SHOCK and OWE!

Child Support in Arrears?

First comes the SHOCK;

“What do you mean I’m in potential arrears of child support?  I haven’t missed a ____( add your own expletive)  payment in over _____ (add your own number) years!”

{To calculate potential arrears of child support, ( sometimes called retroactive support) simply calculate what you have paid in child support versus what you would have paid in child support had you adjusted your child support to reflect prior increases in annual income.}

Next comes the OWE;

“Sure my income has gone up since the date of the Order/Agreement, but I didn’t think I had to pay more child support just because my income was higher. My__________ (add your imagination) didn’t even ask for more money!” {Often the amount of potential arrears can amount to tens of thousands of dollars.}

So there you have it, the typical distressing exchange I have with someone who has been paying child support for some time, usually by way of a court order, or Separation Agreement.

What brings them into my office for a legal consultation? Their ex has either commenced (or threatened) court proceedings to adjust child support, along with claiming retroactive child support.

So just what are your legal obligations if you happen to be paying child support? Courts have declared that it is the right of the child that child support be adjusted to reflect increases in your annual income. In other words it is not your ex’s responsibility to request an adjustment, it’s yours.

Before determining whether you are responsible to pay arrears of child support a Court will look at a a variety of factors, including whether or not the children have experienced any hardship as a consequence of your failure to adjust support.

Of particular importance is your conduct. If you have engaged in any blameworthy conduct, such as delaying or refusing requests to exchange financial information, or providing your ex with false or misleading information, you should expect a very unsympathetic judge.

What do I recommend? Simply make sure you are currently paying the amount of child support that you should be paying, ie based upon your prior year’s income tax returns. If you follow this advice you will never have an issue with arrears of child support.

For anyone who hasn’t, I strongly suggest you call my office, as soon as possible, to arrange a consultation.

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