When You’re Fighting With Your Lawyer

As you may be able to tell from the title I think I’m in a fight with my lawyer. I don’t think that’s a place you necessarily want to be; however, from my point of view I’ve paid her over $35,000 so what does she have to complain about? I’m pretty sure I’m in her phone as “Billable Hours”.

Here’s what happened. As you know if you’ve been following along since July I have been trying to get proper child support for Picasso since CF unilaterally decided to modify support on his own. I called on July 1st to make sure I was indeed correct and that he did not get to simply divide it in half. She was Johnny-on-the-spot, whipping off an email to his lawyer and asking me for insurance amounts so she could calculate the new amount.

Then- silence. I emailed her at the end of July to let her know CF had finally paid the rest of his support but aside from that our last email communication was mid-July. In August I emailed to follow up and see how that modification was going. I finally heard back from her. She hadn’t done it yet. Work was crazy busy. Yada, yada, yada. But she would get on it and file it very soon. Okay, I can work with that.

But- again- silence. Finally, I emailed her in mid-September. I heard nothing. I emailed the exact same email in early October. I am told once again that work has been super busy; she is sorry she hasn’t replied but she is swamped. She hasn’t filed the paperwork yet but she is hoping to do it that day or the next.

This is October, folks! This began in July. I have been extremely patient and understanding.

At the end of November I inquire again. She finally replies! It’s the beginning of December. We find out CF will be taking care of this himself and she sends him the new figures, telling him she will file it with the court so we don’t need to hash this out in court, if he agrees. Naturally, he does not agree. He wants proof of insurance. He thinks Picasso’s insurance amount seems very high and he is NOT responsible for me and my share! He wants to see my paycheck. If he’s going to have to pay more for one child then by God he is not willing to pay one penny more than he has to!

So now we’re going back and forth. I’m copying pay stubs and insurance information. She’s coming up with new figures using the new numbers I have supplied. He’s saying he won’t pay for legal fees. I’m calling bullshit on that.

I’m pretty sure I’ve let it be known here that I have really shitty insurance. We have a High Deductible Plan 1, where my share alone is $85/paycheck. We also have a High Deductible Plan 2 for those employees who make less than $25,000; the cost for that was $46/month. When I signed up for insurance at the end of 2017 as I was court ordered to do I would have qualified for the High Deductible Plan 2. Unfortunately, the High Deductible 2 Plan is only for employees. My company doesn’t care how little you make if you are covering dependents so I officially have the High Deductible 1 Plan. When calculating the new child support she has been using the first plan instead of the second plan.

I let her know that if she’s going to figure out my share of insurance based on the High Deductible 1 plan, instead of the High Deductible Plan 2, then I want to use the new rates that are going into effect as of 2019. She tells me she has to be precise so if there are new premiums for the new year then to forward them, which I do.

Then- silence. Again. I patiently waited, once again, before firing off an email towards the end of December, asking if she had submitted the new figures to CF. Her assistant replied to let me know she would be out of the office until January 7th. Oh great!

The first week goes by. No reply. No answers. No news. The second week goes by. Same thing. Nothing.

Finally, on the 18th I send another email. I had wanted to wait until I had a chance to run calculations for child support myself. I had never received the new amount based upon the new figures, so I created one chart using the figures she had used (where she calculated child support with me having the higher premium), one where I calculated it using the lower premium for me, and the third one using the new figures for 2019. Honestly, I was curious if it would even account for that much. It turns out it doesn’t. The difference between using the $46 vs. $85 amounts to approximately $56/month if I did the math correctly.

So, I send these calculations on to her, let her know I want her to continue to push for 75% of the legal fees (seeing as how it was his obstinance that led to all of this), and asking if we can please get this done.

I let her know we will be doing reviews and getting raises in the next few weeks and I really don’t want to have to recalculate the figures again. I also can’t garnish him until I have this new child support order, which is kind of important because he never pays on any kind of a schedule. That makes it a little difficult to pay bills or plan for anything.

I also told her to keep in mind that he was imputed. He can make $50,000 more per year and he won’t have to pay a dime more in child support. I, on the other hand, lose money every time I get a raise.

The following Monday I finally get a response which I think was rather hostile and accusatory.

She reminds me that I sent a table with the figures in December, which showed my share of the premium was $85 and Picasso’s share would be only $47 even though I was carrying it on both kids. He’s only responsible for the minor child.

Okay, I’m aware of that (that he only has to pay for Picasso). Six weeks ago when we started this I told her I wanted it noted that I was paying $188/paycheck because I could not dump my daughter from my insurance the moment she graduated, unlike her father who could refuse to take any financial responsibility for her as of 7:30 on June 7th. I mentioned nothing about this in my subsequent emails. I simply wanted a public record of what a douche he is.

Here’s a question for you (my reading audience, not my lawyer), though- If I can’t take her off of my insurance in the middle of the year because she graduated high school, why doesn’t he have to continue paying for her through the end of the year? I can understand not getting credit for it this year when I have a choice as to whether or not to cover her but from June-December? I didn’t get a choice. I was court ordered to provide insurance for them and I couldn’t switch up my plan midway because of a graduation.

She goes on to tell me that I told her the rates I sent her were the current rates and yet now I’m saying there are new rates. She would like to know when the new rates went into effect.

That’s funny because I do remember saying if she was going to use the higher premium for me then I wanted to use the new figures that were going into effect in January! That’s when she told me she had to be precise, and would have to calculate support based on the current figures, and then recalculate for the new amount going forward. But suddenly she has amnesia. What new figures? Where did these come from? She even said in her last email to me that her numbers were correct up through December and that she would update for January forward!

She then goes on to tell me that when I asked her to recalculate the support I didn’t provide her with confirmation of the cost of health insurance; she now claims I only told her what it was costing to carry both children, and that my figures turned out to be incorrect.

Um… no… my figures were not incorrect. I broke it down for her back in July when she first asked for this information and thought the insurance costs would go down by half. I gave her what it cost to cover me, 1 child, and 2 children. I did use the $46 figure for me, instead of the $85 one, but again, that amounts to $56/month. She is the one that took the entire figure and used that for the insurance costs.

She concludes with: …. I realize you are aggrieved about having to pay the higher cost of insurance and about him not agreeing to pay for your adult child. But I can’t fix that. All I can do is calculate the insurance amounts based upon the statutory construct.

What the everliving fuck? As I told her, I am not “aggrieved” at having to pay for Rock Star’s insurance nor did I think that Shithead would do anything he wasn’t legally obligated to do. I got a little testy and told her that I was completely aware that I could kick her off of my insurance and let her fend for herself but that I didn’t choose to do that to her. The only thing I was talking about in the prior email was using the lower insurance premium for myself because I qualified for that, and giving her what I had calculated to be the new support amount from January forward because of the increase in rates (and the fact that she hadn’t done those calculations yet!). I didn’t even use the lower premium for this year because I knew I no longer qualified.

I figured it might be a little too combative to copy and paste my original email where I broke down what I was paying for insurance for myself vs. one kid vs. two, to show that the mistake was hers, but I did remind her that in my first email after she had asked for that information I did indeed break it down that exact way. I also told her that at this point we seemed to only be in disagreement over what amounts to $56/month.

I also forwarded copies of the insurance premiums once again. You know, for confirmation purposes.

I haven’t heard anything back yet. I’m at the point where I’m ready to contact CF myself and give him the numbers. Of course, he would probably say he needs to hear from my lawyer. Because that’s the kind of asshole he is.

Right now I feel like I’m paying to argue with the person who should have my best interests at heart. I am wondering if I’m even going to be able to recoup costs. How does that work if I approach him myself? If it drags out another month or two it is quite possible that I will have paid God only knows how much to get another $100 or less from the jackass. All of the back support is going to end up going towards legal fees. And I’m not sure if Medicaid is even a valid option anymore, but Jesus Christ on crutches! Let the big whiny baby pay $100 less in child support a month and give me back my fucking $400 each month that I could be bringing home instead of paying out for shitty insurance.

This is how they break you. They promise you the sun, the moon, and the stars and then when the shit starts to hit the fan they say, “Oh, we can’t do that!” You’re left in a daze. “Huh? What? What just happened here?” You just got screwed.

You pay tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees for very little reward. You’re at the mercy of everyone else. You hesitate to bring up things you’ve read about on the Internet (like how they only take into consideration a 25% or more increase in pay when modifying) or email too often even when you’re not getting a response because you know every bit of it is costing you money. And more than likely it will end up costing you more to ask those questions or fight for the things you should receive than you would actually net. You have to constantly smile and be patient and kind because if you finally show you’re at your wit’s end and losing patience your lawyer starts getting testy and accusing you of being hysterical. Or “aggrieved” in my case.

I would love to never pay another legal bill again. I would love to be at Meh but I am constantly being drug down by this asshole. Never cooperative. Can’t pay on a schedule to save his life. I am crossing my fingers that once we have the new support in place I can quickly garnish him and then banish him from my thoughts forever!

I have a feeling this is going to quickly turn into yet another one of those, “Let it go,” situations.

9 thoughts on “When You’re Fighting With Your Lawyer

  1. Here in Canada, child support is still required provided the child (minor or not) is disabled, ill or in school full time and dependent on the parent (living with, using food, power, water, cable etc.).

    I’ve had to fire a lawyer in the past due to non-response, and she billed me for the phone call and all of the voicemails and emails following up due to the non-response to boot. I know it’s a pain having to explain everything again, but have you considered getting a new one? I would not try and work it out with him on your own.

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    1. I wish child support was still required if your adult child was still a fulltime student. Unfortunately most states here don’t order that unless the parties agree. I already had a 2 1/2 year long divorce. By the time a settlement was a real thing CF wouldn’t have agreed to a damn thing he wasn’t legally obligated to do.

      Sadly, this is more complicated than just finding another lawyer. Our divorce was filed in Virginia. Six months after being discovered he moved out of state and ended up losing his new job which then forced me to leave our home behind and also move out of state. So I’m doing this from 600 miles away. Plus, at this point I’m hoping this is the last thing she has to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In my US state, my children’s father was required to pay child support until the day of high school graduation or age 18 whichever came last. I had to get a signed letter from the school noting my child’s graduation date. Not that he paid anything anyway because he decided to quit his paid job and become self-employed to which I could not prove his income. I never could afford to hire a lawyer though. I hear you and the struggles that ensue when dealing with lawyers and co-parenting over money.

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      1. Positive thoughts for you and I hope you get the outcome you are seeking.

        Perhaps I should have mentioned we lived in different states, hence the difficulty in enforcement. Also, him being self-employed meant that his ss# couldn’t be pinged to determine his actual place and wages. He was able to get child support reduced and I found out later he lied about his wages and expense payments. I was so tired of the whole thing, I didn’t care anymore about the money because I had my kids and they were the most important to me.

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  3. Unresponsiveness is the best tool of a lawyer. My fucking lawyer keeps pushing me off on underlings who get fired. Thank Gabriel we live in a small town and he’s on our crab race team and actually shows up occasionally. Then I get to accost him and ask him wtf he’s doing. And if I didn’t have such a stupid crush on him, I’d fire his ass. But at this point….not worth it to find another lawyer. Ugh. I feel your pain. And if you have to forward sent emails and replies to that bitch, do it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t have any advice or quick fixes. I’m just here to listen and say I’m so sorry. That seems really hard. I’m here for you. Maybe go to the gym and punch things for a long time. Because that helps sometimes

    Liked by 2 people

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