I think my ex is earning more money than when we got divorced but I’ve been reluctant to take him back to court to try to get more child support in case I am wrong. I can’t afford to be wrong but at the same time, I went back to work and am having a lot of trouble making ends meet with child care costs. I asked him to pay half but he said no.
Is there some way for me to know his current income without risking legal fees if I’m wrong?
This is your lucky day. It almost doesn’t matter if he is earning more money right now because the child support guidelines just underwent a large overhaul. One of the bigger changes was the manner in which child care costs are shared. It used to be only a nominal amount of the child care and health insurance costs were shared — something arbitrary like 15%. The new guidelines are set up so that child care and health insurance are shared on a pro rata basis in accordance with your respective incomes. That change alone will result in higher child support for you from the sound of it.
Another fairly large change is that it used to be the first $250,000 of combined income was used to calculate child support. Now, the first $400,000 of combined income is used to make the calculation. The judges always had discretion to order more support if income was above $250,000 but not all of them did.
Of course, this may have a negative impact on alimony people receive on amounts over $250,000. Many people structured their agreements so that the first $250,000 of income went toward child support and anything above that went toward the calculation of alimony. However, it is permissible to calculate alimony first and then child support. If that were to happen, any alimony being paid should be deducted from the higher earner’s income before putting it in the child support guidelines and any alimony received should be added to the recipient’s income for purposes of calculating child support.
The new child-support worksheets are much harder than the prior forms. They are four pages long and there is no self-calculating form as yet. But, the guidelines are only a few weeks old and do not take effect until Oct. 4, leaving plenty of time for someone to update the apps before they are effective.
Don’t wait until Oct. 4. File your complaint for modification now seeking an increase in support. Once you have a summons, serve your ex along with a demand for his updated financial statement. That way you can file a motion for an increase in support and be heard shortly after the new guidelines take effect. But, just in case you don’t get heard right away, make sure to ask that any increase be retroactive to the date you serve him with the summons.