Ask a Divorce Lawyer: How can I keep child support payments from increasing while I’m unemployed?

Question: I was divorced in 1980 and ordered to pay $50 a week in child support. I have had unrelated legal problems and spent four years in jail and also spent time of welfare with my current family. 

I have been paying via forced wage attachment, income tax, etc. since 1996. I have lost jobs, been denied promotions, and had my credit ruined over this. Now my ex filed for a hearing to have arrearage payments increased to $100 a week even though our child is now 32 years old. The only income I have is unemployment at the moment. 

Do I have any recourse at all?


Answer: First, I must preface my answer I am not licensed to practice law in Florida and as family law is state specific, it would be in your best interests to contact a domestic litigation attorney licensed in Florida before taking further action. Cordell & Cordell maintains offices in Florida and there are qualified attorneys who would be happy to discuss the specifics of your case with you.

Once child support accrues, it is payable and won’t be dismissed absent circumstances such as the child was not living with the custodial parent when the child support accrued. Your recourse is to show the court that you are not financially able to handle an increase to $100 a month and that the payment amount should remain at $50 a month.


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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