With half of all marriages ending in divorce, the child support payment has become a staple of American life.
Unfortunately, the recession may be calling into question your ability to pay yours.
If this is the case, you're probably wondering how to lower child support payments to meet your recession-time income. Well, here's how.
Generally speaking, a child support payment is calculated in consideration of a child's financial needs and both parents' income.
A judge looks at the child's educational expenses, day care, health benefits, recreational activities, and any special needs. Then she will consider a parent's income--wages, government benefits, unemployment payments, trusts, gifts and prizes.
Some states will also consider Individual Retirement Accounts, credit card debt, student loans, and a parent's potential earning capacity--not just what is actually earned.
To lower child support payments, there needs to be a showing that income or circumstance has changed. When you go into court, you will need to provide financial documentation if your monthly income is the cause of your request.
If there is a change in circumstances, chances are you are going to need a family law attorney to explain how it leads to a lower child support payment. This is particularly true when either parent has remarried, had another child, or the child's needs have changed.
Of course, you can always agree with your ex to a change. But, in the end, to protect yourself and your child, it's best to have formal changes made to any court order.
- How to Calculate Child Support (FindLaw)
- State-Specific Child Support Information and Guidelines (FindLaw)
- FAQ Regarding Modification of Child Support Orders (FindLaw)
- How To Reduce Child Support Payments (FindLaw's Law & Daily Life)
- How Child Support Calculation Works in the Recession (FindLaw's Law & Daily Life)