The parent who is paying child support can have their payment reduced if, through no fault of their own, their income has decreased. If the other parent’s income has increased, the support amount can be recomputed. If day care expenses are no longer being incurred, the support amount can be changed.
The change cannot be trivial. It has to be “material” which means big enough to make much of a difference.
Income reductions that result from misconduct, such as a truck driver who is fired because they had a DUI, will not support a reduction.
A voluntary choice to take a lower paying job will not a basis for a reduction. This frequently occurs with people exiting the military voluntarily. If they get out when they could have stayed in and take lower-paying work, that reduction in income will be ignored and child support will continue to be figured as if they were still in the military.
If you pay spousal support, you can subtract it from your income before calculating how much income tax you have to pay. If you receive spousal support, you must add it to your income before calculating how much tax you will have to pay. If you receive spousal support, you should pay the estimated income tax on your spousal support quarterly. If you don’t, you may owe a penalty. Plus, it’s a good idea to base your budget on what you will have after taxes are subtracted.
If you receive $1,000 a month in spousal support, you may have to come up with several thousand dollars next April 15. If you spend every dollar as it comes in, you may come up short when the income tax on it comes due. So you should estimate, for each monthly payment, how much of it you will ultimately have to pay in federal and state income tax. Then put that part of the support into a savings account and use that money to cover your quarterly estimated payments.
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No one wants to be interrogated about adultery. Even someone who has never done anything adulterous will find the grilling offensive. So it is quite common for people to invoke their 5th amendment right to remain silent in the face of such questions. Former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich invoked the 5th amendment in his divorce. And had former President Bill Clinton done the same, he would probably not have have been impeached and would not have lost his Arkansas law license.
Virginia Code Section 18.2-365 makes adultery a misdemeanor in Virginia. It says: “Any person, being married, who voluntarily shall have sexual intercourse with any person not his or her spouse shall be guilty of adultery, punishable as a Class 4 misdemeanor.”
There is considerable doubt whether this law is constitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Lawrence v. Texas held that sodomy laws are unconstitutional. And the Virginia Supreme Court in Martin v. Ziherl held that Virginia’s law criminalizing fornication was unconstitutional. So it is easy to see adultery laws being the next to be held unconstitutional.
That said, the law is still on the books and a prosecution for violating it, however unlikely, is still possible. So if you are married, you cannot be compelled to answer questions about sexual activity with people other than your spouse.
The issue then becomes whether you can be asked about non-sexual activity with the suspected paramour. For example, a question about whether you entered a hotel with the paramour does not ask about sexual activity directly, but it comes close enough that you should be able to decline to answer it. In contrast, a question about whether you knew the person or had lunch with them would be more likely to be found permissible. The argument is that such questions provide “links in a chain of evidence” that could support the inference that adultery occurred. The sturdier the link, the more likely it is you will not have to answer the question.
I like to subpoena the paramour and ask them about it. In one case, the paramour was unmarried. You will notice that the law refers to a person who, “being married” has sexual intercourse. I took the position that because they were not married, they could never commit adultery and therefore had no fear of prosecution. The commissioner in chancery hearing the case agreed and required the paramour to testify to the adultery. In another case with a similar scenario, the paramour took the 5th amendment during their deposition claiming they might be prosecuted for “conspiracy to commit adultery.” The case settled and we never got a ruling on whether that objection was valid.
The takeaway is that you can avoid the indignity of questions about sexual misconduct by invoking your 5th amendment rights and the party seeking to prove the adultery will have find another way to prove it.
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