Can I motion to modify child support more than once a year?

Attorney Jason HopperQuestion:

I would like to modify child support I receive from my ex wife but I was told that I couldn’t file more than one motion a year for child support. Is that true? Also, the court order states that I am to claim the children on income taxes, which I was unable to do because she filed her before me and claimed the children.

I got a copy of her taxes and it turns out she also lied to me and the court about her income in order to lower her child support payments. Can she get in trouble for lying and for claiming the kids against the decree?

Answer:

You have asked if you are entitled to a modification of child support from your ex-wife on more than one occasion per year, and how you can handle your ex-wife claiming the children on her income taxes.

Concerning your inquiry on child support modifications, Indiana Code § 31-16-8-1 governs the Modification or Revocation of child support orders.  Under this section, modification of a child support order may be made only upon (1). A showing of changed circumstances so substantial and continuing as to make the terms unreasonable; or (2). A showing that a party has been ordered to pay an amount in child support that differs by more than twenty percent (20%) from the amount that would be ordered by applying the child support guidelines; and the order requested to be modified or revoked was issued at least twelve (12) months before the petition requesting modification was filed.  So, if there has been a “substantial and continuing” change in circumstances that makes your current support obligation unreasonable, or if you are over or underpaying by more than 20% and more than a year has gone by, the Court can and will modify your child support obligation.  To answer your question, yes, you could be entitled to more than one child support modification per year if there has been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances which makes the terms of your current order unreasonable.  However, based on the facts in your case, as presented, you may have a difficult time showing that there has been a change from what existed when your current support order went into place.

Concerning your inquiry on your ex-wife claiming the children on her income taxes, I would look at the language contained on your divorce decree or settlement agreement.  If it states that you are to receive the tax exemption and your wife took the exemption, without cause, she would likely be in direct contempt of the Court’s orders.  I would recommend that you attempt to resolve the dispute informally by making  a formal request for reimbursement from your ex-wife and if she does not comply, to seek the Court’s intervention with a rule to show cause filing.

Although I practice law in Indiana, I cannot give you legal advice without thoroughly reviewing your case. Do not rely on this information as establishing an attorney-client relationship. Contact an attorney immediately for assistance. Cordell & Cordell, P.C. does represent clients in Indiana. Thank you for submitting a question to Cordell & Cordell.

 

Jason P. Hopper is an Associate Attorney in the Indianapolis, Indiana office of Cordell & Cordell where his primary practice is exclusively in the area of domestic relations. Mr. Hopper is licensed in the state of Indiana – All State and Appellate courts, US District Court Northern District Indiana, US District Court Southern District Indiana, US Bankruptcy Court Southern District Indiana.

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