Child Support Modification When Your Business Fails

advice on divorceQuestion:

Since the time my child support payments were calculated, I have lost my small business, most of my income, and my ex-wife has gotten a job, which she didn’t have at the time of the divorce.

I am now being threatened with jail time because I can no longer afford paying child support.

Can I get child support modified given my drop in income and the fact that my ex-wife is now working?


This answer only includes general divorce help for men since I am only licensed to practice in Oklahoma and am thus unable to provide financial advice on child support laws in your state.

It sure sounds like you have a good case for a modification of the divorce decree with regard to child support. A modification will allow you to change the terms of the decree and possibly get a lower child support payment.

In most states, child support orders may be modified upon a showing of a “material change in circumstances.” A substantial increase in income of one or both parties, a substantial decrease in income of one or both parties, a substantial change in the needs of the child, or a combination of these factors may constitute a material change in circumstances.

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Unfortunately, in most states, child support cannot be modified retroactively, nor can payment of all or part of past-due support be waived, except by mutual agreement of the parties.

This means that your past due child support obligation is not going to go away unless you can get your ex-wife to agree to let it go. Additionally, if your state’s Department of Human Services is involved, it is likely that they’ll have to sign off on any waiver of past due amounts as well.

It is also important that you move fast. In most states, an order modifying child support is effective on the date the motion the motion to modify is filed, unless the parties agree otherwise or the court makes a specific finding that the material change of circumstances did not occur until a later date.

This means that any change in your child support obligation will go back to when you file the modification.The sooner you file and cut off the current support obligation, the better.

From what I can gather, you may have a strong foundation for requesting a child support modification. I would strongly recommend seeking the advice of a men’s divorce lawyer as you move forward.

To set up an appointment with a Cordell and Cordell mens divorce attorney, including Oklahoma City Divorce Lawyer Christian D. Barnard, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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