Child support payments in West Virginia are based on the income of the parent. Even so, many parents find that they are unable to afford their monthly payments. The consequences can be steep. However, parents who are unable to pay may be eligible to modify their payments and become current on their obligations.

According to the U.S. Census, only 44% of parents receive the child support that they’re supposed to receive. Parents who cannot pay may find themselves facing bank account and tax garnishments. They may face contempt of court proceedings and ultimately go to jail.

When changes of circumstances occur with a parent, they may request a modification of support. Examples of changes in circumstances are job loss, changes in the custodial agreement or obligations to other children outside the court order who also require financial support. It’s up to the parent requesting the change in support to provide proof of their income and their ability to pay.

The court determines the parent’s income based on what sources are included under state law. Then, the court applies the state child support formula in order to arrive at the appropriate amount of support. If applying the child support formula would produce an unfair or unjust result, the court has options to deviate from the formula based on the reasons stated in the law. Special needs of the child, education expenses and even long-distance travel expenses can all justify a departure from the calculated amount.

A court order remains in place until the court modifies it. Even if a change in circumstances occurs, the monthly child support amount continues in force until a parent petitions the court in order to change the order. A child support attorney may assist a parent in bringing a petition to the court to request a modification.