Question: I can't keep paying my child support. I agreed to a very high amount of child support when I got divorced. But that was 7 years ago and I was making far more money. Back then I was producing a reality TV show that was really popular and my businesses were doing great. I owned a restaurant in Buckhead, and a bar in Roswell and I was a partner in a car dealership in Sandy Springs that sold high-end vehicles. Back then I drove a Bentley; now it's a BMW.
But I had to get a divorce because my wife was acting crazy because she didn't do anything for her bipolar disorder and her ADHD was tough for me to deal with. Her drinking and cocaine use were becoming problems and she experimented with meth.
Since money wasn't an issue I just agreed to child support and started paying her when she asked for it. I also felt guilty about the affairs I was having.
Now everything has changed for the worse. The TV show is off the air and the businesses are closed, except for the restaurant. I need to pay less child support. If my wife doesn't agree to my decrease I'm just going to stop paying her. What can I do?
P.F. in Roswell, GA
Answer: You cannot just stop paying court-ordered child support. You need to petition the court for a hearing and demonstrate that you are entitled to a reduction. You need to prove that you are earning substantially less money now than when the order was entered.
It's important that you file with the court as soon as possible because child support can only be reduced going forward; the arrears will not be reduced. Indeed, a court cannot, under Georgia law, reduce your child support arrears.
As child support lawyers we get this type of question frequently. Many people are in serious need of a reduction in child support and sometimes they resort to “self-help,” that is decreasing the amount they pay on their own, without a court order. But that can be a real mistake. It needs to be done legally or else there are severe negative ramifications possible.
Call us directly and we can discuss your case.
We're attorneys who can help you with child support issues, as well as divorce and all family law matters. When you have questions, we're available 24/7 to help you. Just call us at (678) 712-8561.
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