When can I change my child support order?

Posted by on September 21, 2018 in Child Support

When can I change my child support order? Modifying child support in light of the February 2018 NH Supreme Court Case of In the Matter of White and White The law in NH provides for when and how child support payments can be modified.  Specifically, the law allows a parent to request a child support modification 1) if at least three years have passed since the most recent support order OR 2) if there has been a substantial change in circumstances.   The law in NH does not provide a list of what equals a “substantial change in circumstances” but if there has been a loss of a job, a significant pay raise, moving from part-time to full-time employment, the emancipation of a supported child turning 18 and graduating from high school, and other such significant changes that now make the support order unfair, you might qualify for a modification.   There can be complex factors involved in whether requesting a modification is the right move for you and this should be a time to consult with an attorney.  The attorneys at Shanelaris & Schirch, PLLC will be able to help you understand whether a modification would most likely benefit you. Additionally, it is important to talk to an attorney soon rather than waiting.  The law in NH will not make a support modification retroactive back to the point when the substantial change happened but only back to the point when the other party received notice from the court that you are seeking a modification.  This important point was reaffirmed in the February 2018 NH Supreme Court ruling for In the Matter of White and White.   If you believe that you have had a substantial change of circumstances, or if it has been at least three years since your most recent child support order, it is a good time to consult with our attorneys to determine whether requesting a modification from the court is the right move for you.  If it is, our attorneys can assist you in petitioning the court for that...

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Affording an Attorney for Your Divorce or Parenting Issue

Posted by on February 25, 2018 in Child Support, Divorce, Family Law, Parenting Rights & Custody

  Facing a divorce or parenting issue can feel daunting, especially if you feel unable to afford an attorney to help you through the process.  In New Hampshire, there are some options that can help you afford an attorney. One option that the law in New Hampshire allows is for you to use an attorney in a limited-representation capacity.  This is a process where you hire an attorney to help with the parts of the legal process with which you are less comfortable handling on your own.  The attorneys at Shanelaris & Schirch can assist with such aspects of your divorce, parenting issue, or other family law matter by preparing documents, clarifying the law, helping you make a strategy, as well as other legal services.  You handle what you want to handle and then hire one of the Shanelaris & Schirch attorneys for the rest. In New Hampshire, another option may be available to you if your income and assets are limited.  The program that can help is the NH Bar Association Modest Means program and you may qualify for reduced rates from attorneys who participate in the Modest Means program.  If you think you may qualify for reduced rates for legal help, your first step is to complete this online pre-qualification form, or you can call the Lawyer Referral Service at 603.229.0002. If you qualify, you will be referred to an attorney who accepts clients through this program.  If you hire that attorney, the attorney will provide you with legal expertise and charge you the hourly rate calculated by the program intake specialists. The attorneys at Shanelaris & Schirch can help you with your family law issues, and we can help keep those costs affordable for you by working for you on a limited basis or by helping you through the Modest Means program if you qualify....

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Tax Dependents and the Affordable Care Act

Posted by on June 25, 2014 in Child Support, Family Law

The Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) went into effect on January  1, 2014 and requires that all parents must provide health insurance coverage for themselves and for their children.  Failure to maintain  health insurance for yourself and your children will result in having to pay a penalty to the IRS.   The ACA has provisions that affect how divorced or separated parents provide health insurance for their children. The ACA provides that the parent who claims the child as a dependent on their federal income tax return is the one required to provide proof of health insurance coverage to the IRS when the tax return is filed.  The responsibility of reporting the health care coverage for the child cannot be assigned by a court order or divorce decree.  For example, if you are the custodial parent with the tax deduction for your children and the non-custodial parent is ordered to pay for health insurance for the kids, the custodial parent remains liable to the IRS to show proof of insurance coverage or pay a penalty. If the non-custodial parent has not complied with the court order and has failed to provide the insurance, the custodial parent claiming the deduction for the children will still be the one to pay the penalty. The ACA may create the possibility for problems among parents where cooperation and communication is difficult if the dependency exemption switches between parents from year to year or the non-insuring parent always claims the children as an exemption.  The parent with the dependency exemption may find it difficult to provide proof of insurance to the IRS because the other parent carries the health insurance and refuses to provide that proof.  In high-conflict relationships between separated or divorced parents the issues of medical insurance coverage and tax penalties could drive them back to court. The law does provide a mechanism for individuals to file for an exemption from having to provide insurance for various reasons such as religious reasons, incarceration of the parent who was providing health coverage, if coverage is deemed “unaffordable” or for some other hardship under the law.    Parents who are currently in the divorce process may need to have an order or agreement that the person who covers health insurance be ordered to provide proof of insurance or reimburse the custodial parent for penalties incurred from the IRS for failure to provide proof of insurance.  Parents should seek advice from their tax preparer, accountant or CPA when preparing their taxes....

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Child Support Referee

Posted by on May 2, 2014 in Child Support

If you are modifying a child support order in New Hampshire, chances are when you go to court you will appear before a child support referee.  What is a child support referee and what types of authority do they have are questions that many people have when they first arrive in court.  The first thing you will notice is that the Child Support Referee does not wear a black robe, and does not sit on the judges bench.  In fact, most child support referee hearings are held in the courtroom, but sitting at a table.  The authority of the child support referee comes from RSA 490-F:15.  Referee’s are attorney’s who have been appointed by the Court to hear cases of child support, medical support, paternity and other child support related matters.  The child support referee hearing proceeds much like any other hearing in a Family Division courtroom – both parties have an opportunity to speak, to present their case with testimony and evidence then the child support referee will make a decision.  A decision is not made that day, but the information is taken in by the child support referee, considered and then they make a recommendation to  a marital master or judge and the Court Order is entered.  If you are dissatisfied with the Court’s order, you cannot appeal to a judge or a marital master.  Like any other family division case, you are entitled to file for a reconsideration of the order within 10 days, and if you are still dissatisfied an appeal to the NH Supreme Court is your...

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