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  • Child custody and child support modification

    I am in Florida and had a court hearing date scheduled for today for a child support modification hearing. In that hearing I was going to petition for a child support modification and every other week residency for my daughter. Last week my ex hired a lawyer and I get 2 letters in the mail from the lawyer and the court stating that they have filed a continuance and requested a mediation instead of going to court. I cant afford a lawyer. I am barely making it with the support, student loans and all the expenses I incur when my daughter comes over.

    It must be noted I am currently in arrears due to a financial hardship I had a few years ago. It looks like her lawyer acquired a court order for my income to be garnish for the monthly support and the arrears status since I started seeing it on my last paycheck.

    My questions are the following:

    1. My ex makes 3 times the salary I make, so what are my avenues to get the support modified? I know of people that make more money that me and I pay a greater amount of support than them.

    2. She refuses to let my daughter do the shared live in plan where I would get her every other week claiming that my daughter needs stability. Meanwhile, she has a unknown man living in her house and is around my daughter!

    3. What are some questions I can legally ask her lawyer without her lawyer breaking the confidentiality agreement they have so i can prepare for mediation?

    4. If case she decides to move out of state, can she take her without my written consent?

  • #2
    Re: Child custody and child support modification

    Originally posted by giofnb2 View Post
    I am in Florida and had a court hearing date scheduled for today for a child support modification hearing. In that hearing I was going to petition for a child support modification and every other week residency for my daughter. Last week my ex hired a lawyer and I get 2 letters in the mail from the lawyer and the court stating that they have filed a continuance and requested a mediation instead of going to court. I cant afford a lawyer. I am barely making it with the support, student loans and all the expenses I incur when my daughter comes over.

    It must be noted I am currently in arrears due to a financial hardship I had a few years ago. It looks like her lawyer acquired a court order for my income to be garnish for the monthly support and the arrears status since I started seeing it on my last paycheck.

    My questions are the following:

    1. My ex makes 3 times the salary I make, so what are my avenues to get the support modified? I know of people that make more money that me and I pay a greater amount of support than them.

    2. She refuses to let my daughter do the shared live in plan where I would get her every other week claiming that my daughter needs stability. Meanwhile, she has a unknown man living in her house and is around my daughter!

    3. What are some questions I can legally ask her lawyer without her lawyer breaking the confidentiality agreement they have so i can prepare for mediation?

    4. If case she decides to move out of state, can she take her without my written consent?
    Understand that your wife's attorney is under no obligation to answer your questions. Anything that is covered under attorney-client privilege CAN'T be answered, and anything else won't likely be answered with a response that is in your best interests. This attorney doesn't work for you, and has no interest in helping you at all.

    If the mother has been the residential parent until until now, and stability really is her concern, then there is not much chance of changing the living arrangements. It's not reasonable, nor likely in your child's best interests, to uproot her from her stable routine just so that you can save some money on child support.

    As for the "unknown man" living in the mother's home, unless you know that person to be a danger to your child's health and welfare (i.e., abusive), then you have no say in whether or not he gets to live there. You don't mention what his relationship is to the mother, but if it is a boyfriend, then you might ask the court for a "no paramour" clause to be added to prevent mom from having sleepovers or a live-in boyfriend while the child lives in the home. However, if he has been there for some time already, that probably isn't going to fly.

    As for the modification, has mom been making this much income ever since the child support order was put into place? If her income has significantly increased, then it is possible that your own support payments could be reduced based upon that. However, if her income is the same now as it has been, then don't expect a reduction based upon her income amounts.

    How has your income changed since the support order was issued? You mention student loans, so were you attending school at the time that the order was issued? You may well need to take on more hours at work, or find a higher paying job or a second job to supplement your income to cover the support expenses.

    And if she wants to move the child out of state, she will require your permission or permission from the court to do so, in light of the fact that there is an existing custody order in force.
    "If it ain't in writing, it never happened."
    "A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."
    "You can never make the same mistake twice, because the second time you make it, it's not a mistake, but a CHOICE."

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Child custody and child support modification

      I am going to have to find a lawyer in the future (when i can come up with money) in case the shared residency plan is denied. I have been told numerous times that FL is a shared parenting state.

      I was having a hardship for a little bit. Now things are doing a little bit better. Last month, I got a job working M-F 7-3 and its not to far from my daughter's daycare. BTW, I am planning to move right next door to my daughter's VPK which she will start in August 2013.

      When my child support amount was established, I was unemployed and remained that way for a year and a half, and that's why Im behind.

      Boyfriend has been living there for about 5 months. Yes, her income has increased since now the economy is doing better.

      Would the court calculate the modification on tax returns or current pay stubs? My income has gone up just like hers. She told me she filed her tax returns and the amount was 3 times higher than my income.

      As far as student loans, no there are from a long time ago. I had consolidated about 8 years ago, but because of my hardship, I stopped making payments and now they are garnishing my wages.

      So, for my kind of case, what would be the difference between a mediation and a court hearing? Which one is better and why?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Child custody and child support modification

        Originally posted by giofnb2 View Post
        I am in Florida and had a court hearing date scheduled for today for a child support modification hearing. In that hearing I was going to petition for a child support modification and every other week residency for my daughter. Last week my ex hired a lawyer and I get 2 letters in the mail from the lawyer and the court stating that they have filed a continuance and requested a mediation instead of going to court. I cant afford a lawyer. I am barely making it with the support, student loans and all the expenses I incur when my daughter comes over.

        It must be noted I am currently in arrears due to a financial hardship I had a few years ago. It looks like her lawyer acquired a court order for my income to be garnish for the monthly support and the arrears status since I started seeing it on my last paycheck.

        My questions are the following:

        1. My ex makes 3 times the salary I make, so what are my avenues to get the support modified? I know of people that make more money that me and I pay a greater amount of support than them.

        2. She refuses to let my daughter do the shared live in plan where I would get her every other week claiming that my daughter needs stability. Meanwhile, she has a unknown man living in her house and is around my daughter!

        3. What are some questions I can legally ask her lawyer without her lawyer breaking the confidentiality agreement they have so i can prepare for mediation?

        4. If case she decides to move out of state, can she take her without my written consent?
        Parents share the obligation to support their children according to their means. If your earnings are 1/3 of the mother's, then you should be paying only 1/3 of your child's expenses. You need to move to modify support. The child support tables for the State of Florida are online.

        Depending upon the age of your daughter, one week with you, one week with her mother could be disruptive for a school age child. The mother has a point for think of "backpack left at Dad's," proximity to friends, "homework at Mom's" when she is with you. After school activities. Clothes here, clothes there and every week packing up to move back to the other parent's. Shared residency suits the needs of a parent far more than the child and really are unworkable for the child.

        As to her having someone living with her, you are entitled to know who he is and do a background check. That is one of the questions you are perfectly entitled to ask when you are in mediation or at deposition.

        What questions did you want to ask the lawyer? In court a lawyer is not allowed to testify, so the same would go for mediation. Attorney-client privilege reigns inviolate.

        When visitation is ordered, no, one parent may not take the child out of state without your or the court's express permission. That is something you may request in a modification -- that there be a distance limit for relocating the child. 50 miles? 100 miles? whatever is reasonable for you to continue to have workable access.

        As to preparing for mediation, prepare as you would for court. You may refuse mediation and insist on hearing in court. If mediation is court ordered, you still may refuse to any terms or conditions with which you do not agree -- in which case you will still have an opportunity in court to oppose a mediator's recommendations. Mediator's reports and rulings are not automatically adopted by the court. If a party opposes one or more recommendations of a mediator, as long as one files their objections within the prescribed period of time (often 14 days), then they will get their chance to have a judge review the matter anew.

        When you go to mediation, pose your questions directly to the ex and/or have the mediator pose them to her. The lawyer, however, is an advocate for your ex and his duty is to represent her and her position zealously. He is not to testify as to facts, disclose any of his client's secrets nor other matters connected to the litigation, such as legal theories, work product...you get the idea. So keep your focus on what you need to extract from the ex and pose your questions to her directly.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Child custody and child support modification

          One addition. Shared parenting does not mean shared residency. It means that both parents share in the decisions equally in raising their child. The child may reside 90% of 99% of the time with one parent. But when it comes to education, religious, social, sports activities, medical decisions -- these ideally should be made jointly -- as they would if both parents still were in intact unit.

          You may find a sample parenting plan online for the State of Florida as a guide.

          You may try Legal Services to see if you qualify for representation. Before agreeing to any changes and really to file a petition for modification, you would best be represented by an attorney. Should you go to mediation, the attorney would appear for you to protect your interests.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Friend In Court View Post
            One addition. Shared parenting does not mean shared residency. It means that both parents share in the decisions equally in raising their child. The child may reside 90% of 99% of the time with one parent. But when it comes to education, religious, social, sports activities, medical decisions -- these ideally should be made jointly -- as they would if both parents still were in intact unit.

            You may find a sample parenting plan online for the State of Florida as a guide.

            You may try Legal Services to see if you qualify for representation. Before agreeing to any changes and really to file a petition for modification, you would best be represented by an attorney. Should you go to mediation, the attorney would appear for you to protect your interests.
            Friend in court, thank you, that was very good information. 1 addition, i will move right next to her school and the mother lives about 20 miles away. In other words, she wanted to have our daughter close to her work and im going to move to the same area since i work around there myself.

            Comment

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