Lowering Child Support for Changed Financial Circumstances
What is Child Support?
Child support is the amount of money a court orders a non-custodial parent to pay a custodial parent (the one taking primary care of the child). The money is intended to help support the raising of a child, which is in their best interest.
When Can Child Support be Lowered for Changed Financial Circumstances?
In order to lower child support for changed financial circumstances, a parent must justify the modification because of their inability to pay. Generally, an inability to pay child support will occur in two ways:
- Decrease in income or assets, or
- Increase in the court ordered child support amount.
Because a justification is not a science, a court has to try and balance the best interests of the child, their earlier decisions, unnecessary litigation, and grave financial burdens to one parent. In doing so, a court will consider several factors in deciding if lowering child support is justified because of changed financial circumstances. These include whether or not the changed financial circumstances:
- Are material,
- Are substantial,
- Were involuntary, or voluntary but in good faith,
- Are continuous and not temporary, or
- Occurred after or were not contemplated when the child support amount was established.
In addition to the inability to pay child support, an increase in the custodial parent's income may also justify a reduction in the amount of child support.
Are There Any Defenses?
In an attempt to lower child support for changed financial circumstances, there are generally two defenses:
- The non-custodial parent's changed financial circumstances do not justify a reduction, or
- The non-custodial parent still has the ability to pay the existing child support despite their changed financial circumstances.
What is the Result?
If a non-custodial parent is able to justify a lowering of child support because of changed financial circumstances, a court will usually order a new child support amount to be paid to the custodial parent. The new amount will generally be appropriate in light of the decreased ability to pay, which stems from the changed financial circumstances.
Do I Need an Attorney to Handle the Lowering of my Child Support for Changed Financial Circumstances?
If you think your child support payments should be lowered because of your changed financial circumstances, or you are trying to maintain your current child support revenue from an attempt to lower them, it is strongly recommended that you contact a family law attorney who specializes in child support matters. Only they will be able to explain the issues to you and help defend your rights.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 10-07-2011 02:37 PM PDT