Background here is that we've been separated for about 2 years now. We originally each had the kids 50% of the time, and decided together that as we had comparable incomes, and each had the kids equal amounts of time, that child support didn't make sense for us. We agreed to split kid expenses 50/50 (daycare, snow-suits, extra-curricular activities, things like that), but would cover our own household costs as it made the most sense. This was written into our separation/custody agreement.
As time went on and it became clear I had the kids more and more, I asked him if he could maybe toss me some extra money every now and then to cover the extra expense of keeping them so that he could work. He said of course. He gave me $15. Once. For a month of having two kids.... That has been the only "child support" thus far.
In August of last year we amended the separation agreement to state that I would have primary physical custody. He was going out of town for work, and couldn't maintain the 50/50 arrangement any longer. Again, no child support was offered or discussed. He still pays 50% of the daycare cost, and occasionally will pay for half of the cost of other expenses, but it's like pulling teeth to get any money from him. He pays me when it suits him. When he owes me money, it's not unusual for him to go 2 or more weeks without contacting the kids at all, as he's avoiding me.
I asked ahead of time if I could put the kids each into an extra-curricular activity. Total cost would be $200. That's $100 that each of us is expected to pay. He said that was fine. When I said "ok, it's time to pay now", he said he couldn't pay until the following week. The following Friday came, pay day, and he said he would send the money through an email transaction after work that day, and I said ok. Nothing. It's now Monday. Nothing. I have sent him two emails and left a phone message. Nothing. He is dodging me again.
Ok...so that's the background! A bit long winded, sorry about that.
I guess my question is - where do I go from here? My lawyer clearly sucks if she allowed this situation to even get to this point. Before I go shoping for a new one (which I can't afford right now anyway), I want to find out a bit about how official child support works.
1) It's based on his income. He works under the table (sorry, SOME of his income is on the books, but he works for his father and gets paid in cash when he needs to, so it's easy for him to hide what his salary is). I've read they can base it on what a person in his field is CAPABLE of making. Is this valid? Will they do this given the situation? Or can he worm his way into showing that he only makes a piddly income?
2) If I'm receiving official child support, will he still be obligated to pay half of daycare? Or will that then be my expense? I guess my concern is that, given his work situation and the fact that he can make himself look very poor, they may award me LESS than what I'm getting now for daycare. I get no extra money for food/day-to-day expenses for having the kids full-time. Like I said, he'll occasionally pay half for a snowsuit or what not, but lunches, field trips, school expenses, hair cuts, clothing, etc...that's all been on me so far.
3) The only reason, the ONLY reason I haven't looked into this so far is that I'm afraid that if I open the child support can of worms, he'll retaliate by trying to get the kids 50% of the time again. He's a terrible care-giver. I don't want this to happen. But he HAS threatened to get child support from me, before, when he had this crazy lawyer who only knew his side of the story (obviously) and wouldn't have known that his income isn't as low as he claimed. So I worry that opening this can of worms will cause a huge heart-ache of having to fight for my children and possibly having to pay HIM, if we go back to 50/50.
I've looked at websites, etc, but was hoping to get some first-hand experience of how this could all go down. Lawyers and courts frighten me. I'm so worried I'll get screwed in the end. =/