Ask A Lawyer: Taking A Huge Pay-Cut, Can I Modify Support?


Hi, I just wanted to ask a few questions.

I am currently active in the military and have been divorced for four years with one child. My divorce was finalized in the state of Hawaii. Since that time, I have remarried and we are now expecting another child.

When I signed the divorce papers, I was being stupid and clearly was not in a sound state of mind.  I have paid dearly for the past three years because of it. When the divorce was settled, she moved to Louisiana (I was still in Hawaii), and I paid her “transitional alimony” as well as child support. I saved whatever I could within those next three years to fund his travel expenses to see me.

The issue is that I then moved from Hawaii to Illinois and received a huge paycut.  This has made things extremely difficult financially, and even more so now that I have remarried and we are expecting. Can I modify my child support payments and some mentions (College IRA and Life Insurance) on my divorce decree? I really need to do something because we are already living from paycheck to paycheck as it is. Not to mention, this extreme financial situation will hinder my chances of funding more of my child’s future travel expenses. Please help!



You need to consult Hawaii attorney, but generally, states allow modification of child support in line with increases or decreases in income.  Also, generally, courts consider travel expenses. The issues of your providing funds for his college may be state-specific; however, you should review the agreement to see what happens to the money if he does not go to college.


Erik H. Carter is a Senior Attorney of the Cordell & Cordell, P.C. office in Indianapolis, Indiana as well as the Litigation Manager of both the Indianapolis and Pittsburgh offices. Mr. Carter has practiced since 1993 as an attorney. He is licensed in Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania as well as the Northern District of Indiana and the Southern District of Indiana.

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