Child Support Laws Question:
My child support orders show there is to be an exchange of W-2 forms every other year.
Neither party has requested these documents before, however my ex-wife is now threatening legal action because I have not provided them.
Can this be an issue that will result in retroactive penalties applied to child support if my wages have increased?
This answer only includes general divorce help for men since I am only licensed to practice in Oklahoma and am thus unable to provide any financial advice on divorce on the laws in other states.
Without reviewing the child support order it is difficult to say for certain if there would be a retroactive penalty. In most instances, the simple answer is no.
Child support is set by the court and can only be changed when one party files a Motion to Modify Child Support. Typically, the modification will be effective from the date of the filing of the Motion to Modify. It is unlikely that the court would make the child support payment retroactive beyond the date of the filing of the Motion to Modify.
In your case, a court order exists directing you to do something; i.e. exchange W-2 forms every two years. Your failure to do what the court ordered you to do may make you in violation of the court order which is punishable upon opposing party filing an Application for Indirect Contempt of Court.
Of course, based on the facts you presented, the opposing party failed to exchange the W-2 as well and is also in violation of the court’s order and is potentially subject to an Application for Indirect Contempt of Court.
Regardless of the actions of opposing party, it is possible that the court could find you in Indirect Contempt of Court and require you to pay to the opposing party a penalty in an amount that is roughly equal to the difference in the child support you did pay and the child support you would have been ordered to pay had you provided the necessary information as required.
However, given that both parties have failed to comply with the court’s order it is possible that the court would not punish you for the Indirect Contempt of Court.
Additionally, it does not appear that the court provided a date certain to exchange such information so it would be difficult for the court to set a date for when any retroactive payments would begin.
While the court may be unlikely to punish you, or punish you severely for the Indirect Contempt of Court, the opposing party still has the right to proceed on a Motion to Modify and ask the court to modify the child support payment based on your current income.
If your income has increased, barring other factors that the court or the law may deem relevant, you should expect your child support payments to increase.
Please understand that my opinions are based upon the limited facts that you provided to me. For a more in depth discussion of fathers rights and legal advice on divorce, I urge you to contact a family law attorney