Because of this, Oklahoma, like most states require a “significant change in circumstance” before a court will order a modification to a child support amount. Of course, the question then becomes, what constitutes a significant change sufficient to warrant a change in the payment?
One factor is a significant change in a parent’s income. You may think if you lose a job, that would be sufficient, however, most courts assume you will eventually find a similar job with similar income, and will not permit a modification on that alone.
Courts also look with disfavor on attempts by parents to take lower paying jobs to avoid paying child support. A case in Pennsylvania provides an example. A higher court ordered a judge to examine the intent of a father who took a lower paying job in the Department of Corrections.
The father claimed he changed jobs to lessen his commuting time and allow him to spend more time with the child. The court failed to consider this information when calculating the child support payment. The $1,500 income reduction was due to the fact that only the lower paying positions were available in the more convenient location.
These are the factors a court should examine when hearing a modification petition, and why you want an attorney who can clearly argue to the court the valid grounds you have for your requested modification.