Courts go to great lengths to protect child welfare after a divorce. That is why many people struggle to reduce child support. However, you may decrease child support under the right circumstances.
Grounds for a Decrease
Courts are usually reluctant to decrease child support. Below are some of the circumstances you can use to seek child support decrease.
You may decrease child support if the custodial parent's income increases. Maybe the custodial parent has:
Acquired additional income streams, such as side businesses
Has received a job promotion
Has more employee benefits and bonuses than they did during the divorce
The custodial parent might be reluctant to produce evidence of their income. You can use discovery methods (such as a deposition) to collect the evidence you need.
You can also file for a decrease if your income substantially changes and you can't afford the payments. For example, your income can drop if:
Your health doesn't allow you to work; for example, after an accident or due to an injury
Your business collapses
You are a victim of retrenchment at the workplace
You must prove that the loss or decrease in income is involuntary. For example, you won't get a modification if you resign from work.
Decreased Standard of Living
The standard of living typically increases with time, but it might decrease in rare circumstances. Maybe the original support determination took place when the economy was in a recession, but it has since bounced back. In such cases, the court may allow a decrease if the child no longer requires as much financial support as before.
After divorce, both parents must care for the child financially. The noncustodial parent typically pays child support, and the custodial parent directly spends on the child since they are together most of the time. Thus, you can modify child support after a custody modification that gives you more time with the child.
Tips to Modify Child Support
Child support battles tend to be complicated and emotional. The following tips should increase your chances of success.
Maintain Payments During Modification Efforts
Courts don't recognize an automatic decrease in child support. Don't halt your remittances even if you have concrete reasons, such as job loss, for the same. Pay the little you can afford if you cannot afford full payments. Continue with the payments until the other parent agrees to a modified plan or the court issues a modification decree.
Talk With the Other Parent
You don't have to go to court every time you want to decrease child support. Talk to the other parent first. Involve a mediator if possible. Litigation is costly, and you need the money to take care of your child. Any agreement you reach with the other parent should be in writing.
The court will need substantial proof of a change of circumstances before it agrees to a decrease in support. Start to gather the proof as soon as possible if circumstances change. Examples of relevant evidence include:
Job termination letter
Financial statements of your business
Note that courts only modify child support due to substantial changes in circumstances.
File a Modification Request
Although you should try to modify child support without litigation, your chances of success depend on the other parent's mindset too. Don't hesitate to seek the court's intervention in case the other parent resists your advances. Act fast so that you don't accumulate child support arrears.
An experienced family lawyer increases your chances of child support modification. Bahrie Law has over 45 years of legal experience. Contact us for a consultation on child support or any other family law issue you have.