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Back to school shopping and child support modifications

For many children, a new school year has begun. For parents this may be a difficult time of the year, especially if there are disputes over which parent should be responsible for paying for new clothes, school supplies and extracurricular activities. This disagreement usually commonly arises because the non-custodial parent (who already pays child support) may not want to pay additional money to help pay for supplies, clothes and fees that ostensibly should be paid for with child support funds. 

At the same time, a custodial parent may explain that the monthly child support payment is not enough to cover their regular monthly expenses (i.e. food, gas and clothes) and additional seasonal back to school expenses. This can become especially frustrating when school districts require parents to pay for so much more compared to past years.  

A frustrated parent in this position may consider bringing a motion to increase support. However, this may be an instance where the court may not be willing to increase a support obligation simply to accommodate additional school costs. Instead, family court judges look for a substantial change in circumstances (i.e. a significant pay raise or a job loss) experienced by one of the parents, before issuing a modification. Also, even if the modification is granted, it may be granted only on a temporary basis. Outside of that, the court may expect parents to work out their differences regarding back to school costs, especially when one considers the legal costs incurred in taking the other parent back to court.

If you have additional questions about child support modifications, and whether you can be successful in bringing such a motion, an experienced family law attorney can help. 

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