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max713, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Divorce finalized: 8/2009 in Georgia Domicile for both parties

Customer Question

Divorce finalized: 8/2009 in Georgia
Domicile for both parties currently: New York

Primary physical custody: Father
Joint legal custody

Father's income: ~$90,000
Mother's income: unknown, possibly less than father
CHildren: 2, ages 5 and 10
Current support payment from mother to father: $979.00

My wife is threatening to take me to court so she can stop paying child support. In the original decree, it was always anticipated that we would split time with the kids evenly. However, now she is saying it is unfair for her to pay support since this is the case. I pay for everything - extracurriculars, school expenses, etc. What is the chance she could get the child support eliminated or reduced? If she sues, what is the chance I could get payments increased?

Thank you!
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  max713 replied 4 years ago.

max713 :

Hi. I thank you for choosing Justanswer for your legal question(s). My role as expert is to provide you with utmost service through providing legal information that is honest and truthful (and not overly rosy in nature). Notably, I do not provide advice.

At the time of the decree, you were granted primary physical custody, correct? And, nothing has changed in that regard since that time, correct?

max713 :

And, she is not arguing a change in ability to pay, correct?

max713 and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yes. All correct.
We did not litigate the divorce. She wrote the divorce settlement agreement and I signed it. It stipulated my sole primary physical custody and the child support amount. She kept the vast majority of our assets (including our house). I did not fight because I feared losing custody in court.

She is not alleging any inability to pay, no. She is a Manhattan attorney.
Expert:  max713 replied 4 years ago.
If she is an attorney, that will improve her chances. However, if nothing has changed, it would be difficult to justify a changed order.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Well, what would her arguments be? At first, she lived in Georgia while I lived in NY, so she rarely saw the kids. Once she got here, she did not want the kids equally. Then she asked for equal time Fall 2011, which she got. She says now that that is the case, she shouldnt pay support. Would the court reopen it and ask for income to do a recalculation? What would that look like? Is the fact that she may make less than me a problem?
Expert:  max713 replied 4 years ago.
Got it.

(1) The changed order in 2011 may justify a changed support arrangement (assuming you are no longer considered the primary);

(2) If so, it is possible the court will order a divided child support award, with proportional payments based on income.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
No no. Sorry. There has NEVER been a change to the original 2009 divorce decree and approved settlement. It has ALWAYS called for equal time and for her payment to me. Any deviations to her visitation have been informal between us - never per court order. For example, she was 1000 miles away, so equal time was impossible. Once she came to NY, she wanted to get "settled," so she did not exercise her "right" to equal time for a year and half after she got here. But it was at her discretion. Make sense? Sorry for the confusion...
Expert:  max713 replied 4 years ago.
It makes sense, but her move may complicate things (and constitute a substantial enough change to justify a changed order).

It might not change things, but it also might change things; it could go either way.