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Amber E.
Amber E., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1482
Experience:  Experienced practitioner in family law, including divorce, custody, and domestic violence cases.
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My ex and I have been divorced 10 years. In our divorce decree,

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My ex and I have been divorced 10 years. In our divorce decree, we agreed on joint physical custody (50/50). I also agreed to a dollar amount of child support plus 50% of additional expenses (fees for activities and such). I just received a letter from her attorney stating that since my one child (i have 2) is going to graduate this year, she is asking for additional money. Her attorney is requesting copies of my pay stub and 2012's W2.
Since I have the kids 50% of the time should I even be paying child support? Can she request these documents since we did not go through the state for payment arrangements? I currently write a check the 15th of every month and have never missed a payment.
Q. Since I have the kids 50% of the time should I even be paying child support?

It is possible. This is because child support is calculated in accordance with the state's support guidelines, and those guidelines focus first and foremost upon the income of each parent. Courts are able to deviate at times, but usually, when both parents are earning more or less the same amount of money and have more or less the same necessary expenses, neither parent pays support because their share of the cost of child care is absorbed by them individually. In some cases, however, it is possible for a parent having 50/50 custody to pay child support, such as when the other parent is not working or when that parent's income is substantially more than the other's. Also, sometimes parents come to agreements about child support that the court will enforce, even if a parent agrees to pay support he ordinarily would not have to under the guidelines. This is why it is always a good idea for your lawyer to crunch the numbers for you and let you know what your baseline obligation would be (if any), before you agree to anything that might be different.

Q2. I just received a letter from her attorney stating that since my one child (i have 2) is going to graduate this year, she is asking for additional money. Her attorney is requesting copies of my pay stub and 2012's W2.... Can she request these documents since we did not go through the state for payment arrangements?

It is not unusual for parents receiving child support to periodically request an increase, especially if there is some perceived change in circumstances since the initial award. However, it is usually the parent who pays requesting a decease around the time a child graduates, arguing that the child is no longer a minor in need of support.

That said, just because someone has their lawyer ask for information doesn't mean that it has to be given to them voluntarily. A letter is not a court order or subpoena and is therefore not enforceable. While a parent may file a motion with the court to increase support and have the court issue a subpoena or court order for the income information, there is no obligation to comply with an attorney's letter until that time. A court order is one thing, a letter is another.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Amber,


 


Thank you for the info. I appreciate your response. Should I reply to the attorney with these facts or just disregard the letter?

You're welcome! Unfortunately, we cannot tell you what 'to do' on this site, that would be 'legal advice' and we are strictly prohibited from providing that. What I can tell you is that you may want to consult with a local attorney who can review the letter but more importantly the custody order and give you some insight into what you should be paying (if anything), what your obligation would be if she were to file for an increase and win, and also what your obligation would be if you sued her for a decrease and won.

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