How would I get the child support adjusted if my income can't afford it? 36 Answers as of July 02, 2013

If you pay child support and the amout that you pay on three children is so high that your total monthly income couldn't allow you to pay rent or any other bills, how would you go about getting that adjusted?

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The Law Offices of Seth D. Schraier
The Law Offices of Seth D. Schraier | Seth D. Schraier
When an order of child support exists pursuant to an unmerged stipulation which survives and is incorporated by reference into the order, the support may only be modified upon a showing of unanticipated and unreasonable change in circumstances. In 1989, New York adopted the new child support laws, and amended Domestic Relations Law 236B(9)(b), which allows a court to modify existing child support orders. It provides in part, that "upon application by either party, the court may annul or modify any prior order or judgment as to maintenance or child support, upon a showing of the recipient's inability to be self supporting or a substantial change in circumstances or termination of child support awarded pursuant to DRL 240, including financial hardship." In order to modify a support award issued by the court, a showing of a substantial change in circumstances must be met. But when there is an existing agreement, the order may only be modified by a showing of an unanticipated and unreasonable change in circumstances, unless the needs of the children are not being met. However, the Appellate Division, Second Department has held: "As a party seeking a downward modification of child support, the father had the burden of establishing an unanticipated and unreasonable change in circumstances Although a loss of employment may constitute such an unanticipated change of circumstances, a downward modification may be denied where the moving party has not made a good faith effort to obtain employment commensurate with his or her qualifications and experience. Although it is undisputed that the father lost his job as an engineer through no loss of his own, he failed to present any evidence that he use his best efforts to obtain a new position commensurate with his education and skills." Thus a party seeking to lower a child support order due to a loss of income must show both the drop in income and efforts made to find commensurate employment.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 1/23/2012
Michael Rose Attorney at Law
Michael Rose Attorney at Law | Michael Rose
If you income has gone down it would be wise to go in and modify your support. If you got this high amount without showing how much you make (gross) then modify with the correct amount of income. Children come first, they cannot work to provide shelter, food, utilities, etc. If bills mattered then one could go and make a lot of bills just to lower support. Yes , you need to live so go for it. Make sure you know first that your support will not go up before you try to modify.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/16/2012
Law Office of Lynda H. LeBlanc
Law Office of Lynda H. LeBlanc | Lynda Leblanc
You need to file a petition to modify child support. In Indiana, you must meet one of two tests in order to modify child support. The first test is the most commonly used test, and requires that there has been at least one year since the entry of the last child support order and that the amount of support would change by at least 20%. The second test is that there is a change in circumstances since the last child support order such that the current order is unjust. As a rule of thumb support needs to change by at least 20% to meet either test. Child Support in Indiana is calculated using the Child Support Guidelines. You can find a calculator online at in.gov. The change in child support can only be retroactive to the date that you file your petition, so file it as soon as possible. If the support guidelines calculate a number that you still cannot afford, then you need to contact an attorney and discuss how to go forward to ask for a deviation from the guidelines. This is not done often and will be very difficult to achieve.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 1/10/2012
Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
You must bring a motion for modification showing your current income and expenses and request that the amount be lowered. You should consult a family law attorney or facilitator for assistance.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/10/2012
Vasilkovs Law Office | Donna Vasilkovs
You can file a motion to modify child support with a declaration (affidavit or statement regarding your income/bills made under penality of perjury) supported by your pay stubs and copies of your bills.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 1/10/2012
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    You need to petition the court for a modification of child support explaining your financial situation. The guidelines for three (3) children is 32% of your income. If you are paying more then you can bring that to the attention of the judge, if you need to pay less you will have to prove to the judge that 32% is not within your financial reach.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    Law Offices of Jayson A. Soobitsky, P.A. | Jayson A. Soobitsky
    The Maryland Courts are required to use the Maryland Child Support Guidelines when setting or modifying child support payments. You should call or go see an attorney and ask them to run the Maryland Child Support Guidelines. You will need to know your gross income, amount of child support being paid for other children, alimony (if any being paid to you by the other parent or from you to the other parent), cost of health insurance for the children, the other parents income (or a close estimate), the cost of any extra ordinary medical expenses for the children, the cost of any work related daycare. If after running the guidelines it is determined that you are paying substantially more than you should be then it would be appropriate to file for a Modification of Child Support. An experienced family law attorney can help you run the child support guidelines and determine if a modification is in order.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    You have to file a motion with the court that established the current child support order and ask for a modification based changed circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    Meet with an experienced family law attorney and assess your chances of a downward reduction in support based on the California child support guideline formula used by our courts.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    You have to file a Motion to Modify. This is the same method the other parent would use to increase child support if you had gotten a raise. The Motion to Modify is simple to file. What you need to know is first, what is the Statutory Guideline support amount, is it more, less, or the same you pay now. The easiest way to win a modification is to request a change to fit within the guidelines. If your child support is guideline and you just have too much month left over at the end of the pay check that creates a problem, you can still get it lowered based on equity but the burden of establishing the justification is much higher. Very important, you cannot get the modification retroactive. So do not simply pay what you can and hope that later a court will give you justification when you can afford to hire a lawyer to fix it. The court will not. Child support is set and once set, it is there until a court is asked to change it again. You cannot go back in time. This does create a huge problem for the payor - you cannot afford to pay Child Support due to a change in financial circumstances and that necessarily means you cannot afford a lawyer to request the change. Pay a lawyer, the receiving parent will scream that you had money to pay a lawyer, and not your kids. Don't pay a lawyer, you pay more support than required by guideline and more times than not, get behind, until you finally come out of the financial hardship, at which time the other parent sues for enforcement, and you are put back into a financial bind with court cost and the other parent's attorneys fees added to past due child support and interest. It is really a no-win situation but reality is what it is. Accordingly, I always tell clients, let Mom (generally it is Mom) scream, file for the modification and file ASAP. Better to pay a lawyer $1500-$2500 and get support lowered a couple hundred dollars a month than to just pay the lesser amount for 2-3 years and get hit for all the penalties ($200 x 24 months = $4800 + $2500 for her attorney to enforce the action = $7300 + interest = $7800). This is just an example, and each case is unique, so do not use these numbers specifically for your case, you need to first determine what the guidelines would establish support at, then talk to a lawyer about the change.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    You will have to go to court and ask the Judge to reduce it.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 7/2/2013
    The Law Offices of Jill Puertas LLC | Jill Puertas
    You file a Petition to Modify with the court and ask them to modify the amount you are paying due to your income limitations.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy | Cassandra Savoy
    You have to apply to the court for a modification of the support order. Bring all of your documentation as to your income: tax returns and recent pay stubs.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Child support will change only if your income and/or your ex's income has changed such that there would be a 10 percent change in the current support amount.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
    You need to file for a modification of child support, but you must show a substantial change in circumstances. For example, if you were making $50,000 at the time child support was set, but after that point, you lost your job (through no fault of your own) and obtained new employment making only $30,000, you could argue that you have had a substantial change in circumstances and your child support should be reset accordingly.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    H. Scott Basham, Attorney at Law, P.C. | H. Scott Basham
    You can bring an action to modify the support amount, and ask for a downward adjustment based on your current income level.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    Walnut Creek Family Law Center, Inc. | Merritt L. Weisinger
    You need to file an Order to Show Cause re: Modification with the court. Each court has a Facilitator's office that will help you get the papers on file without charge. You might also take a look at a case called Marriage of Mosely.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    Move the court for a modification.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    It may be possible to recalculate and modify child support if there has been a change in circumstances since the time the support obligation was calculated. If the new amount of support would be at least 15% different than the current amount, you can request a modification by the simplified process. I recommend you speak with a family law attorney who can assist you with the child support calculations to help you determine whether a modification is appropriate.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    The Law Office of Erin Farley
    The Law Office of Erin Farley | Erin Farley
    You should file for a modification.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    That depends upon whether or not you are paying "guideline" child support, based on your income, the mother's income, and your percentage of custodial timeshare. If the amount of child support that you are paying is the "guideline" figure, you may need to adjust your lifestyle downwards, because it is unlikely that you would be able to convince the court to reduce child support below the "guideline" figure. If you are paying more than the "guideline" figure due to reduction of your income or increase of your custodial timeshare, you can file an Order to Show Cause to modify child support to "guideline". If you stipulated to pay an amount of child support in excess of the "guideline" figure at the time of your stipulation, you may not be able to get that figure modified, absent a material change of circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    I would start by going to the local Child Support Enforcement Agency office and ask to speak with a representative. Bring your tax returns from the last three years and pay stubs for the last 90 days. Ultimately through CSEA or through a private attorney or as attorney pro-se, you will be filing a motin to modify support with the court.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    Law Office of William C. Wood, LLC | William C. Wood
    If your income or that of the custodial parent has changed significantly, then you can file a motion to modify child support.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Child support is based on child support guidelines. As a result, you must determine whether or not you are paying at a guideline level. If you are, chances of succeeding in a modification are significantly reduced.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    The Law Offices of William Henig, P.C. | William Henig
    I would file for a downward modification.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    David A. Browde, P.C.
    David A. Browde, P.C. | David Browde
    Through a petition in Family Court.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    The Law Offices of Laura A. Walker | Laura A. Walker
    You have to go back to family court with your proof of income and ask for an adjustment.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    Family law cases are never closed until the child is over 18. If your income has changed more than $100 a month from the last child support order of the court you can file for a "modification of child support" to have the amount reduced.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
    Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
    If your income has changed significantly since the last support order, child support, or spousal support may be changed by an application to the court, and a hearing on the matter. It does not matter if you can pay your bills for child support considerations as the amount is statutory. For spousal support the court will balance the equities between the parties. When you are dealing with fragile economic issues, competent legal representation should always be sought, as the subject matter of the litigation is so very important. One mistake here could cause the biggest adverse consequence of your life!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    You can file a child support modification motion with the court. As part of your motion, provide the child support calculation printout demonstrating what the proper amount of support should be. Do a Google search to find the California Child Support Calculator. If you need help with the calculations, it is best to hire a local family law lawyer. If you can't afford a lawyer, than go the your local court's self-help center.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    Peyton and Associates | Barbara Peyton
    You can contact DCSS in your county for assistance. If you get no result there, file a motion with the court for a support modification due to a decrease in your income.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Initially you'd consult with a lawyer to determine what the state guidelines provide. If you are above them, you might file a modification. Be aware that a risk in filing is that a judge might increase rather than decrease support.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    The Law Offices of Dave Hawkins
    The Law Offices of Dave Hawkins | Dave Hawkins
    You would need to file a motion to adjust support, however, support calculations are based on income, not expenses. So having high expenses is not a legal basis to adjust support if your income is stated correctly. Wa. state employs a mathematical formula to calculate support that is based solely on the parties income. A court may adjust the amount of support owed, but you must prove there is a need to do so, i.e. are you expenditures frivolous? Hope this helps.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/10/2012
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