One of the most common questions asked of attorneys is what happens if I am paying child support to one person and have a child with another? What happens to my child support payment then?
This is a question that countless men and women face across the country. They have had a child and are paying child support, but the birth of another child with the different person has changed their financial situation greatly. They no longer have the same amount of money to pay for the first child, because they have another child to pay for. Does this mean their support can be reduced?
What The Court Can Do
The reality is that the court will often be sympathetic to a situation like this. The addition of another child changes the financial situation of the parent paying support. They no longer have just one child to pay for, but now have two or more.
Usually, child support is set up to provide for the overall care of children. If there is just one child, then the court views this as all support being provided for that child.
Generally, there is a guideline that instructs judges and court administrators on the amount of money that a person will pay based on their salary and living conditions. This can be as much as 25% paid to the custodial parent for the care of the child. When another child is born to that parent, they have now become responsible for the support of two children. Thus, the court is likely to divide the amount of overall support so that each of the children receives an equal percentage for their care.
To make this a little clearer, let’s use an example. If Fred was paying $400 for the support of his child, then had another child, the court would likely reduce the amount paid for his first child by as much as $200. This would depend upon how the guidelines are written in the mitigating factors that they would use to determine how child support would be paid.
When there is a third child, then the court can decrease that amount to an even smaller number. The idea is to ensure that each child gains the same benefit from the support of the parent.
Will Courts Always Adjust Child Support When Another Child is Born?
Getting the amount of child support reduced because another child has been born is probably the number one reason why a person petitions the court to reduce the amount of support they are paying. It is also the most common reason why the court agrees to reduce child support.
The court understands their obligations for the parent to care for both children, and so putting an undue burden on the non-custodial parent to pay a large amount of child support to the first child could deprive them of their ability to care for the other child. This is not an acceptable option to the court.
However, you should not believe that this will happen in every case. The court is under no obligation to guarantee that they will reduce payments just because you are having a child with someone else. They will consider this as a factor in reducing child support but, if they find you could still pay the amount owed under the current order and be able to care for your child, your payment will not reduce.
This is all set up by the Arizona county where you live for determining the amount of child support that is paid. This is usually determined as a specific percentage based upon a number of factors, including your income, the income of the custodial parent, bills and debts involved, and other costs that relate to the care of the child and to the livelihood of both parents. When all of these factors are considered, a number is set for how much child support is paid.
It is only when circumstances change that make it so that the non-custodial parent would face a large hardship that the court is inclined to reduce these payments. The birth of a second child could be one factor that leads to a reduction but is not a guarantee that it will occur.
Some parents make a significant amount of money, and the court may determine that the amount paid does not put them in an undue hardship. The amount of child support assigned may be viewed as a number that would impose no hardship if it remained at the current rate.
Consult an Expert
If you are a parent who is making child support payments and you have another child on the way, you are probably in a situation where you are going to need a reduction in the amount of support you are paying now. However, this is not a battle you want to fight on your own. You want proper legal representation to assist you in making sure that the court will be amenable to your request.
Contact us at JacksonWhite, we will provide you with a number of options and, should you wish to have us represent you, we will assist you every step of the way. Understand that over the life of your child a reduction in the amount you are paying could be a substantial saving to you in the long run and help you to be able to provide for your second child. This is why it makes sense to hire an attorney that can assist you in making sure your petition will be heard and agreed to by the judge so that you can get a reduction in your payments.
Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.