According to the Census Bureau, the US job market has experienced tremendous changes within the last 20 years. Factors such as the internet and the outsourcing manufacturing jobs overseas, along with the Great Recession of 2008 created job losses in many industries, and virtually eliminated the need for humans to perform certain job functions. These changes have resulted in many working class adults returning to school to earn advanced certifications, or degrees that can help them explore different career options.
If you are thinking of returning to school, there are many programs to help you obtain funding for tuition and living expenses. However, most people still have to work part or full time in order to make ends meet, depending on their financial obligations. If you pay child support, you may wonder if it's possible to go to school at all, since you can't risk working any less hours. You may even have to find another job if there are certain expenses that won't be covered by your loan provider. The only solution would be to ask for a temporary reduction in the child support payments, but as you may already know, modifying a current support order is no easy task without the agreement of both parents.
Hence, your first step should be to discuss the situation with your ex, if at all possible. If you approach your former spouse with a solid plan that shows how going back to school would benefit your child, he or she may be willing to agree to a temporary reduction of the support payments. You should give your ex an estimate of how long you will need to achieve your educational goals, and reliable statistics on what you can plan to earn once you return to the job market. You can even suggest paying for more of the college expenses when your child is of age, or some other condition that would be agreeable to your ex. It's a good idea to speak with a family law attorney prior to approaching your former spouse. In addition to giving you suggestions on how to speak to your spouse, your attorney can draft a consent order to submit to the courts one you two reach an agreement. The consent order will legally modify your child support agreement without having to return to court for a formal hearing, which is ideal for all the involved parties.
If your spouse refuses to agree to a support reduction, your attorney will advise you of the procedures for requesting a post-judgment motion, which will require going to trial. As you can imagine, this can be a costly and time-consuming process, so it's best to speak with an experienced family law attorney about your chances in court. Depending on your situation, there may be other legal grounds under which you can ask for a reduction. If you need assistance with post-divorce child support modifications, please speak with the family law attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C.