Happy Independence Day! I think I may almost be free of Jerry Lee’s stupidity. Here’s an update for anyone interested.
I did write my lawyer back and informed her that Picasso had not graduated from high school yet. I asked, “Doesn’t he have to pay until Picasso graduates from high school?” Yes. He’s going to have to wait to prorate child support down to the half hour until next June.
She wrote me back and let me know, to no surprise of my own, that what his lawyer was offering up was something that would happen anyway. In Virginia if your child has been emancipated and you still owe arrears you continue to pay those arrears in the form of your previously ordered child support. So whether he offered to do so or not, he would be ordered to continue paying child support until the arrears were paid off.
She told me that if we went to court he would probably be ordered to pay at least 25% towards his arrears in order to stay out of contempt. Why that would be acceptable is beyond me. He was given a year to pay the attorney’s fees; he was reminded at the one year point and his response was, “I don’t have it.” That was it. No, “Can we work together to come up with a plan?”. No offer to pay extra to meet that obligation. Certainly didn’t think to pay me a chunk from a bonus if he got one, a tax refund, or a stimulus check. Now it’s going on two years since it was due and the courts will only require him to pay 25%? Hard to believe, but that’s the information I’m being given.
With that in mind my attorney suggested we work towards getting a lump sum paid towards spousal support and then tacking on an additional $500 to his current obligation. Plus, he will continue paying child support and the extra $500 until he has caught up. By my calculations even if he begins paying the extra $500 in August it will still take him over two years to pay his arrears.
I let her know my problem with this is that Jerry Lee doesn’t follow court orders very well. I think that’s being generous. I told her I would prefer to see what he’s actually making and if there are any bonuses. I wanted to know if it could be written that he would turn over any bonuses and tax refunds to get his arrears paid off more quickly. I really do not like the idea of him having more than two years to play games with me.
Yes, the extra money would be nice but it’s not really extra money. That $25,000 was supposed to go towards paying off my remaining bills and going into a savings account to go towards taxes and possibly a house of my own. The $10,000+ he owes in spousal support will need to be set aside as well for taxes. And the child support? Well, that is extra money. It’s money I can use to help Rock Star while she’s in college. It’s money I can use to help Picasso buy a car once he gets his license. It’s money for Christmas gifts. It’s money for savings. It just seems to be easier when you collect it in one lump sum to put it away and do with it what you should. Getting an extra $500 a month requires discipline. Not that I don’t have it, of course. But, it’s also a matter of things taking longer as well.
Anyway, this is the best part. My attorney let his attorney know that Picasso was still in high school so his client would still be paying child support for him. At this news the opposing counsel asked if it would still be possible to work out a deal and have his client continue paying support after his obligation would have ended. He asked about his client coming up with either a lump sum or a little extra each month for the next year and then putting the plan into place. So my attorney writes back and lets him know that currently his client owes me in excess of $50,000 and that’s BEFORE attorney’s fees related to this latest show-cause hearing. She even put before in capital letters. She gave him a proposal and told him that she did not think the judge was going to be happy with Jerry Lee seeing as how not only has he made no attempts to pay the original $25,000 he was ordered to pay, but also he has accrued more arrears.
For those keeping count, this would be the THIRD time he’s behind in support. He’s a goddamn West Point military graduate. They pound honor and duty into their heads the entire four years they’re there. Yet he regularly puts his cousin and her children, also his cousins, ahead of his own children and neglects to pay his support obligations in a timely manner.
She went on to tell him she thought that a negotiated settlement would be much better for him than facing the judge. As Bill Murray said in “Stripes”, “That’s a fact, Jack!”
Finally, she mentioned Jerry Lee potentially paying off larger chunks of his obligation with any bonuses he may receive, and suggested we exchange income information so that we can finally modify child support. Of course, Jerry Lee will be paying for this because he’s paying the legal fees for this latest go-round.
We’ll see if he takes the offer. Really I think I should have hit him harder but my lawyer jumped the gun a bit. I should have gone ahead and told her my proposal was that he pay the $25,000 in a lump sum. I would allow him to pay the back child support in regular payments after Picasso graduates. As for the spousal support he could either pay me in one lump sum, or he could pay me in payments with the caveat that if he chooses the payment plan, he will take the hit on the taxes, not me.
That would have been a much better plan, although I don’t know if he has $25,000 sitting around. Probably not because Harley likes to spend it as soon as he makes it. I try to be prudent instead of vengeful. I could demand the full payment but if even the courts wouldn’t make him pay it all in one lump sum I don’t know what good it would do. I’m just trying to get this done with the least amount of anxiety and money as possible. Of course, I’ll also be asking about some sort of clause we can put in there that says if he defaults on this for any reason something horrible happens to him- whether that’s we automatically go back to court and there will be no settlement talks, he goes to jail, or he faces an automatic fine. I’m tired of him playing these games and deciding on his own that he’s going to switch up the rules. Hopefully this puts an end to it.