Once a support order is entered by a Pennsylvania Court, the order is always modifiable. The Court recognizes that people change jobs, get raises, are laid off and experience fluctuation in income throughout their lives. Therefore, if you are paying child or spousal support and you begin making more money, the recipient can file a Petition to Modify Support and can have your obligation increased. Conversely, if you experience a reduction in income as a payor, you can file the same paperwork and have your obligation decreased.
If you would like to pursue a modification because you are now making less money, there are certain conditions. The Court will not grant you a modification if you have experienced a voluntary reduction in income. Therefore, if you voluntarily assume a lower paying job, quit a job, leave employment, change your occupation, change your employment status to pursue education, or are fired for cause, the Court is not willing to reward a payor with a reduced support obligation and harm the child’s station in life.
A payor is entitled to a reduction in the support order if he or she is unable to work because of illness, is laid off, terminated, or has his or her job eliminated. The key factor the Court considers in making this determination is whether the employee had any control over his or her change in employment status.
If you are a payor and your income has decreased because of one of the reasons listed in the previous paragraph, you should contact an experienced family law attorney and pursue a Modification of Support. Even a modest reduction in your support obligation can become significant over the months or years.