Do I still have to pay child support if my ex makes more than I do? 21 Answers as of May 11, 2011

I have been divorced 2 years, and my children live with their mom. If she makes more than I do as a nurse, do I still have to pay her support? I am barely making it since I am in the construction business and have only a few part time jobs at a time. I do not want to get into trouble if I do not make a payment.

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Goodman, Dicus, and Teinert, LLP
Goodman, Dicus, and Teinert, LLP | Paul M. Teinert
Yes, you still have to pay child support. However, if there has been a change in circumstances you can apply for a modification of the amount of support you are required to pay. Losing a job or a change in pay would constitute a "change in circumstances". You should contact a local family law attorney to assist you in modifying your current child support order.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/11/2011
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
Yes, Child support has nothing to do with how much your ex makes. It is a simple arithmetic equation of 17% of what you earn. Speak to an attorney if you want to fight the issue but it will likely be a waste of time and money. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 5/9/2011
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
Yes, you must pay support to your ex for your children. If you become unemployed through no fault of your own, or if you sustain a substantial reduction in your income, then you should file a motion to modify the support amount. If you don't, the arrearage or back support will continue to accrue against you at the originally ordered amount. If you do file for modification and it is granted, the adjustment will relate back to the date you filed the motion to modify. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 5/6/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
Children are entitled to be supported by both of their parents. Child Support is based on the dad's income, the mom's income, and the parents' timeshare of their children. If your wife has sole or primary physical custody of your children, you would likely have a Child Support obligation even though your ex earns more than you do. If there is no current Order for you to pay Child Support, you should pay what you reasonably can afford. If there is a current Order for you to pay Child Support and your income has diminished since the time that Order was made, you should file an Order to Show Cause to modify Child Support. You can go onto the DCSS (Calif. Dept. of Child Support Services) website and use their Child Support Calculator to get a reasonable estimate of what your child support obligation should be, or you can have a consultation with an experienced Family Law Attorney to have a DissoMaster calculation performed.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/5/2011
Harris Law Firm
Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
If I were you I would file a motion to modify the support amount. You can tell the court about the drop in your income and she would be required to show proof of her income to the court. This could change the amount of support you have to pay.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Office of John C. Volz
    Law Office of John C. Volz | John C. Volz
    Support is based on where the children reside and each parties income. If your spouse is the custodial parent, you still need to pay her support even if she makes more than you. Support is for the children, not the spouse and each parent is equally responsible for supporting the children. If your income situation has changed since the last order, you may be able to request a modification in support.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Yes you do - but if there has been a change in your financial circumstances you can seek to modify however the new amount would have be to greater than a 15% difference (15% less) from what you are currently paying. If you want to discuss further you can contact us.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Yes. The law, and common sense, says that BOTH parents must contribute to the financial needs of their child. The fact that your ex has a higher income will have some impact to reduce your share of the parental obligation, but it doesn't excuse you from all responsibility.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    You do have to still pay child support because you are not paying support to the mother but you are paying support to the children. That being said, if you are having difficulty paying your support, you may qualify for a reduction in pay and will need to petition the court for a modification of child support to reduce your child support payments based upon the information you have given.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    You have been ordered by the Court to pay child support. Until you get a court order that says something different, you must obey the existing order. I can help you ask the Court to change that order. I have a lot of experience representing people in court on this type of case. Give me a call, make an appointment to come see me, and let's get moving on this for you. No charge for the first office visit. I know people worry about how expensive a lawyer is, so I am careful to be as inexpensive as I can for my clients. Before you spend a dime, you will know how much this is likely to be.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Lori C. Obenauf LLC
    Lori C. Obenauf LLC | Lori C. Obenauf
    Yes, you must abide by the terms of the court order. If there has been a substantial change in circumstances (such as the mother's income increasing significantly and/or your income decreasing significantly) then you should seek a modification of child support for those reasons to avoid being held in contempt for failure to pay.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    Yes.You can modify your support for any reason after two years. Petition to modify your support if her income has gone up and yours has gone down since the last calculation but check with an attorney first to see if it is worth it.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Under Minnesota child support guidelines, the formula considers the income of each parent and the amount of parenting time they have. If the other parent has primary custody, even if that parent makes more, there will be a child support obligation.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    You pay more probably only because the children's mother has such a higher timeshare with the children than you do. Can you take them more? File an Order to Show Cause, re: custody and visitation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law | Edward A. Kroll
    Most states have a standard calculator that they use to determine child support. It takes into account both your incomes, as well as the number of overnights you have with the child. Depending on who has more overnights and who has legal custody, it is indeed possible that you could get stuck paying support, even if you make less. You should speak to a lawyer in your area to be sure. Sometimes, it's even possible to run an estimated calculation.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    Yes, you will still have to pay some amount of support to the physical custodian of your children regardless of the disparity in incomes. However, you may want to consider filing for a Modification to have your current child support obligation reduced. I would suggest speaking to a family law attorney first to determine if this is a feasible option for you.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    You have to comply with the court order. If you make less, but have time with your children, then you might be ordered to pay the wrong amount (or she might be ordered to pay you). If you are in my area, please contact me for a free consultation. Do not stop paying on your order until it is modified.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Berner Law Group, PLLC
    Berner Law Group, PLLC | Jack Berner
    Probably, yes. Support is based upon custody-not just income. If you need legal assistance and you're in Western Washington, feel free to call my office.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/4/2011
    Attorney Paul Lancia
    Attorney Paul Lancia | Paul Lancia
    You will have to pay a portion relative to your earnings.

    If you have questions, call me for a free consultation, 24/7.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 5/4/2011
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