Juicy, Juicy!

Long story short I was trying to find an image of a state issued child support check. Google must love me because eventually it turned up “support modification when one child emancipates”. I curiously googled Virginia laws because they’re all different. This is what I found: If you have multiple children and have a child support order, you will need to modify your child support order for each child as he/she reaches the age of 18.

Well that sounds promising, doesn’t it?

The site goes on to say: Child support in Virginia is calculated… by the Court in a lump sum for all children…

Once your child has reached this landmark, it is up to you to ask the Court for a modification… The Court will not, on its own, reduce the amount of support. Nor, can you reduce the amount of support without an Order of the Court. If you do reduce your support, without a Court Order, the Court can hold you in contempt for not complying with a Court Order…

…if you have two children and one turns 18 and has graduated from  high school, your support will not be reduced by half.

Now that is interesting, isn’t it? It sounds a whole lot like what I’ve been saying and what CF has repeatedly ignored.

But wait! There’s more. According to this particular site, which is maintained by a lawyer in the DC area: So, if you have a child approaching age 18 and graduation from high school, what should you do? It takes several months to get a support hearing added to the Court’s docket, so start thinking and planning ahead… Talk to your lawyer ahead of time so that a Petition for Modification of Child Support can be filed immediately once the change occurs.

The reason for filing immediately is that in Virginia child support cannot be changed retroactively. Which means that if your child turns 18 in May and graduates from high school in June, child support does not automatically change in June. If you don’t file for the modification of support until September, then the Court can only order the change in support retroactive to September, the date of filing, not the date the change occurred. The amount you paid in June, July, and August is gone, can’t do anything about it…

What’s that you say? Child support can’t be changed retroactively? Oh my! He hasn’t filed for a modification and she graduated in June of 2018. That’s one, two, three, four… oh gosh, fourteen months he’s let go by. Is it just me or does it sound like he owes me over $12k in back support?

Here’s where it gets even more fun: Do not reduce your payments until the Court states you can reduce payments. If you do, you are in violation of a Court Order and can be held in contempt… The Court will hold you liable to the amount the Court ordered in its last Order until a new Court Order is signed by the Judge.

I did appreciate this little tidbit of advice: If you are the person receiving support, do not agree to any reduction in modification of child support due to a child reaching maturity until you consult with an attorney… wait until the person paying support files with the Court for a Modification of Support. The amount ordered by the Court is what the payer has to pay until a new child support Order is entered.

Wait one minute! Is this website saying that CF actually owes me $1800/month for child support, and not the $900 he’s been paying? Are they also saying that it was actually his responsibility to get the court order modified?

And the grand finale: If the support payer has unilaterally decided to pay you less due to one child reaching maturity, and no new child support Order has been entered, you have the right to file for a Rule to Show Cause against the payer in Court. This is where the payer must come to Court and explain why he/she has reduced child support payments. The Court will not accept the payer’s argument that one child reached maturity, and therefore, the payer decided to pay less.

This is the cherry on top: …by taking the payer to Court on a Show Cause, you will not change the amount of support owed to you. That can only be done by a Petition for Modification.

Oh, sweet baby Jesus! If this is true he is going to lose his mind. I get to take him to court for contempt and he still doesn’t get to change the amount paid to me?

Okay, okay! I know this sounds like great news, but is it? It doesn’t do me a whole lot of good to be awarded that amount if I don’t actually ever receive that amount. Kind of like the legal fees he was supposed to reimburse me. I’m doing great on paper. It’s reality that kinda sucks.

Let’s not forget how excited I was after I talked to someone in the Child Support Enforcement agency here in Indiana. I really thought he was finally going to get nailed to the wall. What happened though? In the end I’m told a judge in Kentucky will make all the decisions and I’ll probably end up with less than he was voluntarily paying.

Am I greedy attempting to go for all the back support at the full amount? At one point (when I was feeling pretty beaten down) I would have settled for receiving the correct amount of child support, half of my legal fees, and the back support owed from the new amount.

Now I kind of think he should have to pay an asshole tax.

Here’s where I keep ping ponging back and forth. My options are 1. Take him back to court and seek another show cause hearing because he self-modified child support and never modified it legally. 2. Offer him a deal. I’ll use my current earnings at each step (meaning there will be three or four different calculations due to different premiums and small raises). He uses the $170,000 he was imputed at. He continues to give me credit for both kids on the insurance premiums. He pays all of my legal bills because this was his modification to get, not mine. He agrees to split college and medical expenses for Rock Star 50/50. 3. I eat shit and get this over with quickly. I give him the new figures using my income at each step, only take into consideration Picasso when it comes to the insurance premiums, and I ask for only 50% of my legal bills.

Option #3 sucks for me. It might be the fastest, most efficient way to end this, but it gives him all the power and control. It’s basically telling him, “Yes, you fucked with me and got away with it. You self-modified child support and not a damn thing happened to you because you are so spectacular!”

Honestly? I hate option #3. In the end it gives me a few extra dollars a month (or about $180) and possibly cuts my legal bills in half, but I wouldn’t have to go back to court.

Option #2 wouldn’t give me the satisfaction of seeing the look on his face when the judge orders him to pay over $12,000 in back support, but I think it would give me basically what I wanted originally.

I realize Virginia doesn’t care about Rock Star but her father should. Yes, I would be turning the screws a bit to get what I want, but I think expecting him to help her out with college expenses and to continue to help with her medical expenses is more than fair considering he could potentially be looking at more than $12,000 in child support arrears. With a judgement like that, plus the interest, he could be paying child support until both kids had graduated college. And, for me, the fact that I’m using my current earnings, up to and including every 25 cent raise, would be somewhat easier to take knowing he doesn’t get out of giving me credit for the insurance premiums I’m still paying for his daughter.

Getting my legal fees paid for would also be a nice cherry on top.

If I were assured the judge would rule my way and I would actually get my money Option #1 would be the most satisfying. I told you, you asshole, that you needed to get that modified and you ignored me. You even went so far as to tell me you wouldn’t pay me an extra dime until my lawyer gave you the new figures and you insulted me by calling this modification revisionist history. Now you owe me twelve grand. Enjoy paying child support long after Picasso graduates.

I always return to the fact that I never win when I try to skirt the rules. I’m sure if I went into court, my chest puffed out and ready for the judge to sock it to him, I would be told that child support was being modified back to June of 2018, regardless of what that website says. It never pays for me to get cocky. By all accounts he should be in contempt. He should have taken care of this himself. Yet, I don’t dare get overconfident that it will all fall my way.

The other thing I need to consider is whether or not he’s actually working. Taking a man with no job to court could be a very stupid thing to do. I believe he has a new job but I don’t know for certain. I find it very hard to believe he would pay me much in spousal support at all if he wasn’t working. I also don’t believe he would have sent either of his kids money for their birthday either. I definitely don’t believe Harley would have given him the money to do so.

Then again, the judge may not care. He might tell him, just as he did the first time, that if he were willing to move he could make more money. If he chooses to remain in Kentucky then if he needs to work a second job to make ends meet or meet his court ordered obligations, so be it.

I don’t know why I struggle with this. It’s not like he has ever once attempted to go above and beyond. He knows damn well he owes more in child support and yet he has made no move to get it modified. He’s perfectly content to sit on his ass and let me pay all the legal bills to get it modified- all while saying with a straight face, “Her business affairs are none of my concern. I did not tell her to hire a lawyer and I have no control over how long it takes you to do your work.”

I have no doubt that until I push the issue he will continue to act like what he’s paying is all he can muster up. He would continue paying his self-modified spousal support along with his self-modified child support as long as I let him. You think he’s planning on getting caught up? I don’t.

My fear is that no matter what I do I’m going to end up in court anyway. He’s not going to pay that $25,000 for legal fees until I force the issue. He’s not going to pay his spousal support arrears until I force the issue. He probably won’t pay child support arrears, even at the lower amount, until I force the issue. Hell, it’s entirely possible that even if he agrees with my offer that I would have to take him to court to force the issue.

What to do? What to do? Again, I don’t want to come across as greedy. Like I deliberately set him up. I don’t want it to appear as though I assured him I would get the lawyer and have her get all the information over to him. I know; I know. Had he done what he was supposed to this wouldn’t even be an issue, would it? He was the one court ordered to pay me; it was always his responsibility to get it modified. He chose instead to stomp his feet and tell me if I wanted it I needed to come get it. And deal with the ensuing legal bills as well. He’d just sit back and let me do all the work once again.

I suppose I also worry that somehow not giving him the opportunity to come to an agreement will reflect badly upon me.

The mobster thinks I need to talk to someone in Virginia in their Child Support Enforcement agency. He called Kentucky for me and the person at their Child Support Enforcement office told him he should talk to Virginia. I’m afraid I’ll get the same runaround as I did in Indiana. One person will tell me one thing. Another person will tell me another. Then the last person to tell me anything will tell me they can’t give me any legal advice because they’re not lawyers.

I’m torn between believing I need to talk to a lawyer in Kentucky, my lawyer in Virginia, or someone from the Support Enforcement agency in Virginia. And maybe Kentucky as well. It’s never easy, is it?

I need to make a decision soon. Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts and reasoning. I would love to hear any and all ideas. Some days I think I’m leaning towards offering him a deal, fully believing he’ll spit in my face even after I point out he’s screwed. I’m betting he won’t believe it. Other days I figure, “Hell, why involve the middle man? Take his ass to court and let the chips fall where they may.”

Bottom line is this: I worry about court. I’ve had it happen where I was told support would only be modified back to the date he actually requested it, only to have it be modified all the way back to June, when he first lost his job. The judge didn’t change child support, but he knocked $3000 a month off of my spousal support.

I worry that we’ll go back and CF will try to get spousal support lowered due to me continuing to live with my mom. Or he’ll try to bring up some crazy reason that he shouldn’t have to pay spousal support period.

I worry that we’ll go back and child support will be modified back to June 2018 and he won’t have to pay my legal fees either. I make $14/hour. My lawyer charges $300/hour. You do the math. I’ll be working a lot to pay for that court hearing. Regardless, I’ll have to pay her and he would be ordered to reimburse me. We’ve all seen how wonderfully that has played out.

I have a daughter who is going to end up with around $50,000 in student loans. She has cost me over $700 in medical bills so far this year and she is probably going to need to get her wisdom teeth taken out before too long. I also need to add renter’s insurance to my policy this year, thanks to her moving into an apartment complex. I could use some help.

Sorry for the rambling nature of this post. If it’s any consolation I’ve talked myself out of Option #3 while writing this. That narrows it down to “Let’s Make a Deal!” versus “Go Directly To Court!” Thoughts? Opinions? Words of wisdom?

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5 thoughts on “Juicy, Juicy!

  1. I’m not offering legal advice, but I will say 2 things:
    1. If one of my clients had a question like this I’d better be able to answer it with “You can do x or y, but I suggest you do x because… .” That’s my job as a lawyer. It’s your lawyer’s job too.

    Which leads to my second point:
    2. You very often sound like your lawyer may not be a good fit for you. Your calls or emails should be returned within 24 hours. She should be guiding you through this process. Even if you task her with limited things due to budget constraints, she should be able to tell you if you’re leaving money on the table. That’s part of the expertise you’re paying for in that hourly rate.

    Just my two cents. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. That’s what I keep coming back to. How is that she isn’t aware that he needs to modify the court order? She was quite eager to draw up a modification a few months prior to my daughter’s graduation. My thinking at that time was, “This is his responsibility. Why am I paying for it?” Why wouldn’t she inform me that until he modifies it he is under the order of the first judgement? I would think that would be something you would mention. I would think it would be something you would mention when CF comes back swinging. “Hey, douche, take as long as you need. As long as we have no new order my client will be seeking full restitution from you going all the way back until June.” But no! She’s going to calculate it all the way to June using the new information. When I ask about using the lower amount of premiums for myself instead of saying, “Sure, we can try that because you’re already giving him a hell of a deal by not holding him to that original order,” she tells me it doesn’t work that way. So I don’t know if she’s just driving up billable hours or what.

      I actually left my first lawyer and went with her about 6 months into this whole ordeal. She has over 20 years of experience, she was rated a super lawyer by her peers, and in the beginning was very prompt. I don’t know if she’s just tired of my case, or she thinks I’m not good for paying her bill. I paid in $3000 retainers until right before the divorce. She got paid her final payment once CF finally paid me my back support. I was current up until his latest stunt and now have been paying as much as I can with the reduced money I’m receiving.

      She did say, upon looking at the decree, that she thought we were in a good position to go after the full amount. Actually, I think what she said was something along the lines of, “We did good.” This was way back in late January when I went to grab my files. I’m not sure what she saw but I did take a look and it states when he is to begin paying his (original) monthly child support and concludes with, “continuing on the 1st day of each month thereafter pending further order of this Court or a court of competent jurisdiction.” I’m assuming that’s the part she saw and was talking about.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If you weren’t paying her, then the sloth-like response times would be understandable. But you are paying what you can and unless she has told you those arrangements don’t work for her, she should be handling your matter just as professionally as she handles every other client. Emails and calls are all billable, so maybe she thinks she’s helping to keep costs down, but I’m more troubled that you have these really fundamental questions about your case that she isn’t helping you with, proactively or otherwise.
        ❤️

        Like

    1. Only if he actually owns a home, and only if I go through some state sanctioned enforcement agency. I dropped my case with Indiana when it was apparent they were going to hand everything over to a Kentucky judge. I still have time to re-open it and am not opposed to going through Mississippi.

      Like

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