Child support is mandated by court order following the divorce of most couples with children. The court will consider each parent's financial resources and obligations, as well as the level of care being provided for the children, when determining child support. Incarceration can throw a wrench into the child support process.
If your ex has been incarcerated, his or her ability to pay child support may be compromised. Be prepared to protect your children by taking action to combat changes to your child support order.
Income is More Than Wages
The first thing you need to do when you discover that your former spouse is requesting a reduction in child support payments as a result of incarceration is take a close look at your divorce paperwork.
Each spouse is required to disclose all financial information during the course of the divorce. Financial disclosures can help you identify investments, assets, and other sources of income that can be used to help pay child support. Your attorney can present these assets in court to ensure you still get the money you need to properly care for your children.
Incarceration Means Less Expenses
You need to keep in mind that both income and expenses are taken into consideration when child support payments are being calculated. If your ex is trying to modify your child support order because he or she is incarcerated, you need to hire a reputable attorney.
A lawyer can help you present evidence that both your former spouse's income and expenses have been affected by incarceration. Your ex will not be paying for things like gas, food, or rent if he or she will be incarcerated for any length of time.
These reduced expenses can mean that a greater portion of your ex's income should be devoted to child support, even if that income is also reduced.
Contest Changes Immediately
The court will notify you of any requested alterations to your child support order. Your former spouse will probably have an attorney helping him or her petition the court for a lower child support payment. You should also have a lawyer to represent your interests.
A divorce lawyer can carefully review proposed changes and help you contest any alterations that might seem extreme or out of place. It can be difficult to revise the court order once it has been modified, so you need to contest changes immediately to ensure you secure the income needed to provide for your children.