modification is a risky road

            Posted on May 20,2012

            Modifiction is a risky road

Q.  Since divorcing in 2003, I've paid $400 weekly child support for our two kids, now 17 and 19. My ex-wife and I equally pay the cost of college for our older child, now finishing her freshman year.

Even though I'm now making more money, should I seek modification to knock out the $200 weekly support while our older child lives away at college?

P.R., Stoneham  


A.       No, for four reasons.  In answering, I assume that, because you're paying your ex-wife child support, the children live primarily in her home.

First, although a child is at college, your ex still maintains her home, including a room for that child, the only savings being not having to feed the child while she's at college.  But when that child is on semester or summer break, I'd bet she lives in her mother's home, even though I'd also bet you'd be happy if she stayed with you.

Second, understanding why you might look at that order as "$200 per week per child,"� in fact the order says "$400 per week child support"�.  That $400 is what it cost your ex to support the kids, including their two-third's share of the housing expense, back in 2003. 

Third, because you're earning more money, if you ask for modification, your child support could go up. 

Fourth, the legal fees spent in seeking a reduction- one you might not get- would probably negate any possible reduction.

Instead, keep your eye on the light at the end of the tunnel, a point you'll reach in just six years or sooner, if your 17-year-old finishes college before then. 

And, thank your lucky star your ex didn't seek increased child support over the last nine years.  That's money in your bank!