Legal Question in Family Law in Tennessee

Child Support When Income Changes

As part of a divorce decree in 2001, I agreed to pay child support for two children of $900 a month based on my income at that time. Within 6 months I had lost my job, was out of work for 6 months and have since seen a significant reduction in my income. I continued to pay full support out of savings which I was living on while out of work until that ran out. Since then I have been ubnable to maintain the $900 but have paid as much as I can based on current income (under $20,000 in 2002). By my reckoning I have kept up the mandated percentage of income, but I never petitioned the court to reduce child support, because I had hoped that I would find better work and could resume the larger payments. Now I am being threatened with court action to recover the full amount pledged at the time of the divorce. I would like to file a motion for child support reduction, and can prove my income and payments since the divorce. Will the court consider a retroactive reduction based on actual earnings? What is my best course of action?

Asked on 7/06/03, 1:28 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jon Perry Perry & Perry

Re: Child Support When Income Changes

Generally, child support obligations cannot be modified after they are incurred. This means there is normally no pre-petition modification of child support.

You need to request a downward modification ASAP to stop the meter running at the higher rate. The mother of the child may waive the back child support, rather than getting involved in litigation.

You need to file something as soon as possible.

Good luck,

Jon Perry

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Answered on 7/06/03, 1:35 pm

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