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Economy Causing Parents to Request Child Support Reductions

By Sheryl Rentz on September 30, 2009

It’s no surprise that the current condition of our economy has had drastic financial influences on a variety of aspects of many people’s lives, and, unfortunately, the lives of our children as well. When custodial and noncustodial parents’ employment becomes unstable and in some cases nonexistent, child support payments go unpaid and children suffer the consequences. According to an article, in one man’s situation, he used to have no trouble paying his $433 monthly child support; however after going unemployed and unable to get another job, the man moved in with his parents, who, in addition to offering him a place to stay, are now paying the man’s child support payments as well. This father attempted to receive a court-approved reduction in his child support payments, but his efforts were unsuccessful.

The report reasons that men are being hit harder financially than women are in this tough economy, with the 9.8 percent of men unemployed as opposed to only 7.5 percent of women. In addition, it is typically dads who are caught in the nightmare of not meeting the needs of their child support payments because men often assume the role of the noncustodial parent. Before the economic downturn, many of these noncustodial fathers were able to pay; however, with their incomes decreasing, they are no longer able to make child support payments that were previously based on higher past wages.

In the beginning of this year, a survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that 39 percent of the members cited a rise in modifications being made to child support payments. There was also a 42 percent increase in the number of instances where adjustments to alimony payments had to be made.

A family court judge from Texas said that when deciding on child support modification or reduction, she examines whether the parent is actively putting in the effort to get another job, whether he or she is unemployed or underemployed by choice, and whether the parent is able to preserve a job that matches their skills and education. This judge even pointed out that a parent may have assets that can be converted into cash in order to provide their child with what she or he needs to carry on a healthy life.

While judges are empathetic to the affects of our tumultuous economic climate, it is a judge’s job to focus on what is best for a child’s well-being, which is why a judge will put emphasis on what extra efforts a parent is making to help his or her child or children.

If you are currently struggling to pay your child support or if you are trying to get the child support that is owed to you, the skilled Philadelphia child support attorneys at the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz can help guide you through this challenging time. Our lawyers understand that family issues surrounding child support disputes can be quite difficult, and we are here to contribute our knowledge of Pennsylvania family law, which can often be complex and demanding. Call the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz today at 610-645-0100 for a free consultation.

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