When child support is calculated, it is based on the state’s guidelines and how they interact with the parents’ income, the number of children involved, and the percentage of time each party has with the children.
These parameters provide the court with the necessary information to make informed decisions regarding what can be paid within the means of the paying parent.
However, the details regarding how much each parent makes in a given calendar year can change over time, causing the need for child support to be reassessed. This can result in a dispute between the paying parent who sees the changes in annual income and the receiving parent who feels justified in the amount being received and what these funds are being spent on.
Paying too much
Many parents feel like they pay too much in child support and that the original designated amount of child support no longer fits the current situation. Questioning the amount being paid can make waves in the co-parenting waters and raise concerns that may not actually be there.
Many parents facing the prospect of having their child support payments modified feel as though their household is victimized by this idea. Their financial information and spending habits may be reassessed, and this can put the receiving parent on edge.
The paying parent looking to modify their child support payments needs to make it clear to the paying parent that this is not an action that will affect the amount of parenting time that they spend with their children. That needs to be made clear, because that may be the first thing that gets tampered with after the desire to modify child support becomes known.
Any instances of tampering with scheduled parenting time with a child need to be chronicled, in order to further your case. The family law attorney of the paying parent needs to be contacted and kept in the loop of any instances of missed parenting time, as well as the paying parent’s desire to modify child support.
If any agreement of child support modification is reached, it needs to be chronicled through the legal channels with the presence of the paying parent’s family law attorney. They can provide the necessary guidance to transition the paying parent to a new system where they can monitor the payments and finances closer.
Keeping detailed records of payments will allow the paying parent to enter them into evidence, which can help them and their case in the future.
The emotional side
There is an emotional side of this situation that is often forgotten when discussing child support. Some feel that those that seek to modify child support are doing so because they either do not trust their co-parent with the money that is intended to go toward the child’s well-being and growth, or they do not love their child to the same extent as they once did.
These are two very different points of contention that motivate those of that opinion, creating conflict within courtrooms, as well as legislative debates related to regulating child support more closely.
When couples divorce, there is a certain amount of trust that is lost in their personal dynamic. Even the most civil of ex-spouses loses aspects of the trust that they once shared with their former spouse.
When one ex-spouse raises any type of question as to what some of the child support being paid goes toward, the mistrust that divorced couples stereotypically share for one another is brought to the forefront, causing conflict.
Payment and poverty
Many parents who pay child support feel like they are paying outside of their own means. They do not have the funds to be sustaining a life for themselves, as well as a life for their ex-spouse and child. They feel like the two lives are of different standards, and by modifying child support payments, they are looking to level the playing field.
Being a low-income individual is a reality for many parents making high child support payments, and they cannot support their child if they are falling behind on their payments. Running a parent into poverty does not provide the assistance that a child needs. It is simply not in their best interests.
These paying parents looking to modify their child support payments love their children just as much as the parents who are receiving the payments. They are only interested in their child’s best interests, and while the receiving parent may be providing an exemplary, highly funded life for the child, the paying parent in poverty may not be able to sustain a financial existence without the legal help of child support modification.
Setting aside all of the emotions involved in the divorce experience, sending someone into poverty should never be an end goal, and for paying parents, child support modification is a cry for relief with an unwanted stigma attached to it. Through understanding the difficulty of the paying parent and their financial situation, the receiving parent is better equipped to provide a life that is in the best interests of their shared child.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.