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

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Old 08-07-2014, 07:15 PM
Duped Duped is offline
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Question Need advice - > 5 year old CS order update

Need advice on updating 5 year old custody and CS order.


Ex and I do not get along.
Custody battle took 3 years, and a lot of money in legal fees for both of us.
Court order was signed in spring of 2009, not updated since.
We share custody 50/50 alternating of 1 child with her paying CS on the difference in our incomes.


We agree that we want to try to update the order without a battle using lawyers.
She makes a lot more money than I do, union job vs contract construction worker.
Her biggest issue is with my low income, often periods of unemployment, low pay, etc.
When the order was signed her income was 50,000/y and mine was 25,000/y


Since we are going to try without lawyers fighting it out, I would like to know an approximate number of billable lawyer hours that it would take if we were going through the courts fighting? My idea is I could use half that amount at my lawyers rate as a discount on the arrears calculations to make it more amicable. By not having to waste those funds in court by both of us, we can survive without that much from her.

When a judge is considering inputting an income for someone such as myself with fluctuating and erratic employment what guidelines do they use for this? I would be willing to input a higher income for myself into these calculations based on the norm but I am not sure how to go about that.

example; Her 80,000/y vs my 20,000/y when my max has been 25,000/y and min 18,000/y. On average throughout the year I calculated a 28h work week for myself.

I am not a greedy person and want to make every effort to settle this between us amicably or at least so that we are equally unhappy about it, suggestions on how best to accomplish this?

Thank you for all the help five years ago and for all the help this time around, this site is an amazing resource.

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Old 08-07-2014, 08:46 PM
dinkyface dinkyface is offline
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You could agree to impute based on you working full time i.e.
28h/wk -> $20K-> $160/mo CS
at the same hourly rate, increase to fulltime
37.5h/wk -> $26.5K (=your income from before, with a few years of CPI increase) -> $214/mo CS

Often a 3yr average is used if income is very erratic.

Equating it to legal fees is no way to justify what CS should be paid. BUT, the difference above works out to $642/yr, which is 2-3 billable hours. And it is unlikely you'd settle it with less than $4000(?) in legal fees each.

There aren't any guidelines, just whatever arguments you can come up with that are defendable. You COULD look at salary guidelines, and job ads for jobs matching your skills as another approach.

Last edited by dinkyface; 08-07-2014 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 08-07-2014, 09:39 PM
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arabian arabian is offline
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So you work "construction" job for minimum wage? Averaging 28 hr work week?

Something wrong with working full-time? Are you a SAHD (stay at home dad)?

You may not be a greedy person but kids cost money, particularly as they grow older.
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:27 PM
Duped Duped is offline
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I was a stay at home father for the first six years of my child's life until my separation. During this time I ran a out of the home computer repair shop and put my ex through school until she got her job and decided she did not need me any longer.

At approximately the same time as my separation my father had been bought out by the company he worked for and decided to open his own business, having put everything I had into getting the ex through school and at the same time wracking up our shared debts which she immediately declared bankruptcy on the day of our separation, leaving me with the mountain of debt including her "surprise" shopping spree the day before to max out the cards. I was shall we say forced to work for my father immediately and lucky for me he need me to work for him on a large contract that he had just been awarded. I have no steak in the company and am treated as an employee.

Working for a small family owned and operated company had its perks especially while my child was young but a huge wage was not one of them! It's a contract business, when a contract comes in we work hard and long until it is done then often we wait extended periods for the next one. Seasons and economics also play a role in there too.

Now that our son is a teenager just the food bills are killing me, but we do manage on the brink as it is. Because of the psychologically draining 3+ year court battle where she tried every evil tactic anyone could possibly think of I have avoided all contact with the ex and never considered updating the order until now, even though I knew she was underpaying from the start.

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