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child support

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

My ex and I have been separated almost 3 years and legally divorced since last May. We went through court with just a counselor and everything went smooth but at the time my ex was unemployed and living at his parents and had just been in a bad car accident so when it came to child support we agreed that in lieu of payments he would just take over the car payment we still owed on and when he came into more fulltime work and got back on his feet we would reevaluate child support.

 

Well it's been 16 months and he is still only working part time. Also, shortly after the divorce he moved in with a lady and now they are getting married in a week and moving into a new house. My question is should I push for him to help out a little more and go back to court to reevaluate the CS or be happy with what I'm getting? the car payment (a minivan) turns out to be about $300 a month and we have two kids together. Is this all I can hope for with him only part time? It just doesn't seem like unless he has a little legal push telling him to get it together he will never get a full time job and start helping out with the kids a little more.

I should add I do have the car while he pays the loan but it is a mini van and I had to get another smaller sedan to use b/c I have such a long commute to work and needed something better on gas. so I pay for that, rent, utilities, all food and clothing for the kids, anything they need for school, lessons or sports they want to do, etc. So I definitely spend more then 300$ a month caring for our kids! I work two jobs and most of the time am living paycheck to paycheck, I'm trying to move up and give the kids more but I feel very alone in this and am thinking I should be getting a little more 50-50 help from the ex. I know he could help more if he just tried a little harder and worked at least full time, but like I said I think maybe if he had some legal motivation it would work better then me asking him if he is going to get a job soon!

So I guess I'm asking if I went to court and tried to get more help would the courts do anything to pursued him into working more?

post #2 of 4
If he is physically able to work, the courts usually run the numbers based on how much he should be making (at least minimum wage)

I would contact your local court and find out how to do a COL recalculation. If the fee is low, it shouldn't hurt to at least find out.
post #3 of 4
Can you sell the mini-van and use the cash for other expenses?
post #4 of 4

I would say if you don't need the mini van, it could be useful to sell it so there isn't that bill anymore, but if he's paying the minivan loan directly you might see that contribution dry up and leave you in the same place as now (except not having to insure two vehicles). If it's in his name you won't be able to sell it without him signing anyway. Certainly it's not optimal now because he's paying for something that doesn't meet the needs of the family. It sounds like money wasted unless one of your children is nearly driving age and could use a second vehicle to contribute to the family by driving himself and a sibling to activities or a job.

 

The Court might not need to "persuade him" to work more. The Court can order him to pay based on what he has the capacity to earn rather than what he's actually earning (read about "imputed income") unless he's found to be incapacitated. You may need to show a substantial change of circumstances has occurred to request modification from the Court, however, since it's been less than 3 years since the last order. Was he working part time when the decree was filed? If not, now working only part time may constitute a change of circumstance (no work to part-time work). Did the decree indicate his injury and temporary inability to work? If so, now an ability work might be a change of circumstance. You might be able to trigger that if the van gets sold leaving him contributing nothing, too.

 

I can't say whether his contribution ought to be more or less than $300 without knowing more details, but as others alluded, you can probably find the guidelines for your state online. If he can reasonably work more than he is (like if the injury was temporary and now he is capable of working more) he probably ought to contribute more and the Court might modify the order to reflect his earning capacity. I suspect that it would be his burden to prove to the court that he's not capable of working full-time and not your burden to prove that he IS capable. On the other hand, if you're also earning more now than you were back then, the basic child support amount will drift downward slightly (not enough to outweigh his increased earning potential, however). See the NH calculator if you want to get a rough idea of the numbers - http://www4.egov.nh.gov/DHHS_calculator/calc_form.asp - but certainly contact an attorney if you would like assistance pursuing the matter. It could get complicated if he's not willing to step up the plate and it is nice to separate yourself from the issue slightly, by making him or his attorney contact your representative instead of bugging you directly. Do you think showing him how much the courts may expect him to contribute would motivate him to voluntarily give more in order to avoid the full amount? If you two agree (in writing) to a change, I presume the court can just approve it and amend the decree.

 

Other ideas -

That he's getting married could actually work in your favor since, in NH, the court may impute a new spouse's income to the extent it enables a parent to be underemployed. An attorney would probably be required to find out the details of this, I certainly don't know anything other than what I saw in the state's guideline document. I don't know if a remarriage constitutes a substantial change of circumstance.

Are some of the monthly expenses from child care? He ought to contribute to that above and beyond the child support amount, since that factor is not included in the basic child support amount. Here's the category where contributing a grand total of $300 a month seems wildly low, no matter the specific incomes in question.

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