Paternity was established and I have been deemed the father of a son I did not know about for many years. I have also been ordered to pay child support.
I have two children with my current wife and this recent child support order is too high to properly care for my current family and the son I did not know about until last year.
What can I do to modify child support so that I can protect my current family from financial ruin?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Indiana child support laws and paternity laws where I am licensed to practice.
There are a few things you may wish to try if you have not already. First, ensure that the current child support obligation worksheet gives you a credit for your two children with your wife.
You may also wish to see how much your son’s mother is paying per week in health insurance costs for your son. If it would be cheaper for you to add him to your health insurance, you may wish to see about adding your son to your insurance and filling out a child support obligation worksheet with you providing health insurance for your son. It will give you a credit for the amount you pay, at least where I practice.
In addition, the more overnight parenting time you have with your son, the lower your weekly child support obligation will be. The logic behind the reduced child support obligation when you have more overnights is that since he is in your care more, you are paying more of his controlled expenses, such as food while he is with you.
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With all of the above steps, you will need to file a petition to modify child support before you reduce your payments. Once the court orders child support based on the change in circumstances, such as you having more overnights or paying for your son’s healthcare, then the lower child support amount may be ordered retroactive to the date you filed your petition to modify child support.
In your petition to modify, you may also try to argue that your two children with your wife should count as “prior born children” instead of “subsequent born children” since you were not aware of your son’s birth and paternity was not established until after your children with your wife were born.
You have a legal duty to support your children and you may be able to request that your income should be reduced by the amount you must pay to support your two children at home. The goal is not to get out of paying child support for your son but to ensure that all of your children are supported with your current income.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.