A court cannot prevent a party from applying for a modification based on an alleged future change.

MLF Team

On March 18, 2013, the Supreme Court reversed a trial court’s decision that limited when the mother, who was awarded child support, was able to ask for a change in the court ordered child support. In that case, the mother asked for a change in child support after the parties had agreed she would become the primary physical custodian. The trial court awarded the mother child support, but then stated that she “shall not apply for any financial assistance for the children from the government…. as long as she receives child support.” The Supreme Court held that the trial court made a pre-determined finding with respect to a potential future modification. In other words, the trial court determined that if her situation were to change that required she apply for financial assistance from the government, then she could not get financial assistance and child support at the same time. This is not allowed because the trial court cannot anticipate the set of circumstances that may require her to apply for financial assistance. The Court must look at each set of circumstances as they exist at that time and make a decision based on those circumstances.