Compassionate Lawyers Working for YOU REQUEST A FREE CONSULTATION
Man giving child support money to ex-wife

Do My Increased Bills Increase My Monthly Child Support Amount?

Shabbick & Associates, PC Jan. 11, 2024

When your financial situation changes, you're likely to wonder how this impacts your child support responsibilities. One common question we encounter is, "Do my increased bills increase my monthly child support amount?" It's a valid concern, especially if you're facing rising costs and are worried about meeting your child's financial needs. In this blog post, we'll delve into the matter, offering clarity and guidance to help you better understand how changes in your expenses might influence your child support commitments. 

Understanding Child Support Calculations and Bill Increases

Child support isn't as simple as a fixed monthly payment. It's a layered calculation that takes into account various factors like the income of both parents, the number of children involved, and any special needs or expenses related to the children. So, if you're experiencing a rise in your bills, it's natural to wonder how this affects your child support obligations. 

Say, for instance, your increased bills are directly tied to the needs of your child — maybe there are medical expenses or educational costs that weren't there before. In such cases, these could potentially impact the child support amount. You might be able to request a modification of the child support order to account for these increased expenses. But remember, it's crucial to keep detailed records of these additional costs and provide evidence to support your request for a modification. 

On the other hand, if your increased bills aren't directly related to the needs of your child - such as personal expenses or lifestyle choices — they're unlikely to affect the child support amount. Child support is meant to cover the basic necessities of the child like food, clothing, and shelter, not the financial circumstances or choices of the paying parent. 

Which Increased Bills Will and Will Not Affect Child Support Calculations?

Certain changes in your financial situation can impact your child support obligation. Here are some specific situations where increased expenses could potentially lead to a modification in your child support amount: 

  • Medical expenses: If your child has unforeseen medical issues leading to increased bills, this can affect child support calculations. 

  • Educational expenses: Changes in your child's education costs, such as tuition for private school or special education services, can influence the child support amount. 

  • Childcare costs: If your work situation changes and you need to increase the amount of paid childcare, this could potentially affect child support. 

On the other hand, not all increased expenses will impact your child support obligations. Following are some expenses that are typically not considered in child support calculations: 

  • Personal lifestyle expenses: Any increase in your personal expenses like entertainment, dining out, or vacations are not likely to affect the child support amount. 

  • Debt payments: An increase in personal debt or credit card payments is usually not a factor in child support calculations. 

  • Housing or car upgrades: If you choose to move to a more expensive house or upgrade to a costlier car, these enhanced expenses will not typically affect child support. 

While increased bills can sometimes impact your child support amount, it largely depends on what those expenses entail. Costs directly linked to the child's welfare are more likely to influence child support calculations. However, personal expenditure or lifestyle improvements are typically not considered. Always maintain accurate records and consult a family law attorney when in doubt, helping you can navigate any changes in your financial situation while remaining devoted to your child's needs. 

Requesting a Modification: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you believe that your increased bills should be considered in your child support obligation, you'll need to request a modification from the court. Here's how you can do it: 

  1. Documentation - Start by gathering any relevant documentation that supports your claim for a modification. This could include bills, receipts, and other evidence of the increased expenses. 

  1. Legal Consultation - We strongly recommend consulting with an experienced family law attorney like us, Barry A. Shabbick & Angela M. Stehle, who can guide you through the process and help you build a strong case for a modification. 

  1. Filing a Motion - Next, you'll need to prepare and file a motion with the court requesting a modification of the child support order. This motion should outline the reasons for the requested modification and provide supporting evidence. 

  1. Court Hearing - Once your motion is filed, you might need to attend a hearing where you present your case to the judge. Be ready to provide testimony and answer any questions the judge may have. 

  1. Decision - After hearing the evidence and arguments presented, the judge will make a decision regarding the modification request. Remember, the judge has discretion in these matters and may not grant the modification. 

It's important to follow the proper legal procedures and provide compelling evidence when requesting a modification of child support. With the guidance of an experienced attorney, your chances of success in obtaining a modification that reflects your increased bills can be significantly improved. 

Understanding the Impact of Increased Bills on Child Support

While increased bills may impact your child support obligation under certain circumstances, it's not a guarantee. The court will consider various factors when determining child support, and it's crucial to provide evidence and follow the proper legal procedures if you think a modification is warranted. 

At Shabbick & Associates, PC, we understand how overwhelming these situations can be, and we're here to help. Our experienced family law attorneys can guide you through the process and work towards obtaining a modification that reflects your current financial situation. Remember, you don't have to navigate these legal waters alone. Reach out to us, and let's work together to find a solution that works best for you and your child.