Coates & Frey, Attorneys at Law, LLLC
Phone: (808) 524-4854

Retirement and child support

Retirement usually means a reduction in your income -- and that can be a serious problem if you still have a child support obligation that's likely to go on for the next few years.

Here are some of the things that you need to consider before you decide if retirement is an option.

Can you get your support order modified?

Normally child support orders are only modified when there's a clear change in your circumstances. Naturally, retirement would bring about a change in your income -- but that might not be sufficient to move the court to change your obligation.

That's because retirement is usually a voluntary act. The court is generally only sympathetic when a parent's income is reduced through involuntary means, like a layoff.

If, however, you can convince the court that your retirement was more or less "forced" (due to a reduction in staff initiatives, for example) and you don't have a lot of viable options for other work, the court might see fit to reduce your child support.

What happens to your Social Security?

If you're old enough to retire, you may be old enough to file for retirement income from Social Security.

There's a mixture of good news and bad news here. The bad news is that your child support obligation will be taken out of your Social Security retirement check -- which is something many people don't realize.

The good news is that your minor children may be eligible for their own benefit on your Social Security record. You won't know until you apply, at which point you'll learn if there's anything left in the "family maximum" that can go toward your dependent child's care. If there is, you may be able to convince the court to let that serve in lieu of your support payment. At the very least, it may reduce the amount of support you're expected to pay in addition.

For information specific to your situation, talk to an attorney with experience handling child support issues of many kinds.

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