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Samuel II
Samuel II, Attorney at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27009
Experience:  General practice of law with emphasis in family law.
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Do courts typically taper child support changes that change

Customer Question

Do courts typically taper child support changes that change drastically? For instance, what if a calculated support payment is half of what the original payment was due to justifiable reason? That seems like it would be a drastic change to implement suddenly; however, the means of that party has drastically changed so I'm unsure what the court usually does...
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Samuel II replied 1 year ago.

Hello

This is Samuel and I will discuss this and provide you information in this regard.

There is no "usual" court decision. The court will evaluate every case on an individual need.

In Indiana, the court can change your child support order only in two situations. One is if your circumstances have changed so significantly, and continuously, that your child support order is no longer reasonable. Or the court can make a change if a new order by way of a Modification, created under Indiana’s guidelines, would change your existing order by more than 20 percent and your previous order is at least one year old.

A petitioner for a modification must be prepared to provide evidence of the claims you make in your petition. For example, you might provide tax returns or pay stubs showing your reduced income or a letter of termination from your employe

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

For a couple of years now my wife and I have been trying to move closer to Indiana from Texas to be closer to my daughter. My ex wife was never comfortable with the distance and the need to fly with my daughter; therefore, she never allowed my daughter to come visit us.
My wife is active duty and was offered a position in Kansas which is significantly closer to Indiana (now driving distance). My wife received her orders but I was unable to transfer with my current job to Kansas which forced me to resign. Since I resigned, I am using my GI bill to go back to school. I receive VA disability as well as a stipend to go to school so I still have a very decent monthly income; however, it is much less than I was receiving when I was working full time.

So, my income has significantly changed; however, it is to be closer to my daughter so I can see her and be much more involved with things she has going on. I am also getting a stipend to go back to school since I was unable to get a transfer to the same area my current wife is employed.

Expert:  Samuel II replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for that additional information.

What else can I provide for you in that regard?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

My original questioned asked if courts consider any type of tapering when there is a significant change to support?

You responded by stating there are two reasons why Indiana will change child support;therefore, I felt inclined to share more information with the assumption you needed it to address my initial question.

I am now confused by your last comment because I do not think my question was addrssed at all...

Expert:  Samuel II replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. I apologize for not reading the statement to include that.

When looking at a modification, the court is going to evaluate everything. And if it finds that the purpose and intent is not to self impoverish simply to "get out of paying" the support, they may modify it to something more reasonable. I suggest that since you are on disability, you may want to consider what you can give to your child for support and present that in your Modification.

Expert:  Samuel II replied 1 year ago.

And so as long as you can show a Significant change in your income, at no fault of your own, then a modification could be in order.

Expert:  Samuel II replied 1 year ago.

And while I did review your statement for a change in circumstances, I cannot guarantee a court would grant the request. The bot***** *****ne is going to be can you show that the change is not for you - but would be in the child's best interest. If you are in school, you can show how that will help you to get a better job and better be able to support your child in the future. IN that regard, you can note in the Modification that the request to change the current payment is in the child's best interest and temporary.

Expert:  Samuel II replied 1 year ago.

Also please note, that once both parents and the child are no longer living in IN the modification would be filed in Texas in the county where the child lives.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I don't think I am asking my question correctly. Let's say the court already found my reason to modify justified. So, hypothetically, lets say they use the child support calculator to recalculate my support payments and come up with a number that is half the amount I currently pay. Since that is a pretty significant change for the custodial parent, do they sometimes order the change to decrease in small amounts over time or do they just set the amount to be effective immediately/retro to date filed?

Example: Lets say I currently pay $1,000/mo in child support. The court finds I now have a justified cause to have substantially less income and when they re-calculate, the fair support payment is now $500/mo. Will they slowly taper the original amount (ex: $800 for 6 months, $650 for 3 months and then $500)? Or do they typically order it effective immediately/back to the date filed?

Expert:  Samuel II replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the clarification.

Once it is modified and Ordered, it is effective immediately. So unless there are stipulations to "tapering" the payments, the new payment would take effect from the date of filing.

Expert:  Samuel II replied 1 year ago.

I appreciate your patience and taking time to clarify your concern.