Child Support – How can it get worse?

Let me use this article to hopefully help you avoid unnecessary child support costs or arrearages. The first scenario is an order that is unallocated, such as when there are three children and the order is $900 per month. Thus, Mr. Logical pays $900 until one of the children emancipates and then he starts paying $600 per month. Mother says nothing. The second child emancipates and he reduces the support to $300 per month. Mother says nothing. Finally, the last child emancipates and Mr Logical thinks he is done. Now mother goes to court and states the order was $900 per month and she was under paid when she only got $600 or $300 per month. Mr. Logical argues she agreed, she said nothing. The court orders father to pay the difference for all of those years he did not pay the full $900. With children starting ages of 2, 8, and 12, Mr. Logical would owe $57,600.00.

Next, the retroactivity trap which catches the good guy. Mr. Good Guy is paying child support of $2,000 per month and never misses a payment. He is laid off from work but he continues to pay from savings and plans to go to court when he has a new job and knows how much he will be paid. Finally, a year later he has a new job which pays only half of the old job. Thus, he files and goes to court and explains to the court when he was laid off and requests the court to modify from the date he was laid off. The court explains that they do not have jurisdiction to go back any farther than the date he filed to modify the order. Mr. Good Guy just lost $24,000 because he did not file as soon as he was laid off of work – do not be Mr. Good Guy.

Finally, not because these are the only issues but I am running out of room. Mr. Friendly has a child and a child support order of $500 per month. Mother asks him if he would please just buy clothes and food for the child every month, which he does because he is Mr. Friendly. Eighteen years later Mr. Friendly thinks he is done and then Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) serves him a notice that he is behind on his child support. Friendly files to go to court to prove that he does not owe anything. He has a receipt for every purchase. He cannot get agreement with DCSS so he sees the judge who explains that the burden is on him to show cash payments for the child support and any clothes or food is a gift. He now owes $216,000 with interest and ongoing interest of $1,800 per month. Now he will pay $1,800 per month for the rest of his life – he is very Friendly.

Our motto is simple, get custody and let her worry about child support.