Modification of child support


#1

I wanted to inquire of modification of child support. I have a custody agreement which covers child support dated April 2007 which was incorporated into my divorce decree dated December 2007. I pay child support based on two children. No provision was made for college expenses.

My son is now 19 and enrolled in an in-state university in his second year. Last year, when he turned 18, I obtained the documents to file for modification of child support based upon him reaching the age of majority. He and his mom asked me, in writing “to leave things as they are financially” for his freshman year, which I did. I do contribute a portion of his college expenses as well as child support for him.

Over the past year, my 15 1/2 year old daughter has had a lot of emotional issues, requiring substantial counseling and hospitalization, which I paid my portion of. Her mom has hired a “mentor/stitter” to stay with her after school even though I and my mother, who lives locally, have offered to be with her after school, which my ex wife declined. My ex wife is now saying I have an obligation to pay a portion of the sitter’s fees although she is not now “requiring” me to pay it.

Additionally, my ex has used my daughters emotional issues to cut off my interaction with my daughter every other weekend and one night a week. She is threatening to take me back to court for modification based on added child care expenses and the fact my daughter no longer stays with me. I understand I can take her to court to force my daughter to stay with me but I don’t want to put my daughter under that emotional stress right now because of her already compromised emotional state.

Question 1: Would my ex wife have to be able to gain sole custody in order to obtain more child support based on the fact that my daughter is not currently staying with me every other weekend?

Question 2: Does my ex wife have any basis to insist that I pay part of the sitter fees? She states that the sitter is medically necessary. Our consent order states I have to agree in advance to non-emergent medical expenses over $250. I say that we could take care of my daughters oversight within our family.

Question 3: Should I go ahead an file for modification of child support based on my son being 19, and contribute more for his college? Any other relevant factors could be considered at the same time. Or is it better to leave things as they are?

  • Most likely I would be doing this without an attorney, while she may have one based upon her parents financial backing. This has been all along a contentious separation and divorce. Any advice is appreciated.

#2

I see no reason why your wife would be able to gain sole custody of your daughter. Her emotional issues do not stem from abuse on your part, and therefore I can’t see how your wife could justify not allowing visitation. In any event if your visitation is every other weekend you are already paying the maximum amount of child support according to the guidelines.

As for the sitter, your ex wife could attempt to have that expense included in a child support calculation moving forward as an extraordinary expense. If the court finds that this expense is reasonable and necessary it could be included. In the present situation, I would agree that the expense as it exists now is non-emergent.

I would suggest you move forward with your action for modification to end the support you are paying for your son. Termination of support based on your child’s aging out is not a complex procedure, and you need only show that he has reached the age of majority and has graduated high school.