In my last blog entry, I provided an overview of the types of factors the court will consider when deciding on whether or not to deviate from a guideline child support order. In this and the next entry, I am going to further break down the reasons you may qualify for a deviation in your support order.
The first reason for a deviation (either up or down) from a support order is because of a party’s unusual needs and unusual fixed financial obligations. Such needs and obligations are fairly rare but do occur occasionally when one party or the other has a financial obligation that he or she must pay on a regular basis. The key to this factor is the word unusual. Everyone has fixed financial obligations (utilities, car payment, mortgage etc.). Only when an obligation is truly out of the ordinary will a deviation be applicable.
The second factor that could lead to a deviation in child support is if one or both parties have another child support obligation. For example, if you have children with more than one person and there are multiple support orders, after the basic support obligations are calculated, they both may be adjusted downward to ensure that you have enough money to live on monthly.
The third factor that the court will take into consideration is other income in a party’s household. For instance, if your ex, who you’re paying support to, has remarried someone that earns substantial income, the court can consider that new spouse’s income as household income. If that household income is large enough, your order may be decreased as the new family unit does not need much support from you to take care of your child when you do not have custody.
As I stated previously, these deviations only apply in very specific circumstances. However, if one of these factors is relevant in your support case, it can have a significant impact on your support obligation. Make sure when you speak with an experienced family law attorney, you bring to his or her attention that one of the deviation factors applies to your case.