August 28, 2009
It should come as no surprise that noncustodial parents are finding it harder to meet their child support obligations. Loss of employment, faltering businesses, the need to accept lower paying jobs or part-time work — all are contributing factors. But the custodial parent still needs to feed and clothe the children, take them to the doctor and pay their expenses. How are couples resolving this dilemma?
Court applications seeking a reduction in support are increasing. Nearly 40% of the matrimonial attorneys surveyed reported an increase in these applications. Some applicants seek a reduction because their current net income isn’t even enough to cover their support obligations. The immediate past president of the National Council of Juvenile and Fmaily Court Judges has been quoted as saying that the courts are generally sympathetic to these applicants, but that judges still have to focus on the children’s needs – and this could mean a denial of a request to reduce child support.
Many couples, struggling with their finances, are choosing not to go to court at all. Rather, they are determined to try to work out a reasonable compromise that they can both live with. In an Associated Press article published by The Washington Post on August 27, 2009, several custodial and non-custodial parents report on the benefits of cooperation. Some have chosen to mediate their problem with the assistance of a trained family mediator rather than incur the expense of court and risk an unsatisfactory outcome. Parties who have agreed to reductions are, in some cases, finding that their ex-spouse is more co-operative in other ways, including taking over more child-related responsibilities and spending more time with the children.
Maybe poor economic times will have some benefit after all.
For more information on mediation, check the Mediation section of this website and other related internet sites, such as www.Mediate.com.