Getting Divorced in Rhode Island: Child Support Modification

May 9, 2013 in Child Support, Rhode Island Divorce

Child support in Rhode Island is based on the income of the parties and is calculated through pre-set guidelines.  Modifying child support payments requires a showing by the moving party that there has been a substantial change in circumstance since the previous child support order was entered.

Child Support is Income Based

Child support is based on the combined income of both parties.  Each party is responsible for the percentage of support that is the equivalent of the percentage that the parent makes of the combined total income.  However, there are some deductions from total income, such as payment of healthcare costs.  A rough example would be the custodial parent (with whom the child/children reside) making $40,000, the non-custodial parent making $60,000, with the combined total income as $100,000.  When the guidelines are used, the custodial parent is responsible for 40% of the total child support obligation and the non-custodial parent will be responsible for 60% of the total child support obligation.  The non-custodial parent will make that payment to the custodial parent.

Substantial Change in Circumstance

To modify child support, the party requesting the modification must show a “substantial change in circumstance” since the child support order was entered.  Substantial changes would include loss of income or a significant increase in the income of the party paying the support.  It would also include a change in custody, increased daycare expenses, emancipation of the child (the child has turned 18), or significant change in the needs of the child.  The burden is on the party requesting the modification of child support to prove that one of these substantial changes has occurred.

Filing a Motion to Modify Child Support

Filing any Motion with the court requires a complex set of procedures.  With a Motion to Modify Child Support, the moving party is required not only to file the Motion, but must also include updated financial information.  In addition, the moving party must have the non-moving party served by a State constable.  For this and many other reasons, individuals are best served having a lawyer review the facts around their case and represent them in support hearings.

If you need help navigating the Rhode Island Divorce process. Please visit Rameaka Law website and contact us.