Now, because my tax status has changed, I take home less net income though my gross income remains the same.
Do child support laws allow for a modification because I misunderstood the calculation and the fact that my net income has decreased?
While I am not licensed to practice in your jurisdiction, I can provide you with some general divorce help for men regarding the issues you present in your question.
Based on the facts provided in your question, it is unlikely that you are presently entitled to a downward modification of your child support obligation.
In Georgia (where I practice), you are entitled to a modification of child support if one of the following circumstances applies since the entry of the most recent order obligating you to pay child support:
1. Substantial change and income status of the Father (in your case, you would move for a modification if you received a substantial decrease in income);
2. Substantial change and income status of the Mother (again, you would move for a modification based upon an increase in the mother’s income); or,
3. Substantial change in the needs of the children (in your case, you may look to petition for a modification of child support based upon certain decreases in the financial needs of the children).
A decrease in your net income, or threats your ex-wife made to you will not constitute grounds for a modification of child support.
Since Georgia uses gross income to determine a child support obligation, the fact that your net income has decreased substantially as a result of your change in the tax filing status will not constitute grounds for a modification of child support.
Based on your circumstances, unless you receive a reduction in your gross monthly income, I recommend that you closely monitor your ex wife’s employment status (to determine whether and when she may be expected to receive an increase in her salary/wages), and the needs of your children.
With regard to the children, you would monitor whether their financial needs have decreased since the entry of the divorce decree. For example, if child care was included in the child support worksheet as a reason for an upward deviation of your child support obligation, and your children stop receiving day care at some point, or begin requiring less day care, then you may have grounds to modify the support obligation.
I strongly advise you to meet with an attorney to review your documents and discuss your best approach to moving for a downward modification of your child support obligation in the future.