Child support modification


#1

Hopefully, an attorney will answer this one also…
I was under the impression that if it’s the choice of a dependent spouse to stay home instead of necessity as in taking care of the children, that the court could use possible income.

I am not sure that you could have the amount changed after the fact. I think that it’s an income change of 15% or a substantial lifestyle change that would allow you to file modification. My husband’s ex has changed jobs so frequently since their separation and divorce that we decided to wait at least 6 months before filing for a reduction in child support due to her income increase. And after working the calculator, he decided that it was worth the $50 more he’s paying to keep the peace…

If you are court ordered to cover the children on insurance then I don’t see any court berating you for choosing a better policy with a lower premium if it’s available. It may be brought up in court but the children are covered by insurance and that is what the important issue is. My husband was court ordered to pay for his children’s insurance, though he would have regardless, but his ex now carries them on her policy through her work and he pays her. This saves him several hundred a month also.

Providing meals, clothes and car insurance would be considered part of the child support money that you already pay. There would be no reason to bring those amounts to court because food, shelter and clothing are what child support pays for. This would also cover most school supplies and extra curricular activities though there are some that post on here that have to split cost of anything above what they pay monthly…

Information about your wife’s income would not necessarily need to be brought up but it’s possible since she is carrying them on her insurance. They could not use her income in the PSS calculations and child support could only be refigured using her income if you two have a child together.


#2

In the PSS hearing I was not able to accurately state my income so they based the amount on what I made last year.

Could I risk that the judge could give her even more in CS if I go to trial since she is now claiming some new expenses for the children that she is paying ( and wasn’t paying before as I was paying them)

In order to get the support reduced, I would assume I would have to show that I was unable to pay the amount that I currently am paying. Would they be looking at my spending records over the past few months, which have increased because I did remarry.

Will the judge allow her to talk about how much she has to spend on the 2 college age kids of ours. I have not contributed to their welfare because I have large debts myself.


#3

Technically in NC, unless your separation agreement says otherwise, you do not have to support your college-aged kids.


#4

Your attorney is correct, if you own your own business, the court will scrutinize your income more than they would for someone who is simply an employee. You have more control over your income than most people. The court will look at the reasons for the decrease in income and if they believe they are legitimate, they may decrease child support.

However, if the amount you are paying for child support decreases, that may increase your child support obligation, so you may not see an overall decrease in child support.

You should try the child support calculator on our website and see what the difference would be in child support before moving forward.

The court should not consider expenses regarding your adult children and you have no obligation to contribute to these expenses unless you and your spouse have agreed to do so in a court order or contract.

If your spouse did not work while you were married then that was the established standard of living while you are married and it is not uncommon for the court to impute income in those circumstances.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Durham & Chapel Hill Office
1829 East Franklin Street
Building 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 321.0780

ROSEN.COM

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


#5

Thank you atty Nevicosi for your response. I just have a few follow up questions concerning child support modification.

  1. If I filed for modification to lower support due to my lower salary, could my ex wife still ask for me to pay her atty fees. She is a dependent spouse and will claim she can not pay atty fees? I had to pay her fees in the first child support hearing.

  2. My salary is over the guidelines, even with the lower amount that I will make. Will that make it harder to ask for a reduction of child support, esp if ex can prove the needs of the children have not changed?

  3. I know I have no legal obligation to pay for my two adult children in college, just a moral obligation, but can she add those expenses to her affavdavit? I am afraid the judge will look upon me negatively if they hear I am not paying for my college children and they are not self sufficient, relying on their mother for financial support. We never had a contract or legal agreement signed saying I would help the college age children, nor did we have a college fund set up. What we did have was just a verbal understanding that both of us would help. Could she get the sympathy of the judge in this case?

I just currently have a lot of debts and trying to make ends meet myself. Thank you

Thank you again. I am just afraid that going back to court may cost me more.


#6

Given your circumstances you may very well end up losing out financially if you go back to court. To answer your specific questions.

  1. Yes, you could very well end up paying her fees.

  2. Yes.

  3. Probably not.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Durham & Chapel Hill Office
1829 East Franklin Street
Building 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 321.0780

ROSEN.COM

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


#7

Through PSS, I was ordered to pay child support and have been paying each month since August 2006. At the hearing for this my income was stated as X, but at the end of the year 2007 it was deternmined that that my 2007 income was really 2/3 X. For this reason I asked my atty to file for a modification of child support.

He felt that I would not be very successful, so I am running it by on this forum for advice. He felt that since I did not change jobs and I was in my own busines that her atty could argue that my salary may easily rise up to its previous level in the year 2008. I did work less in 2007 because of the divorce and my business is based on referrals. I also had time off for sickness.

My atty said that her side would argue that the needs of the children had not changed and therefore they should be granted the same amount of money. Also, my ex is now paying for some things that she did not pay for at the time of the original trial, such as car insurance.

Also, is it fair game for my ex to bring up in court that she supports our two teen children (ages 18,19) who are in college (paying for their car insurance, clothes, meals at home), even if their tuition is paid for by scholarship.

My ex has chosen to stay home and take classes for a mid life career change. At the original hearing no income was imputed to her, although she is capable of working. My atty said that our side could not bring this up in the hearing and could not impute income to her or say she was underemplyed. Is this true?

Maybe I should not take this to trial. At the last trial (PSS/child support) I was ordered to pay atty fees as she was the dependent spouse. Is it likely that I would have to pay her fees again if this goes to trial.

Additionally I remarried in NOvember. Is this likely to hurt me or help me? Can info about my new wife be brought up? My new wife is puting my children on her company’s health program so I can cancel the policy I had for the children which would save me 600/month. Would my ex wife’s atty bring this issue up?

Any advice would be appreciated.