Once child support is established by an agreement whether as part of a
divorce or, if you were never married, as part of a Family Court Order on consent you must show a change in circumstances that was unforseen and prove that you are unable to meet the reasonable needs of your child(ren) under the existing support order. In addition, the other parent's income must also have increased.
It is simply not enough to go back to court and say it has been 5 years, my child is older, things cost more, the other parent earns more and I need more money for my child. You must have clear specific examples of the changes that have occurred and be able to compare and contrast the expenses from 5 years ago with your current expenses. The court will want to see bills or checks that prove the change in expense. You must be able to testify as to the change in circumstances and how the change was unforseen when the original support order was made. In addition, you need to show the court that you are unable, with your current income and the child support that you receive, to pay the necessary expenses for your child. Unpaid bills, collection notices, credit card balances, foreclosure proceedings and lawsuits are all examples of proof of debt.
If you meet the requirements, the court will then inquire as to the change in income of the other parent to determine the ability of the other parent to pay more child support. The more income that you prove the other parent has the better your chance of obtaining an increase in child support.
You might also be eligible for a Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) which is made by the Child Support Collection Unit automatically based on different criteria if the support order is paid to the Child Support Enforcement Bureau. However, COLA increases are usually a very small percentage when granted.
For more information, please contact my firm for more specific advice.