Sometimes things stay the same for a long time. Then, in an instant, everything can change. If recent life changes have made it difficult for you to keep up with the cost of your child, it may be time to consider making a modification to the support arrangement.
But, how can you bring up this topic to your ex without damaging your co-parenting relationship? Here are a few tips to prepare.
Organize cause and effect
Before approaching this topic with your ex, consider or write down the changes that led to this situation. The child support amount that was originally ordered in court was considered fair. What changes have happened since then that no longer allow you to meet the minimum?
If you are requesting an increase in child support from your ex, you may have found that as your child aged, the cost of groceries, clothing and after-school activities has increased. You may also note if there have been income changes, such as your spouse getting remarried or being promoted.
If you are having trouble making child support payments, consider similar life changes that have impacted your finances. An example could even include caring for a family member who developed a chronic illness.
Back it up
Every lawyer knows that the key to a solid argument is the evidence behind it. Bring your bank statements and bills to demonstrate that what you are saying is true.
Your ex will be less likely to react negatively if you can prove your financial restraints.
Acknowledge your child’s best interests
If you and your ex were married before, you’ve probably had some difficult conversations before. Unfortunately, this topic has the potential to be challenging too. One way to keep you and your ex focused on the reason for this conversation is to explain that it comes from concern for your child’s best interests.
You should also tell your ex that, for your child’s sake, you don’t want the potential for a modification to damage the co-parenting relationship you share.
Practice ahead of time
To keep from saying something that could be taken the wrong way, write down or practice what you will say ahead of this time.
This will also help you anticipate how your ex may react and keep on track during the conversation.
Ask a lawyer
Before broaching the topic with your ex, consider speaking with an attorney about whether a child support modification is warranted.
An experienced Family Law attorney can look over your income and finances to verify whether you can make a case for a change. The lawyer may even be able to help you explain to your ex why this change is necessary.