Pick Up the Phone
What is wrong with picking up the phone? Asking the other party to help should always be the first option if you are seeking a modification of child support. The best way to reserve this option is to put it in your agreement that establishes the original child support obligation. Regardless of whether you have helpful language in your settlement agreement or not, you still deserve the easiest approach to just working it out.
It always pays to think before you speak. When addressing the other party and discussing your proposed modification of child support, stay calm. Don’t get frustrated or angry. Understand that you may get resistance initially, but sometimes it is a good idea to let the other party the option to think about it and to discuss it again at a future date.
Let the other person know what the law is. If you are entitled to a modification, let them know that and explain there might be ways to do it that works for both parties.
If you can’t work the modification of child support out over the phone, ask the other party to mediate the issue. This will give you the opportunity to meet with the assistance of a neutral mediator who can many times facilitate a settlement. The mediator has the ability to discuss options with both parties and may help each party understand what may very well happen should the matter go to court.
Mediation is a great option for many because it is far less expensive than going to court and many time it is a way to get a quick resolution especially if the anticipated result is obvious.
Don’t forget about collaborative law. This is a wonderful opportunity no matter how simple the problem is. In the collaborative process both parties enter into a participation agreement where they are bound by contract to keep the matter out of court. No all modification of child support cases are simple. Some of them are actually complex and developing options with a neutral financial professional is a great opportunity to develop options that may be appealing to both parties. Try to accomplish the “Win Win.”
The Cooperative process is also a up in coming process of resolving cases. It is different from collaborative in that there is not a non-litigation agreement and there is no withdraw provision. The strengths of this process are that the parties can have neutral professionals to assist them in the development of options. Not every person is ready to enter into a full participation agreement that is required in collaborative law. For these people seeking a modification of child support, the cooperative process is perfect.
Some parties choose the parenting coordination process to address their post judgment needs such as a modification of child support. Parenting coordinators are typically used to assist parties with parenting decisions and the coordination of their children. It is a process that helps them to develop options and to learn how to be better co-parents and ultimately parents. For the most part, money is left out of the process, but people frequently ask their parenting coordinators to address child support or costs like the costs of day care.
Also, many people are unaware that their coordination of their children is many times linked to finances. For these reasons, parenting coordination is also a good option for people seeking a modification of child support.
And Yes, If you Must, Litigate to Get Your Modification of Child Support!
Litigation is by far my least favorite option. It polarizes people and makes it that much more difficult for people to coparent. Peoples lives are ruined and children lives are forever negatively impacted by parents who resort to litigation. My advice is…don’t do it.
Unfortunately, there are times when litigation is a must. People have a right to access the court system. I don’t want to say that every other option is perfect and litigation is the only one that is not. Litigation can provide people with good results. If the other party is not reasonable and refuses to take you up on one of the above options, you may have no choice. By rule however, my advice is to first check with the other party and then if all else fails, access your court and litigate to accomplish the modification of child support.