No divorce is ever completely straightforward, especially a high asset divorce. It can be time-consuming and sometimes downright unpleasant to settle all the matters pertaining to asset division and spousal support, where applicable. A divorce with children can be especially complex.
Once all that work is behind you, and you and your children have moved on with your lives, probably the last thing you want to do is go back down that road again and try to change things. However, there may come a time when you feel you have to amend the child support order, and you may not be sure how to proceed.
Get it in writing and get it approved
If you believe you are entitled to more child support than your ex is currently paying you, you could go to him or her and try to reach an agreement. If you both agree on a figure that’s in the child’s best interest, you are free to use your own figure in place of the court-ordered sum.
Be warned, though, that if your ex-spouse decides to stop honoring the new arrangement, you will have no legal recourse unless the Court has approved your agreement in a written order signed by the Judge of your Court. Even an agreement in writing is not legally binding, unless a court approves it with a court order signed by the Judge in your case. Without a new court order, you could only enforce the old order if the other parent paid less than the original order stated.
Filing for a support modification
If you believe you deserve to receive a larger child support payment, and your ex does not agree, you will have to file for a modification of your current order with the court that granted the divorce. You will need to convince the court that the circumstances of the child, yourself, or your ex have changed substantially and materially. Examples might include:
- Increased costs of raising older children
- Unforeseen medical expenses or counseling expenses for a child
- A significant increase in the income/assets of the paying spouse
As the party requesting the modification, the burden of proof will be on you to prove the change is significant enough to merit an increase. Simply stating what you believe to be the facts will not suffice in court. You will need to present evidence such as documents, financial statements or witnesses.
Although you may have thought you would never have to fight your ex again, for the sake of your children, it may be necessary to step back into the courtroom. If you want to emerge victorious, you may wish to have an experienced and tenacious Board-Certified Expert Family Attorney at your side.