It’s very easy for people to criticize parents who don’t pay their child support. They call them terrible names and say they should lose their right to see their kids. What they don’t understand is that, for some people, paying child support is a real hardship. Many people can’t afford child support.
For most parents, child support is set when you get divorced or separated. The court will consider the income of both parents. They’ll also look to see how much time each parent will have with the children. Then they literally plug the numbers into the Texas child support guidelines. Whatever number the program spits out is what you’ll be ordered to pay.
The child support guidelines don’t take into account special circumstances. And, in order to get child support modified, you’ll have to file a motion. Motions are expensive. They also take several months to resolve. At the end of the day, you could end up spending thousands of dollars to file a motion that’s going to be denied.
This is why you should always talk to an experienced family law attorney in Houston before you do anything. They’ll help protect your interests but they’ll also let you know what other options you may have.
How Do You Request a Reduction if You Can’t Afford Child Support?
In order to get your child support reduced, you have to file a motion with the court. This is the only way you can get your case in front of the family law judge in Texas. When you file a motion to modify child support, you’re going to have submit certain financial information. This includes the following:
• Income, including recent paystubs and tax returns
• Information regarding any bonuses or commissions you’ve received
• Updated information regarding child care, health insurance and other child-related expenses
• Information on whether you’re remarried or are cohabiting with another person
• Any changes in assets, including a vehicle, home or boat
• Updated information on your children including their age and how much time they stay with each parent
The court is going to consider all of this when determining child support. However, for the most part, they’re just going to plug your financial information into the child support guidelines. If it’s only been a few months since child support was set, a motion could be a waste of time. The judge will probably tell you this as well.
Filing a Motion Could Backfire
If you file too many motions to reduce child support, it will backfire. The same is true if you don’t wait long enough to file a motion. Let’s say that the court orders a certain amount of support on January 1. You don’t want to go back to the court in June and ask them to modify support. The judge is going to think you’re being ridiculous. They’ll also assume that you don’t really have your children’s best interests at heart.
When this happens, your child support could actually end up increasing. There are lots of reasons for this, including:
Some of these reasons include the following:
• Your spouse has only been working for a few months and the judge wants to make sure her job is stable before they modify child support
• You’re earning bonuses now but you weren’t when child support was first calculated
• You may be paying an amount you and your ex agreed on. When the court actually calculates child support using the guidelines, you could end up paying more.
• You’ve purchased a new car, house or boat. If this is the case, the judge may think that you’re hiding assets. If this is the case, they will want to see a truer accounting of your income.
• The children are spending less time with you now than when child support was originally calculated.
Most Houston family lawyers know what the judges’ tendencies are. They’ll have a good idea of what the judge may decide long before your motion hearing takes place.
Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney in Houston Today
If you’re thinking about talking to the court because you can’t afford child support, wait. Don’t do anything until you consult an experienced family law firm in Houston. They can answer any questions you may have. They can also help you decide if divorce is the best option for you right now.