Just recently, an AP article published in the San Diego Union Tribune reports that for a middle-income family, a child born in 2008 will cost (in current dollars) about $221,000 to raise through age 17. When adjusted for inflation, this figure jumps to an estimated $292,000, as forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Their annual report helps state governments and courts determine child support guidelines.
Even without reading the report, you know that raising children is expensive and always a challenge, but for divorced parents, child support can create additional concerns. For example, what happens when a parent’s income grows, or if a parent loses a job? Failing to pay child support can carry significant consequences. In either situation, parents should know that child support payments don’t automatically change, but you can take steps to try to modify the child support order when there’s a substantial change in circumstances. Also keep in mind that every 12 months after a final judgment of divorce or paternity, either parent can request that the other produce a current income and expense declaration that includes recent pay stubs and tax returns within 35 days. Besides income, a change in custody or in the amount of time each parent spends with the child can also be a basis for modification.
Children should and are entitled to share in their parents’ standard of living, which means that a non-custodial parent’s rising income can often be reason enough for increasing the child support level. Then again, if a non-custodial parent’s income goes down or for other reasons the parent is experiencing extreme financial hardship, a reduction in the support obligation is available. We’ll work to secure a mutually agreed upon change to the child support order, and submit this stipulation to the court for approval, or show why modification isn’t appropriate if you oppose the request. When agreement can’t be reached, we’ll seek a court order that will promote your child’s best interests. Contact Minella Law Group with your concerns for help from an experienced family law attorney, (619) 289-7948.Button Text