How A Child Support Modification Could Backfire

divorce lawyer Maura BoogayQuestion:

I was ordered to pay child support at a time when my ex-wife was unemployed.

I believe she has a new job now, so how can I modify my child support payments as a result? I’ve heard sometimes fathers try to modify child support thinking it will be lowered, but instead it is increased.


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 child support laws where I am licensed to practice.

The first thing you will want to do is retain a men’s divorce attorney to review your current child support order before determining if a motion to modify child support is in your best interests.

In some states, you may motion the court to modify your support order only if you can show a significant change in circumstances has occurred.  You will want to be certain the opposing party has obtained new employment.

If you have the requisite change in circumstances, then you still want to review your current child support order to see if a modification would benefit you. In some cases, you may seek modification of an order because incomes have changed but then you go to court and find your support obligation actually increases.

You can avoid this by reviewing your current order to see what your income was at the time the current order was entered. Has your income increased since then? If so, that will affect a support modification as your current income will be what the court wants to review in re-calculating child support.

Also, what was the opposing party’s imputed income at the time your current order was entered? Often, the court will hold a parent to an earning capacity and use that figure as their income for purposes of running child support guidelines.

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If an imputed income figure was used for the opposing party that is comparable to what she is actually earning now, then you may not be in a better position at all. In fact, you may have had an increase in your income and now you are stuck with an increased child support order.

With that said, if she is employed and her income has increased beyond what was used as her earning capacity or imputed income when your current order was entered, then this new employment may benefit your case and result in lower support payments.

You should proceed with caution and have a child support lawyer run your support guidelines to see what support is now and what it could be based on your current income and opposing party’s potential income.

If it looks as if a modification will benefit you, you should file a motion to modify support and to have the court enter an order pursuant to the guidelines that reflects the changes in the parties’ incomes.

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.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer Maura C. Boogay, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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2 comments on “How A Child Support Modification Could Backfire

    Can I use my ex wife awarded pension I suppose to pay after I retire for child support I don’t want to pay child support n split my pension too so can I allotment her awarded pension to dfas for payments of child support I was court ordered to pay because I’m retired I waive half if my pension for va benefits n the rest of my ex wife awards was left which was my disposal pay I made a allotment on that for my child support so she only gets sux bucks out my retirement now because I garnished rest to keep my child support payments up

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