- If a substantial change in circumstances, such as job loss or serious illness, generates the need to increase the amount of child support received or decrease the amount of child support paid, a modification of child support may be appropriate. It is important to handle these matters as quickly as possible because child support payments are not retroactive and refunds are not available.
- If the courts determine that a child support modification is applicable to your situation, they will apply the Child Support Standards Act formula on all income up to $136,000. If your income exceeds this amount, the court may use its discretion to determine your needs.
- If you and your child’s other parent prefer to come up with an agreement outside of the court, you do not have to apply state guidelines. However, it is in your best interests to consult an attorney so you will know exactly what your potential rights and liabilities are when you “negotiate” the terms of your agreement.
- Enforcement of Child Support
- The term “deadbeat dad” is quickly becoming a thing of the past. As technology continues to evolve, it becomes easier and easier for estranged mothers and fathers to be tracked, located and forced to pay child support. Failure to pay court ordered or legally agreed upon child support, or being in “arrears,” can have a very negative impact on your credit history, driving privileges and even your freedom. If you have been served with a petition for child support, whether for the first time, or for “arrears,” do not ignore it. The consequences may be severe.
- If you are owed child support from your child’s other parent, you can petition the court to take enforcement action.
- Modification and Enforcement of Spousal Maintenance
Modification of an order or agreement of spousal maintenance, also known as spousal support or alimony, is completely discretionary by the court. When petitioning the court for a modification of the amount of spousal maintenance you either receive or are required to pay, your attorney serves as your advocate. It is your lawyer’s job to understand your needs and convey a message to the court, describing why a substantial change in your circumstances should necessitate a modification.