I would like to reduce my child support order because of my recent drop in income, but I worry that filing a child support modification could affect my plans to file for a motion to modify custody in the future.
In the supplemental petition, I have planned to request additional visitation with a resulting new calculation of child support.
However, the first priority I’m realizing is to file a motion to reduce child support. I just don’t want to interfere with a subsequent filing of the supplemental petition’s potentially new child support calculation.
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Pennsylvania divorce and child support laws where I am licensed to practice.
Usually, a child support order may be modified upon a showing that substantial and material changes in circumstances have occurred, with the petitioner bearing the burden of proving that the change has occurred.
In contemplating a reduction in a child support obligation, courts will often look to whether the change is voluntary or the result of something that is outside the control of the payor. A job loss, that was not through any fault of your own, is the type of material change in circumstances that may justify a support order modification.
As a side note, the court may express an interest into what actions you are taking to secure future employment. Where I practice, the court even offers a program that will help a payor look for work.
Generally, child support and child custody/parenting time are two distinct legal issues. Therefore, you still have the right to see your child(ren) even if you are not paying any child support, and conversely, you must continue to pay your child support order even if you are not seeing your child(ren).
Given this reasoning, filing a motion to reduce your child support obligation should not impact a later filing requesting additional visitation.
However, while theoretically these two issues should be viewed separately, in practice there are often accusations of one party wanting increased time with the child(ren) solely out of a desire to reduce their support obligation. So be prepared to show why increasing your parenting time will benefit your child(ren) and be in their best interests.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.