Your divorce is finalized and the child support order has been determined. Your ex has primary custody of the kids and you have been told what you must pay each month. This determination was reached after the court analyzed the data and information provided to them by your ex and you. Their decision was based on your income, education, job, standard of living and a variety of other factors. It was also based on similar factors for your spouse who will now be the primary caregiver for your kids and additional factors such as the number of children, their ages, her career status and all other relevant, current circumstances. So this is it, right? This is what you’re working with until your kids are grown? Is there any chance of a child support modification?
There are plenty of weird legal inconsistencies that you’ve probably read about on the internet when you’re bored and doing some casual time-killer-surfing. We can see how you might be a little paranoid since Oregon is the state where you’re not allowed to pump your own gas in favor of having a teenager making minimum wage do it for you. The only certification making them more qualified to pump gas than you was probably watching a five minute video that you could probably find on YouTube if you looked hard enough. What could go wrong with that stellar logic? It’s also illegal to eat ice cream on Sundays. If Oregon starts enforcing that one, we’re all getting locked up. And just in case that weren’t enough to wreck your life, there’s an Oregon law that mandates the “drip drying” of all dishes(all restaurant owners, go directly to jail!) and another that prohibits tests of physical endurance while driving on the highway. We bet there’s some great backstories to go along with all of these. Anytime you encounter a warning label or a dumb law, there’s always a story behind it and some of them are hilarious.
The quick answer is that unlike weird, anti-ice cream laws, divorce laws are heavily used so there isn’t much space for archaic stuff to sit on the books. Divorce is also an emotional experience so people are probably not going to view anything outlandish as quaint and silly like the ice cream law. Circumstances change and the law needs to have the flexibility to accommodate evolving needs and situations.
Let’s look at a few scenarios that might necessitate a change to your child support situation:
- You are laid off and don’t have the income you had previously
- You get a raise or a new job with a huge salary bump. Shouldn’t your kid’s standard of living increase along with yours?
- Your ex-spouse gets a significant bump in income
- You gain primary custody of your kids
- You are injured and can’t work
- Your child becomes injured or ill and requires more care
- Your former spouse decides to relocate
- Death of a parent or child
- The Trail Blazers make the finals (OK, not really but that would be nice, wouldn’t it? We had to have something positive after the “death” bullet point)
The key to obtaining a Child Support Modification is to have a justifiable reason and to be thorough. It’s important to understand that your ex not holding up their responsibilities or agreements is NOT a valid reason for child support modification. Child support is for the benefit of your children and your ex does have some latitude in determining how it is allocated. Of course, that is within reason. If your ex is interfering with your parenting time or doing something else that is out of line like spending the money on tattoos or drugs you absolutely have legal recourse and you should work with your attorney to determine the best course of action.
As for being thorough, you will want to work with your attorney to put together an updated documentation of your circumstances. You need to be completely honest in detailing all of your income and expenses. Any dishonesty will likely be uncovered by the Oregon Justice Department. Think of it this way; Your ex will be required to submit similar paperwork and if you caught a whiff of any possible dishonesty on their part to try and gain a more favorable outcome, you would probably not give up until the truth was uncovered, right? You can expect that sentiment to go both ways. Be honest with your attorney and when filling out the appropriate documents. This is where having an attorney is essential. They can help make sure that you don’t miss anything in the details and that you don’t do anything that will jeopardize your case.
If you follow these simple steps, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to obtain a fair child support modification. Just always remember that this is for the good of your children. It’s not their fault that your former spouse wasn’t all you’d hoped she’d be. Always strive to do right by them.