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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 03-28-2017, 12:40 PM
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Post Quick Question on Changing Child Support

Hi Everyone,

Long time reader, first time poster. I found this forum very helpful when I was going through the lengthy court process so thanks to all the contributors here.

I have searched the threads and probably this has been addressed somewhere but I haven't been able to find it here or any definitive answer on the web.

I have a daughter, 6, and we finally came to a court agreement in May of 2016. At this point, my ex had just lost his job so we agreed on a child support amount of $300/month (no spousal support). Our agreement states that: "Within 30 days of obtaining employment the Respondent shall advise the Applicant and child support shall be recalculated."

He has just let me know that he is now working a new job making $19.67 hourly on a 44 hr week. This would be $45005 a year according to my calculations. However, he wants to pay $318.57/month based on the idea that because 3 months of the year have already passed he will only be making about $36350 based on 42 weeks of work (this doesn't include the 'income' from EI which he failed to include on what will be his gross income for 2017). His income for 2016 of course was much less.

So my question is, with the change in his employment status should he be paying based on his current income, or his anticipated 2017 income with the adjustments for the time spent on EI? The difference between an income of $36350 vs 45005 is $82 a month in support.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
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Old 03-28-2017, 01:06 PM
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He is to be paying based on his current income. The FCSG outline that if line 150 is not a true indicator of your actual income then you are to use other means to prove income for updating. His current income is to be used.

That said, if his working hours are expected to fluctuate (ie he works overtime or his hours go between 40-50 per week) then it would be better to go off his income tax and bite the bullet this year knowing his income will be higher next year.

If you go with option 1, he should settle up with you next year at tax time for any extra he may have made outside his current income this year. For instance if his annual income is projected to be 45g but next year you see he made 55g due to overtime, he should settle up the difference.

As well, by going by his current income, if he loses his job again or he loses hours, you reduce accordingly immediately.
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Old 03-28-2017, 02:15 PM
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The government website requires you to "calculate annual income":

Step 5: Calculate annual income - The Federal Child Support Guidelines: Step-by-Step

The ex's annual income for 2017 is anticipated to be ~$35k. In 2018, it will be ~$45k. So c/s should be based off of ~$35k until December 31, 2017, and than ~$45k going forward from January 1, 2018.

All the above does not include overtime. If there is overtime, cs would increase based off of the ex 2017 NoA, and cs in 2018 would increase.
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Old 03-28-2017, 02:28 PM
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Hammerdad, also note that OP's agreement states income change triggers an immediate change to cs. My partner had this clause in his agreement as well and cs went up when he found work.

My partners lawyer also advised him that cs changes when your income changes regardless of what the FCSG and an order says. If you start making more (or less) money mid way through the year, cs is supposed to change immediately to benefit the children.
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Old 03-28-2017, 10:44 PM
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You're basically asking us to predict what a family court judge will do. You get 5 different judges, you will get 5 different answers.

The clause is vague. He could always make the argument that he is overpaying child support based on his EI. And we don't know how much you make. Maybe you should actually be paying him spousal support if your income is higher than his. This could easily be interpreted as what he will make in 2017 as hammerdad says or what he is making going forward as rockscan says.

My experience with family court judges is that somehow someway they will manage to make the wrong decision.

Based on the little information we have been given and to avoid court, I would just get a letter from his employer verifying his numbers and accept getting 318 per month and then get it recalculated in 2018. His position is not unreasonable.
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Old 03-29-2017, 05:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marianya View Post
Hi Everyone,

Long time reader, first time poster. I found this forum very helpful when I was going through the lengthy court process so thanks to all the contributors here.

I have searched the threads and probably this has been addressed somewhere but I haven't been able to find it here or any definitive answer on the web.

I have a daughter, 6, and we finally came to a court agreement in May of 2016. At this point, my ex had just lost his job so we agreed on a child support amount of $300/month (no spousal support). Our agreement states that: "Within 30 days of obtaining employment the Respondent shall advise the Applicant and child support shall be recalculated."

He has just let me know that he is now working a new job making $19.67 hourly on a 44 hr week. This would be $45005 a year according to my calculations. However, he wants to pay $318.57/month based on the idea that because 3 months of the year have already passed he will only be making about $36350 based on 42 weeks of work (this doesn't include the 'income' from EI which he failed to include on what will be his gross income for 2017). His income for 2016 of course was much less.

So my question is, with the change in his employment status should he be paying based on his current income, or his anticipated 2017 income with the adjustments for the time spent on EI? The difference between an income of $36350 vs 45005 is $82 a month in support.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.


Take his ei income (which max is like $500 a week or something like that) plus what he is expected to make from the time he started his job to the end of the year and use that as his 2017 income... but you do realize you are fighting over $82 a month... less than $1200 a year? Is that really worth your time?

You know he's not going to make his full potential with being on ei for a few months so why not take his offer? Seems fair to me. Next year it gets adjusted to what his true 2017 income was. May be more may be less.


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Old 03-29-2017, 02:31 PM
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I'd find it hard to argue for making the total CS paid in 2017 exceed the table amount for the total income earned in 2017.

Unless ... you had some clear indication in your agreement that the $300 was based on imputing an income (which implies that CS exceeds table amount for actual income), as opposed to merely evening out the monthly payments.

Plus, you are disputing only about $750 in 2017 CS.

How do you know he was still receiving EI benefits in 2017?
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Old 03-29-2017, 03:38 PM
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Thanks everyone for your thoughts and perspectives, especially Rockscan since you had the same clause in your agreement. I am certainly learning that clauses that I thought were clear in our agreement are in fact open to a lot of interpretation!

To clarify, I am in a position where $82/month makes a difference.
I do know that he has been on EI up to the time of recently getting this job as we have been doing the payment through FRO.

Please note, I'm not talking about going to court to fight anything, I am just trying to understand what the proper amount is so I can respond to his email. Hopefully it won't come to that.

I know that everyone is coming from their own places here and in many cases the courts have been unfair, but in my case my daughter's dad avoided paying any child support for years. Since his unemployment I have not asked him for any section 7 expenses so from my perspective I don't believe I am asking too much.

The comment about me paying him spousal support made me smile since I was urged by one duty council to ask for spousal support and I refused (we make about the same although in some years previous he made 15 - 20 k more). I don't believe in spousal support unless say we're talking a long term marriage where one has given up a career to raise the kids, etc. I know I didn't supply those details, but we were only together a couple years before our daughter was born.
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Old 03-29-2017, 04:00 PM
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There are a lot of different ways people approach cs calculation and its easy to go by line 150 but thats not always the way to do so. Agreements have the clause to update immediately because the children should benefit immediately from a change in income rather than waiting a year. If you think about it, your child wont benefit from his new income which started in March 2016 until May 2017. Thats 14 months from now! What happens if he loses his job next August and wants to reduce immediately?

If this did go to court, he would be ordered to update to his current income and there would be no questions.

Respond to him that according to x clause in your agreement, child support is to be updated to x dollars as of April 1. Then you contact your FRO caseworker to find out how to do so.

My partner was advised by his lawyer to start paying FRO as soon as his income went up after being on EI regardless of their agreement. This was in addition to his agreement clause that it was to update when he found work five years before when he was unemployed.

My info comes directly from a specialist in family law. Take it with a grain of salt but Im not just making it up.
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Old 03-29-2017, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockscan View Post
There are a lot of different ways people approach cs calculation and its easy to go by line 150 but thats not always the way to do so. Agreements have the clause to update immediately because the children should benefit immediately from a change in income rather than waiting a year. If you think about it, your child wont benefit from his new income which started in March 2016 until May 2017. Thats 14 months from now! What happens if he loses his job next August and wants to reduce immediately?

If this did go to court, he would be ordered to update to his current income and there would be no questions.

Respond to him that according to x clause in your agreement, child support is to be updated to x dollars as of April 1. Then you contact your FRO caseworker to find out how to do so.

My partner was advised by his lawyer to start paying FRO as soon as his income went up after being on EI regardless of their agreement. This was in addition to his agreement clause that it was to update when he found work five years before when he was unemployed.

My info comes directly from a specialist in family law. Take it with a grain of salt but Im not just making it up.


I will provide a different perspective that also came from a family law lawyer. When my husband separated he wasn't making a lot of money, he was laid off, ran out of ei, etc. When he finally landed a job that paid well his ex wanted an increase in CS as well. She thought the same that it should be based on his full wage for a full year but his lawyer successfully argued that no his hourly wage was not a true reflection of his income and this only had to pay based on his 6 months of full time employment. The following year his child support went up based on a full years wage.

Yes changed happen immediately but asking to base on a full years wage when you are a few months through the year would be like the payor losing their job and then getting CS paid back because their new ei wage for the year was way less. Surely it wouldn't work that way so why would it work the other?

True income is not actually commonly used. The line 150 is what is most commonly used. I hope you don't have a lawyer that is responding to this for you because that half hour of a lawyers time is going to be eating up any extra money you may get.

Again, many ways to calculate but is it worth the time, effort and money to go after such a small amount? Every lawyer will give you a different answer. But his true income is his ei plus what he will make with this new job. You can't discount his ei income just because it doesn't suit you.


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