is acted upon.

Source: The Pennsylvania Code, "HAPTER 1910. ACTIONS FOR SUPPORT", November 11, 2014

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