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Old 12-03-2021, 01:07 AM
SuperMom SuperMom is offline
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Default When Child Financial Contributes / Termination of Support / Willful Underemployment

Hi! I have a settlement conference next week regarding child support for a 18 year old who is in college, first year + lives at home. There are a few financial matters for us to discuss and since i'm self-represented, I'm hoping others have experiences in any of these matters...

Father has called us to court to request the following:
- Child support to be reduced if/when our son earns more than $20,000 per year, noting in the brief that our son should then contribute towards his household costs
- When child support will be terminated, which includes if our son changes programs, if his average drops below 50%, if his course load changes to part time, etc.

Before the end of 2019, father was earning approx. $75k per year but his company shut down and then when the pandemic hit, it was difficult for him to find work so he started self-employment (in his sector). Since then, for the last 2 years (2020 and 2021), his annual salary average is now $35,000. Support has dropped from $600 to $300 p/m.

My thoughts are...
- Our son works 2 part time jobs in retail; his earnings will be approx $23k this year but it is precarious and what he earned this year may differ next; how would we even determine how much child support to "reduce"?
- If our son is being made to contribute towards my household expenses, should he not be part of the process in making this decision somehow? I'm just not sure how such a claim can be made without his knowledge.
- Currently, our son already pays towards his expenses; 1/3 of his college expenses, including books, 100% of his cell phone which was once shared 50/50 with dad before, all his outings with friends (not too many unfortunately because of covid)
- Our son is also saving 50% of his earnings towards a car, insurance and his overall future; insurance will cost him $300-$400 per month + it will help him continue to attend school (next year when it is in person), drive to work, etc
- Our son was diagnosed with ADHD a few years ago and had an IEP in high school SO he may decide to change programs, his average may drop one term, he may need to take on part time (I hope not but maybe)
- Our son is struggling to balance it all right now and may need to revisit his therapist because it is evident (to him!) how overwhelming scheduling and planning + some added pressure from work


In regards to father's earnings, I also suspect some kind of willful underemployment...
- He has a contact for decent work with a union that he strongly encouraged our son to take but our son chose to pursue college. An entry level position starts at $60,000 per year (and father has shared all these details with me via email). Could he not take this job on until he finds something more in line with this chosen field?
- Job search websites shows numerous posts for his chosen field with salary starting at $65,000 and up; he has a university degree and 10+ years experience in his sector
- His partner is on the sunshine list so I don't believe they are struggling financially but that is an assumption on my part too
- When I was on mat leave, my reduced earnings was a source of frustration for the father, where he attempted to use another year of my earnings to calculate our section 7 expenses saying I chose "to take time off to bear a child"

I don't really know if the father is intentionally earning less but I do think he is not considering options available to him to earn as he was before and that is also suits him just fine considering our share of the post-secondary expenses are being split proportionately. I have requested that we equally share this expense instead. Is that reasonable?

I'm really curious about other's experience with this same or similar matter on what I just shared. Please let me know!
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