Why to NOT Modify Your Support Obligation
A couple of reasons to stay away from the courthouse and not do this. If your income at the time of your job loss was very high, much higher than it was when support was calculated, you probably want to stay away from doing anything now.
Odds are you could be opening yourself up to a modification of support case once your income goes up. And the reason I say this is during the lawsuit, your former spouse or the other person’s going to get your financial records and tax returns, so if you’ve been making more money, they’re going to see it. It might very well be best for you to not get them this information and just avoid the modification and deal with the short term loss in income.
Also, if you’re seeking to modify child support and you haven’t been seeing your children and support was based on you seeing the children more than 20% of the overnights, you’re probably going to want to stay away from this type of a lawsuit or at least have an attorney really help you understand whether you’re opening yourself up to a retroactive support claim.
The law allows the other parents to seek child support going backwards to the time you stopped seeing the children as much as your time-sharing schedule contemplates, and get an increase in support based on that lack of timesharing, so be careful with this. Also, if you think you’re a target for paying the other person’s legal fees, you might want to look at this really hard. If your assets are significant and the others are minimal and it looks like under the law, you’d have to pay their legal fees, you don’t want to start one of these lawsuits if the legal fees you’d be paying for the other person are going to be more than the child support you’re seeking to be temporarily excused from paying. And we’ve got more resources on legal fees on our website, brucepa.com under the attorney fee laws overview section.
Also, if you have a history of not complying with your divorce or child support orders, be careful here. The judge may remember you as somebody who can’t be trusted. You should get a fair shake in every case, but just remember you might have an uphill battle here realistically.
Also, there’s what’s called an unclean hands doctrine that gives courts discretion to deny you relief for equitable reasons. If you owe a lot of back child support, this doctrine could in theory apply to you and prevent your modification case from being successful, so be careful.
Click here to access our free book on modification of alimony and modification of child support due to the CoVid 19 pandemic and click here for our modification of support information center. Also, you can click here or the “Schedule Your Consultation” link above to speak with one of our lawyers concerning your particular situation.