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  • Settlement Conference Update

    This forum and the information provided by it’s members has been really helpful for me over the past 6 months. I figured I would post a bit of an update on my case to help anyone else in the same predicament. Helpful suggestions/comments are appreciated as always

    First Settlement Conference is next week. I am the Applicant and self repping. The Respondent finally retained a lawyer recently and it has actually made things much easier. My ex is very unreasonable and difficult to deal with- his lawyer seems to have her head on straight.

    I sent my offer to Settle a while back- it included increased access for my ex and a reasonable imputed income for CS purposes based off of what I know he is actually making/what he has shown to make in years past. It also included complete forgiveness of arrears for the past 2 years of no payments, because I just want to settle and move on with our lives. He has claimed to be unemployed for a year now, with no supporting documentation.

    His lawyer sent me the brief and offer to Settle in one shot. Offer to Settle kept Access at status quo, which is funny because his response to my initial application was for 50/50. I was actually really hoping he would accept my offer of increased access because our child really would benefit from more than EOW with him. His lawyer most likely convinced him that after 4 years of uncontested primary with me that a claim for 50/50 with us living in different towns/school zones wouldn’t get far. So I believe his thinking is that if he can’t get rid of CS with 50/50, then there is no point taking on more responsibility than the EOW. Their conference brief declined to accept my offer

    So now it appears we have settled all major items except CS/arrears (my offer to forgive arrears was only conditional upon him accepting an imputed income, which he is refusing to do) Lawyer mentioned in brief that ex is unemployed for health reasons and will provide Dr note at settlement conference. Funny, because “health” has not been a reason for his claims of unemployment through this whole process. I’d be interested in seeing a doctor’s note that back dates itself for 2 years of health issues as well.

    I am assuming at our conference his lawyer will ask for an adjournment for more time to come up with this magical all-encompassing Dr’s note. I asked for a disclosure and costs order in my brief because this, along with other documents I’ve requested, should have been provided ages ago. If we can’t agree on anything next week, I believe my next step would be requesting a motion date to have income imputed from the judge? Provided the judge gives a disclosure order?

  • #2
    You may want to review Drygala v. Pauli. That was the case the judge referenced for my partners motion when his ex was trying to claim he was underemployed. D v P is pretty clear on why an income was imputed.

    Depending on your ex’s field of work, education and experience and medical reason, he may still be able to earn money. Is he eligible to retrain? Is he the kind of person who works for cash? Does he have the ability to work at a minimum wage job. Think about all these things and then determine what questions you may want to ask. Mostly though you should be demanding information on his treatment and other work. He can’t simply say he cannot work. How is he going to pay HIS living expenses?

    Just some food for thought!


    • #3
      Originally posted by Selfrepmom View Post
      If we can’t agree on anything next week, I believe my next step would be requesting a motion date to have income imputed from the judge? Provided the judge gives a disclosure order?
      You can already bring a motion anytime but if you're looking to impute income, you will most likely need a trial. Your next step should be to schedule a trial management conference, where you'll also submit trial scheduling enforcement forms, opening statements, and another offer to settle.


      • #4
        Thanks for the case law rockscan. I am already familiar and have read up on Drygala v Pauli. In my case it isn’t really a matter of if he can do other things for work etc. It is a matter of he stopped paying CS almost 2 years ago for no real reason (never claimed he wasn’t working/health issues etc) the only thing he mentioned was “you get enough money from the government”

        6 months later I filed for joint custody with primary residence (already been the status quo for 2.5 years at that point) and base CS

        At our first appearance (which was adjourned 3x because he wouldnÂ’t file a response/income tax info) he claimed that he was laid off a week beforehand (but had no supporting documentation ie an roe) All that he had filed was the previous 3 years of income tax- all 3 of which show full time employment

        Judge set a case conference. At our case conference he never brought any documentation to support his continued claim of unemployment. He consented to paying a very minimal amount (less than minimum wage would call for) and said that he had just recently started his own business. Judge set a settlement conference date and said we would review CS then as it would give him time to get his business up and running

        Between the case conference and now I have become aware of and have proof (100% solid, can be used in trial proof) of his multiple sources of revenue since his first claim of unemployment.

        My hope is that through this disclosure order it will be seen that he has no credibility and a judge will nip his crap in the bud and we avoid trial (wishful thinking? Lol)


        • #5
          Good luck. It sounds like you have things handled (as much as you ever can)...

          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


          • #6
            Gah I hope so. Just getting to the courthouse now


            • #7
              Good luck!! Full us in when you can!

              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


              • #8
                Well the first SC is now under my belt. It basically went as I expected- we signed our final order for custody and access (joint with me as primary, him EOW). I made a final offer to his lawyer that I would be open to working in extra time for him into the agreement, but she made it clear that he was only interested in EOW (while also saying that she could clearly see I had our child’s best interests at heart but he just won’t take extra time). So that’s what the final order for that says. I feel a bit let down on that, because I know our daughter really wants more time with him.... Just unfortunate because his bitterness is now affecting his relationship with her. I also got my disclosure order for some very specific information on the ex’s employment that he has been delaying on(and in some cases even full on lying that such employment actually existed)

                Some interesting points to note:

                - Our SC judge was the same as our CC judge. He is a “focus on one thing” sort of guy, and basically the rest of the information is overlooked. At our Case Conference his sole focus was on access and being on my side in telling the Respondent to be more consistent with his access. No mention of financials. Today it was on the ex’s disclosure of a criminal compensation order he received last year. Judge was not really interested in the fact that the ex has been full on lying since our first court date about employment.

                - Ex has been given 30 days to disclose my requested list of documents

                -I asked the judge if we could schedule a motion for support. He was not interested in this

                -I asked the judge to consider costs as the resp has acted in bad faith by lying about employment and failing to provide proper disclosure after multiple requests. . He looked at me like I had 3 heads and said “What are YOUR costs??” Basically implying I have no costs because I am self repping. I indicated that I had a detailed schedule of time spent preparing for this conference etc and he said “I don’t award costs at SC’s” and wrote “no costs” on the endorsement. The end.

                - On the endorsement the judge wrote that I may bring a motion for CS after June 15, but only once I have provided ex with all of child’s documentation so he can apply for child’s passport in order to take her on an all inclusive Caribbean vacay in October (which I already gave my ex consent for and said in writing I would provide documentation by end of month) Is it just me or is it wrong that a judge has made a basic child support order conditional upon the other parent having a passport lined up for an expensive vacation BEFORE they’re even paying proper child support?!? I mean it’s not going to be an issue getting him this documentation, so this is just another lengthy and unnecessary delay

                - I have realized this is a marathon, not a sprint. I know I will “win” my marathon, but I am being forced to walk. No running allowed. Not even a light jog. Sigh, such is family court I suppose.


                • #9
                  Will there be another conference?

                  Your daughter will see the attitude and adjust her approach as she grows older. Keep reminding her that this is her father and only her father and has nothing to do with who she is or what kind of person she is. It is truly devastating to a child to know their parent does not want to see them or be a part of their life. It took a long time for me to understand that as an adult after being told at 13 my father didn’t want us. We survived though and are wonderful people. Sadly he is realizing now in his 80s that his choices had consequences. Your ex will see this in the future and he will have no one to blame but himself!!


                  • #10
                    Did they provide this doctors note too?


                    • #11
                      Nope no doctors note. Judge included it in the 30 day disclosure order. No further dates set either. I made it pretty clear that I plan on bringing a motion though

                      He asked the ex what the “health issues” are. Ex told the judge that he has sleep apnea (spelling?) and his doctor has placed restrictions on his license to say he’s not allowed on 400 series highways. Judge gave him a HUGE side eye on that one (the closest 400 highway is almost an hour away from our city and would have no effect on him working in our city). He then asked ex if he had bothered to at least provide me with his license and restrictions. Ex said he has nothing in writing to prove this and no changes have been made to his physical license card (cue another HUGE side eye from the judge). So I can see how that one is going to play out.


                      • #12
                        And a CPAP machine makes sleep apnea not an issue

                        Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mom 2 Two View Post
                          And a CPAP machine makes sleep apnea not an issue

                          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                          I know... he actually said to the judge “I have a cpap machine for it and my doctor says things are going back to normal”

                          Why the HELL am I not getting costs lol

                          Also, fun fact: my phone autocorrects cpap machine to “crap machine”......


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