Are you in the process of getting divorced and facing child support payments? Or are you making child support payments to a former spouse? Child support is an important part of the divorce process because the payments limit the possibility that children will be financially impacted. However, payment amounts aren't always fair. If you're the one making payments, you may feel like your payments are being used to fund your former spouse's lifestyle rather than to support your children. Or perhaps your situation has changed since you got divorced and the payments are no longer feasible.
The good news is there are steps you can take to reduce your child support payments. They may not be easy and they could involve a court battle, but it could be worth it in the long run if you are facing excessive payments. Below are a few options to consider.
Support your child in other ways. Perhaps your concern isn't the amount of support, but rather that you don't believe the funds are actually going to your child. If so, you could possibly reduce your support payments by providing other types of assistance. For instance, if you pay for your child's health insurance or child care, most states will use those payments as an offset for your child support. You could also show the court that you buy most of the child's clothes or pay for their sports or other extracurriculars. That way, you make sure your child is supported and that the funds aren't being used by your spouse for other purposes.
Show that your ex has increased their income. It's also possible that your spouse's situation has improved since the divorce. Maybe he or she makes significantly more money now, or maybe he or she is cohabiting with a boyfriend or girlfriend. If so, that person's income should be factored into the calculation. If your former spouse has seen a jump in household income, it may be time to recalculate the child support payments. You can take the matter to court, but it may be more efficient to simply start the conversation with your ex. They may acknowledge that their income has changed and be willing to reduce the payments.
Negotiate with your ex. Finally, you may simply want to hold conversations with your former spouse about your financial situation. If it simply isn't possible for you to make the payments, tell them that's the case. They may agree to a reduced payment. They may agree to pause payments until you can improve your financial situation. It doesn't do either of you any good for you to skip payments and face penalties or jail time. Start with a conversation and see if he or she can understand the challenges you're facing. That could help both of you avoid court time and lawyers' fees.
Ready to tackle your child support challenges? Contact a divorce attorney like Kelm & Reuter, P.A. today. They can help you analyze your needs and develop a strategy.