We have filed a motion to modify child support, but the hearing is consistently being continued and pushed back to later dates.
How can we get this hearing heard before we bankrupt ourselves paying a child support amount that is unreasonable given our current income?
While the exact timeline and possibilities of modifying child support depend on many factors and the rules in your jurisdiction, I can give you some general guidelines about the law and what may be involved. I do not practice in Tennessee, so I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of Tennessee; I can only speak in generalities based on my experience.
It sounds like you have two issues: 1) that your husband’s hearing to modify support is getting consistently continued, leaving his support amount higher than you think it should be; and 2) that your husband has to pay a support amount higher than what you think it should be, since it sounds like it’s based on your husband’s past income, and not his current income amount.
You can object to his ex’s attorney’s filing of a motion for continuance, but granting these motions are usually in the court’s discretion, so if the court sees good cause to grant the motion, it can grant it. An attorney may be able to make a more persuasive argument for you to the judge when objecting to another continuance.
You could also possibly try to file a motion for contempt if you believe she and her attorney are purposely delaying the proceedings in order to force your husband to continue to pay the current amount of support in lieu of risking the amount getting lowered by the judge. I would consult an attorney in Tennessee on what your jurisdiction specifically allows in this respect.
Once you do finally get a hearing, the results will depend on what Tennessee law bases their child support calculations. Your spouse’s income, the amount of nights the child spends with you, and your husband’s ex’s income could all be factors the court will consider when calculating a new support obligation amount.
Be sure to bring proof of your husband’s change of income with you to the hearing, along with documentation of any expenses you pay for the child, i.e. health insurance premiums (if your husband pays for the child’s health insurance) or childcare costs, in case the court in your jurisdiction considers such expenses when calculating support.
In some jurisdictions, lowering the support amount can be retroactive to the date of filing the petition to modify support. Again, you should consult with an attorney who specifically practices in Tennessee to determine how the state child support laws operate.
If you would like to discuss the issue further, Cordell & Cordell has divorce lawyers in your state and we would be happy to schedule an initial consultation with you to address any other questions or concerns you may have for your specific case.
Leslie Lorenzano is a Staff Attorney in the Indianapolis, Indiana office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Lorenzano is licensed in the state of Indiana and the U.S. District Court Sothern District of Indiana. Ms. Lorenzano received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Purdue University, and her Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona – James E. Rogers College of Law.