Can my child support be lowered if my children moved away? 60 Answers as of June 22, 2012

I pay child support and my kids have moved to another state without my permission and I havent seen them in 2 years. Can my child support be lowered because of this and how can i establish visitation rights for them?

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Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
It may be possible to have your support reduced depending on the distance and circumstances of your children having moved away. You will have to seek a modification of the Decree as to support, and you may want to get a modification of the Decree regarding visitation that takes into consideration the distance between you and your kids, the cost of travel etc. and if the move was without your consent it may be possible that your former spouse could be in contempt of court for removing the kids without your permission or a court order. All of this is best done with the help of an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Idaho
Replied: 6/22/2012
Kenneth A. Friedman, P.A.
Kenneth A. Friedman, P.A. | Kenneth A. Friedman
The relocation of the children without your consent or a court order approving the relocation is probably a violation of F.S. 61.13001 (Parental relocation with a child). It doesn't relate directly to child support; however, relocating without complying with the statute subjects the other parent to a motion for contempt and the court can award you attorney's fees, costs and travel expenses. It is also a factor in determining whether the parenting plan should be modified, and, in the context of modification, child support could also be modified if there has been a substantial change of circumstances regarding the income of either parent that changes the child support calculation. You should consult with an attorney regarding the proper way to resolve this situation and revise the visitation with your children.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/18/2012
John Russo | John Russo
You should have done something 2 years ago, is this about seeing your children or money? Most state's have laws about one parent leaving the jurisdiction with the children making it hard for the other parent to see them. This is of course based on what type of prior agreements and court orders were in place when she moved. Most well drafted orders will reference that the home state at the time will retain jurisdiction over all matters relating to the children. As far as lowering your child support because she moved what does one have to do with the other? Child support is based on the parents gross income, in accordance with Federal guidelines, the States vary on how they implement the guidelines, but they cannot go below or in many cases exceed the Federal Guidelines without a finding of fact and a record supporting any such difference.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 6/18/2012
Darrell B. Reynolds, P.C. | Darrell B. Reynolds
Child support and visitation are two separate issues. In order to modify child support, there must be a court order.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 6/15/2012
Mike Yeksavich | Mike Yeksavich
Child support does not necessarily reduce just because of the move. However, a move can have an impact on child support. You need to file a motion to modify and maybe a Contempt Citation to deal with the issues you raise.
Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
Replied: 6/15/2012
    Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
    You can ask the Court for visitation rights, but support is based on your income.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    If I understand your question, your children and there other parent up and moved two years ago and you are just now seeking help? If this is true, getting an order than they move back is difficult if not impossible. Offsetting child support based on cost of visitation is hard even if you act quickly, sitting on your laurels and doing nothing makes it more difficult. Now, as for visitation - that is the only easy part with one major exception. You have to file in the state where the prior orders were issued and if no orders exist, in the state where they live now. Even if you file in the original jurisdiction, expect he case to be moved to the state where they live now, so you may as well start there to save time and money.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy
    The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy | Robert W. Bellamy
    The child support can be lowered for certain changes in conditions, but moving to another state is not one of them. you could file in other state to enforce visitation rights granted in Alabama.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Varadi, Hair & Checki, LLC
    Varadi, Hair & Checki, LLC | Galen M. Hair
    You cannot lower your child support simply because your children live further away. But, periodically you should contact an attorney to review whether there are any grounds for lowering your child support. If your spouse moved away with the children without your consent, there may be a legal way to force her to return the children or at a minimum establish visitation. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss these options.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    You would need to address your requests to the Court by way of an Order to Show Cause to modify Child Support (to accommodate the added expense required to enable you to visit with your children out of state) and to establish Visitation. Also, because your wife moved out of state without your permission, you could request, in your Order to Show Cause, that the Court modify Child Custody, to grant you the custody of your children. You would best retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to represent you at all stages of the proceedings.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    These are two separate issues. You may be able to enforce your parenting time orders, or modify them to reflect a long-distance schedule. Child support actually does not go down if you spend less time with your children; the parenting time credit is intended to offset the costs of providing for your children when they are in your care, so if you see them less, your support obligation might actually increase. I recommend you speak with an attorney to discuss your situation and determine your best course of action.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Alvin Lundgren | Alvin Lundgren
    Child support should be adjusted if there are any major changes. You are entitled to visitation even if your ex took the children.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Vargas Law Office LLC | Ronnie Ismael Vargas
    Just because your children are in another state does not mean you are entitled to lowering child support. But you can always attempt to establish visitation rights.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    441 Legal Group, Inc.
    441 Legal Group, Inc. | Gareth H. Bullock
    Nope it can't. If you want to establish visitation you need to file a petition with the Court.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Jane Phillipson Wilson, Attorney at Law
    Jane Phillipson Wilson, Attorney at Law | Jane Phillipson Wilson
    You can try mediation. Also check the Friend of the Court's website, which may have a list of commonly asked questions.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Gregory C. Graf
    Gregory C. Graf | Gregory C. Graf
    Child support and parenting time are different subjects. You should file a motion with the court to enforce your parenting time rights. To determine if your child support can be lowered an attorney would have to look at both of your financials in particular income.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Attorney At Law | Harry D. Roth
    No, your support cannot be lowered because of the absence of your children. I know it seems unfair, but it is not your former wife who is being punished by reduced support; it is your kids. They have done nothing wrong and it is more unfair to punish them than to punish you. Two years is a long time to wait, but since you cannot turn the calendar backwards, now is the only time you can start. Begin with the order from the original divorce case. If you were divorced in California and if you still live in California, then California keeps the authority over the custody issues. Look at your order right now. It may be enough all by itself without even going to court. If it is, contact a lawyer in the state to which your former wife moved with the kids. You can register your California court order and have the courts of that state enforce the order without making any changes in the California order. If your existing order is not right, then you will have to go back to court in California to make the change before proceeding in the other state. This all can take a bit of time, so start now.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Robert J. Merlin, P.A.
    Robert J. Merlin, P.A. | Robert J. Merlin
    That is possible. Depending upon the specific circumstances of your case, you could ask the judge to order the children to be returned, to have your former wife held in contempt and to even modify your child support. I suggest that you consult with a local attorney. This type of action can be complicated and expensive.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Ezim Law Firm | Dean Esposito
    This is not a ground for a decrease in child support. You can file an action with the court to establish visitation.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Seth L. Reszko
    It really depends. You are entitled to a review every three years to determine if support should be increased or lowered. The fact that you don't have visitation could potentially be a good issue to raise to the Court.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    The Law Offices of Mandy J. McKellar
    The Law Offices of Mandy J. McKellar | Mandy J. McKellar
    You will have to file a Motion requesting visitation, as far as the child support question. There are not enough facts to come to a conclusion from your inquiry, a lot of it would depend on what each state does for child support.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
    Child support is based on income and not place of residence or visitation. Regarding visitation, if you already have an order for that, it should be followed. If you want to have visitation changed, file a motion with the court.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Stuart Jon Bierman  Attorney at Law
    Stuart Jon Bierman Attorney at Law | Stuart Jon Bierman
    You would have to file an application with a matrimonial judge and ask for a reduction in the payments and for the other things that you want. Please note that you should do this right away since even if the Judge agrees that the child support should be lowered, the Judges almost never make the reduction retroactive. Depending upon the date when the children moved, you might have to file your application in your state or the state where they currently reside. Since this is a complicated matter you should consult with an attorney right away and IMHO you should get the assistance of an attorney to prepare the application. One of the many reasons for this is that if you do not do it right then the Judge will probably deny it and then if you re-apply the fact that the first application was denied may make a second application more difficult to succeed.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    If you see them less, your child support could actually be increased instead of decreased.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Law Office of Gregory Crain | Gregory Crain
    No, child support is based on income. You must establish visitation rights through the courts.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Davis-Yancey Law & Life Coaching, PLLC
    Davis-Yancey Law & Life Coaching, PLLC | Gwendolyn Davis-Yancey
    Child support is not based on the city and/or state that the minor children live in. Child support is predominately based upon the number of minor children between the parties and the incomes of the parties. If you are ordered to pay child support through the court, you can file a Motion for Parenting Time in that same court.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    The simple answer is maybe. That is a change in circumstances justifying a modification of support if the children went to live with some other than your ex-spouse. Also, i f they are living on their own you would not owe support to your ex-spouse.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    The Jordan Law Firm
    The Jordan Law Firm | John Paul Jordan
    You need to file for your visitation rights. In addition, some judges may allow you to deduct the amount of money you spend traveling to visit them from your child support payments.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    The Law Offices of Dave Hawkins
    The Law Offices of Dave Hawkins | Dave Hawkins
    Child support and visitation are completely independent. If she moved out of state without filing a notice of intended relocation, there are remedies available to you under the relocation statute. However, her moving in and of itself out of state will not effect your child support obligation.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Law Office of Melvin Franke | Melvin Franke
    Hire a lawyer immediately to change custody. Do not allow the other parent to make a new state the homestate of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    Support and visitation are independant. However, if you have been denied visitation you can request a change of custody on that basis. You should consult a family law attorney or facilitator about how to bring the necessary motion.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C.
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C. | Dean T Jennings
    The support is only based your income so that would have to have changed up or down.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    Child support is based on gross incomes of the parents and parenting timeshare with the non custodial parent. You run the risk of a child support increase if you file a motion and the court finds your visitation percent is minimal. If you wish to re-establish contact with the children, try phone, letters and Skype as a start.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    The mere fact that the children now live in a different state doesn't automatically justify modification of child support. The issue will be whether the children's needs have been reduced or whether the parent's ability to pay has been reduced as a result of the move. Your question about "visitation" rights suggests that there has never been any court order deciding custody & visitation; so, that means you probably will have to file a court case in the state and county where they now live.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    You need to pay an attorney to represent you in a modification proceeding. The wife cannot just move to another state without your permission. But you apparently did nothing. Child support cannot be lowered unless you get the right attorney, who might even be able to get it suspended.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    The Law Office of Eric J Smith
    The Law Office of Eric J Smith | Eric Smith
    Support and visitation are generally separate rights and responsibilities. Your duty to support your children has no bearing on how much contact you have with them. That said, if you have a divorce decree or custody order that limits where the children can live, either in county or in contiguous counties, you can file a motion to enforce or a motion for contempt. Even if you do not have that limitation in an existing decree or order, you can file a motion to modify your visitation such that the other parent is responsible to deliver your children to you for visitation, which will put some or all of the travel expense on the other parent.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    If you see your kids less time, then child support obligations should actually go up according to the child support formula. If you want visitation rights, you can seek child custody modification by filing such motion with the court that has jurisdiction of your case. Best to call a local family law lawyer for assistance.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Law Office
    Law Office | Timothy J. Lopez
    The short answer is "probably, depending on the circumstances." Depending on the most current child support/custody/visitation court orders that were in place before your children moved away with the other parent, you can file a motion with the court to resolve the move-away and visitation issues and to set child support accordingly.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Your spouse should have filed a motion to remove the children from the state. You can file a motion to have her held in contempt of court but the Judge will wonder why it has taken you so long to raise the issue.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Law Offices of Helene Ellenbogen, P.S.H | Helene Ellenbogen
    If the children were moved without proper notice you had a right to seek redress at the time. Since 2 years have passed and you have not done anything, the court will likely not require that the children be returned. However, you can file for a modification of the parenting plan (or if there is none, for a parenting plan) to establish when you can see them. Child support is based on the earnings of each parent. However, when children live far away, the cost of long distance transportation has to be shared by the parents by law.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Clos, Russell & Wirth, P.C. | Gary A. Russell
    Child support in Michigan is based upon the income of the parties and the amount of overnight parenting time that each party exercises. Since your parenting time I assume is zero, it most likely decreased since they moved, which would usually indicate an increase in your child support obligation. Losing parenting time, even if wrongfully denied by the other parent is not a basis for lowering child support. The issue here is how did the other parent move away with the children without your consent? The only way a parent with joint legal custody can legally move the children out of state is either with your permission, or by order of the court. If your ex has sole legal custody, then she is generally permitted to move the children without your permission or leave from the court. Anytime you wish to have parenting time or enforce parenting time that is being denied you can do so by filing a motion with the court that has jurisdiction.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Palomino Law Firm, P.C.
    Palomino Law Firm, P.C. | Debra Palomino
    It sounds like you may not have a parenting agreement in place. If you have not established custody and parenting time rights, you will need to do so and also request a modification of child support in the same petition. The Maricopa County Superior Court's Self Service website has the instructions and forms you will need.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Rebecca Rainwater
    Rebecca Rainwater | Rebecca Rainwater
    You need to file and request a modification of the visitation and child support order and serve the other parent. You should contact a family law attorney to help you with your move away case and to assist you with any necessary modifications.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    No, your child support would not be reduced. In fact, it is likely that it would increase based upon zero visitation for two years. As for visitation, if there is an order, you would seek assistance from local law enforcement to enforce the order. If there is no order, then you will need to file a request for custody and visitation in the County they reside in.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Poole & Poole, P.A. | Wesley R. Poole
    File a Petition for Modification with the Court last having jurisdiction over the children.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Barbara Fontaine, Esquire | Barbara Fontaine
    The children still eat even if the mother moved them away. You should go to Family Court and see what you can do about visitation. Also, you may be able to adjust the child support.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    The Law Offices of Jill Puertas LLC | Jill Puertas
    In order to establish visitation and potentially revise your child support obligation, you will need to file a motion to modify. The legal criteria you will need to meet in order for the modification to be successful will be a "substantial and continuing change in circumstances". The removal of the child and lack of visitation for 2 years would most likely meet the legal criteria. If you received credit toward your child support for the time you were to spend with the kids, the lack of visitation would reduce your support obligation.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, P.S., Inc.
    Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, P.S., Inc. | Mark Brown
    The relocation of the children to another state is not, in and of itself, a basis for modifying the level of your child support. Other factors, such as changes in the income level of either parent, are more common grounds for modifying support. With respect to visitation, if the relocation has rendered the residential schedule in the existing Parenting Plan infeasible; you can seek a modification of the schedule. (In Washington, there is a specific statutory procedure that must be followed to permit a parent to move children out of the state. The mother may have violated that statute if the move was done without notice to you.)
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Steven Harrell, Attorney at Law | Waymon Steven Harrell
    You are entitled to have your visitation rights overhauled as a result of the move. Child support issues should also be reexamined because of the transportation costs relating to your visitation with your children out of state.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Weinpel Law Office, P.C. | Marc Weinpel
    You should go to the Court that issued your divorce decree and ask that things be modified. If your ex has moved and upset your visitation rights, the Court can fashion a number of remedies. If you bring such an action you would be in a good bargaining position to have your child support lowered.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Law Office of Angela M. Riccio | Angela M. Riccio
    First, child support is always modifiable by the court. Second, generally, there is no legal correlation between payment of court ordered child support and visitation/parenting time with the non-custodial parent. Third, unless otherwise provided for in a court order or judgment, parents are not legally allowed to remove a child from the jurisdiction of the court (State of Illinois) without prior order of court. As such, your question poses several legal issues which I suggest you discuss in detail with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Law Office of Lynda H. LeBlanc | Lynda Leblanc
    Call an attorney. There is too much going on in your case for a simple answer. There are specific rules about relocation that need to be followed, but the 2 year time span may prevent you from bringing certain claims/arguments. The children's location alone does not warrant a deviation from the child support guidelines. In fact your lack of overnights with the children would actually increase child support. However, if you have travel expenses to see the children because of your ex's move, that may be a reason to deviate from the guideline support. Again, call an attorney as soon as possible, because timing is key in this situation.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Bruce Plesser | Bruce Plesser
    Petition the court for both matters.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Law Offices of Tobie B. Waxman
    Law Offices of Tobie B. Waxman | Tobie B. Waxman
    The fact that they moved away is not a basis for lowering support, unless their needs have changed or there is some other change in circumstances justifying a decrease in support. Yes, you can get visitation rights even when your children do not live near you. If you have a superior court case regarding your divorce (or paternity), you can file a motion to modify the current visitation/custody order.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Peyton and Associates | Barbara Peyton
    Child support won't necessarily be reduced because they have been removed from your ability to see them but it should have a significant impact on the court when you file a motion to modify child support. Child support is based on the income of both parties and the percentage of time each parent spends with the children. Since your time has been "interfered" with, the court will probably consider that when you file a motion.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    Their moving wouldn't be a reason to lower the support. If it is in their best interests that you have visitation, you can acquire that.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    Child support and visitation rights are separate issues. Child support is established by support guidelines and income. Assuming you currently have a parenting plan or residential schedule, you need to commence a modification action.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Law Offices of Maxwell Charles Livingston
    Law Offices of Maxwell Charles Livingston | Maxwell C Livingston
    Maybe. This substantial change in circumstance might justify a modification of support. And, visitation rights are liberally granted to birth-parents.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 6/13/2012
    Theodora Fader | Theodora Fader
    Child support is, in general, based on the parties' income and the number of overnights that each party has the children. You can file a show cause to ask the court to hold the other parent in contempt if there has been a violation of an existing parenting time order, a motion to enforce your current parenting time order, or a motion to modify the current parenting time order.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/13/2012
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