Downward Modification Of Child Support: What Does It Take

Either party has the right every three years or if their income has changed by more than 15% to seek a modification of child support up or down unless there is an agreement waiving the right to do so. Leaving out of this blog applications for change due to substantial and unforseen changes in the needs of the child, the above will be a guiding line for many people.

However, people may lose their jobs, self-employment fails, injuries are sustained, disability may occur and so there may exist many reasons for the request for the downward modification of child support. Even so not every application for a reduction is granted.

The burden is on the person filing for the reduction to establish that their own conduct is not to blame for the reduced income. So being fired for cause would be a classic example of a reason for a reduction denial. Other reasons will include a failure to show a diligent search for re-employment or for comparable employment. Resumes, cover letters, applications, interviews, recruiters, networking and proof of these efforts are very important. Even a self-employed person will need to show the efforts to maintain or grow the business or to consider closing the business and becoming an employee.

People that are injured or disabled will need competent proof of not only the injury but the affect on their ability to be employed afterwards. So while a person may have had a car accident, there will still need to be proof that the person remains unable to return to work. No Fault benefits, unemployment benefits and disability income will all be considered by the Court. The fact that Social Security may have approved a disability application may not be enough to obtain a reduction in child support unless the disability is extensive. Medical testimony and proof will be necessary if there is a trial.

Even where a person appears to qualify for the reasons set forth the Court can still consider what other assets/resources the person has to help meet the child support obligation so a reduction is not automatic.

Obtaining or opposing a child support downward modification is not always so simple and parties will benefit from having an experienced matrimonial attorney retained for that purpose.