To Maura, it seemed like her ex-husband tried to lower his child support payments whenever the weather changed; and when he did pay, he was usually late. Maura divorced Carl two years ago but just received his fourth Complaint for Modification since the divorce.
Maura was unhappy with her original divorce lawyer because she rarely called Maura back so she came in to see us about the recent child support modification. She represented herself at the first three child support hearings with poor results. Carl was a self-employed consultant with conveniently decreasing income. Maura suspected that Carl was up to something, but she wasn’t experienced in interpreting the court financial statement he completed and she didn’t know she could request other documentation.
From Carl, we obtained three years of tax returns, business financial reports, and other financial records including credit card statements. After some analysis, we found that Carl’s income increased since the divorce, but he was claiming personal items as business expenses and taking other steps in an attempt to report less income. We also showed the court how almost all of the child-related expenses landed on Maura since Carl was doing little parenting. We reminded Maura that Carl owed her half of the kid’s unreimbursed medical expenses and their daughter’s softball league fees. We filed a contempt on Maura’s behalf for the expenses Carl refused to pay.
This information was presented to the Judge at the modification and contempt hearing. About one week later, we received good news for Maura. The Judge increased her child support and ordered Carl to pay his half of the medical and extracurricular expenses within fourteen days. The court even ordered Carl to pay a portion of Maura’s legal fees. Maura thinks that Carl will be less inclined to keep bringing her back to court to lower her child support.
Having the child support paid consistently has brought more stability for Maura and her children. She doesn’t have to worry as much about paying the kid’s medical expenses and their extracurricular activities now that both parents are contributing, and the kids are happier since they have been able to continue with their activities.