January 7, 2013 ·
By Michael H. Gora
Q: Ten years ago I divorced my husband. At the time I was earning good money at a job that I loved, with a great company. His earnings were only about ten percent more than mine, and we had only been married for five years, so we waived all alimony rights.
I have been getting a relatively little child support because of our nearly equal earnings at the time of the divorce. Over the last five years my income has fallen about 50% due to the market conditions in my industry.
At first I voluntarily changed jobs for a comparative salary. Within a few months I was fired from y new job because of lack of production in a commission job, as the times grew worse.
I have landed a new commission job at about half of my old salary. I tried to negotiate an increase with my “Ex” with no success. I have a little money left and will use it if necessary to try to get a modification of my child support. The children are now 16 and 13 years old.
My former husband still works for the same well known successful company that he did when we divorced, but I do not know how much money he is making now.
How much will it cost to get the modification? Am I likely to win? Will winning be worth it for me?
A: Winning a modification case for more child support will depend on you being able to prove that your lost wages was a material, involuntary loss. Your original job change was voluntary, but not at less money. You were terminated from your second involuntarily. Your current wages are half of what they were at the time of your divorce.
It appears as if you have an excellent case for a modification, unless your former husband has suffered a depressed income equal to yours. You will be able to determine that soon after a case is filed.
Your costs will be limited, compare to your original divorce case as the issues are far more limited than in the original divorce case. The big question is whether or not the increase you are likely to win will justify the expense you will pay.
Your oldest has two or three years more child support, and your younger five or six.
I suggest that you pay an attorney a small amount to have him calculate the amount of increase you would win if successful, using your former husband’s old wage rate for starters.
There is a risk he is making less, but continuous employment with this old company, a well known successful company leads belief that he still makes at least what he was before.
For an hour’s worth of legal costs you can find out what your new child support might be, and you can determine whether or not the proposed litigation is worthwhile.
Michael H. Gora has been certified by the Board of Specialization and Education of The Florida Bar as a specialist in family and matrimonial law, and is a partner with Shapiro Blasi Wasserman & Gora P.A. in Boca Raton. Mr. Gora may be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.