How a Non-Custodial Parent Can Reduce Child Support Payments

By Brenna Davis

Child support is money paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent, and may be paid either directly, through wage deductions or through a state agency. Support is considered a right of the child and child support awards aren't arbitrary. The federal government requires that each state use child support formulas that take into account parental income, the child's needs and other factors. Thus you can't reduce your payments just because you feel they're unfair or don't want to give money to your ex. However, if you can demonstrate a valid reason for a payment reduction, such as reduced income, you might be able to get payments reduced.

Child support is money paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent, and may be paid either directly, through wage deductions or through a state agency. Support is considered a right of the child and child support awards aren't arbitrary. The federal government requires that each state use child support formulas that take into account parental income, the child's needs and other factors. Thus you can't reduce your payments just because you feel they're unfair or don't want to give money to your ex. However, if you can demonstrate a valid reason for a payment reduction, such as reduced income, you might be able to get payments reduced.

Step 1

Examine your state's child support calculator. These are usually available on state child support websites or on family law attorney's websites. The questions the calculator offers you are the factors that are considered in child support awards. They usually include parental income and child's expenses. If your income has been reduced or if the expenses for the child are increased, you may be able to modify your child support. If a child emancipates or is adopted, you might be able to change your financial contribution for child support.

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Step 2

File a motion to modify child support. This motion should be filed in the same court that issued your original child support order. In many states, the clerk of the court can provide you with a blank modification form to fill out. You can also draft one on your own, or with the assistance of your attorney. The motion should make clear the reason you wish to reduce your payments, and the amount to which you want to reduce them. Return the motion to the clerk and pay the filing fee. The clerk will schedule a hearing on the motion. Depending upon your state's court rules, you may need to serve the other parent with a copy of the motion or complete a request to have the sheriff serve the other parent.

Step 3

Attend the hearing on the motion. You must submit evidence that your reason for changing child support is valid. This may include pay stubs to prove that your income has been reduced, orders emancipating a child, receipts for a child's medical bills or other evidence indicating a change. You may also call witnesses who can testify to the facts. Your former spouse will also have an opportunity to present his side and provide evidence. After the judge has heard evidence, she will rule on the motion and will issue an order that states the amount of child support you should pay.

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How to Legally Change Physical Custody in Pennsylvania

References

Related articles

How Are Child Support Costs Figured Out in California?

Like many other states, California has established statewide child support guidelines to provide consistent child support awards for similarly-situated parents throughout the state. The amount of support ordered is based on two factors: the net income of both parents and the amount of time each parent has custody of the child. Attorneys and judges use computer programs to produce a final support figure. The amount awarded is subject to periodic adjustments to accommodate changes in circumstances.

What Percentage of Income Does Child Support Take for One Kid?

Each state's laws determine how much child support a non-custodial parent must pay after a divorce, and the rates and method of calculation vary between states. These payments are intended to pay for a child's normal expenses, such as housing, food, clothing and education. Though courts frequently use the guidelines to set child support amounts, courts do not have to follow them in cases where they would not be appropriate, such as when a child needs special medical care because of a disability.

Motion to Change Support Order

If you are paying child support or spousal support, also known as alimony, but are going through a change in circumstances, you can petition the court for a modification of your divorce decree. Although laws and guidelines vary from one state to the next, all specify valid grounds for modification, including the loss of a job, illness or disability, remarriage of the custodial parent, or a change in the financial circumstances of you, your former spouse or your children.

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