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Child support payments may be changed after reduction in income

Divorces that involve children can be especially stressful for the entire family. After the divorce is final, the primary custody of the children will often be given to one parent, and the other will have visitation rights and be asked to pay child support. Some parents in Massachusetts asked to pay child support worry that they might be asked to continue making payments that they can't afford if there is a change in their income. 

One couple divorced after 19 years of marriage. Custody of their child was awarded to the mother, and the father was asked to pay $1,700 per month in child support and maintenance payments. The father filed multiple motions to modify the payments over the next few years because of fluctuations in his income.

In 2013, during his second appeal, the father presented evidence that he had been drawing on his savings account in order to make the child support and maintenance payments. He provided evidence that the balances of both his checking and savings accounts had been severely reduced over the course of about two years. His savings were reduced from nearly $70,000 to less than $50,000, and his checking account balance was reduced by $10,000. These changes to his income were the reason that the father requested for his child support payments be reduced and the spouse maintenance payments be removed. 

The court found that in addition to the father's reduced income the mother had found two part-time jobs. She did not appear to have searched for a more steady source of income, and she had not drawn money from her savings accounts since the divorce. After considering all of the information on both sides, the court approved the reduction in child support payments.

Consulting a professional may be the best course of action for Massachusetts parents who are struggling to continue making their child support payments. An attorney may be able to help his or her client determine if it is possible to get the payments reduced. A lawyer might also be able to help the client to gather the proper documents that are needed to prove the change in income. 

Source: madisonrecord.com, "Fifth District Appellate Court affirms ruling on child support and maintenance", Sara McCleary, Sept. 27, 2017

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