I'm a mom of two boys, 14 and 10. I have been divorced from ex since November 2004. He is self employed, owns his auto repair business, doesn't take a paycheck so there is no proof of income in the form of cancelled checks, basically scoops all the incoming cash out of his business and always flashes "wads" of cash, owns a Dodge truck free and clear, lives with his girlfriend for free, owns a boat and drives around in customer's Ferraris and Bentleys and usually drives a $35,000 M3 BMW (not in his name of course, got it in trade for work done on a customers car and illegally switches tags just to drive it), spends major $ on high maintenance GF and dinner outings to all the best restaurants... etc., etc., etc... here is my dilemma.
I am remarried, and my DH has been picking up the slack for my ex in regards to CS for his slow/non-payment history for the last 8 years. He is supposed to give me $276 per week. He is currently just under a total of $6,000.00 behind. He also never provided health insurance on the boys or a life insurance policy on himself as the papers required. I have recently filed a motion for contempt and he was served last week with the issue of CS as well as lack of care and concern for the boys when spending their timesharing with him, (every other weekend and dinner on every other Wednesday night). As part of the contempt charges I am trying to lessen his visitation due to an incident in March which led me to FINALLY doing something about the lack of responsible parenting on his part when I received a call from my children crying because he was completely intoxicated after leaving them outside a drinking establishment for 3 hours and was trying to get them to get in the car with him. They were smart enough to call me, and have endured his wrath for doing so since then. After years of total inconsistency, bad judgement calls on his part (never having the kids wear seatbelts, at times not having a bed for the boys to sleep in wherever he was staying, NEVER being on time, repeatedly canceling visitation at the last minute, etc, etc.), and mental stress endured by the boys in regards to his erratic behavior this was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. Once this happened, I started going by the papers, and not allowing him to see them if he did not show up for his visitation during the timeframe laid out, basically if the papers said something, that's what I finally started following. He explains it to my boys as I don't want to be nice to your mom anymore because "your mom is starting to talk back to me"...LOL...(just had to throw a mention of the mentality in there to give you a general idea of what/who I am dealing with).
Anyways, since I have been following the papers, he has decided to "punish" me I suppose by not only being a "slow" payer, but not paying me anything at all the last check I received being May 5th. All the while, continuing to drive his BMW's, and spend his rolls of cash. About 6 months ago, in a conversation I had with him regarding CS payments being irregular / late all the time, he told me to go ahead and take him to court, because he would get them to lower his CS to $50 a week if I did that to him. I have researched the court records, and he already has a couple of liens against him from individuals for $3000 or so, he was also arrested on a felony conviction of not paying his sales and waste tax through the State of Florida to the tune of almost $18,000 with an adjudicated sentence and ten years probation, (that's what you get when you skim all the cash out of your business and don't put anything back into it, and I started the business with him in 1995, so I am well aware just how much cash goes through an auto repair shop). I also know that he has not filed his taxes in probably 6-7 years.
Whew!! Finally to my question... right!?! When we end up in court soon, I know that he is going to try get his CS lowered, and my question is doesn't he need to provide some type of proof that he can't afford it anymore. When we first figured out the amounts for CS in 2003 he just agreed to an amount after doing nothing more than filling out a financial worksheet. Can he simply go in and cry "poor" and have it lowered? Also, is it true he can go "backwards" and have it lowered and possibly end up not owing me ANYTHING for the arrears? I have an attorney which my husband and I are struggling to make ends meet and continue paying for, but I am determined not to allow this behavior to go uncontested. My next battle will be convincing a judge that the boys needs to have less exposure to his lack of responsible parenting, but I suppose that will be a battle to fight during another court date. Who knew when I started to "talk back" for the first time, I would open up such a can of worms...perhaps I should have been a "good little girl", and just let him continuing living his life the way he wants to...LOL!!