When parents in Massachusetts divorce, the court uses a series of Child Support Guidelines to decide how each spouse should contribute to a child’s physical, emotional and financial care. In many cases, monthly child support payments are essential for ensuring that children’s medical, educational and other basic needs are met.

However, life can change quickly. Often divorced parents find that a change in employment, health care access or other issues prevent them from meeting their obligation or receiving enough support to truly help kids thrive and grow.

When an original support order no longer meets a family’s needs, support modification allows either parent to seek a change in monthly payment amounts.

1. When is modification possible?

Modifying a support arrangement requires that one or both parents can show that there has been a significant, ongoing change in financial circumstances since the date of the latest support order.

2. Which parent may request modification?

Either parent may request a change to standing support order. An ex-spouse paying support may petition for a lower monthly payment, and an ex-spouse receiving payments may request a higher amount.

3. What are common reasons for seeking modification?

Loss of employment, loss of benefits and ongoing health issues are common reasons that may require support modification.

When parents of minor children divorce, it may also be hard to predict children’s future educational and medical needs. From specific healthcare treatments to specialized costs for school and other developmental expenses, the needs of shared children may be hard to predict.

Separated parents should know that support modification offers an opportunity to divorced parents to revisit their original agreement and revise it to meet current needs.