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My Case Conference

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  • My Case Conference

    Had my first case conference yesterday, and thought I'd update you all.

    I spent most of the time sitting outside the courtroom while the lawyers haggled over support issues and spoke to the judge. My son's bio dad didn't show up, but sent his lawyer to try and settle quickly. The ex was there, but because she was with a friend, she was pretending that we don't talk and didn't even say hello.

    After about an hour, we were called in and the judge basically gave us his opinion of how things would go if we went to court. He said that I would probably have to pay 1/3 of the support costs for my son, with the bio dad kicking in 2/3. Of course, none of us were 100% clear on what figure these were thirds of (my table amount? his table amount?), but that's something we'll work out in negotiation. He said I'd probably get dinged for the lower end of the spousal support range and probably only for 2 years, with a re-assessment of need after that. Basically, it's to allow her to go to school .. not that she will or anything, but that's the plan.

    The amount for spousal is really the x-factor. I am currently living with my parents to try and pay down my debts so that I can afford to move closer to my kids and still be able to pay support and .. you know ... EAT. Based on those numbers though, the spousal comes in rather high - like $600-$700 month. Of course, if I have to pay that much in spousal, then I can't pay it on debt - which is the only reason I haven't moved. If I can't pay my debts, then I might as well move - and once we add rent and bills and so forth to my expenses, here spousal will be basically nothing. In the end, I may be forced to move before I can really afford to in order to save myself from being trapped at home for the next 2 years.

    Confusing, I know.

    I was disappointed that we didn't discuss custody at all. I think the logic was that it was going to be a much more complicated fight, so let's try and settle what we can now and then tackle that beast later. That's obviously my largest concern, so I'm hopeful that our discussions on the finances might put a foot in the door to negotiation something re: custody.

    I know a lot of people here are big on self-representation, but I was SO thankful that I had my lawyer. I didn't want to be the guy who shows up to a gunfight carrying a knife.

  • #2
    Glad to hear that the case conference wasn't too bad. I'm surprised they discussed the financials of child support before determining custody. You had mentioned previously that the ex had made false allegations of abuse; were those discussed at all?

    I find the standard clause in the agreement re: becoming self sufficient (ie. search for full-time employment or take classes) isn't given much weight by judges (my experience). I would try to be as explicit as the court allows here - ie. see if you can get periodic updates on her job search or her courseload.

    My 2 cents.


    • #3
      Yeah there wasn't a peep about custody or her false allegations. I don't know if the judge even read them in the case briefs. That should be a barrel of laughs once it hits the fan. Ugh.

      I agree that I want some specific benchmarks re: spousal support before I agree to anything in negotiation. Her pattern has been to go to school and then crap out at about 3 months due to non-payment of fees and/or spotty attendance. Ditto her job and volunteer work. I just don't want to pay her spousal for 2 years only to have her get in front of a judge and spin her usual BS about how she wasn't able to complete her studies because... I dunno... a METEOR hit the school or the city was plagued by zombies or something. If allowed to, she will happily continue to live off my dime ad infinitum, and so I want to hinder those efforts.

      If she REALLY wants to get herself together and better herself than it will only help my kids long-term and so that would be great - I just want some assurances that if she squanders the opportunity, I don't have to pay for another.


      • #4
        If you agree to pay the spousal as a result of the recomendation, be sure to have terms included that would signify an end and put closure on the issue even if a material change were to ocurr.

        It is no surprise that custody was not discussed or even advanced by the other side most likely to build on the status quo.

        The court should of endorsed the record that the matter should proceed by motion or furher conference.



        • #5
          Too bad there isn't a way to have the ss tied to her schooling. If she fails or quits or gets kicked out then the ss stops. I am not sure about the law regarding that.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Fair4All
            I find the standard clause in the agreement re: becoming self sufficient (ie. search for full-time employment or take classes) isn't given much weight by judges (my experience). I would try to be as explicit as the court allows here - ie. see if you can get periodic updates on her job search or her courseload.

            I agree with LV in that the agreement "SHOULD" include all the terms. And that it clearly defines where and how she is entitled to SS and when and how it would be terminated should she not attempt to take advantage of the period provided.

            In regard to Fair4All, we had this Claus included in an order. Dad was to provide copies/lists of "all" efforts at employment. Including documentation of job applications and interviews. Basically a history on his attempts at employment to include details on when/if he attended local job banks, (time duration, what kind of material/aid utilized), how often he sent applications, what kind of applications he sent (IE: so that it was clear he wasn't applying for surgical positions if he was a welder, that kind of thing). I would seek to have these terms included so that it can clearly be shown she either tried or failed to become employed or advance her education during her job search. College students do this all the time, there is no reason she cannot be seeking employment or maintaining employment if she decides to further her education. Even if she has kids it is possible to have a part time job and go to school and still be a mom, I did it. I went back to University to get my degree, worked part time and took care of two children without SS or CS. So I’m sure she can do it too.


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