MODIFICATION OF CHILD SUPPORT
A client I had represented ten years earlier on his divorce recently came to me when his ex-wife filed a Complaint for Modification requesting the court order him to contribute to the couples two children’s college education.
The client had recently made a career change due to the failing market in the area he had worked in since the 1980’s and his income had dropped substantially. He was in court, much to his dismay, in no position to contribute beyond his current level. In fact, after six months of litigating the case, we decided to file a separate Complaint for Modification to lower his child support. We were able to consolidate the two cases, thereby accelerating his case (to lower child support) by at least six months and getting a much quicker trial date.
During trial I was able to introduce evidence that the ex-wife worked only part-time earning well below her potential as a college graduate and that one of the children, a soon to be college freshman, had taken the summer off. This, despite my client’s investing what little money available in equipment to help the son set up a small business.
A few months prior to trial by filing and arguing a Motion for Temporary Orders we were able to persuade the Judge to lower my client’s child support payments to a level, although more than the client wanted, he could afford.
Evidence through my clients’ testimony established that his decision to make a career change was logical. I was able to avoid the cost of potential expert witnesses by establishing my client’s long-term experience in his former field qualified him to express an opinion on the subject.
Prior to the Trial, I submitted suggested Findings of Fact and Rulings of Law for the court’s consideration. Thankfully the Judge found in my client’s favor on both issues and issued a decision along the lines of my Suggested Findings. The child support remained at the lowered level and he was found to have no ability to contribute further to college costs.
By eliminate costly experts and getting right to the basic issues at hand we were able to keep the trial costs to a minimum, completing the trial in under a half day!