Start Your Divorce Today - Premium Divorce Online

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
#515786 - 05/15/09 04:57 PM I'm new here....
joey69 Offline

recently joined

Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 5
Here goes...my child support order was implemented at the end of '04 and have had trouble paying ever since...
I was unemployed at the time of the decision (I went in pro se), so the judge imputed my income at $2,500 monthly. My monthly obligation, including arrears is $712 monthly. This has been a very difficult amount to keep up with, but I did for a couple of years. After much difficulty and a protracted divorce (with custody issues) I decided to move to Chicago with my fiancee' (yes I'm doing it again!). Not an easy decision to leave my daughter behind, but I was emotionally crippled (some would still say I am) after the mud-slinging I went through with the divorce. I now have a 3 year old son with my fiancee' (getting married in July).
My ex has recently relocated from FL (that's where we lived together) to Wash DC and gotten remarried. They just bought a house and are doing well. I on the other hand have been unemployed and receiving unemployment insurance for nearly a year. I have not been able to keep up with support during this time. I've paid what I could (usually $200-$300 monthly) and have been going to school to better myself while actively looking for work. The problem is, I've been nothing but a waiter or bartender for the better part of my adult life (I'm 39) and want/need a drastic change in my life, hence the schooling. I know her standard of living is better than mine and I need to prove this.
She is starting to thraeten me with court again and this scares the hell out of me. I've been accruing arrears throughout this year and added to what the judge initially put into the agreement, I must owe almost $20,000 by now!!! My question is (finally!), if I try to modify support, can she file for contempt of court (for paying less) during the same proceeding? Or does it have to be a separate filing and court date? Also, if I file, can I ask her for her financial statements?
To anyone that takes the time to read this, this is the very short version, but thanks and God bless.

Top
#515787 - 05/15/09 06:27 PM Re: I'm new here.... [Re: joey69]
JennyLynn Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 07/14/05
Posts: 31656
If you can't support the child you have, why on EARTH did you have another?

To answer your question - yes, she can file contempt if you are not paying what you are ordered to pay.

Top
#515788 - 05/15/09 08:18 PM If either of you file [Re: joey69]
Melody Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 06/03/04
Posts: 10102
Loc: California
and the filing is in regards to child support, then the issue of unpaid support will be certain to arise. She will present how much support has been missed over the years and this will be added to the arrearage that you have already accumulated. If your support is decreased, you will still have an arrearage to satisfy. Subsequent children are not usually considered when adjusting child support...depends upon your state.

What concerns me is that you are able to support a wife and a new child, yet you are unable to pay the support that was ordered on a conservative income of $2500 per month. I mean really...that's only $30K per year. You should not expect to be allowed to short change your older child because you have moved onto another family.

Top
#515789 - 05/16/09 03:35 AM Re: If either of you file [Re: Melody]
finz Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 06/17/08
Posts: 6756
I always thought the cost of living would be more in Chicago than in Florida.....why would someone with no money move there ?

Top
#515790 - 05/16/09 12:24 PM Re: If either of you file [Re: finz]
Yes_Dad Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 08/23/08
Posts: 7406
[quote]I always thought the cost of living would be more in Chicago than in Florida.....why would someone with no money move there ? [/quote]

Way more. I have iived in both in the last 6 years. Way Way more.

Top
#515791 - 05/16/09 06:47 PM Re: If either of you file [Re: Yes_Dad]
emilar Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 380
Florida is very cheap in comparison to Illinois. Right to work State. Low wages and low COL. Thats why its a retiree state.
_________________________
If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.

Top
#515792 - 05/16/09 06:59 PM Re: If either of you file [Re: emilar]
emilar Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 380
I don't get what you are actually paying. You say $712 a month on $2500 a month with 1 child. What is the percentage for 1 child in Florida?
Either way federal child support laws gives the first child dibs to the monies available for support no matter how many other children you have.
The only hope I see is if Florida or Washington law considers both parents incomes in support calculations. Illinois doesn't. It sounds like Florida doesn't either. And I'm not sure her new state matters. But I could be wrong. There are a lot more knowing than me on the board. Goodluck.
_________________________
If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.

Top
#515793 - 05/16/09 11:34 PM Re: I'm new here.... [Re: joey69]
Debi Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 7157
Keep in mind that her standard of living isn't going to much matter if it's her husbands income. He can make 7 figures a year and they aren't going to lower your support based on that. It's not up to him to support the child.

Yes she can file contempt charges regarding the order you're behind on. I doubt you'll do jail time since you are making an attempt to pay but what's already in arrearages is going to stay there until it's paid unless she agrees to forgive them. They will keep accruing at the same rate until/if you are able to get the payments lowered but I don't think they will be lowered so much that you can continue to pay 200-300 a month and keep current AND wittle away the arrearages.
_________________________
When we were together, you said you'd die for me. Now, I think it's time you kept your promise.

Top
#515794 - 05/17/09 02:14 PM Re: If either of you file [Re: emilar]
Yes_Dad Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 08/23/08
Posts: 7406
[quote]Florida is very cheap in comparison to Illinois. Right to work State. Low wages and low COL. Thats why its a retiree state. [/quote]

Flordia companies use it as a lure in hirig, the overall COL, My house in Florida would be double the price where I live now.

Top
#515795 - 05/17/09 11:24 PM Re: If either of you file [Re: Yes_Dad]
finz Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 06/17/08
Posts: 6756
[quote][quote]I always thought the cost of living would be more in Chicago than in Florida.....why would someone with no money move there ? [/quote]

Way more. I have iived in both in the last 6 years. Way Way more. [/quote]

**********************************************

I know YD

I'm just dying to see how he justifies moving to a place where the cost of living is so much more if he can't afford to pay CS

Top
#515796 - 05/18/09 03:05 AM Re: If either of you file [Re: finz]
joey69 Offline

recently joined

Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 5
Wow...they're are a lot of self righteous people here! I thought this was a forum to discuss problems and try to lend some advice without all the judgement?
Let me say that there is no way I can fit the entire situation in a paragraph or two...I am a loving and involved father with my daughter and always have been. There were lies and accusations made by my ex after she found out I was seeing someone else (2 years after our separation). This is what began the acrimony (not alimony). Despite what some here may think, I've been trying to keep up with the heavy burden imposed upon me for my child's sake. Florida guidelines include both incomes and take a percentage from that. In my case, the $2500 was 51% of the support obligation, leaving me paying $712 monthly including $50 monthly towards arrears. I know that the percentage has shifted since she has a better job than me now and has for some time. I'm just worried that opening this can of worms may backfire and I may be found in contempt of court for falling behind as much as I have. I have to do something before the arrearage hits 25 or 30 grand!
Advice or questions would be appreciated...the rest of you can spare me the holier than thou crap...

Thanks

Top
#515797 - 05/18/09 02:59 PM If your state considers [Re: joey69]
Melody Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 06/03/04
Posts: 10102
Loc: California
the income of both parties, then you should probably be able to obtain a support reduction if her income is higher than it was or higher than yours is now. However, the arrears will not go away. If you've already incurred an arrearage, and it sounds like part of your support payment includes something going towards arrears, if i remember correctly, then that arrears payment will still be on top of whatever the guideline support calculation will be. If you have additional arrears, which it sounds like you do...this will be added to the other arrears. In other words, you may end up with a lower monthly support payment, but you'll still have arrears payments added to this. The new total may be less than or greater than what you're paying now. There's no way of knowing without having more financial details. You can go to www.alllaw.com/calculators and select your state. I've found it to be fairly accurate as far as comparison with my state's formula.

Top
#515798 - 05/18/09 03:09 PM Re: If either of you file [Re: joey69]
Yes_Dad Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 08/23/08
Posts: 7406
[quote] Wow...they're are a lot of self righteous people here! I thought this was a forum to discuss problems and try to lend some advice without all the judgement?
Let me say that there is no way I can fit the entire situation in a paragraph or two...I am a loving and involved father with my daughter and always have been. There were lies and accusations made by my ex after she found out I was seeing someone else (2 years after our separation). This is what began the acrimony (not alimony). Despite what some here may think, I've been trying to keep up with the heavy burden imposed upon me for my child's sake. Florida guidelines include both incomes and take a percentage from that. In my case, the $2500 was 51% of the support obligation, leaving me paying $712 monthly including $50 monthly towards arrears. I know that the percentage has shifted since she has a better job than me now and has for some time. I'm just worried that opening this can of worms may backfire and I may be found in contempt of court for falling behind as much as I have. I have to do something before the arrearage hits 25 or 30 grand!
Advice or questions would be appreciated...the rest of you can spare me the holier than thou crap...

Thanks [/quote]

I wasn't trying to be self righteous. Just saying Chicago is way more expensive. I spent 4 years in Florida and wished I never moved back although the city has a lot to offer. The Cubs for sure. But you are going to hate the winter. And the taxes. Chicago has the highest sales tax in the country and right now, the highest gas prices but it's a pretty dynamic place to live and a lot to do.

Top
#515799 - 05/18/09 03:31 PM Re: If either of you file [Re: Yes_Dad]
joey69 Offline

recently joined

Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 5
Thank you for the advice...I realize that arrearage will not go away. Personally, if this is money for my daughter, I don't want it to go away. This is my main concern...I've been unemployed for sometime now, because I haven't found a job to pay me as much as I was getting from unemployment (as pathetic as that may sound). Unemployment insurance is going to run out very soon so I don't know what I'll have to settle for in the meantime. I am continuing school and hope to be better prepared for the future after this experience.
My questions primarily are; Will the judge understand that I haven't worked because of the economy? I don't want to be held in contempt of court. I just want to stop the bleeding, so to speak...Am I allowed to request her financial statements for purposes of support, or is that the domain of a lawyer? If I had the money, I would ask a lawyer, but unfortunately I do not. Also, my daughter will be staying with us for the summer in a few weeks and I always incur an airfare related bill. I understand (and it's our agreement) I have to pay for the flights but she won't let my daughter fly unescorted (only by airline personnel) until she's 12. I'd like to let her when she feels she's ready (she's 9 now)...Any thoughts? And do you think a judge would allow it earlier? I'm paying for 3 round trip tickets every time I see her (anywhere from $400-$700).

Again, thanks

Top
#515800 - 05/18/09 10:18 PM It's possible [Re: joey69]
Melody Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 06/03/04
Posts: 10102
Loc: California
that the current economy will be considered. However, you will have to prove through documentation that you have exhausted all possibilities to find work. Just saying so won't be enough.

If you cannot prove that you have gone over and above all reasonable efforts to find work, the assumption will be that you are NOT trying hard enough and you won't likely get the reduction. If the judge doesn't believe you, then you may be held in contempt. You may request financial documents from the other party. If you are representing yourself, then you need to see these documents to be sure that her proper salary is declared.

As for the airline flights, get a statement from the airlines as to what the youngest age they will take unaccompanied minors. Usually it's 5 or 7. Yes, a judge would definitely allow it earlier unless there are documented behavior problems exhibited by the child that would make her a less than attractive traveler.

Top
#515801 - 05/19/09 12:07 PM Re: I'm new here.... [Re: joey69]
almostheaven Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 07/14/04
Posts: 10468
Loc: West Virginia
She can file for contempt anytime because you're in arrears. However, not much would be done as long as you are paying SOMETHING. It shows that you ARE making an effort and not just dodging the support. However, since '04, unemployed now at least twice...that won't look well on you seeking a modification. It will appear as if you can't hold down a job and may be looked at as "voluntary" unemployment.

Yet, you should be able to seek a modification based on the imputation of income. It doesn't appear as if you have ever been in the $2500/mo. income category. What did the court base this on? Fact is though, you'll likely need a lawyer in order to win on that issue, which only makes it harder to pay the support you owe. You may be able to locate a pro bono father's rights attorney though, or an attorney willing to work with you on payments.
_________________________
Char Fox

Top
#515802 - 05/19/09 12:09 PM Re: If either of you file [Re: joey69]
almostheaven Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 07/14/04
Posts: 10468
Loc: West Virginia
Sometimes you can fair better getting a loan to pay off arrears, at a lower interest than the state may charge.
_________________________
Char Fox

Top
#515803 - 05/19/09 12:20 PM Re: If either of you file [Re: joey69]
almostheaven Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 07/14/04
Posts: 10468
Loc: West Virginia
Usually children younger than 12 can fly unescorted and the court will likely rule in your favor on this. As for paying for the flights, it sounds as if you moved out of FL first, therefore, you will likely always have to pay the costs of travel since you initially created the need for travel.
_________________________
Char Fox

Top
#515804 - 05/19/09 12:21 PM Re: It's possible [Re: Melody]
almostheaven Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 07/14/04
Posts: 10468
Loc: West Virginia
I was thinking 7, but didn't want to say so without knowing.
_________________________
Char Fox

Top
#515805 - 05/19/09 12:24 PM Re: I'm new here.... [Re: JennyLynn]
almostheaven Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 07/14/04
Posts: 10468
Loc: West Virginia
That is a good question of course. Perhaps the OP may feel like its an attack, but it is really a valid question. Why does ANYONE have more kids if they're having a hard time paying their current bills? People do make mistakes, but this is one area where people really need to start thinking, stop bringing more kids into an overcrowded, welfare run society, especially when you're under or unemployed and claiming a hardship, or for any women who are on welfare...who never listen to that reasoning either. Its just a feel good society. If it feels good do it. We'll worry about birth control later. ::sigh::
_________________________
Char Fox

Top
#515806 - 05/19/09 01:33 PM Re: If either of you file [Re: almostheaven]
Yes_Dad Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 08/23/08
Posts: 7406
[quote]Sometimes you can fair better getting a loan to pay off arrears, at a lower interest than the state may charge. [/quote]

He probably has a number of judgements on his credit report that would prevent a loan. Credit is tight right now as you know. He does however, have greater employment opportunities in Chicago than anywhere in Florida, regardless of their respective unemployment rates.

Top
#515807 - 05/20/09 02:47 AM Re: If either of you file [Re: Yes_Dad]
joey69 Offline

recently joined

Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 5
This is very good advice and I sincerely appreciate all of it. Firstly, the 2,500 monthly was based on a management position I held at a nightclub. The owner was overpaying everyone and he liked me. They eventually closed down...that's when I moved to Chicago in hopes that I could better provide for my family (and to get away from the hostility AND to be there for my son's birth, more long stories). My present state of unemployment is because the restaurant I was bartending for closed down as well (it has nothing to do with me!). This is the nature of the business. Making $2500 monthly in hospitality, used to be no problem for a younger version of me...now its murder on the feet and a bit embarrassing (considering I'm going to be 40). I'm just one of those people that always thought the options and potential to do what I wanted were endless (and they were) but I just couldn't make up my mind. Finally, a path is becoming clearer...I'll be in my early forties but, providing for my family and, most importantly, accomplishing what I set out to do.
Secondly, I claimed bankruptcy last year because of the enormous amount of credit card debt I incurred trying to keep up with my payments. Can I use this as some kind of defense...I wonder? Anyway, I dug a large hole for myself because of my inability to find my purpose. My children are amazingly adaptive and I have worked diligently to mitigate any sadness and loss they may feel...I video chat with my daughter 4-5 days a week...I play with my son everyday...I help with my daughters homework...I brush my son's teeth...I do all and more, what a father should. I will get out of this hole I just need a little help getting started.
Secondly...of course I intend to pay for the flight expenses...that was never in question. What is...is that I don't want to continue to shell out more money than I need to, considering that ultimately, it's taking away from things I could be doing with my daughter. Again...if I were to approach (just) this matter through court, would she be allowed to address the support issue then?
Thanks for the advice, Joe

Top
#515808 - 05/20/09 04:01 AM basically [Re: joey69]
Melody Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 06/03/04
Posts: 10102
Loc: California
if you open a case over a money issue, it allows all aspects of the finances to be reviewed. So, if you decide to bring the matter of the extra plane tickets you've been buying to the courts for a decision....your ex can bring up the fact that you haven't been paying the full support amount, which will put you in a less than favorable light with the court.

The court isn't going to care about how your previous club owner overpaid you. They are only going to see the fact that you were paid $2500 for performing those duties....which establishes a history of being able to earn that amount for that type of work.

If you can show that the going rate for that type of work is currently less than $2500, then the court may agree to consider a lesser amount as what you are capable of earning. Bear in mind that you've been unemployed, which will also look bad to the court IF you are unable to PROVE that you've searched high and low for jobs within your skill set. Unfortunately, without proof, your ex can try to paint a picture of you sitting at home collecting your unemployment checks, doing nothing, watching TV, eating Cheetos, and saying "boo hoo, I can't find a job". I'm not saying you're doing this, I'm just saying what your adversary may try to do. You need to be able to refute this.

Top
#515809 - 05/20/09 11:49 AM Re: If either of you file [Re: joey69]
almostheaven Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 07/14/04
Posts: 10468
Loc: West Virginia
She can address the support issue at any time. It would be weighed against your requests. The judge may see that you're behind in support and take no sympathy...they may see that you've been paying what you can and are trying to rectify it and be sympathetic. You'll never know until you go before the judge. The bankruptcy is pretty much the same. It really has no bearing on the case other than what the judge makes of it. It can be brought up, as can most anything. The judge will determine what is relevant and what isn't.

It's ok to start at 40. My husband waited until 45 before deciding to have a family and stop playing. He was a musician for 30 years. Around 45, he figured out that the music industry had shyt for medical/dental insurance. ;) At 50, he has his first child. Now he works his butt off to try and make up for it and provide for his family.
_________________________
Char Fox

Top
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >

Moderator:  dsAdmin 


Resources & Tools
Start Your Divorce Online Start Your Divorce
Several Options to Get Started Today.
Divorce Tools Online Divorce Tools
Keeping it Simple to Get the Job Done.
Divorce Downloads Download Center
Instantly Download Books, Guides & Forms.
Divorce and Custody Books Discount Books
Over 100 of the Best Divorce & Custody Books.
Negotiate Online Negotiate Online
Settle your Divorce and Save.
Custody and Support Tracking Custody Scheduling
Make Sure You Document Everything.

Easily Connect With a Lawyer or Mediator
Have Divorce Professionals from Your Area Contact You!
Enter Your Zip Code: