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Posted in Child Support on 22nd February 2011

Child Support Based off Retirement Pay

Article by DadsDivorce


My child support order was based off income I was earning as active duty military. I retired shortly after the order was issued.

Now that I have retired, can my support be reduced based off my lower retirement pay?


The likelihood of obtaining a modification to support or what that modification may be depends on the facts of your case and the laws in your jurisdiction.

Every state will have different guidelines and timelines for child support modifications. Typically a modification to child support is merited when there has been a substantial change in circumstances that would justify a revision.

If your income has changed because you have retired, then you certainly could petition the court to modify the amount of child support that you pay. Other circumstances that justify a modification include a change in the needs of the child and a change in the payer’s earning capacity.

There are many factors that weigh into a modification of support. You should ask yourself whether the court will view this change in your income as voluntary and appear to be an attempt to evade paying support, especially since you obtained a new order right before retiring.

Some questions to consider that may be taken into consideration are whether you were on schedule to retire, or did you retire early? Did you retire at a young age from the military and now plan to (or should) work in the civilian workforce? 

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then determining what income to use for you for calculating child support may not just be based off of your retirement pay. A judge could impute income to you at what you were earning as an active military member or what you may be expected to earn in the civilian environment.

About the Author

Trisha B. Festerling is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices family law exclusively. Ms. Festerling’s practice is focused on men’s divorce, child support, child custody, paternity and modification. She is licensed in the state of Wisconsin.

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