child support modification attorneys in Birmingham Alabama

My Ex Received a Raise—Can I Modify My Child Support Amount?

Child support is a touchy subject for many co-parents, even those who generally have a friendly and healthy relationship. There are often feelings on both sides that the other is not doing their part, which leads to resentment and degrades the co-parenting relationship over time. If you know your ex has gotten a raise and yet hasn’t provided more money to help with your shared child, you’re likely starting to feel bitter.

Instead of letting that resentment build up, let us help. Call Kirk Drennan Law at 205-953-1424 to set up a consultation now.

Your Child Support Order Isn’t Working for You Anymore—Now What?

Child support orders are drafted based on the circumstances at the time of their creation. As a result, you can’t expect one child support order to stay relevant and accurate until your children turn 19. There are a number of reasons that child support orders may need to be modified, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about doing what you need to do in order to provide for your children.

Adjustments Are Often Necessary

There are several reasons for a child support modification, per Alabama law. Any significant change in circumstances may be enough to ask for a change in payments. For example, if one parent gets fired or takes a large pay cut, they may be able to ask the court to reassess their child support order.

Since their share of the income will be much smaller, support may change accordingly. Note, though, that this does not apply to a voluntary change in income. If someone intentionally takes a lower-paying job or quits their job in order to avoid child support, the court will not acknowledge that or decrease support.

If one parent has a substantial boost in their income, that too is a good reason to ask for a modification. This would increase the total amount of support the child is entitled to and that parent’s share.

Note, though, that the change must be large enough to be worth the court’s time. If you go to court for every small change in income, your requests will likely be denied, and you’ll irritate the judge. It’s best to discuss your concerns with your Birmingham divorce attorney so you know what your options are.

What’s Considered Income

One issue that often arises in situations where one parent is a high earner is what is considered income. For example, a CEO or other high-level executive may earn an impressive salary, but that is far from being the bulk of their income.

The majority of their income may come from bonuses, stocks, commissions, pensions, and other sources linked to their place of employment. Some people believe they can skirt paying full child support by only paying what their base salary would require.

However, Alabama law states specifically that gross income includes income from any source, including:

  • Commissions
  • Bonuses
  • Capital gains
  • Dividends
  • Severance pay
  • Trust income
  • Annuities
  • In-kind payments

It’s important to discuss these issues with a divorce attorney with experience in high-asset divorces, as they tend to be much more complicated than a standard child support calculation.

What It Means If Your Ex Argues They Can’t Afford an Increase in Child Support

So, your ex’s boost in income definitely warrants an increase in child support—but they’re claiming they can’t afford it because they’ve remarried and taken on additional expenses. However, since this is a voluntary increase in expenses, the court is unlikely to reduce child support solely for that reason.

Even if your ex-spouse buys a larger house, starts supporting a new partner’s children, or otherwise increases their spending habits, it’s unlikely to affect your child support order. They still have the same obligation to their children.

Reach Out to Kirk Drennan Law Now

Wondering if you qualify for a child support modification? A lot of factors go into this, and it’s important to talk about your options and possible outcomes with a Birmingham child support attorney. The team at Kirk Drennan Law is here to help you through this process. Give us a call at 205-953-1424 or contact us online to set up a consultation.

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