Child Support question

blessedlife90June 13, 2013

Hey everyone, I have a question regarding child support. I understand that the laws very from state to state, but any answers would be much appreciated.

We live in the state of VA, and my SO pays $500/month to his ex wife for his son's child support. At the time that this amount was agreed upon, my SO was living with his parents (she got the house in the divorce) and he didnt have any living expenses. He also had a job where he was making pretty good money. Things have changed in the past year. He and I both moved into a house we are renting together, and he has switched jobs. He doesnt make the same amount of money or hours as he used to and he certainly has alot more expenses to pay. Wouldn't this be grounds enough for him to ask for his child support to be altered? $500 per month is almost 75% of a paycheck, and he only gets paid every 2 weeks.

Furthermore, this is the 1st year the custody schedule is changing for the summer while his son is not in school. Instead of having his son every weekend like we do during the school year, we will have him every other week during the summer. Which we are super excited for, BUT the child support amount doesn't change even though she will be caring for him HALF the time she usually does. And he is still expected to pay for child care, food, and other related expenses while he is with us. My SO just does not have that kind of money. He was BARELY scraping by before the summer schedule came about, and now I just don't know how he is going to swing it unless something changes.

This situation is 100% my SO's fault because he really did this to himself. He didn't want to keep paying lawyer fees during the custody battle, and he was feeling completely defeted and drained by the loooooong, vendictive process so he told his EX to just come up with an agreement and he would sign it. He didnt even read the contract all the way through. He just signed it and "let her win" because he figured it would be easier on everyone (including his son) to finally have some peace and sanity. So now he is in a pickle financially and it could possibly effect his ability to pay his portion of our rent... which effects ME big time.

I know this isn't MY problem, and that he needs to figure it out on his own. And I plan on staying out of it, as I always have when it comes to his ex. I just wanted to hear some opinions from everyone on if he has any leg to stand on, or if this contract is set in stone. Please, any advice is helpful.

And I would appreciate no "bad dad" comments. Although what he did was STUPID, he really thought in his mind that he was doing the "right thing". His heart was in the right place.

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I must also add that HER circumstances have drastically changed as well. At the time the agreement was made, she was living alone in the home she and my SO bought together. She wasn't making the payments because she said she didnt have any finanical help paying the mortgage. So the fact that she needed extra money to pay for the roof over her and her sons head was factored into the amount. Well.... the house ended up being foreclosed on because she didnt make a single payment for an entire year, and about 2 months after child support was finalized, she ended up moving in with her boyfriend at his house. And she no longer pays rent or mortgage or utilities or anything. So I really think with all the changing factors, something should change.... right???

This post was edited by blessedlife90 on Thu, Jun 13, 13 at 9:19

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 9:17AM
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You can find the Virginia CS guidelines and a form to request a review for modification online . At bottom of form is reasons allowed to request. If your SO has had substantial 'changes' that meet the guidelines he can decide if he thinks a request is in order.

It really matters little what you, I or anyone else thinks of the amount and/or circumstances ...what matters is what a review panel and the courts will think.

One of the first things he has to consider in requesting a review is the circumstances of the job switch. For example, if he voluntarily changed jobs in a desire for better days/hours vs involuntarily (laid off blah blah). Courts expect parents to work for their full potential earning ability.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 10:31AM
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thanks justmetoo... does it cost money to have the CS altered or modified? after he pays child support, his half of the rent, and his half of the bills, he litterally has $0 left. He can't afford any extras or child care for his son... much less a lawyer or court fees. not a good situation.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 11:06AM
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Living expenses for either parent have no bearing on how CS is calculated.

However, the amount of overnight stays a child has with a particular parent do.

Something for you to know, if your SO voluntarily changed to a lower paying job the judge can order his wages be imputed. This means if a judge decides that a parent without just cause (like being laid off) changed jobs, they will calculate CS based off his prior earnings. This is to prevent NCPs from quitting or changing jobs just so they can pay less in CS.

Since the two of you are living together, this affects both of you. Your SO is not a bad dad, but it was pretty stupid thing to do to just sign something that his ex came up with, someone who has every incentive to screw him. I hope he's learned his lesson.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 3:54PM
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I'm not sure about Virginia, but in NY the judge ordered my ex to pay 17% of his salary. If he took my daughter for the summer he was not expected to give child support for that time...although it never happened lucky if he saw her every other Sunday. He would have to make a court date & go in for change of circumstance. The judge or magistrate will more then likely make adjustments. Keep the faith, things have a way of working out one way or the other.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 11:05AM
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I have never heard of a state charging for a CS modification. There generally are restrictions as to how often you can request a modification. I doubt how much he has left in his paycheck to pay his expenses will have any bearing on the courts decision. If mom's financial situation has changed, too then he may want to tread cautiously, his support could be raised.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 10:31PM
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Sounds like it would be in your best interest to go for a modification. A calculator for what CS should be in Virginia can be found here: .

Here is a link that might be useful: Virginia child support calculator

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 12:52AM
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$500 for CS is very reasonable. Sounds like he made the decision to switch jobs for lower pay. Cut back elsewhere and enjoy the extra time you both have with the child, they grow up fast. Summer has many FREE activities to offer and those are often the best times. Focus less on the CS amount & more on other ways to cut costs. You will all be happier and live in harmony.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 3:01PM
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Thanks everyone for all of your helpful advice! And DawnSmith, he certainly would never have gotten a lower paying job just to lower his child support. What a silly thing to say! He had to switch jobs due to completely unrelated issues, and he was really upset that he was taking a pay cut. We are certainly happy and enjoying our extra time with him =). He decided that it wasn't worth the fight to try to change the CS. I think $500 is reasonable during the school year, just not during the summer when she watches him half as much. BUT it's probably more worth it to keep the peace than try to ruffle any feathers over money. As I said in my OP, I was just interested in what his options were. Thanks again for everyone's advice.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 3:35PM
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No, no, I never meant to say he took a lower paying job just to reduce support! I am sorry if it came across like that! Financial situtations will change for both parents now and then, sometimes when it is out of our control! In the end, it's what is best for the kids.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 8:53AM
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