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CHILD SUPPORT CAN BE RAISED BASED ON PAYING PARENT'S INCOME

It's interesting that when a person appears in a reality show, his or her every personal action thereafter becomes fair fodder for publication, even after the so-called reality star ceases to perform. One of the latest to be microscopically examined despite having 'former' star status is Sheree Whitfield. It's reported that she successfully battled her ex-husband over child custody of their two children, and is now going for back child support payments. In Washington and elsewhere, the amount is based on several factors, including income, expenses and other facts impacting the needs for support or the ability to pay.

She recently made a child support demand in court for back payments due from her ex-husband, Bob Whitfield, which resulted in a court award of $75,000 in back payments. When payments get that far behind, enforcement proceedings usually occur but it may be that the arrears here were accrued during the parties' now-completed child custody battle. If the father gets behind again, the mother can file a request to have the father brought in for enforcement proceedings.

In this case, the father's failure to pay 38 payments of $2,142 each is puzzling because he is reported to have signed a lucrative contract worth $30 million with the Atlanta Falcons in 2000. Under those circumstances, it seems that the mother may want to review the current amount with a family law professional to see if an increase is in order. A parent can file to have the paying parent's amount of child support increased whenever there are new circumstances.

In any event, a child support order in Washington or any other state should be reviewed every few years to make sure the amount remains appropriate and to see what changes may have occurred from the last order. This is usually scheduled automatically by the child support office but if not, the custodial parent will probably want to request it. If the parent has actual knowledge that the paying parent has increased income over what the order was based on originally, this is also an appropriate reason to file for a modification of the existing order.

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