Ask A Divorce Lawyer: Does the court consider cost of living when considering modifications?

Question:

I pay $600/month in child support through the state of North Dakota for my 6-year-old son. But I live in Massachusetts where the cost of living is 200 times higher. Does the court take into account cost of living situations in determining child support since the money I make here doesn’t go nearly as far as it would in North Dakota? Making $40,000 a year in Massachusetts isn’t all that much, but maybe in North Dakota they think it’s a pretty nice living and I can afford $600/month.

 

 

 
Answer:

 

First I must preface my answer that I do not practice in North Dakota. Because each state has laws governing child support, it is important that you seek the advice of a domestic litigation attorney licensed in North Dakota prior to taking action.
 
Generally speaking, in order to modify a child support obligation, there must be a material change in circumstances which occurred subsequent to the original decree (or a later modified decree) that was not contemplated when the prior order was entered.
 
If you were living in Massachusetts when the order was entered it would likely be considered a circumstance that was contemplated before the order was entered and won’t be cause for the court to consider modification. If you were not living in Massachusetts when the order was entered then it’s possible the court would consider the difference in the standard of living a material change in circumstances.
 
It would be to your benefit to contact a domestic litigation attorney licensed in North Dakota to discuss the details of your situation.

 

Nancy R. Shannon, a Nebraska native, is an Associate Attorney in the Omaha, Nebraska office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed in the state of Nebraska where her primary practice is exclusively in the area of domestic relations. Ms. Shannon received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Doane College and her Juris Doctor from University of Nebraska – Lincoln, where she was a finalist in a Moot court competition and active in Client Counseling activities.

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