Material/substantial change in circumstances - child support

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Material/substantial change in circumstances - child support

Postby dadmisseskids » Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:37 pm

I've Googled it and looked at the domestic relations code for Pennsylvania but I'm unable to find the specific information I need. The question is, what is considered a material or substantial change in circumstances to modify CS? My CS order was finalized in January and NJ petitioned to have it lowered in February, just 40 days later.

The only thing I keep finding is:
(a) A petition for modification or termination of an existing support order shall specifically aver the material and substantial change in circumstances upon which the petition is based. A new guideline amount resulting from new or revised support guidelines may constitute a material and substantial change in circumstances. The existence of additional income, income sources or assets identified through automated methods or otherwise may also constitute a material and substantial change in circumstances.

You'd figure they would specify a percentage or something. One person may view 5% as substantial and another person may only view 10% and above as substantial.
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Re: Material/substantial change in circumstances - child sup

Postby Trevor » Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:54 pm

I presume she didn't point out her justification for reducing her obligation to her children in her filing?

How did you respond? Did you point out that she had made only one (?) payment in the 40-odd days the current order was signed by the judge? Did you ask for her petition to be thrown out because no material change in circumstances had occurred or been stated?
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Re: Material/substantial change in circumstances - child sup

Postby dadmisseskids » Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:04 pm

Oops. Put too much in the wrong place. Sorry!
Last edited by dadmisseskids on Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Material/substantial change in circumstances - child sup

Postby dadmisseskids » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:11 am

Oops. Put too much in the wrong place. Sorry!
Last edited by dadmisseskids on Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Material/substantial change in circumstances - child sup

Postby Trevor » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:33 am

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Re: Material/substantial change in circumstances - child sup

Postby dadmisseskids » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:37 am

Interesting article, thanks. That's for custody though.
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Re: Material/substantial change in circumstances - child sup

Postby Trevor » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:47 am

While she may or may not have met the threshold to specifically aver her complaint, you know what she is saying and cannot claim you were not able to defend yourself against that complaint.

The facts remain that 1) there is not an actual "change" in her income upon which the present CS is calculated; 2) her choice to exclude herself from the prior hearing is her own responsibility and she is accountable to its consequences; 3) you acted in good faith to estimate her income in the absence of her cooperation in calculating proper support for the children of the marriage; 4) the judge will probably allow her to be heard, unless your atty argues convincingly aboiut the above items.

Based on the likelihood of 4), I think you should be sure you document fully the arrearage and prepare to ask the court to garnish for whatever it decides is the correct CS amount plus arrearage. Sure, fight to keep the status quo, but if she can provide credible documentation of her income, and it differs from the present assumption that you made, you probably won't get a contempt judgment (I know you haven't mentioned it) and it may not make sense to fight it all the way to court...your lawyer will know best.
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Re: Material/substantial change in circumstances - child sup

Postby Trevor » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:51 am

dadmisseskids wrote:Interesting article, thanks. That's for custody though.

Ah right, well most states have criteria built into the statutes for adjusting CS amounts, such as the adjustment request must result in a difference in the monthly CS amount by $25 or 15% or it will not be heard. Some have time requirements before changes will be considered. Others take into account layoffs, new jobs, promotions, etc., as long as they meet the monthly CS payment delta. Do you know how much difference she is trying to present?
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