Updating Child Support

I have been divorced for over 10 years. In that 10 years, I have never asked for a change in my child support. Typically my ex has been fairly good about splitting some of the extra expenses that I incur. However, recently he has had a shift in attitude and is less willing to help. One reason that I believe he has been so “accommodating” over the years is that a few years back I was put in a position that my son was diagnosed with a learning disability, so I made the decision to put him in a school specifically for kids with learning disabilities of which he does NOT help support. The school is very expensive, so with his shift in attitude about the little things and a change in my financial position, I am contemplating going back and asking for an increase. At the time I picked the school, I spoke with an attorney who informed me that I could not legally ask for his assistance with the school since the choice was made after we separated and it was highly unlikely a judge would support my pulling my son out of a school in the county that he works for. Would you concur with the advice I was given?

Also, in the past whenever I have made mention that I wanted an increase, he threatened to seek joint custody to hit the appropriate number of nights so that the child support would not increase. This is a concern for me, not due to financial reasons but because now that my children are older they do not want to spend more time away from their home and their friends. Since the only time this every comes up is when a change in support is being dealt with, is this something I should or should not be concerned about with the court should I ask for the increase?

Thanks for your help

The court is always going to act in the best interests of the child when it comes to both custody and child support. A judge won’t force a child to go to a public school simply because the judge works for the county that the school is located in. The child support guidelines account for extraordinary expenses, specifically those expenses related to special or private elementary or secondary schools to meet a child’s particular educational needs.

With regard to your custody question, again, the court will always act in the best interests of the children. Your ex won’t get equal time unless the court thinks that would be the best situation for the children. Also, depending on the age of your children, their wishes may be something the judge would consider. We have a short article on when children get to decide custody that will shed some light on this issue.