I had a child with my teenage girlfriend of 2 months. After a year of trying to make it work we split. We both had minimum wage jobs & my ex agreed to accept cash payments from me to help out. I was not making much and gave her what I could and of course I have no proof of any of those cash payments. A few years later I received a letter . (We were not getting along at all anymore) I was in my early twenties & my life had taken a turn for the worse. For the next 9 years I worked on & off. Working a few months at a time and not being able to hold a job. I saw our child occasionally as my ex did not make it easy for me. I was homeless for a few years. I was not able to make my child support payments. I am now working & making my payments but is there anything I can do to reduce my arrears?
I do have a relationship with my child and have seen her throughout the years but my ex is very unwilling to allow me to visit her. She says she is willing to but does the opposite. Most recently she took me back to court to raise my child support once she found out I was working again. Then the following year she moved to california. She told me she was moving over the phone and then never told me when she actually moved. My child is already going to be 17 so I decided not to go to the court to fight to get her to stay here. Even though my child and I were growing closer over the past 4 years. I figured my child is old enough to call me now and I didn't want to put my child through all the court stuff. Especially since my ex is very vocal. Now I am trying to figure out if there is a way to reduce my arrears because I was not able to make payments with no job and living on the street. I do not have money for a lawyer so I am trying to figure out if there is something I can do on my own?
Family Law Attorney
First, any time your income changes by 20% or more, you need to file a motion to modify your child support to get it reduced. You cannot delay in doing so, as modifications can only be retroactive to the date you filed your motion -- not to when the change in income actually occurred. Second, the ONLY way to get your arrears reduced is via the agreement of the mother, and then only if these are funds owed to her and not to the state for welfare repayment. Child support matters are one of the more clear cut areas of the law, and there is virtually no wiggle room.
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Personal Injury Lawyer
Ms. Whitbeck is correct. Unfortunately for you, the only way to reduce the amount of arrears is if your ex agrees to it.