How to Reduce Your Child Support

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by | Aug 9, 2021

This video provides a general overview regarding a child support modification to reduce your child support if you have lost your job or had your pay reduced during the pandemic.

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At 0:31 Many people come into the office saying they’ve either lost their jobs or had their income reduced due to COVID-19. We are going to offer tips on how to get your child support reduced if you have found yourself in this situation.

At 0:47 Are you eligible to even apply to get your child support reduced? If you have found yourself unemployed or have had a drastic pay decrease, more than likely you will meet the court’s standards.

At 1:10 The court is going to look at two things. They’re going to look at how much time has passed since the last time you went to court. If you went to court at least 3 years ago, the only thing you’re going to need to show is that the amount of support you need to pay has been reduced by $100 or more or that your monthly support obligations should be reduced by 20%. If you can prove one of those two elements, then you’ll be eligible for a modification.

At 1:50 What we see most often is a material and substantial change in circumstances. If there is anything that has changed that is material or substantial, you can request that your child support be reduced. We’ve seen courts say that if there has been a change in income, that warrants a material and substantial change and they will grant a reduction in child support.

At 2:27 If you’re receiving unemployment, that is considered income. Your child support will be based on what you receive for unemployment. If we have a client who says their pay has decreased. I will tell that client to bring in all pay records so that we can look at how much money they’ve earned. We’ll also look to see unemployment benefits. I’m going to want a third party to come in and say that the situations are not voluntary. It has been imposed on us by our situation. We want to show that as soon as you’re able to make money as you did in the past, you have no problem with an increase at that time. But, for right now, you need help from the court.

At 3:57 One of the biggest questions I get is that if I’m not able to pay my child support, what is going to happen? Many people are familiar with contempt of court. This basically says that if you don’t do what the judge tells you, you could go to jail, you may have to pay a fine or attorney’s fees.  You could face up to 6 months in jail per violation or up to a $500 fine. We don’t want you to be found in contempt of court. 

At 4:57 You’re going to have to pay this big chunk of money in the future if you don’t modify it now. If you’re supposed to pay $1,000 a month and don’t pay and don’t ask for a modification, you’re going to have to pay the $12,000 at the end of the year as well as interest.

At 5:23 If you decide to file a motion and hire a lawyer to get your child support reduced. Your lawyer will file a petition to modify child support and request temporary orders. At our firm, we can usually get into the court in two weeks; some take 4-6 weeks. Typically within that timeframe, we can get in for a temporary hearing.

At 5:46 During a temporary hearing, we present the evidence like pay records, potentially a witness, as well as modification calculations. We ask the court to reduce your child support on the first day of the following months. Typically most courts will give the child support amount and say it will continue until you have your hearing.

At 6:13 I have had some courts say they’re going to reduce child support for the first couple of months and have you come back in 3-4 months for a status hearing. If your pay has gone up, your child support will go up. If your pay remained the same, your child support will remain the same.

At 6:39 If we do the temporary hearing, get to your final hearing anywhere from 6-12 months. If your pay has gone up, your child support will go up. During the pandemic and during these uncertain times you need to make sure you are not accruing more debt, you are not being faced with contempt. Hopefully, you are able to take care of your family which should be your primary focus.

At 7:12 This should give you an idea of whether you are eligible for a child support reduction and if it’s something you should pursue. If it is, I encourage you to reach out to a family law attorney, and hopefully, they can give you the insight you need and get you on your way.