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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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  #1  
Old 05-08-2019, 01:29 PM
SearchingForTruth SearchingForTruth is offline
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My stepdaughter is 18 years and 9 months. She walked out of our home 6 years ago and went to live with her mother, as her mother had/has no rules. We've been paying child support but are not paying through FRO as the mother didn't want to wait for them to process the money. We've never missed a payment and pay guideline amount.

The "child" is now in her 5th year of high school. This is not a victory lap issue, it's a failure to launch. She has been taking only 3 to 4 credits per semester but then failing or dropping 1 to 2 credits - or more - each semester.

When she lived with us, she was an A/B student and had near perfect attendance. When she moved in with her mother, she immediately dropped to a C/D student and was going to just over half of her classes. Children's Aid was involved with the mother previously and they told us the mother wasn't pushing the child to go to school.

The mother has only an 8th grade education and one of the child's brothers never finished high school.

Our issue is that apparently since March the child has not been going to high school full time. She was supposed to be graduating in June, but the first week of the semester she dropped a Guitar course and didn't pick up a replacement course - so, at that point she wouldn't be graduating. Then she tells us that after March Break she was supposedly ill for 3 weeks and 2 of her classes dropped her. She says she brought them a doctor's note but they wouldn't let her back in class.

We have no proof of this. We received her mid-term report card and it only shows 1 class - a class she takes at home. She is currently failing that single class with a grade of 45.

Since she is in the middle of a term but not taking anything close to a full 4 credits, or even a court amount of 2.4 (60%) credits, we are now checking with an attorney to make sure we can drop the child support until she returns to a full time schedule.

We expect she will return to full time in September (her 6th year of high school) because her mother will be pushing her to get the child support back. My question is, is there a way we can go to court before the beginning of the new term and ask the court to help us require this to be the last time we pay for this repeat term? We want to incentivize the term, hoping to get her to finish her high school diploma.

A bit of additional information, the child has been working two jobs. One pays $15/hr. At one point in Jan/Feb, she and her boyfriend were actively applying for apartments together, but they broke up.
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Old 05-08-2019, 01:37 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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You would need to file a motion to change. If you have an existing order, there is nothing stopping the mother from filing with FRO for collection.

Kids work is irrelevant. She could be earning money for school.

I would recommend you advise the mother you will be filing a motion to stop child support unless she can demonstrate the child is planning to complete her high school education this year in summer school.

Another poster had this same issue with his son who was taking two courses a year. At 19 with no high school diploma he filed to stop support. Kid managed to complete hs and registered for college. Despite failing his first year, a judge ordered cs to continue without even reviewing the documents.

Bottom line, if you want to stop support, you will need a motion.
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Old 05-08-2019, 02:09 PM
SearchingForTruth SearchingForTruth is offline
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Thanks for your answer.

The mother has already stated the child intends to take the summer off and return to school supposedly in the Fall. (My understanding is summer school only allows 2 credits, where as the child needs 5. So, going to summer school is insufficient to complete her high school education.)

The child is considering going to a trade school or college for hair dressing and make up. She says she applied to 4 colleges last year - and she was apparently turned down by all 4.
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Old 05-08-2019, 02:35 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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Which means that this is what is going to happen...you file to stop support. Mom will file that kid is still in school and a child of the marriage. The judge will give her the year to get her shit together. She will probably finish off the year as mom will harass her about school. Then she applies for college and gets in meaning more cs.

I would say you tell her you want proof kid is enrolled at school for next year and demand a copy of her transcripts in January/February when they are done the first term. If she fails her courses you file to stop cs then and tell mom that you won’t seek out repayment if she agrees to cease at that point. Add a clause that should kid go to college, dad will pay a share of her tuition fees upon proof she completed her term of school.
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Old 05-08-2019, 03:02 PM
SearchingForTruth SearchingForTruth is offline
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There is no chance of ever seeking repayment. Mom wouldn't even pay child support of $100/month when it was ordered.

(Child of the marriage is actually not my husband's child. The courts see him as an adoptive father.)

I do seriously doubt the child will have enough motivation to go to post secondary in the foreseeable future. She doesn't want to be on her own, so she will probably move in with a boyfriend and then jump from low level job to low level job.

Thanks again for your advice.
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Old 05-08-2019, 03:36 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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Then he can file now. The worst the judge can say is no.
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Old 05-08-2019, 09:27 PM
SearchingForTruth SearchingForTruth is offline
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We talked to the lawyer. She said we could stop paying child support as the child is no longer eligible and to contact the mother to see if she would be willing to sign a change order. To our amazement, she said yes!

We figure that she contacted a lawyer this last week, since we told her the child was no longer eligible and was told the same thing. And since they've moved 2 hours away she wouldn't want to come back for court over one more semester of classes.

Oh,the lawyer also told us that if the child went back to school that we should ask for 1) proof that she had begun taking full time classes, 2) monthly proof that she was continuing the classes, amd 3) her 2018 taxes and current paystubs, as the adult child working would lessen our support.
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