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Need some help figuring this out (re CS)

Old 05-06-2010, 07:55 AM
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Question Need some help figuring this out (re CS)

Hi again SR family. Guess who wants to work something out that's rather unrelated to the overall topic of the board? Yep. Me.

Ok, so following my super duper court victory on Monday, I'm left with what I consider to be a difficult moral dilemma regarding going after AH for child support.

My lawyer asked me to find out where AH works, and if I couldn't, to hire a firm to find out. Then she would subpoena his employer and get the ball rolling on determining child support and garnishing his wages. I'm still unclear if my divorce will proceed if child support hasn't been determined...

I made a call yesterday and found AH's name in the company directory at his old employer. I should probably verify that he works there but I'm having some second thoughts. I worry that once I get the ball rolling for CS, it'll have some negative repercussions (such as AH will suddenly want to spend *more* time with DD). As much as I hope that being garnished for CS will cause him to want to move out of province where it'll be more difficult for me to go after him, I know it's not easy to just up and leave a city when you're got a stable job, a child in school and a girlfriend. And knowing how lazy AH is, he won't move unless someone does the whole thing for him. So I imagine he'll stay, get garnished and that it'll have a negative impact on my former DSS, who I still think about a great deal (and who I sometimes get a glimpse of when I drop DD off).

I'm trying very hard to remind myself that I don't control the outcome of any situation, just myself, but also that "when in doubt, do nothing". However, I don't want to delay my divorce over this. I kind of wish I could just have my divorce and leave things as they are right now.

I don't need to CS, and somewhere inside, there's a very deep-seated need not to be beholden to AH in any way, shape or form. He took everything from me--my self-respect, my self-esteem, my independence, and I've worked hard to take it back. I guess there's a part of me that wants to prove to myself that I can raise DD on my own, without his help thankyouverymuch and hopefully, without his interference.

Then there's an opposing voice that reminds me that since he made these kids, he is obligated to help raise them and pay for their needs. So far, he's shirked his responsibilities for all but 1 of his kids...

And then, finally, there's AH's 3rd wife, mother of his 3rd son, with whom I'm still in contact with. She wrote to me recently and expressed a desire to go after AH for the 8K that he owes her in CS arrears. Now I know it's not my business or responsiblity to help *her* get CS, but I do know that her actions might have some negative repercussions on me, DD, and on my former DSS. I know how unstable AH is and I don't want him to go into a rage if he gets it into his head that I was the one who provided his 3rd wife with the information she needs to find him.

Ugh...my brain is mush from thinking about this, and it doesn't help that there's seems to be an important deadline looming ahead, forcing me to decide what to do.

Input anyone? I'd really appreciate your thoughts...
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Old 05-06-2010, 08:22 AM
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I can only share with you how I handled this - no idea if it is right and I imagine there is more then one 'right'

I live in the US so some of the legalities will surely be different too. Also - we have joint legal custody, I don't have sole custody - so also different.

We were both told (by our individual atty's) that the judge would not sign off on the divorce without having child support set. We didn't question this so I don't know if an exception would have been granted or not. There is a formula they use here to determine minimum child support payments and since he was not working at all - they plugged in a full time minimum wage income for him.

If I turn this over to social services - they find him as long as he lives in this state and is working legally (ie not taking cash under the table). If he moves out, then all bets are off. If he is in arrears it also causes some issues for him - and I think his tax return is sent directly to me.

I felt a lot like you did at first - and I also didn't want to kick him when he was down so to speak. After some thought, and speaking with my counselor, I changed my mind. This is not $$ for me, or to make my life easy, or to punish him, or demand that he be accountable. It is money for the kids. They deserve this money. I am cheating them if I decline it. I can feed them but there is a lot that I can't provide for them. So when I looked at it from that perspective, it felt like the right thing to do in my case. It felt like putting them first. I also totally just lost the 'kick him when down' worry. That was codie and putting him above the kids. Ugh, makes me sick to even know that thought went through my head.

Best of luck in your decision. It seems like so much is riding on this, since it isn't all final yet, and I totally get that. I made a lot of concessions with my divorce - they were based out of fear and just a desire to be done with it. My counselor helped give me some strength to 'un-concede' to some of them and others I conceded. Some of it I have a smidge or regret over and others - not so much. Some concessions are worth it. I don't like to gamble

Oh, and as far as the worry over the other 'players'. I think you just need to take that off the table. You can take care of you and yours. That is your responsibility. They will do the same on their side.
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Old 05-06-2010, 10:00 AM
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well, it's not my experience but if it was me, i would walk with no child support in order to cut all ties with the bloke.

i would also stop speaking to his ex-wife. his money issues with her are between the two of them.

just my two cents.

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Old 05-06-2010, 10:02 AM
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Isn't child support all about your daughter and really isn't about you, what you want, your guilt, his issues, his other children, his EX, etc.

The courts believe a parent should be supporting a child. If the child does not live with the parent then the parent has to pay money to have that child supported. The fact that you are willing to raise the child without financial assistance does not negate his obligation.

It just feels like you are finding every reason to avoid pursuing the CS on your daughter's behalf. You are doing as the courts expect you to do and your child deserves the effort. Stop finding excuses and do what needs to be done.

We have already seen how he handles things when you do what's right. He fails to step up to it. There was a whole lot of cussin' and carrying on about the custody and visitation, and in the end he couldn't be bothered.

Let him try the manipulation that is bound to comebut you keep moving forward. He'll either step up and be a father to the child or he won't, what happens in between is just quacking.

Your daughter deserves to have someone stand up for her, and he's not going to do it.

Just my thoughts on it, hon.

Stay strong.

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Old 05-06-2010, 10:33 AM
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If it were me, I would go after him for child support, I mean, after all, why should he have no responsibility in this just cause he "may want to spend more time" with your DD. Just because he may "want" to, does not mean the court would allow it. You've had your victory once. You put your faith in your HP, and he didn't steer you wrong. What I would do is pursue the child support, and if AH wanted to see my child, I'd say take it to court for visition. And I'd make sure in court I'd bring up that he's an alcoholic, and how he's not stable enough to take care of the child without supervision. Let the court decide. It may be "supervised" visitation, in which case, do you really think your AH would meet your D at a neutral place, supervised by Dept. of Social Services? I think not.

You say you don't really need child support, you can do it on your own. That is absolutely wonderful! But, what if circumstances, God forbid, changed for you? Your daughter has a right to be supported financially by her parent. You have that right to receive financial support from the other parent. It is part of his responsiblity. And if you don't need the money right now, put it in an account for your daughter, for college or for a house when she's in her 20's. JMO. I wish you all the best.
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Old 05-06-2010, 12:33 PM
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Thank you all for your replies. I guess I just have to bite the proverbial bullet and call my lawyer to give her the information she needs to complete the file. I know I still tend to want to "keep the peace" especially where AH is concerned, because it seems so unpleasant when he goes on the war path. He may be quite able to forgo an appearance to court for the custody of his child, but he won't just take wage garnishment sitting down. Ugh.

As for his ex, that's a can of worms I regret opening, but now that it is, the only thing to do is to go no contact. I initially wanted to keep in touch with her solely because I'd like to keep her contact information current in the event that DD wants to meet one of her half-brothers.
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:01 PM
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Hi N,

JMO, I feel that CS is for the children and the ability to have the same lifestyle they would have had. I also think that it is important to do what you can and then let things happen from there. You don't have to hold things up forever, just for a bit more.

What would your body tell you is the right decision for you and the kids? Are you anxious, tense, relaxed, energized etc. Think about your choices and go from there.
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Old 05-07-2010, 06:11 AM
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anvil...are you saying that it would be important for me to explain to my DD, when she is a bit older of course, what occurred between her father and I? Or rather, how I saw what occurred, and then let her make her own decisions or find her own information? Or perhaps you're saying it would have been best if your own mother pursued your father for CS...

One way or another, I know that AH will find a way to weasel out of CS payments--whether it be moving out of province, working under the table, or perhaps going to legal route, and I don't plan on making my life hell going after him for money he's never going to cough up. For someone who spent money like water, he's incredibly tight-fisted when it comes to the money he thinks is "rightfully his" and "hard-earned" (seeing as the entire world doesn't appreciate him enough and will never give him his just dues), and I've often seen him "borrow" money from his son, eventually repaying him in junk food, rented movies and video game time. Everything is done to benefit him in some way.
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Old 05-07-2010, 06:57 AM
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What if....
having wages garnished for CS causes AXH to hit his bottom? Wakes up and begins recovery to be a great participant of life! That is as much a possiblity as the other scenario's you are already imagining. (raging, flight to another province, forced visitation)

From my personal experience = asking the court to establish CS does not guarantee receipt of CS. Having the court establish CS gives me something to work with. period.

It is up to me to report lack of payment. It is up to me to pursue reimbursement for arrearage. It is up to me to accept repayment plans. That's a lot of work, but at least I have a foundation of court ordered payment plans to begin with. The legal cost of trying to prove parenthood, income, previous liabilities, etc., would be daunting if I tried to establish CS at a later date.

As to your fears, this has been my experience over the last 25 years of dealing with ex's and step children. My ex step son is now 32. As an adult he and his wife have reached out and established cyber relationships with my two oldest children. This came after having no contact for about 16 years.

I have experience with missed CS payments from both my current AXH and my former husband. It happens. I deal with it when it happens. One day at a time.

Here is a short list of some of the expenses of raising a child.
immunizations
Dental visits
cavities
broken bones
music lessons
sports = do you know how much sports equipment costs $$$
lessons
school supplies
over the counter meds for snuffy noses, chest congestion, bug bites, scrapes
cosmetics
trendy clothes for teenagers
picky eaters
vacations
driving expenses
gas
car insurance for teenagers
braces

and when they leave the nest....."Can you make my car payment? I'll pay you back next month." "I have a flat tire, can you help me pay for a new tire"
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by nodaybut2day View Post
One way or another, I know that AH will find a way to weasel out of CS payments--whether it be moving out of province, working under the table, or perhaps going to legal route, and I don't plan on making my life hell going after him for money he's never going to cough up.
The way I look at it, it isn't all or nothing. I have the court orders set up. That was my first 'right thing to do' for the kids. If he flies the coop (and he might - he applies for out of state jobs all the time) I can decide at that time what the next right step is - how much effort I will put into collecting etc. Just try to take one step at a time without mapping out the next 18 years.

As far as expenses I figure every one of my kids will need braces. If my xah paid his child support it would take about 6 years of his payments - 100% of them - just for that. When I looked at it that way - they deserve it.

Of course, you might make more money then I do - just sharing how I came to a decision.
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Pelican View Post
What if....
having wages garnished for CS causes AXH to hit his bottom? Wakes up and begins recovery to be a great participant of life! That is as much a possiblity as the other scenario's you are already imagining. (raging, flight to another province, forced visitation)
Pelican....you bring up some excellent points. I hadn't considered this.

Originally Posted by Pelican View Post
From my personal experience = asking the court to establish CS does not guarantee receipt of CS. Having the court establish CS gives me something to work with. period.
Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, this doesn't hold true in Quebec. The government here is very strict with deliquent parents, and has instituted automatic deduction at source, as soon as the courts set the CS rate. The Ministry of Revenue takes care of all CS payments, so if a judgment has been passed against a parent, and this person works legally in the province, CS *will* be deducted at the source. There's no way around it.

I just spoke with my lawyer this morning because I felt I needed to discuss my concerns with her before proceeding. She told me we can either do one of two things:
a) submit an affidavit stating that we do not know AH's yearly income (which at this time is true), and state that we only have his 2008 income tax report. We can hope that CS will be based on that salary (which was very low) and if it is, CS will be nil. There is a chance however that the case will get flagged as incomplete, at which point the lawyer will receive a demand for further information. At that time, she will have to reveal the name of AH's employer and subpoena him to reveal AH's income information. AH will have to agree to release the information OR his employer will have to appear in court, where he'll be ordered to give up the goods. The CS will be set according to provincial standards. This is very likely to delay my divorce judgment.

b) simply subpoena AH's employer on Monday, so as to respect the appearance delay, at which point CS will be set as in point a), and my divorce can proceed as planned for May 31st.

So, it seems that one way or another, AH will have to pay CS or leave the province. There's no tolerance for trying to establish a CS rate that's lower than the provincial standards. I can try, but it can easily be refused by a judge. I guess HP is trying to tell me that however frightening and potential painful this path can be, it's the right one to take, for DD's sake. I still have minor freak-outs when I imagine AH's reaction to all this...
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