Modifying child support myself


#1

I have been divorced for about 3 months. The divorce was amicable and uncontested, and I have a separation agreement that was incorporated into the divorce decree. The separation agreement specifies joint custody of a 15 yr old and that I pay child support, which I have paid for the last 16 months. The amount of child support in the separation agreement is based on the state calculator and at least 123 nights with each parent (worksheet B). During the one year separation period I actually had the child about 265 nights and my ex about 100 nights. At the beginning of the separation the split was about 50:50 but gradually increased over the year so that the child currently spends about 90% of nights with me. All indications are that this arrangement will persist into the future, likely until the child reaches the age of 18. I re-did the calculator based on worksheet A and my ex should actually pay me child support based on the current custodial arrangement. I do not want child support from my ex (I make much more money) but I do not want to be legally obligated to continue paying the current amount. My ex agrees and has agreed not to contest a motion to terminate child support. Given that we have agreed to this arrangement, I am considering handling the legal aspect myself rather than paying a lawyer. What exactly is the process I would need to go through in order to formally modify (terminate) child support, and is there any risk of trying to do this on my own without legal counsel? I have a form entitled “Motion and Notice of Hearing for Modification of Child Support Order” that appears fairly straightforward to fill out. Can I simply file this with the court? If my ex is served and does not appear in court (because she does not contest the change) will the judge simply grant the request in the motion? Do I need to appear in court and explain the situation and/or bring documentation (e.g., of income, the child’s visitation schedule over the last year, etc.)? I have considered just stopping payment since we agree it is no longer equitable, but I do not want to be liable for back child support should circumstances change at some point in the future. I would like to know what to expect before embarking on this myself.


#2

If your ex agrees to terminate the the obligation your best course of action would be to enter a consent order on child support. This is much easier than filing the motion, dealing with service, calendaring a hearing, etc. So long as you mutually agree to the termination, you can draft and a submit a consent order to the court. You may want to consier using our Rosen Online Service. This service only costs $199/month, and provides you access to our library of legal forms and the ability to communicate with an online attorney who can answer relevant questions.