Should I a be weary of signing CS agreement? - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-30-2011, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ex and I have worked out child support and custody between ourselves for years now. Recently, ex has said he has gone to a lawyer and wants to get a child support agreement written up by this lawyer and signed by the both of us. He is offering me a couple hundred more than he is currently giving me. I am feeling a bit suspicious about his motivations (why now? and why offer me more $?). I am wondering if there is anything that any of you ladies can give me a heads up about?  Are there things that I need to look out for? I have no experience with doing things legally, and I just don't want sign something that will hurt me down the line. He does have a girlfriend, and the 1st thing that popped into my head is maybe they are planning to get married. I don't know if that would change anything for me (I live in PA). Another thing is he seems to want to get it done soon. I asked for a month to think it over, and he said that a month is too long (why the rush to give me more $?). I would love to hear what some of you experienced with the legal system have to say.

 

FYI: We were never married.


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Old 05-30-2011, 03:34 PM
 
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I would run your numbers or as best as you can guess what his are through this. I would hesitate to sign something that another lawyer didn't review. Is it possible he is planning to move or that you are? Is what he is asking you to sign something he is going to file in family court?

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Old 05-30-2011, 03:37 PM
 
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I wouldn't be too weary, but you should ask for a copy, and then seek your own representation to go over it, and see how fair the terms are on your end.

 

If there is a clause that prohibits you from seeking an adjustment in the future, or limits the amount of an increase, I would insist that those clauses be removed.  Not that they would be enforceable anyway, but I wouldn't sign something that limited that.

 

Definitely seek the opinion of a lawyer, and see how much he would owe you if you did go to court.  Try using an online calculator - it could be that he's trying to prevent you from getting what the children are legally entitled to, and has been under paying for a long time now.

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Old 05-30-2011, 03:50 PM
 
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I could simply be that the new girlfriend pointed out that he's open to issues by not having everything legally drawn out. Were you to say he has never paid you and file in court he could have a very tough road trying to prove that he has indeed been paying child support and avoid getting hit with back child support ordered. Having something filed protects him. I would assume he will be looking for something in this document that states that  he is current and caught up on all agreed upon support and does not owe you any back support. My guess, without know any of you, is that he's looking for something to prevent you from claiming back support in the future.

 

The extra amount may be because he discovered that he would likely owe you more than you are currently recieving were this to go to court. He wants to appear the good guy who offered more (but perhaps less than he feels he risks the courts ordering him to pay).


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Old 05-30-2011, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really don't know what he makes exactly, but I don't think he is raking in the dough or anything. Him and his girlfriend just moved to a bigger place and got a new car. He is currently working a lower paying/less skilled job then he is capable of. He does have property that he has sold gas rights to (he did give me some money from the initial payout, and I know there are some kind of ongoing payments for that.)  


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Old 05-30-2011, 05:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ahimsa View Post

I really don't know what he makes exactly, but I don't think he is raking in the dough or anything. Him and his girlfriend just moved to a bigger place and got a new car. He is currently working a lower paying/less skilled job then he is capable of. He does have property that he has sold gas rights to (he did give me some money from the initial payout, and I know there are some kind of ongoing payments for that.)  


Anything he is getting for that counts towards his income that the courts will consider.  I would seriously consider going through the courts to file officially, and get what you legally should be getting.

 

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Old 05-30-2011, 08:28 PM
 
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It sucks, but get a lawyer.  You owe it to your kids....the never married part is not important, but what he owes (legally and morally) over time is.  You need someone to make sure that you are doing right as a parent.  Even if he is not in it  to "trick" you, he or his lawyer might inadvertently put in writing something that can bind you and keep your kids from getting what is rightfully theirs.  Once signed, it will be so hard to change....


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Old 05-31-2011, 10:07 AM
 
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Maybe he is getting a bigger pay out than you think on the gas thing and he is trying to avoid that by pressuring you to sign.  What he doesn't realize is, in PA, you can take him to domestic relations anytime you want and he will be ordered to pay, and they are very good at finding out all of his income and they can seize up to 50% of his gross pay.  I'm not saying this is fair on either side (trying to live on less than 50% of pay is near impossible)... but it's what PA does.  Just an FYI.

 

If you don't have the money for a lawyer, and this is just for child support not custody, you can go through domestic relations for practically free (I say practically free because there is like $25/year fee if you receive more than $800/year in support or something like that... it's very minimal).  I'm in PA and have my C/S through domestic relations, not through my lawyer as there is no way he is made to pay it unless it's through domestics (where they will take it directly out of his paycheck, etc.)

 

 


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Old 05-31-2011, 11:28 AM
 
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Another thing that comes to mind is medical/dental and education expenses should probably be spelled out in addition to child support.

 

Definitely have a lawyer look it over. If you're a student, your college or university may have a legal office that will look over it for you either as part of your student fees or for a very low rate (I think I paid like $8/hour during a semester when I wasn't enrolled full time).

 

I agree that it could be pressure from the girlfriend not to screw you over but to get something concrete in writing so that they can know what to expect and move on from there. I know that this was something that I wanted a boyfriend in the past to do -- just get *something* on paper with his ex and actually follow what it said. It was more about boundaries and enmeshment than the details, as far as I was concerned.

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Old 06-01-2011, 09:19 AM
 
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If he has a lawyer, you need one too.  I have a feeling that even though he's offering more, he's still low-balling you and your children are probably entitled to even more!  Their support and what it can mean for their financial security is nothing to guess at - definitely ask for a consultation with a lawyer.

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Old 06-01-2011, 10:19 AM
 
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Don't feel pressured to sign anything. My soon to be ex was rushing me. I insisted that we do things in a way that allowed us both to have proper representation as well as not cheat my children out of what they were entitled to. If you can go through your state's CS office do so. It's a really good thing and the cost is nominal.


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Old 06-01-2011, 05:57 PM
 
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My ex offered about $250 or so les than he would have been ordered to pay.  I agreed since it was more than enough and accepting made the custody situation easier.  He didn't fight the custody agreement I proposed as a direct result.

 

While I agreed to a lesser amount, I also made sure it included him agreeing to pay half of extra activities (dance, sports, music classes, ect) and the associated gear necessary to participate in those activities (instrument rental, costumes, tap shoes, cleats, protective gear, ect).  He also agreed to pay for half of day care.  I was still home with my baby at that point so no day care and no extra activities were obvious to him but I knew I would go back to work and I knew how much those activities can cost.

 

With the day care and CS- he now pays almost exactly what would have been ordered so it worked out fine.

 

It still went before a judge and I was asked by her if I realized that the amount was very low before I signed.  I acknowlged that I was aware and pointed out the other financial responsibilities included in the agreement.  She agreed it was fair and signed.

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Old 06-08-2011, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you. I agree that it is probably not wise for me to sign anything without my own legal representation.


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