Are you paying child support and recently had a decrease in income due to circumstances beyond your control?
If so, you may be able to have your child support obligation reduced in accordance with your new financial status.
While we all love our children and want them to have the best of everything, that sometimes is not possible due to financial constraints. If you are paying child support pursuant to a court order (including a Consent Judgment) and have had a change in circumstances since that order was issued due to reasons beyond your control, you may be able to have your child support payments reduced.
If you have recently lost your job due to the COVID-19 pandemic (or any other circumstances beyond your control, such as illness or injury), you may qualify for a reduction in child support. If you are having difficulty making your payments, you should act sooner rather than later as reductions in child support are only retroactive to the date you file your pleadings at the courthouse, not to the date when your income actually decreased. (La. R.S. 9:315.21.). If you are making payments through the Department of Children and Family Services, you must show that your change in circumstances would result in a reduction of your child support obligation by at least 25%. (La. R.S. 9:311 (C)(1).
A party seeking a reduction in child support must show a material change in circumstances of one of the parties between the time of the previous award and the time of the motion for modification of the award. La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 142; La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:311(A). To be “material” the change in circumstances must have “real importance or great consequences for the needs of the child or the ability to pay of either party.” La. R.S. 9:311,
Comment (a)–2001. Stuart v. Benoit, 2010-0599 (La. App. 1 Cir. 10/29/10); 56 So. 3d 462.
Examples of changes in circumstances which led to reductions in child support:
The child has (1) reached the age of majority and (2) graduated from high school. Sanderson v. Sanderson, 2018-1434 (La. App. 1 Cir. 02/26/19); 2019 La. App. Unpub. LEXIS 57.
Father’s income decreased from $579,110.00 per year in 2014 to $27,880.00 annually in 2017, resulting in a $700 per month decrease in child support payments. State v. Dickens, 19-128 (La. App. 3 Cir. 10/16/19); 2019 La. App. Unpub. LEXIS 283
A child support reduction was awarded to the father of a child who had reached the age of 18, had graduated from high school, but who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and was enrolled in College Living Experience (“CLE”), an educational program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Billiot v. Billiot, 52391 (La. App. 2 Cir. 11/14/18); 262 So. 3d 401.
Father was granted a reduction in child support payments because his military employer forced him to retire for medical reasons. Lewis v. Lewis, 2018-0378 (La. App. 4 Cir. 10/03/18); 255 So. 3d 1216
Interested in Seeking a Modification in Child Support or Is Someone Seeking a Modification of a Child Support Award That You Would Like to Remain in Place?
We represent those who are seeking a modification as well as those seeking to oppose a request for modification. In other words, whether you want to raise or lower a child support award, we can assist. Further, if you want to terminate a child support, we have the experience to help. Our lawyers have substantial experience in handling all sides of family and divorce issues.
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This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorneys in connection with any specific situation under federal and/or Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and/or your family member. New Orleans divorce and family lawyer Gaynell Williams, L.L.C. has offices in Gretna and Downtown New Orleans by appointment only to serve all your divorce and family law needs.
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