If you are the parent who pays child support, this may bring along with it a certain amount of anxiety. While you certainly want your child to be comfortable and safe you also have a new monthly financial obligation.
Getting behind on your child support can carry some severe legal consequences. However, did you know that most child-support problems aren’t necessarily caused by a lack of funds?
After all, the court assesses child support on a formula that already takes your income into account. While you may not enjoy the same standard of living that you used to, child support is not supposed to keep you from paying your rent or buying your groceries.
Therefore, as long as the court understands how much you make, child support is usually a manageable percentage of your income.
Most people actually run into problems with child support when they fail to keep the court appraised of changes in their circumstances. They change jobs, get laid off, or get a reduction in salary. Then, they fail to inform the courts of any changes.
The old child support bill keeps right on coming, and the payer gets behind. Once the support obligation is in arrears it gets much more difficult to handle.
Courts don’t retroactively reduce the amount in arrears. It’s your responsibility to ask for modifications to your support order when your circumstances change. It is not the court’s job to simply “know” that your income has changed.
This works both ways. If you start making more money your ex can’t expect the courts to automatically raise your child support amount. If your ex waits a year or more to ask for a child support modification then he or she does not get to demand that you pay the increased support amount for all those months.
The primary responsibility for requesting a modification lies with the person who would want the child support modified. If you need help with a motion to modify a child support order and you live in Minnesota, give us a call. BGS will be happy to help you navigate the change in your circumstances.