You've been paying child support for years, and the amount hasn't changed much as the children have gotten older. As long as there are no disputes about the amount you pay and you pay on time every month, you have little need for legal intervention in your child support case.
However, changes in the lives of your children or in your own income can have an impact on the amount of child support you pay regularly. Here are just a few instances where getting a lawyer to assist you in your child support case is necessary.
You've Had a Change in Income
How much you pay for child support is determined for the most part by how much money you make and how much custody you have of your children. Although how child support is calculated varies from state to state, your job or other income is one of the most important factors in how much you pay every month for your children.
Seek a lawyer to help lower or maintain your child support payments if you have experienced any of the following income changes:
- Gain/reduction in work hours
- Cut pay Loss of job
- Change of job (with change in income)
- Raise in income
If you have experienced a raise in income, you may be tempted to let sleeping dogs lie and continue paying the lower amount of child support you are obligated to already. However, this is a poor choice and can come back to haunt you later.
If the custodial parent/guardian of your children discovers you have more income than you are paying child support on, they may sue you for the difference and demand your child support be raised. It's best to clear things with your lawyer so you pay what you are legally obligated to. In some cases, your lawyer can keep your payments as they are, even with an income increase.
You've Fallen Behind
Falling behind on your child support payments can be detrimental to you in many ways. You can lose your driver's license, have your wages or tax returns garnished, have liens placed on your property, or even go to jail for refusal to pay (this is rare, but does happen).
Hire a lawyer as soon as you know you cannot pay your child support payments on a regular basis. Your lawyer can prove to the judge your intent to pay and why you are falling behind. They can also assist you in modifying child support payments to a lower amount if you cannot pay because you have lost your job or moved to a job that pays less than your previous job.
Custody Has Changed
As children get older, they may be given the right to choose which parent they want to live with. If one or more of your children has moved in with you or you have increased your custodial time with them, you need a lawyer to modify your child support to reflect your current living situation.
Another change in family size that may affect how much you pay in child support (in some states) is the addition of a new child into the family. Some states base child support based on the number of children a person has to care for, and your lawyer can assist you in lowering your own child support obligations if this is allowed in your state and you have a new child in your home.
If you have doubts about how much you currently pay for child custody, talk to your lawyer right away. The sooner you address monetary issues in child custody, the sooner you can rectify financial obligations that are unfair or out of control. Our legal team at Dougherty & Associates is here to assist you with your legal needs.