Under What Circumstances Can a Child Support Order be Modified?

San Jose Modification Attorney Aeschleman LawChild support is the court-determined monthly payment that the noncustodial parent pays to the custodial parent, to be used for the child’s expenses such as food, clothing, school and entertainment.

In accordance with the federal Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984, each state has developed its own guidelines to calculate the amount of child support to be paid in any particular case. There is a variety of general factors that are used nationwide to help determine the amount of monetary support to be paid.

Firstly, courts consider each parent’s current income including occupational wages, assets such as stocks and bonds, and welfare benefits. Other considerations that calculate child support payments include the number of children involved, specific needs of the child, needs of the custodial parent to support the child, day care expenses, and ability to pay and the child’s standard of living before the divorce or separation.

Child support payments may be modified over time for several reasons approved by the court. One legitimate reason for modification is a substantial change of financial circumstances due to a shift in either parents’ earnings, job loss or promotion, inheritance or any additional income from a remarriage. Changes in child’s expenses, such as high medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance, may also compel a child support modification for financial hardship purposes. Some child support orders include a cost of living adjustment (COLA), which provides that payments are to increase annually at a rate equal to the annual cost of living increase.

Another reason that may necessitate child support modification is a change in the parenting plan. For example, if the child goes from seeing the noncustodial parent only during weekends, to being in their care for an extended period of time, the noncustodial parent’s payments will probably decrease.
Many parents make the mistake of engaging in verbal agreements when modifying child support payment plans. The problem with oral agreements is that they are often vague and can lead to later misunderstandings and confusion. Parents who want to make modifications to their child support plan are encouraged to speak with a lawyer and have a court determine the amount to be paid.

Real Housewife of New York Files for Divorce

Bethenny Frankel and Jason Hoppy walking through the streets of New York with their 2 year-old daughter Bryn

It seems as though Bethenny Frankel will soon be an ex-wife of New York now?

The beloved reality star and successful businesswoman from Real Housewives of New York is calling it quits with husband Jason Hoppy, a pharmaceutical sales representative, after nearly three years of marriage.

The announcement was made via twitter just a few days before Christmas as Frankel expressed to the world, “To those of you who are being supportive: thank you. To those of you who are judging: I totally get it.”

The couple claims that they will continue amicably co-raise their two year-old daughter together and make her their first priority as they consider their separation to be on good terms and continually share much love and respect for one another.

Sadly, not all divorces happen with this much understanding between spouses. If you are going through a divorce, contact an experienced family law and divorce attorney who can help you through this difficult time as quick and seamless as possible.


Military vs. Civilian Divorce

Military vs. Civilian Divorce:

According to the U.S. census, civilian divorce rates across the country have been falling since the year 2000 while military divorces are becoming more and more frequent.  In fact, they have risen by 25% over the last ten years.

By the end of the 2011 fiscal year, 3.7% of marriages in which there was at least one service member, ended in divorce. This means that nearly a staggering 30,000 military marriages ended last year, the highest percentage since 1999. Enlisted women have been found to be twice as likely to divorce, as their divorce rates have reached almost 10%.

Stress is expected to be the most influential cause of military divorce. At the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, the military divorce rate was at 2.6% and has raised nearly a full percentage since then. While the service member is away, changes for each party can alter their definitions of normalcy. Service members may experience months or years of violence, only to be reintroduced to their growing families. Some military members find themselves unable to relate to their children who they come to learn they barely know, or their spouse who has learned how to live without them. Similarly, the husband or wife at home can go through hectic life changes while having to cope without present support.

There are differences to consider when comparing military divorce to civil divorce, in regards to rules regarding division of military pensions, residency requirements for filing for divorce, certain legal protections for the military member and emergency court orders pertaining to child support. One of the biggest dissimilarities that service members consider is the USFSPA (Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act.) The USFSPA applies only under certain conditions (for example the marriage must have lasted at least 20 years) and allows states to divide military disposable retired pay as marital property upon divorce, including language about medical, commissary and exchange privileges. The service members Civil Relief act is another distinction in the process of military divorce. Under this act, military members are protected from lawsuits including divorce proceedings so that they can devote all of their attention to the defense needs of the nation.

Even with the high volume of military families in the state of Florida, not every divorce lawyer is able to help  military families through their divorce issues. As mentioned, military divorces, and child custody cases, come with a unique set of circumstances, especially when a service member is deployed.

Divorce can be stressful and tragic under any condition, and it is unfortunate that so many military members serving our country who return home to reunite with family wind up in a divorce.

Divorce vs. Legal Separation

All marriages have their ups and downs, but when pitfalls become more commonplace and a couple finds themselves in a position where major changes need to be made, many couples either opt for a legal separation or a divorce. While a divorce is a proceeding that legally dissolves a marriage and allows each party to go on to embark on separate lives and romantic relationships, a legal separation allows a couple’s marriage to remain intact while the parties live separately.

A couple becomes legally separated when they wish to remain legally married, but live separate lives. The parties separate and receive a court order regarding issues like the division of property, alimony, child support, custody and visitation. Alimony and child support for legally separated couples are gained through a motion “pendente lite,” which is Latin for “while the action is pending” or “during litigation.” This motion is more commonly known as a separation agreement, and exists to protect the parties’ interests until a final decision to file for divorce is made. Separation agreements are very relevant and important, as they take precedent in a divorce proceeding. In a divorce proceeding a judge commonly assumes that the parties were pleased with the separation agreement, and will assign divorce conditions accordingly by simply converting the separation agreement to a divorce agreement.

Far more uncommon than a divorce, couples usually opt for legal separation for religious, financial or personal purposes. Most religions frown upon divorce, so especially religious parties will choose a legal separation in order to continue on with their own lives while remaining married for religious purposes. In many cases couples can benefit financially from remaining married. Maintaining a ten year marriage qualifies couples to take advantage of certain social security benefits, and marriages in which one or more spouses is a member of the military have especially profitable options. Many other times a couple simply needs to test the waters in order to discover whether or not they would like to continue their individual lives on their own or return to the marriage.

An important aspect of a legal separation is that parties may not enter another marriage or domestic partnership. To file for separation, one party must reside in the county where the papers are filed at the time the case has begun. There is no required length of residency for a legal separation. If you are a Southern California resident facing the difficult decision of filing for legal separation or divorce, consult with a divorce attorney in San Diego, such as Tara Yelman of Yelman & Associates, who can help guide you on your path.