I have a consent order, filed with the court Sept. 2008, that requires my ex to pay child support. The amount was based on the child support guidelines. Now, less than a year later, he is requesting a modification fo the child support, claiming a change in the child’s needs and reduce income on his part. I did change jobs, resulting in a $77/month increase in my pay, but also requiring a $300 increase in child care costs. I did not request a modification at the time, since the child support guidelines say 3 years or 15% is justification for a modification. He is now saying that his income has decreased over the last 6 months. However, he is an attorney and his income flunctuates througout the year based on his clients and what they pay. While his income may be down with the current economy, it’s likely to go back up in the next year. Based on what he has told me his income has been for the last six months, when I recalculate the child support based on the guidelines, it does decrease by not by 15%. So my questions are:
How is the court likely to look at his request for modification less than a year after the original order?
Will just his recent inome be taken into account, or will they look at the trends in his income over the past several year?
Will the court also consider 15% to constitute a substantial change in circumstances, or can they use a lesser standard?
Also, if they reduce his child support, do I have any recourse when his income increases in 6 months, or am I just stuck with a lower order?
Will the court take into consideration that he is an attorney and, as such, it costs him less to bring such actions against me (even though he hires a family law attorney to assist him, I understand he does most of the work himself and just pays her to represent him since his area isn’t family law)? I have to hire an attorney and this is the second case he’s brought against me this year (the first was to modify custody just a couple of months after we signed the consent order, and we ended up settling out of court but it cost me substantially in legal fees and the settlement was nothing I wouldn’t have agreed to without going to court, and had already told him that before he filed the law suit. If it matters, he offered at that time to drop the law suit if I reduced child support, and I refused which is why we ended up going to court and then settling that day.)
Also, We have since both moved to different counties, and neither of us live in the county where the case it. He lives in an ajoining county to the original county, while I moved farther away. If I apply to change the venue, will the court likely move it to his county or to my county, where the children live? I have to pay for overnight child care for my children every time he does this, since I’m not close enough to drive back and forth every day. Moving it to his county wouldn’t help that, but moving it to my count, where he has an office and comes to work about once a week, would. He moved to get remarried, I moved to take a new job.
Thanks for any help you can give me!