You've been divorced for years, and most of the hard feelings are long gone. You really appreciate the fact that things are on an even keel. However, your ex is making a lot more money than they did when the child support agreement was made. Things are only getting more expensive, so should you ask for a child support modification? It may be worth making waves to financially protect your children. Here are some things that may impact future child support payments.
Just because your former partner has had some financial luck doesn't mean you can automatically raise the support payments. States have different criteria for raising child support. In a few states, your former spouse winning the lottery would be enough for your support to increase. However, many states have a two-prong approach. You have to prove your ex is making more money and that you are making less. Or you may need to show that your child's financial needs have increased or demonstrate some combination of different financial changes.
Fortunately, you may be able to avoid formal court proceedings by negotiating with your ex and their lawyer. If you have a good relationship, simply showing financial need to your children's other parent may be enough to convince them to cooperate. Most parents want their children to be adequately supported.
This process works both ways, however. If your income has also increased or your former spouse's has decreased, they can petition for a decrease in child support. Before you instigate these proceedings, consult closely with your lawyer to make certain you are not opening up the proverbial "can of worms." If your circumstances indicate that you can benefit from a child support modification, go ahead and seek one.
Requesting a child support change may not be worth pursuing if the amount of money is not going to be significant. Some states actually require that the change will be over $50 or more per month. Your legal fees might end up being more than you recoup. More importantly, court proceedings of any kind can strain family relationships. Make sure the process will be financially worth it.
Remember, your children will only be entitled to support until they are 18, or in some cases, until they graduate college. You won't have too many years to get them the financial backing that they deserve. If they need the support money, and it will make a significant change in their lifestyle, pursue the child support modification. Contact a firm like Novenstern Fabriani & Gaudio, LLP for more information.