Received A Notice That Your Ex Wants More Support? Three Ways To Fight The Increase
Most people think that their issues with their spouse are over once the divorce is final—but if you have children together, you and your ex-spouse aren't likely to be done dealing with all of the legal issues involved until the kids are at least 18 (or maybe older). One of the issues that can bring you back to court is a request for more child support—especially if you don't think it's a reasonable or fair request. What are some ways to convince the judge to turn down a request for more child support?
1.) Show that the support request reflects a want, not a need.
If your ex-spouse is asking for more support because one of the kids needs braces and the orthodontist requires a payment plan that's more than your current support will cover, that's something that you may have difficulty contesting (assuming that your income is sufficient to cover it). However, if your ex-spouse simply wants to buy your teenager a car so that he or she doesn't have to ride the bus to school, you may be able to convince the judge that it's a luxury that your child can live without.
2.) Prove that you have unusual and necessary expenses that limit your ability to pay.
You may be in a situation where your income looks healthy on paper but there are some unusual expenses that are eating up your funds. In that case, you may be able to present evidence to the judge that you simply can't keep up with the increase. For example, you may be struggling with a recent health issue that requires medication that isn't covered by your insurance and frequent blood work and doctor's visits for which there are co-pays. Come to court prepared with a letter from your doctor with your diagnosis and a printout of your co-pays at the pharmacy and doctor's office or clinic.
3.) Document a recent change in circumstances that has you living on a reduced income.
Not every change in circumstances will induce a judge to deny a request for a child support increase. You need to show the judge that the decrease in your income is recent, unavoidable, and outside of your control in order to be successful.
For example, if you recently stopped working overtime because you decided that you want to get your master's degree in engineering, the judge may not consider that an unavoidable change in circumstances—even though the long-term outlook of such a move could eventually benefit your children once you get a higher-paying job through the better degree. Child support enforcement judges tend to be more focused on the present, not possible future events. On the other hand, if you stopped working overtime because the company hired more people to deal with the labor shortage, you may be able to avoid the increase in support and even ask for a reduction instead.
For more information on what you can do to avoid an increase in child support, talk to an attorney in your area.