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My oldest daughter has just been emancipated. What are good strategies to negotiate CS for my remaining daughter?

Newton, MA |
Filed under: Family law

My oldest daughter has just been emancipated. My ex-wife is filing a Complaint for Modification to adjust the child support for my other daughter who is 20. With the current guidelines I will end up paying even more than I do now even though it is only for 1 child instead of two. Can I threaten to file a complaint for joint physical custody and no child support as leverage when we negotiate a new Child support number. The idea is that even though I will never get physical custody she will have to pay legal fees to defend against this. She may be more willing to agree to my number and avoid these fees. I am pro se so it won't cost me much.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. The Child Support Guidelines are a presumptive amount that you must pay in child support. In order to pay less, you have the burden of proof of proving why you should pay less in child support. Additionally, to file a modification of custody, you need to show a material and substantial change in circumstances that would warrant a change in custody. I would highly recommend you speak with an attorney who specializes in Family Law to determine how to proceed. Good luck!

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  2. I think some judges do not look with favor upon litigants who file claims involving custody of children in order to leverage for something else. You know, pawns and all that. I assume that you have a greater income than you had the last time child support was set - and that is why you believe you will end up paying more. Otherwise, it doesn't make sense. And if you make more maybe you should be able to pay more. Or, maybe you ran the numbers incorrectly and should re-do it.


  3. Bad idea. First of all the issue of "custody" doesn't apply at their age. It goes to primary residence. Second, the child support guidelines do not apply after 18. The child support statute regarding emancipation does apply.

    To properly review your situation, more facts are necessary. For example, are you covering any of the costs for the children such as college? Is there a potential in your future for an alimony order?

    You need an experienced lawyer to look over your current order (agreement) and discuss the current state of the law to uncover any unknown pitfalls and properly prepare strategy.

    I would strongly recommend a consultation.

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