You Might be Paying Too Much For Child Support
Once a child support order is set by the court, you may feel as though the terms of the order are set in stone. Circumstances in life change, and in some cases, the situation may entitle you to a decrease in the amount of child support you’re paying. Either parent may file for child support modification not less than six months after the original order is put in place. As an obligor parent, you need to show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that warrants modification of the existing order.
Reasons for Decreased Support Order
Substantial changes justifying a request to decrease the amount of child support you pay:
A decrease in your income through an involuntary job loss, employer closes down, layoff, disability, reduction in number of work hours, etc.
A substantial increase in the custodial parent’s income via a raise, new job, increased work hours, etc.
The custodial parent receives a large lump-sum settlement from an injury or worker's compensation case.
Alteration of custody schedule. If you have your child more time than your prior custody schedule provided for, the court may be willing to increase your support.
A child graduates high school and/or turns 18 years of age.
You have a child with a different person.
The custodial parent remarries or is cohabitating with another person who shares expenses with them.
Beware of “Self-Inflicted” Circumstances
Should your income drop dramatically due to a voluntary change in employment, such as quitting a high-paying job to take a low-paying job, the court is more likely to deny a request to decrease child support payments. The court has the discretion to determine whether a substantial decrease in income has been made to decrease your child support obligation.
Citing unemployment as a reason does not necessarily lead to approval of your petition for modification. A judge might expect you to keep looking for work or accept work outside of your normal field. You may face an uphill battle to show that your job loss will be permanent instead of temporary. However, judges are in a position that allows them to consider individual circumstances. Although the financial shock of unemployment is a top reason for considering a support modification, being forced to accept lower-paying work may in the end convince a judge to approve a modification.
Modifications Are Retroactive
Decreased support orders are retroactive to the date you first filed your official request for an increase. That’s why it’s important to not delay filing when you know circumstances exist to decrease your order.
Our Attorneys Can Fight for Your Child Support Reduction
Asking a judge to decrease your child support payment may be met with skepticism. It will not be welcome by the custodial parent – in fact, they’re almost guaranteed to be really angry. We encourage you to consult with one of Fiffik Law Group’s experienced child support lawyers to help you fight for your right to reduce your child support obligation. We have more than 40 years of experience guiding parents through family court and helping them establish and modify child support orders.