Today I represented the mother of four children one of whom was now 21
and no longer eligible for child support. The father filed in Family Court
a petition for emancipation of the oldest child and for a recalculation of his
child support obligation. As a result the Father is now paying more for three children
than his prior order for four children!
When the parties divorced several years ago the father was earning $50,000.
He is now earning $70,000. The child support formula (simplified here)
is that he was paying $1,292 per month on his prior income of $50,000.
This is based on the 31% payment for four children.
However, upon request the Family Court will, unless the
divorce judgment and
agreement provide otherwise, do an automatic recalculation of child support upon
the emancipation of each child based upon the CURRENT income of the parties.
The child support formula for the support of three children is 29% so when
that is applied to the new income of $70,000 child support becomes $1,692
per month, an increase of $400 per month.
Increases in income can more than offset the percentage reduction of child
support for emancipation. In this case the father, had ne never filed,
would have continued to pay the lower amount. Now because he thought he
would get a reduction he has an increase.
Therefore, prior to filing for a modification, I recommend that a consultation
take place with an experienced matrimonial attorney to learn of the risks
of the filing.