1. People & Relationships
Cathy Meyer

Need To Modify Child Support Due to A Layoff or Reduction in Salary?

By March 8, 2009

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According to federal statistics there were 237,902 workers laid off during the month of February. We are living in tough economic times and along with mass layoffs, unemployment benefit claims or on the rise.

If you pay child support and are the victim of a salary reduction or layoff you may no longer be able to pay the same amount in child support since the amount you are now paying was calculated on your previous income.

What do you do if you are laid off or take a reduction in salary? The first thing you do is take legal action to protect yourself. Hire an attorney and file for a modification of child support from the courts.

To protect yourself in the long-term you need that court ordered, downward modification in child support. If you find yourself unable to make an entire payment or a payment at all and fall behind, when you do get a modification it will not apply to the past due child support you owe.

To keep yourself from falling behind, contact an attorney and get the ball rolling as on a downward modification as soon as possible. If you can’t afford an attorney call your local court clerk and ask what steps you need to take to file for a modification as a Pro Se litigant.

March 10, 2009 at 7:28 pm
(1) Dip Shifty says:

Tell me, how can a person who just lost their job, and cannot afford to pay (what they normally would)in child support, hire a lawyer?? I could see that picture now… “well you see judge, I couldn’t afford child support because I had to hire a lawyer in order to ask you to consider lowering my child support.” Yeah, that’s gonna work

March 10, 2009 at 9:04 pm
(2) Cathy says:

“If you can’t afford an attorney call your local court clerk and ask what steps you need to take to file for a modification as a Pro Se litigant.”

Dip Shifty, if you had read the entire post you would have had the answer to your question.

March 11, 2009 at 12:09 am
(3) Dip Shifty says:

You appear to be right! I stand corrected!

March 17, 2009 at 9:44 pm
(4) Kim says:

Hi Cathy. I am in end stages of a michigan uncontested divorce. We have hit one snag.

My ex is dragging his feet on submitting a debt settlement.

Our divorce is approved and on reserve until it is signed and submitted by both of us.

No equity to be divided just the debt we accumulated.

What can I do to get him moving on this? His attorney wont return my calls of inquiry, and when I ask him, I get a landslide of vulgarity from him and his little girlfriend. (I save those by the way!)

Court orders maybe? How do they work?

March 19, 2009 at 3:15 pm
(5) Greg says:

One question that comes to mind is in filing this brief, woudl it be better to negotiate an agreement first with the ex spouse, or do you file and then say that you need to modify.

I’d hate to telescope the move should there be any preemptive jockeying, but it strikes me as a which came first, the chicken or the egg.

Do I talk to my ex-spouse first to see if she’s a willing participant?

March 19, 2009 at 4:43 pm
(6) Cathy says:

Hi Greg,I feel it is always better to try and negotiate with an ex.

If your ex is willing to modify the child support great! Be sure you either have an attorney draw up an agreement or file one yourself so that it can become, “court ordered.”

It must be signed by a judge to be legally binding.

March 31, 2009 at 3:17 pm
(7) Joe says:

Cathy, I have been wrestling with getting a modification in child support for over a year now. Since the case is being handled out of state (I live in Mi, the order is out of VA) I was able to do a telephonic court appearance only to have the judge tell me I needed to appear in court. I don’t have the money to appear in court in VA, not to mention hiring an attorney. Now I am faced with a default ruling to not lower my support, yet I remain unemployed and am barely making ends meet. I have 2 other children I am supporting, yet the courts (both MI and VA) insist I pay 770 dollars a month. I even had to hire an attorney (cost 500 dollars, so had to sell my car) to appear for a “Show Cause” here in MI. Looks like I am being forced into being a “dead-beat-dad” simply because the economy isn’t very good. I think my next move will have to be out of this state and into another, while my wife and children remain in MI.
This has even messed up my ability to get employment at one point, because there is an outstanding amount owed. I have been working with the state of VA for months and months, to no avail. I was told I had to Prove my unemployment, and when I did they garnished my unemployment checks, only to tell me I hadn’t provided enough information to prove I was unemployed.
Its bad enough that I am scraping by to feed my kids, meanwhile the mother of my first child is living in the lap of luxury, and I am legally being threatened with debtors jail.

March 31, 2009 at 3:27 pm
(8) Joe says:

Sorry, an addendum to my post.
According to the Uniform Interstate Child Support Act (? I might have that mixed up) I was supposed to be able to request a reduction/modification for child support, however, the Chief justice presiding over the case has the ultimate say. So in short, even though I “should” have the right to present my case telephonically, that right was ignored.
As far as “Pro Se litigant” that applies more so to a divorce proceeding. Child support hearings are more so like a “small claims court” except its the only one that you can be held in contempt and face jail time.

April 21, 2009 at 6:11 am
(9) Michael says:

As a pro se litigant in the worst state to get divorced in (Mass requires child support to age 23!) I asked my ex for a reduction. She said no. I have been unemployed for some time and have been able to borrow money to satisfy my obligation but that ability is going to end soon.

I have prepared a pro se motion that I am getting ready to file. My question is: Under MA guidelines I might be able to get it reduced to as little as $80/month or even 0 based on the state’s website. How do I approach her attorney with an offer to settle at some lower amount? I currently pay $1,800/month and half her college expenses. Thanks.

PS Anyone wishing to see my proposed motion, send me an email to namesiwm @get-noticed dot com (reverse the first half of the email name and make dot com .com)

April 22, 2009 at 10:16 am
(10) Jo˘ says:

Well, it’s obvious that Cathy Meyer doesn’t follow up on these comments, much like she doesn’t bother to follow up on the legal facts regarding this particular situation.
I have to wonder how many poor souls have tried to follow this advise only to find its useless.
Thanks Cathy Meyer, your help has been useless.

April 22, 2009 at 12:39 pm
(11) Cathy Meyer says:

Joe, we have laws to protect the legal rights of those going through a divorce. Then we have judges who I’m afraid, have the right to use their own discretion when interpretting those laws.

You had the bad luck of getting a judge who evidently likes to see all parties to the issue at hand in his court.

If I were you I would file a complaint against the judge with the judiciary committee in Virginia.

Also, when you were told that you had not provided enough information to prove you were unemployed did you ask them specifically what information they needed?

Your first mistake was not realizing that your case was complicated…an interstate child support issue. Not hiring an attorney to represent and be an advocate for you in court was imperative.

Most cases whether it is simple divorce or modification of child support or custody can be done pro se. When you are crossing state lines it becomes more complicated.

More than likely the judge viewed you as a man who lacked enough concern for the proceedings to travel out of state. He probably developed a skewed opinion of you due to the fact that you weren’t showing up in his courtroom and that is what he based his decision on.

It isn’t fair but when it comes to any aspect of Family Law, fair and right does not always get what is expected.

April 22, 2009 at 12:52 pm
(12) Cathy Meyer says:

“How do I approach her attorney with an offer to settle at some lower amount? I currently pay $1,800/month and half her college expenses.”

Michael, you need to write her attorney a letter. When you do make sure you send a copy of the letter to the court clerk with a request that it be included in your divorce file.

Writing her attorney and offering to negotiate a modification of child support will show the courts you were willing to try and solve the issue before going to court.

Most judges like this. Their courts are overflowing and anyone willing to try and negotiate an issue to keep in out of court is looked upon favorably.

If your ex and her attorney aren’t willing to negotiate a downward modification they can then explain to the judge why they weren’t.

You say you are currently paying $1800 a month plus half of college expenses. Is your child still living at home with her mother or is she living on campus?

If she is living on campus why are you still required to pay her mother anything other than dorm expenses and other college related expenses?

When you go to court you are going to need to show that, for one thing, your daughter will be able to continue her education after a modification.

You need to do research on what kind of grants and scholarships are available to her. Whether or not she would be able to do a work/study program.

You need to think of every issue the ex’s attorney will use to argue against a modification and have a response proving him/her wrong.

I would be happy to take a look at your motion if you want me to, send it to divorcesupport.guide@about.com

April 22, 2009 at 12:55 pm
(13) Cathy Meyer says:

“I have to wonder how many poor souls have tried to follow this advise only to find its useless.”

Jo, I hear quite often from people who have followed the advice and found it very helpful. I’ve not yet had any communication with someone who found it useless and I’m sure if that were the case I would have heard.

April 22, 2009 at 1:50 pm
(14) Jo˘ says:

Yes, Hiring an Attorney would have been a good thing, But I’ve no money for such a thing! Yes, if in fact I could hire an attorney perhaps I could have been able to pay my child support. This is quite backwards.

Great so on top of this I have to fight to prove my innocence. That is rich. Sorry to sound pretty frustrated here but I am, and the child support laws should be changed. Period.

April 22, 2009 at 1:59 pm
(15) Jo˘ says:

The above post missed my paste which was
..file a complaint against the judge with the judiciary committee in Virginia….

Great File a complaint against them/him. Guilty and have to prove innocence. This is annoying and not on one level but all levels of humanity.
1. Got unemployed
2. Could NOT get VA DSCE to review the case correctly.
3. Get told by a judge I HAVE to show there to prove my case
4. Have no legal recourse except to hire a lawyer, which since this is a civil matter one cannot be appointed to me from the state.

Ok, now, how do you expect me to tell my current family (2 twin daughters age 9yrs) why there is no food on the table…

April 22, 2009 at 4:14 pm
(16) Jo˘ says:

Sorry but this situation is not as simple as it is put in this article. If a Non-Custodial parent falls behind for whatever reason, simply putting in a change of circumstances (at least in VA) is not that simple. Since being laid off, and immediately contacting the state of VA’s DCSE (to which is both belittling and humiliating if you have ever talked to their call center) I was told to fill out xyz-form, and fax it in. Low and behold, it didn’t do anything. 6 months later they started taking out money from my unemployment checks and wanted me to prove I was unemployed. End result “Review Denied”. 6 months later I again wrote to them stating that after being out of work for almost a year I was pleading for a reduction. Again, “Prove you are not working!”, ok fine how do I PROVE I AM NOT MAKING ANYTHING! I go ahead and go through the motions, hoping (and preying) that some way there will be justice. Nope, nadda. As read above, I have to go there to prove the case, and since it is a civil matter, I cannot get a public attorney, yet I can be placed in jail for contempt.
Well on a good note, I have been talking to the Custodial parent and even she has agreed this has gone to far.
Child Support is not fair, at least not when handled by the courts and the cronies.

April 22, 2009 at 4:58 pm
(17) Jo˘ says:

Oh and BTW, Filing a complaint against the judge with the judiciary committee in Virginia, where in the heck do you do that? I am not in the state of VA, so I have been on the phone for the last 1.5 hours trying to figure out where I can do this. Are you spewing out things you haven’t any knowledge of? My gosh. I am done. I’m putting up a website (with what little money I have left) to put a stop to this madness. The unfortunate

April 22, 2009 at 5:59 pm
(18) Cathy Meyer says:

Below is a link to the website and also the address and phone number.


100 N 9th St # 661
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 786-6636

April 23, 2009 at 11:49 am
(19) Jo˘ says:

Thank you. I appreciate that.

April 23, 2009 at 12:34 pm
(20) Jo˘ says:

Just an FYI, if you have acomplaint you must send it in writing. So your day in court can not be heard in court. You have to prove it in writing.

April 27, 2009 at 1:43 pm
(21) Rodney says:

The child support system as it is currently managed is the closest thing to slavery that remains in America. The constitution provides that should not be any debtors’ prison yet although IRS has catagorized child support as a debt failure to pay will land a man in jail. It is outrageous.

April 27, 2009 at 7:24 pm
(22) divorcesupport says:


I would be interested in knowing why you feel that anyone who fails to pay their child support should not go to jail. Be it man or woman.

Your children are not a debt, they are a responsibility, a moral obligation and I’m not sure why anyone who willingly shirks that responsibility doesn’t need to go to jail.

May 11, 2009 at 6:32 pm
(23) Brenda says:

hi cathy!!!
my husband was laid off in february like so many others. he has child support for 2 kids and cannot afford to pay it. i am afraid that they will take his unemployment check to pay for the backed up support. we have tried to work out an agreement with the mother of his children but since their relationship ended in bad terms she’s not willing to work anything out. he has a relationship with only one of the kids. someone suggested to request for 50/50 custody but how likely is it that he gets it if he would only request it for 1 of the kids? would that look bad in front of the judge? can we also apply for modification of support for the other child? we live in california and any help would be greatly appreciated.

September 26, 2009 at 7:04 am
(24) deadbeat says:

I can speak on rodneys behalf about jail! what $ you gonna get while the person is incarcerated? They need a orderd program 1st! then incarceration if still no go. the reduction thing a big joke. ive been laid off since nov 07 and still fighting for a reduction. even with unemployments document judge paul gluchowski is still finding me willingly un-under employed. it isnt like my support for 1 child is $500.00 a month either its $839.00 and builds up fast with interest every month. even with no employment i made some sort of payment now with my 900.00 a month job that i feel lucky to have found and cant afford the 839.00 they are going for suspension of license. im ready to bear arms and dare them to come get me!!!!!!!!!!! i am sending complaint about the judge but us the people need to put a stop to them taking advantage of us who try! if you follow the $ trail i bet its a giant scandal . they collect % off of whats paid. they claim us as deadbeat and get the arrears with interest and i bet tax $ to boot! then the jails collect tax $ for us being in there! courts get the $ for the licenses and other bs! then the dmv gets more $ for reinstatements. they are taking advantage of us and hiding behind helping the kids!!!!!!! fact!!!!!!! what good is it going to do for my daughter to take my license? i have to live on 300- 400 a month with food, insurance, gas , other necessities and it costs 500 for my 4 year old ? cmmon people get real. im not trying to evade but im not one for suicide either ill get them 1st :) lol

December 10, 2009 at 8:05 pm
(25) Jeanne B says:

my ex is taking me to court pro se to reduce child support because his unemployment is down to 400 a month (after over a year)yet I am unemployed with NO unemployment (real estate agents do not get anything when they don’t sell) and am in school full time now living off of my federal school loans with my kids. My ex has a rich lifestyle, married to a wealthy woman who owns a home, he owns his parent’s home, and they have a vacation home which they just got home from in the islands. Any input?

January 20, 2010 at 1:51 pm
(26) KEN says:


January 28, 2010 at 11:02 pm
(27) kevin says:

this message is for joe….did u get that website up and running? I am going through a situation nearly identical to yours and i am at the end of my rope hitting a brick wall. hoping you had some advice.

February 2, 2010 at 1:20 pm
(28) Jeremy says:

SERIOUSLY.. Hi i’m getting lad off and want my child support to be deducted but im going ot spend the money on hiring a lawyer….and taking more money from my kids..is this lady real! If I cant afford to pay as much for my kids I cant afford a lawyer. Its not that I want to take fromt hem I would love to give them N E thing in the owrld and as much as I can. But I wont take the money and hire a lawyer, id rather give them that money.. Is there a way to not hire a lawyer. I just dnt want to not be able to pay the full amount at a point in time, and get backchold support and be in trouble for something i honestly cant help! I cant just go to court or make a court date and prove my income it’s obious the money is not there, or as much I wont be able to pay my bills and will probally be eating bread and butter everyday.. It;s entirely way to much!

February 2, 2010 at 6:14 pm
(29) Cathy Meyer says:

If you can’t afford an attorney call your local court clerk and ask what steps you need to take to file for a modification as a Pro Se litigant.

Jeremy, if you had read the entire post you would have had your answer to the issue of not being able to afford an attorney.

Read again and pay close attention to the last sentence.

February 21, 2010 at 12:11 am
(30) Gary says:

I am never appossed to child support so long as the Judge basis it actually on the income you are making. The problem is most Judges and one in particular in Virginia Beach tries to take things like Military disability, your GI bill payments that are for school, even what the Veterans Administration is paying for your school and basically whatever he thinks you are capable of making just to get your child support up to an amount that it used to be even though you do not have that job. Heck the IRS doesn’t even do that. What is wrong with Judges going strickly on actual income, they should be made only to go by what the IRS says is income. Problem now is you can not get Judges to go back and recalculate that mess up that they caused in the first place.

I am just waiting for this judge to abide by the laws that we have to.

April 20, 2010 at 4:04 pm
(31) Sean says:

Hi Cathy, I’m just another Father trying to understand the system of Modifying Child Support….so far, SCARY. I have gone the route of doing this on my own, notably like many others who just can’t afford to retain a lawyer. So, in about a week and half I have a Court appearance slotted, yet while I did receive my Court Order to appear the envelope also included a court order for Mediation. That was surprising enough to receive that notice, that I didn’t ask for mediation…but, I was more surprised to see that attached to the Appearance notice was a post-it-note that read “You Must Go To Mediation Before your Final Hearing”…so I called the Mediation Clerk to see what this was about and was told that they received the notice after the Date of my Hearing for Child-Modification, so there was No way to appoint a time before my Hearing….So, am I completely wasting my time by appearing at the Child-Modification hearing? I know I have to appear, but will this mean that the Judge will tell me to come back? I’m not sure why this would be happening in this order and I live 2000 miles away from the city in which this is taken place.

July 18, 2010 at 4:32 pm
(32) aj says:

I pay child support through a wage garnishment at my new work, been doing this for about 3 months. Prior to this job I was unemployed for several months and got behind in child support, however the feds took my $4000 tax return to go towards child support yet i have no idea where it actually went because as of yesterday they went into my bank account and took all that i had, $500. They say i am still behind $2600, yet i am trying to make up for it by paying every two weeks through my wage garnishement, now they are taking everything i have. soon to be penniless and homeless. I need advice and help. I just dont understand how they can take the money from my bank when i am making good faith efforts and paying every two weeks. Also, i have no paperwork on where the $4000 tax return money went. So lost and frustrated. always paid my child support till i got laid off. Please help.

August 3, 2010 at 1:21 pm
(33) Bensaber says:


In 2006 I agreed with my ex wife for her to have physical custody of our two daughters 14 and 15 now. I forgave her $30K of back child support that she did not pay while the girls were with me. We also agreed for $700 / month child support. I have not defaulted since. Now she wants more money or double the amount. Can we reopen the agreemtn and show the judge the context of the arrangement?
Thanks for any help,

October 4, 2010 at 8:18 pm
(34) Megan says:


My current boyfriend is in this situation. He was laid off from January until July and was unable to make his $1,000/month child support payments. He has gotten a new job that does not pay nearly as much as he used to make and is paying $500 a month per the advise of his ex wife’s attorney. His ex and his family will not let him see his daughter because he is now so far behind and “catching up” on payments.

I am worried that without him filing for a modification and listening to the advice of this lawyer he may be putting himself in more trouble. He cannot afford a lawyer right now and is trying to do this the “civil way” but I do not trust his ex and her family to do anything civil at all.

How late is too late to file a modification? Can he go back and file for modification on the amount he owed from January to July or has he missed his chance?

December 6, 2010 at 1:43 pm
(35) michelle says:

hi cathy

How do you go about modifying child support when both parties are agreeing? My husband pays child support and can no longer afford to pay and his ex wife has agreed to reducing or terminating all toghether but we are not sure how to do this. Please help us. Is there a paper we can both signed and have noterized?

February 2, 2011 at 5:29 pm
(36) Matthew G says:

Im moving to south Korea and filing for citizenship because of my worthless ex who has been living off welfare and child’s support for the last 10 years and now she wants more. Meanwhile im working two jobs on of which is a soldier in the US Army and living out of my car, This is whats wrong with out country it enables people like her to get over on the system. Bye USA.

March 14, 2011 at 1:30 pm
(37) Toni Morris says:

I have more of a question than a comment. My ex made a request in the state of VA for a reduction and it was denied. However, I have gotten notice of an upcoming court date (continuance) to hear the case again for decrease. Im confused because per the judge who ruled in our case, the NCP can request a appeal but all arrearages have to be paid in full, and I have yet to receive full back pay. I called to inquire but it seems as though no one is on the same page and I keep getting the run-around. Meanwhile, the letter also states that the NCP has hired an attorney and I assume retaining an attorney has afforded him a “continuance” in a case that has already been heard/ ruled on. What’s really going on?

April 7, 2011 at 7:54 pm
(38) Andrea says:

My ex-husband has filed for a child support modification and after he filed he recently got laid off, if I agree in court to lower his child support while being laid off will I be able to have it raised back up again when he returns to work? My child has lots of health issues and I don’t ask him to pay half of the medical like he is supposed to but I will have to ask him to pay it to help me if they reduce the child supports current order.

April 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm
(39) Desmond says:

My baby mama crazy, she won’t let me see my son and I lost my job. I am not able to make my child support payments, so she won’t let me see my child until I pay her. So a friend of mine told me about the child support tricks book and I downloaded it and in only 2 days I was able to file all the necessary paperwork on my own to get visitation of my son and I did a child support modification.

Now she is required to let me see my son. You can buy the book here http://www.childsupportricks.com

June 8, 2011 at 7:14 pm
(40) Alex says:

We live in Missouri, my husband pays for 2 kids in the state of Virginia. We need to get it reduced because the older one turned 18 in December and is no longer living in the home. My husband lost his job in February of 2010 but he got a loan from his parents to keep the payments going, so we’re not behind. We just want to have it reduced to what it should be because of the child no longer being in the home and we have absolutely NO WAY of traveling there. We were told that when we get the papers summoning to court that my husband can write the judge a letter and request a telephonic hearing. From what I’ve heard, they’re not too keen on this, I don’t know why. What can we do??

August 16, 2011 at 3:51 pm
(41) Susan says:

We are in the State of Missouri have filed a motion to modify with the DCSE and they finally after 8 months have come back and said that my husband’s child support should be lower. Of course his ex doesn’t agree and says she is getting an attorney. My husband’s income has been cute in half over the past 2 years due to the economy. He makes his payments but mainly because we borrow from my mother in order to keep him current. Do we have to get an attorney now, since his ex doesn’t agree to lower his payments, or does what the DCSE stand. Help as we are drowning in time!

August 16, 2011 at 4:06 pm
(42) Cathy says:

Susan, you definitely need to speak to an attorney about the matter.

September 28, 2011 at 1:17 am
(43) Jason says:

Sorry but mine is a question…I live in VA & have been ordered to pay almost $400 per month for a child I don’t even see. I make about $2,000 gross & she makes a little over $1,000 (from what she’s showed the Child Support Division). I can’t even afford to pay my rent & keep my household bills in order due to this ridiculous amount that I’ve been ordered to pay but I’m being abused by the system because she has/chooses to keep a low paying job. I’m currently exploring my options to see what I can do to have my support amount reduced to something reasonable considering I have my daughter that lives w/ me whom I take care of. Does anyone have any good suggestions that may help me get this mess straightened out (aside from get a 2nd job which already tried)???

September 28, 2011 at 11:40 am
(44) Cathy Meyer says:

Jason, four hundred a month sounds about right. Whether you see the child or not you are still responsible for a providing for a portion of the child’s needs.

Since you don’t see the child that means the mother is responsible for 100% of the child’s care. That probably puts her in a position of not being able to find a job that pays more.

Could it be that she is working part-time because she can’t afford the daycare expenses if she worked full-time? And, if she worked full-time the court could very well order you to pay a portion of those daycare expenses.

Who is paying for health care insurance for the child? Who pays for out of pocket expenses when the child is sick? In most cases a non-custodial parent is ordered to pay a portion of those expenses on top of monthly child support.

I think you should consider yourself lucky if all you have to do is pay the $400 a month and not that plus the other expenses associated with raising a child.

January 4, 2012 at 3:40 am
(45) adult affairs says:

I savour, result in I found just what I was taking a look for. You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

January 5, 2012 at 9:20 pm
(46) Catherine says:

My soon to be ex is in arrears in child support. He purposely took a seasonal layoff from hisn job, only about 3-4 weeks. he just informed me that he applied for modification ,and will not be paying support, or what he owes. is this legal? isn’t support based on annual income? not a few weeks? he asked to be laid off for a few weeks. What can I do? I have 3 kids, and am working as much as I can.

January 21, 2012 at 4:16 am
(47) Eddie says:

This is to the guy above who said something about getting his drivers license pulled for not paying child support. It’s not going to happen. That in it’s self is stupid. Any judge with half a brain is not going to pull your license. How would you get to work? Here is the main thing yo have to do. You have to show you are trying. Lets say you can’t afford no more than 20 bucks a week, Pay the 20. Pay it like clock work. All in all you will make youself look good and her look bad because you are trying and all she is doing is fussing. You have to use your head.

February 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm
(48) Angela says:

I have a question, my ex and I have been legally separated, divorced officially since 2007. We have a CS order in place, which at the time it was drawn up, I wasnt working and he wasnt making all that much ($54,000 a year). He now makes a lot more, including consistent OT and i am working myself full time. I remarried a year ago to a man who pays his ex child support and my ex has since had another child with his girlfriend. Up until 3 years ago (when he began dating his gf) he was living at home with mommy and daddy, and now he lives pretty much with her in her house (that her ex pays the mortgage on). I would like a modification in CS, COL and inflation (clothes, food, gas, etc). What are my chances of them considering my new husband’s income, or his child with the gf? He doesnt pay rent or gas or electric in either of the places he lives, hes had two new cars in the last 3 years, etc. Ive asked him for a little more each week to help out with the expenses, but he cries poverty to me. If my daughter (who is 11) asks him for a pair of sneakers or pants, he tells her to ask me because he gives me all the money to do that. In the next breath he complains to my girl about ALL the driving he has to do and that he works all this overtime so she can go to college… one word… ugh! Thanks!!

March 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm
(49) Eugene says:

From my point of view the system is very messed up and inflexible. All it knows is a formula and dismisses every other details including, but not limited to time from divorce, current life style of both parties, remarriages, children from subsequent marriage. Also, unless non-custodial parent loses his job or has severe pay reduction (things no one in a right mind wants), he has close to 0% chance of reducing his child support obligations.
I’ve been divorced for over 4 years now and paying about $1400 a month in child support. Tried to have a healthy relationship with my daughter, now 14, but failed due to severe alienation from my ex-wife and her mother. I’ve remarried and have a son with my wife who has very limited income. We live in apartment in Boston suburbs; pay $1400 a month for it and barely surviving.
My ex, on the other hand lives with her boyfriend in one of the best Boston regions in apartment for around $2500 a month, affords regular vacations and in general lives a luxurious life.
I would love to reduce my child support obligations, since it would be a fair thing to do in my particular situation, but again, as non-custodial parent (in a right mind) I have close to 0% chance of success.
I advocate for Family Law modifications!

March 16, 2012 at 3:29 pm
(50) Barbara says:

My son has to pay child support for 2 daughters which he gladly does. Unfortunately he lost his job a second time in five years due to the economy. He just went to Court in Fla and requested a modification even though on unemployment the DOR takes 40% of it automatically for child support. His only purpose in requesting the modification was to keep froom having the arrearage skyrocket during his period of unemployment. The DOR rep.accompanied his ex-wife to the hearing and was very nasty. When my son said he has no money to live on with or without the child support deduction, she told him he better try not to be unemployed too long. The judge wasn’t much better, saying he had filed the wrong form, even though the Website clearly stated this was the form used for requesting a temporary modification. However, the last judge that heard this case on a different matter, offered to hear a modificationwithout any paperwork being filed! My son told her no at that time because he was so close to having his arrearage caught up, he didn’t want to modify anything then. There’s something wrong with a system when one judge will hear something even without the proper forms, because she simply believes that’s the right thing to do, and another hides behind the excuse proper forms! The system is definitely broken. They are all supportive of the mother which is terribly unfair. Not every father is a deadbeat trying to get out of support and he shouldn’t be treated as such. I’m debating now whether we should file for a modification based on the fact that he is unemployed and 40% of unemployment is going to child support. She will get $136.50 per week from his unemployment, when his actual payment is only $185.32 per week. Is it even worth it to reduce it for purposes of the arrearage or should we leave it alone for now? We definitely need some guidance.

July 9, 2012 at 10:18 pm
(51) Pissed off Father says:

The family court is a scam. The judges get title IV D funding from the federal government to keep your support payments high. Its all a big payoff. Stop federal matching funds for child support and then reasonable post support orders will prevail.

July 11, 2012 at 8:02 pm
(52) angie says:

My ex husband pays child support based on a salary of $250,000. He has for years. Now he has a new job at $100,000 and is asking for a downward modification. Would a judge really approve such a decrease? The man made so much money, whereas my job has not given out raises in about 4 years. WHAT DO I DO?

July 13, 2012 at 2:58 pm
(53) Daniela says:

I am a mother of a 3 year old ( well almost in september) and have an order to receive child support since 2010 its been 2 years and i have received the payment of sep, oct and nov of 2011 nothing else. The father owes my child 16, 000. He is been playing with the system to avoid the payment. He lives 6 months in Rhode Island and then he go for a 6 month vacation out of the country. He did not responde to the judge letters, and now that the court have everything to make him pay. he is starting a new motion to downward the amount of child support to be paid. I have received a letter saying that because i receive 200 of food stamps He will be able to get the child support reduce. I do not think this is right but he is getting away with everything he wants. And for his convinience he is unemployed now. Who is not going to get fire if he is taking long vacations and being irresponsible on everything he does.

July 15, 2012 at 6:46 pm
(54) TR417V says:

Some f the things she said made since, but how can you tell some one that is having trouble paying child support to go hire a lawyer, how does that make any sense at all. The child support system is all bs to me cause the majority of the money that you are paying is not being given to the child or the childs mother. I would give anything tone able to pay my child support so i can just keep my drivers license. I have never really had any real guidance on how to be a man and take care of a child the way a man is suppose to. My children stay so far away, plus every time i get a job i end up getting layer off cause work has slowed down, my license gets taken so i can’t go and find another job, so it just make sit really hard to find work, it is a catch 22. i am so frigin tired of it man my kids all stay at least an hour and a half away, so taking my license doesn’t make it any easier what so ever.. I want to know how can i pay it if i am not working a regular job getting paid an hourly wage, i mow lawns and help the elderly people in my neighbor hood with what ever the need, like taking out there trash etc..

July 16, 2012 at 6:30 pm
(55) eric says:

My wife has said that she doesnt want child support from me. Can i type a paper saying so, have the both of us sign it, and have a court notarize it, and it stand legal?

August 25, 2012 at 2:17 pm
(56) Matt cole says:

I think it’s about time child support was looked at people are not making that kind of money makes me sick my wife gets around $3600 and pays her ex $1400+ and he makes $90,000 a year how does this work me and my wife can’t make ends meat cuz more she works the more he takes makes me sick

September 12, 2012 at 2:56 am
(57) Handy Orten says:

Impotent gentlemen under no circumstances had it so good. Viagra pioneered the oral treatment method for Male Impotence. And the baton, it seems, continues to be transferred to Cialis. In between, Levitra also made its presence felt. But Cialis is the long term drug which includes the globe on its toes.

October 1, 2012 at 10:56 pm
(58) Jerry Caninzun says:

I have been paying child support for over 9 years now. My son has been autistic from his birth. His mother denied his condition, and now that my son has graduated and is going to trade school, the hearing officer got the solicitor involved and he is arguing that my son Aaron cannot hold down gainful employment, and therefore is entitled to child support till he completes. The mother never filed for SSD and was in denial and now that I am fighting to get him off she is fighting kicking and screaming. I got bad news last week that I was being downsized and I still have to meet the $769.00 for one child that I was. In fact the hearing officer had told me that 4 jobs was not enough and with my education I should get a fifth. I responded that when she got a second I would get a fifth. I have spent over $4000.00 in legal fees and am still awaiting the judges decision. The hearing was September 10th of this year and I still am waiting. Any suggestions. The solicitor compared him to a girl with Migranes Cann Vs Cann, and a blind girl that could not get around. He is autistic but high functioning. He is too lazy to go out and get a job. I am still working my part time jobs on weekends but cannot keep up with the order. I have been incarcerated for being behind on 4 occasions. How can one pay when in jail. Some dumb legislature ruling. Please help!
Jerry In South Carolina

October 21, 2012 at 11:33 pm
(59) Oscar says:

hi i already file and hire an atty. to lower my child support but when i got lay off from my to full time job. i never report it to court that i can’t pay my child support the reason i don’t know if i lose my job i need to let them know. but i did lower my child support already. My question is… what i will do to the 25k back child support? if my ex will say that she forgive the back child support and give me handwriten note can i go in court and can the court honor it and take out my back child support?

November 19, 2012 at 3:31 pm
(60) Lisa says:

I am in the middle of a divorce and we found out that my soon to be ex-husband is getting laid off on 12-14-12. We have two kids under 10. How much of a deduction can I expect in child support? Does it stay that way until I take it back to court? I think they have been dragging their feet on the divorce so that he could get taken off of work before divorce was finalized to reduce child support in final paperwork. I also was going to go to his employer and get CORBA at no more than 2% above his cost but since he is getting laid off and the divorce will not be finalized is there anything that I can do for insurance for me and the kids or am I out of luck? Thanks Lisa

December 1, 2012 at 9:13 pm
(61) Rebecca says:

Divorce was final in October 2012 and agreed child support was signed now my ex is trying to get payments reduced! He lives in another State never visits his child – how easy is it for him to ask for a child support reduction when order was only set 2 months ago in Texas

December 3, 2012 at 6:49 pm
(62) Just breath says:

For everyone who’s been laid off — those circumstances I can understand — that’s out of your control — but my soon to be ex has had 2 jobs — one making over 50,000 and he quit — in today’s economy he quit — they wanted him to assist with another worker and he didnt like that — then the 2nd job he got — just as child support was to get the funds — he quit — and now his 3rd job — he’s not officially quit — he’s just working. Does anyone have options for someone in my situation — i work full time and am raising the kids alone — I’m trying to find a 2nd job just to cover the health insurance.

December 5, 2012 at 10:35 am
(63) VixWrld says:

I have received notice that my ex wants to modify child support due to the fact that he has been laid off. He has admitted to a neighbor that he has a job making cash. He is able bodied. I cannot prove his cash income and the neighbor doesn’t want to get involved. What are my options? Legal services turned me down due to their limited resources in this matter. I can’t afford a lawyer.

December 12, 2012 at 8:44 pm
(64) L. F says:

The court system is a sham when it comes to child support and father’s rights. My wife left me with my two children who were only 2 & 4. I had just lost my good job and was earning minimum wage (in 2004) to keep us afloat. She told the lawyer that I never spent time with the children, when it was she who made me do all the child care and work. My child support was based on my income of the job that went under. She then left the state of Colorado unannounced to move to Florida. I could not afford to follow her, and why would I, since there were no jobs for me there either and her parents hated me. This woman was so evil, she practically killed me. She is horrible, twists the truth etc. The visitation was written so I could see the children every Wednesday and every other weekend/holiday etc. She has never ever let me see the kids more than 4 weeks in the summer. I pay for their flights. How can I change this? I cannot afford a lawyer, but I am lucky to be working. I send her 45% of my income, never see my kids and have been doing this for 8 years. No, the court is NOT FAIR. Nobody can help. I just hope that some day when the kids are grown up, they will realize what their mother has done to them. Essentially, she has decided that she didn’t need a man in her life, that the children didn’t need a father and that she was going to rip me off forever. She wins. I lose.

January 29, 2013 at 7:37 pm
(65) Giddyup says:

My ex hit me with child support modification to lower his child support. He included in the financial worksheet his current maintenance of 2300 a month to his latest ex wife/no kids. He is stating paying her is a hardship and therefore needs to lower his support to his child he never sees? Really???
My ex caused his unemployment under many reprimands as well as lying in all areas of this case?
How can his attorney even think of asking the courts to consider his current obligation to his newest ex wife worth 1.5 million and not take care of our child?

March 5, 2013 at 4:36 pm
(66) Lf2 says:

I hear your story L.F. I have an almost similar situation and i will sacrifice myself for the world to open their eyes, realize and understand that some caring fathers/parents are subjected to this unfairness based on old outdated laws. I have provided for my children inter-continent for 10years yet the mother refuses for my kids to visit me. I see them at once a year when i can afford to fly to them. Now the mother suddenly thought of making money and wants me to pay her.

May 23, 2013 at 5:30 pm
(67) Owassa MCDaniel says:

Hello, now tell me how does a father who lost his job from being terminated ( employer found discrepancies in his reports) but perform 90% of their job, file for a reduction in his support order because of lost in income. How do you appeal the court order, if the enforcement officer says no to the reduction, because they willfully lost their job. Now after being out of a job for 5 months and still looking what is the strategy to getting a reduction if there’s no way to comply with the current support order.


May 25, 2013 at 4:47 pm
(68) exinmi says:

Hi Cathy,
My ex and I have been divorced 2 years now. He never pays on time, and only when I schedule a show cause hearing. He will pay the least amount to keep himself out of jail. My question: How do you think he will do in a child support modification hearing when he is self employed? I was married to him for 23 years. I know the cash that was hidden.. I know that he is working, but cries that he cannot afford anything. A big game to him. .Also, I have the kids 99% of the time. Any input would be appreciatied!

May 27, 2013 at 5:24 pm
(69) Bruce says:

can I petition the court ON MY OWN for a reduction in child support AFTER the divorce is final? I asked my attorney to ask the judge for a reduction but before I knew it, the case was over and he failed to do so. What are my options? I live in VA

May 28, 2013 at 10:42 am
(70) shell12 says:

My girls’( we have 2) father is 38,717,21 behind in arrears currently 12,000 behind.He receives disability and his two kids with his wife and my two kids get the auxiliary payments $270.00 for my family and $270.00 for his family with his wife.He also gets $1131.00 and my court order garnishes 524.60.I have a court order that say I get 45% of his income.He has now filed for a modification.My new court order is only 3 cents more and he has an income paying him 45 dollars less than what he made 12 years ago when he first started paying child support.Since my new court order does not exceed $50.00 is he still obligated to pay me my court ordered child support?He wants the social security auxiliary payments to go towards his arrears but I say those are two different things and that it should not be counted towards his arrears.for the record am I right?? I have never asked for an increase,and he has no relationship with our girls,I have sole custody,we never married.

May 31, 2013 at 6:40 pm
(71) Lee says:

I paid child support for years and im not working now,so i was not paying for 6 months.
And i told my ex husband i will pay when i get a job,he went behind my back and file a case against me and now i have to show up in the court in December.
I dont have money to pay for a lawyer or ticket and hotel to be in Alabama so what i have to do?
If i dont show up and i find a job before december and pay,r they going to arrest me?
How about if i dont have a job?Whats the solution?

June 13, 2013 at 10:07 am
(72) brenda says:

My son is having a review for child support July 7th. I am afraid the court is going to rule in favor against him. He has no job and right now he is at the stage of going into rehab. He can not afford an attorney and he waited till the last to try and look into getting one. He also just found out he has Hep A & B. He can’t find a job. No one wants to hire a drug addict or a felony. Is there anything he can do or where to turn?

Please advise

June 18, 2013 at 11:01 am
(73) hgjk says:

I have recently taken a pay cut and need to lower child support. My daughter lives in California and I live in Illinois. What can I do to get it changed? Will I hhave to file in a California court or in my home town?

August 13, 2013 at 1:06 pm
(74) tiffany says:

My husband is paying $160 a week for two children that his xwife won’t even let him see. Which the amount wouldn’t be a problem except for the fact that it was based off $14 an hour plus overtime. He only makes $8 an hour now. We aalre trying everything we can to get a modification but we can’t afford a lawyer because of bills and we have 4 other children to take care of. We have both tried talking to his ex. But she swore he would make his life hell and she is. And the bad part is his daughter didn’t live with her for a year. She lived with her mothers mother. Well now that he has had to stop making payments his x has had to move in with her mother because she had an $800 a month apartment where she had her boyfriend living even though thats against the law. She clearly couldn’t afford rent without child supporr and was living well beyond her means buying a brand new car when she claims she cant work and is defrauding the goverment saying she is disabled and collecting $750 a month social security check. Well she just lost her car and license due to a dui. We live in the state of georgia. Any help or advise would be greatly welcomed. Its gotten so bad that we can’t afford to pay our power or water bill because of having to pay her. i know ita not admissable in court but she hasn’t let him see his kids in almost a year and the police can’t help. we are out of answers and ideas. my husband is a wonderful father. she will admit that to this day. but all she’s about is control and a pay check. she’s going through facebook and his family to get durt on us. which there isn’t any. she told his grandmother he could see his son for 1 hour every other sat but neither of the kids could spend the night because of my kids and that he will never get his daughter. she also said she’s moving out of state and taking the kids where he will never fund them. please help

September 17, 2013 at 11:02 am
(75) Senad says:

On August 28 2013 in the Court room,my judge made a new order,because i lost my job and i have unemployment check.
Instead of $145 p/week he made a new order and I must pay $50 p/week.

I received copy of his order with mail,on August 30th.
My problem is : Child support collection office still taking $145 p/week and they are ignoring new order since today (September 16th).
I called them few weeks ago and several times I called them and I told them that I have a copy of new order but they refused to give me fax number and they told me that they can not tell me address so that I can not to bring that copy to them.
Now I am practically starving because they are taking almost my whole unemployment check.
I called clerk office from my judge and she is ignoring my calls,Deputy officer from my judge told me that I must wait till November 28th when is my next court day and I can explain to my judge my problems !!
Can i do anything ?
Can I sue anybody here?

November 6, 2013 at 7:25 pm
(76) SuicideThoughts says:

I am lost for words I see so many fathers in here with so many support issues and problems and I know how that feels, yes I pay child support , and I feel like the whole process has left me confused, lost, alone, a little freedom taken away from me as a citizen and constantly being worried ive thought about suicide, god love my daughter that seems to be the only thing that keeps me holding on. I am about to be laid off like alot of good fathers out there that have been labled deadbeats, it is wrong and not human to be called that when your paying your support and are going through some economy changes and hardships, specially in a specific field, From my experince dealing with the devil the last thing I can resort to is church clinging onto some hope that I will get by from making barely enough to feed my children and myself,I am the type of dad that would give the last surving penny in my pocket to see anyone with a smile and greatly go without ,I never have been one to even care about money and I still dont. I nearly cried with some of these stories and relise I am not alone.I am in just a siduation where 2 parents acnnot agree apon anything which has left me bone dry because of it, but that doesnt bother me money means nothing to me, its my health, well being as a human that is suffering because of unfairness and ingnorance. I wish everyone including myself the best of luck through what I would call the cold war.

November 7, 2013 at 7:24 pm
(77) All is lost says:

My current spouse and I are forced to seperate so she can have an income and I can live for free with my brother untill I find work (due to being laid off) so I can pay my child support, This is pretty sad that the other family (my ex) is living in luxury and get to spend every day with the kids and get money, while Me my daughter and wife are seperated not cause we want to but because were forced to, where is the justice for the payor? My life is over just because someone decided to turn nasty about it its not like I was hiding, ran away from my oblogations Im living in a city with low economy. Thanks world, thanks so much.

November 8, 2013 at 10:11 am
(78) kim says:

To who ever commented that they would not pull your license….wrong! My boyfriend just got his letter from Dept of Homeland Security (like he’s a terrorist or something!) informing him that his drivers license had been suspended due to the fact he was behind on support and would remain suspended until he gets caught up. He had open heart surgery a year ago for a hole in his heart valve. Was off work for a long time due to that. He’s been forced to take a job making half of what he made when support was set due to the fact that he is unable to physically do the job he once did. And guess what…the courts do not care!!

November 12, 2013 at 11:41 pm
(79) jaymas says:

My ex earns 125k per year…she lives with her parents rent-free. I put in for a downward mod in May of 2013…we had an initial meeting with the Family Court magistrate Aug 29. The magistrate scheduled the next hearing for February 2014! I am struggling to stay afloat, as I had a massive reduction in income. What is with this system?? I am falling further into arrears. I can not afford an attorney. My paycheck is now being garnished 65%!! What am I to do? I recently sent a letter to the magistrate requesting an emergency hearing, but to no avail. HELP ME PLEASE!!

November 24, 2013 at 9:47 pm
(80) SingleMom says:

These complaints about having to pay child support are ridiculous! States have guidelines to pay support based on the income of both parties and the amount of time parents spend with their children. These guidelines are meant to provide fair support based on the income of each party. If your income goes down due to job loss you go into court and request a modification to reduce your support accordingly. If you spend more time with your children you will typically pay less in support since you support them during your parenting time. If you’re one of those parents who rarely spends time with your own children you should get down on your knees and thank God for giving your children at least one parent decent enough to step up! If you’re complaining about having to pay for too many children with too many partners -, stop procreating, shut up and pay up! And if your mommy is writing on this post, paying your support or researching how to get you out of your obligations to your own children, put on your big boy/girl pants and grow the hell up! We made the choices that resulted in bringing our children into this world and they deserve our full support – financially, physically and emotionally!

February 20, 2014 at 3:40 pm
(81) unfair laws says:

By the way folk as much as she try’s to make it sound oh so simple.
It takes 6 months for the modification to take affect. So you are racking
up a arrearage (do to no fault of your own) that they will not give back.
However putting you in debt is best for the children right ?

March 2, 2014 at 6:56 pm
(82) Wade Haase says:

This is such a touchy topic. It really depends on each individual situation. Sometimes the father is in the right and sometimes the mother is. I think the most important part is acting like adults and doing whats best for the kids.

March 13, 2014 at 10:04 am
(83) FLor says:

what can i do if i make 1454 per month i put myself on childsupport how much am i going to be paying montly? besides my income i pay rent i provide my self food and other little things so i cant afford to give a lot for child support what can i do i live in virginia

April 14, 2014 at 9:30 am
(84) BWayne says:


Thanks so much for your time. I appreciate what it must take to reply to as many posts as you do.
I have an order that is handled through DCSE VA for 300 a month for my son (11 year old order). I have recently gotten a divorce and have joint custody of my 7 year old daughter. Our original agreement (with mediator) was for 600 a month for her and we would discuss adjustments if needed. Well I have needed an adjustment but of course my ex is not willing to discuss and filled with DCSE. I have filed a motion to amend the amount. The case is not being heard until July 2014. They suspended my license and I am not sure what I can do? I have tried to work with local DCSE office, but am not sure what my rights are in regards to my license. My experience with that office is far from a “working relationship”. Also, can I request an earlier hearing? I realize I have gotten behind and want to get back on track, but having a suspended license only makes it difficult to see my children and get to work. Not exactly what I hope Gov intended. Prior to my suspension, I volunteered in my daughters classroom once a week and had dinner with both kids every wed. Now I am unable to volunteer or do the Wed dinner.


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