Child support is ordered when a child’s parents are no longer in a relationship together. The court uses a variety of financial documents and information, along with state guidelines and calculators to determine the amount ordered.
However, this amount is not permanent. Depending on a variety of circumstances, it can go up or down. An increase is not usually automatic, unless your state has a cost of living increase or something of that nature.
Depending on your state, you may need to file a motion with the court to request an increase, or you may need to write a letter to a state agency that oversees child support to request it. Filing a motion is easy, as the paperwork walks you through it. A letter is often a bit more difficult to figure out.
How Should This Letter Be Written?
Plenty Of Facts
This letter should contain plenty of facts and no emotion. You may be angry, saddened or hurt that your ex doesn’t pay more or if you’re struggling to support your child, but these feelings are not a consideration for support.
They won’t help the judge make a decision and will, unfortunately, probably make it more difficult as you’ll leave out facts if you write from an emotional place. Stick to the who, what, where, when, and why of the case.
Make sure you also include information such as the names of all parties (yours, your ex’s and your child’s), case numbers, pertinent dates, and addresses. Also include lawyer names and addresses, where applicable.
Reason for Increase
Are you asking for a permanent increase to meet your child’s needs, or a temporary increase to meet a temporary need, such as braces or school uniforms? If it’s a temporary increase, how long will it last?
If it’s permanent, what are the needs? Have you had a decrease in income? If so, explain the decrease and the reasons why you are unable to supplement your income to close the gap. Be specific and detailed, and include copies of bills, invoices, pay stubs, or other proof, if you have any.
You’ll explain this as something along the lines of, “My child is now five years older than he was when support was ordered, and his needs have substantially increased. He now needs braces, more food to eat, and a larger bed.”
There are plenty of reasons that could fit. If he’s had a pay raise, if support was ordered based on a minimum wage job several years ago and now he’s working at a more skilled job that pays more, or if you are unable to work due to personal health issues or your child’s health issues are just a few examples.
While this may seem like the same thing as explaining the reason for the increase, it’s not. This is where you explain why you need support to be increased as a result of the needs. This would be explained as, “My child’s father has finished a vocational education course to train him as a welder and his income has tripled since support was ordered.
Additionally, my income has decreased due to a recent diagnosis of fibromyalgia, causing an even larger gap between my income and the income needed to meet my child’s needs.”
Here is a sample letter asking for an increase in support:
1234 Main St.
Your Town, Any State 12345
January 2, 2019
Dear Mr. Down,
I am writing to request an increase in the child support ordered in Case #123456789. I am the custodial parent, Alice Brown. I have custody of two children, Joe and Jane Brown, whose father is Jack Brown.
Child support was originally ordered five years ago, on 1/2/2014, when Mr. Brown was working at McDonalds full-time. At that time, our children were five and seven. They are now ten and twelve, and their needs have substantially changed. Jane needs braces and clothing items that she didn’t need before, while Joe has been diagnosed with ADHD and his medication is not covered by insurance.
Mr. Brown has completed a vocational training course and now works as a welder. His income has tripled since the original order was put in place. I believe he is capable of paying substantially more in support than he currently pays.
Please note that I have attached proof of my children’s medical needs, as well as proof of Mr. Brown’s employment as a welder. Please contact me if you have any further questions.