Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. posted in Child Custody on Tuesday, October 22, 2013.
By Allison Schreiber Lee
With many people on temporary furlough because of the government shut down, questions arise about the obligation to pay child support. One thing is clear, if you were ordered by the court to pay child support, you are required to do so. But what if you can’t? What if the government shut down means you’re not getting a paycheck?
If you need to modify your child support because of your inability to pay, you need to be aware that in Missouri you have to prove both that your income reduction is “substantial” and “continuing”. When looking at these issues, we look at a “substantial” reduction in pay as 20% or more from what you were making at the time of your divorce, or from what is set out on the child support Form 14 calculation that was filed in your divorce. In order to be “continuing” you have to prove that this reduction in income is not temporary. And that is where you run into problems blaming your inability to pay on the government shut down.
If the shut down lasts less than 6 months, which one would both assume and hope, you may have a difficult time proving that your income is reduced for a “continuing” period of time. It is because of that fact that your request to reduce child support – just based on the current government shut down- may be difficult to prove.
In any case, if you are in financial straits and need to consider reducing your child support, before you stop making any payments you should seek the advice of an attorney.