Q: My ex-husband emailed me stating he will give half of the amount of child support, how should I do?
When we divorced 11 years ago, he agreed to give 1000/month child support. Since my daughter is 13 and she has some extra expenses on her cello private lesson and advanced classes, I emailed him to ask if it is possible that he can help with some money, which he never did, or if I can claim my child as dependent every year since in the previous agreement, we agreed that everyone claim her every other year. Then he emailed back said he will no longer give 1000/month, he will give 500/month instead for child support. Now he lives in VA and married with a step daughter. I would like to know is that right for him just cut the child support in half because he said he married with another child in house for support. Thanks
A: The fact that your ex-spouse has remarried and now has a step daughter does not give him the right to refuse to pay the amount of child support required by the terms of a NJ court order or as required by a divorce agreement entered as part of your divorce. My suggestion is to meet with a family law specialist ( not a general lawyer who does divorce work) to discuss the filing of an application for enforcement, payment through the probation department and payment of the child support arrears as a result of his unilateral reduction in his payments. Make sure you bring your settlement agreement with you to the meeting with the lawyer as well as any court orders entered since the agreement was put in place and every text message or email between you and him as to the issues of support. The worst thing that you could do is fair to provide the lawyer with those details and he then produced a text message from you where you acknowledged that he had lost his job and that you had agreed to his request to reduce his payment of child support. A lawyer never wants to see that type of document from the other side. Its the type of document that you need to give to the lawyer up front so that he knows exactly what discussions took place between the 2 of you, so he can figure out how best to help you and whether the filing of an application with the court will be viable for you.
As to the extra expenses as a result of your daughters cello lessons, etc, again, you need to sit down with a family law specialist to discuss the language of your agreement, to discuss whether they qualify as extraordinary expenses or whether the language of the agreement contemplated these type of expenses to be shared.
A: Thank you for your question. I am sorry that you are experiencing problems with regard to child support. Your ex-husband does not have the right to reduce child support absent a court order or absent you permitting him to do so. If payments are made through probation, you can contact probation and they will enforce the court order for you. If not, you will need to go to court to enforce compliance. Additionally, you may wish to explore the potential of receiving a higher amount of child support than the $1,000 a month from 11 years ago. Obviously, the cost of living has increased greatly. Obviously, the cost of raising a 13-year-old is much more than the cost of raising a 2-year-old. Additionally, if your ex-husband's income has increased, the Court has the authority to order a higher child support figure. I strongly advise you to schedule a consultation with a Family Law attorney to more fully explore your rights and your options going forwards.
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