Add On to Reduce or Increase Child Support

In a family law proceeding, many parents forget to include “add ons,” direct costs associated with child care such as child care costs or transportation costs. These costs have a direct affect on child support. For instance, costs of a babysitter may be included as an add on and may be used to increase child support above the normal calculation for child support.  Make sure these costs are documented and included.

The noncustodial parent who visits his child (typically every other weekend) usually does not realize the impact that child visitation has on child support. The litigant knows he/she will have to show a change of circumstance in order to qualify for a modification.

He/she happily carries the latest paystubs to court to show a lowering of income.

But to maximize the decrease in modification he/she should move to increase visitation if possible, provided he/she has a good relationship with his children and wants to do so. As visitation approaches 50 percent, child support decreases rather dramatically for the noncustodial parent where income is a constant. Presumably this is because the parent seeking a modification must pay more for child care on his/her own with an increase in visitation. The point is that the parent seeking modification should very seriously consider, if possible, an increase in visitation/time share at the same time. It does no good to simply complain about child support and tell the judge that you cannot afford it.

In addition, he/she should note the increased travel expenses to exercise visitation if the applicant cannot move closer to the minor children. This comes into play especially if the parent is out-of-state and has suffered a move-away case. Surprisingly, it is the custodial parent that usually complains that the non-custodial parent living in another state cannot spend more time with the children. The non-custodial parent complains that he/she cannot afford to visit the children more often. That parent should note in the modification his/her increased travel expenses so that they may be taken into account for a child support modification in California.

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