Paying child support is a huge responsibility, especially for someone who has had to suffer a pay cut or a lowering of income. In the current economy, pay cuts and loss of work is a very real threat, one that should not be taken lightly. So, what happens if someone’s pay decreases and they are paying child support along with all their other responsibilities? Can child support be lowered? Read on to find the answer.
Options For Lowing Child Support
If your income has dropped dramatically and you are paying child support, you will be faced with two options: you can explain the situation to the custodial parent (your ex-partner) and arrive upon an agreement about an alteration in the amount paid or the duration for which it is paid or you can make a change in the child support by approaching the court of law and argue your case with all the correct reasons and justification.
If both parents arrive at a mutually agreed upon adjustment to the child support payments, then changing the tenets of the child support is a fairly easy task. You can simply petition to the court and inform them that both parents agree on the new amount set for child support and the court can easily approve the change as long as there is no imperative reason not to.
In most states, child support is calculated using a set standard of guidelines and formulas. These calculations are based on gross income of the parties and they take into account if either party has other children, daycare expenses, health care and a percentage credit for custody time. Family courts usually support judgments in the interest of the child. They will ensure that the child has essentials like home, utilities and medical care. If the custodial parent cannot provide for these needs, then the other parents must ensure that these needs are met.
File a Motion
If you are having trouble, because of a lowered income, in paying child support, do not hesitate to file a motion to reduce it. Parents who genuinely cannot afford to pay will receive a reduced amount or a long-term payment plan.
Another aspect to look into is the fact that most states receiving federal assistance are required to review child support orders every three years. Support payers and payees have a one time pass every three years to request the court to review their current child support plan and change it to something that both parents agree upon.
Review by Judge
To calculate gross income, judges look at the last three years of earned income and they tend to look at a parent who has had the same job over several years, even with changing incomes. They will review the latest income level and use that number on the chart. If, over the last three years, you have changed jobs and are now earning less than before, then the judge will average out the income and consider that when deciding the child support payment plan.
If you are not taking undue advantage of the system by willingly refusing to work just to get out of the child support, then you will be eligible for a renewal of the payment plan. As long as you can prove that the drop in income substantially changed your circumstances, you should not have any problem getting the child support lowered.