Sunday, February 16, 2014

EX FILES

Dear Susan and Valerie,
My husband and I divorced five years ago, and he was ordered to pay modest child support which did not come close to putting a dent in our children’s expenses. In all this time I have asked for no increase even though it meant sacrifices for our kids. Recently, I discovered that my ex is driving a brand new Corvette. I suspect he received a substantial raise. While we have gone without, when he finally has extra money, he spends it on himself and not our children. I’m outraged. What can I do to get my ex, the cheapskate, to pay more child support?
Livid in Los Angeles

Dear Livid,
Whoa...calm down. Let’s not rush to judgment quite yet. Perhaps he did get a raise and if so, you may be entitled to more child support. In some states, and California is one of them, you are entitled by law to obtain financial information annually from a former spouse in order to determine if an increase in child support is justified. So, this is the time to send out your formal request for his information and obtain his current paystubs and tax returns. You may want to file court papers requesting a modification to start the ball rolling. Child support is always modifiable and you have every right to ask the court for increased child support if he is earning more. But, before you start anything, be sure to take a look at your own financial situation and whether your income has gone up or down and the same for your expenses. If you have the resources, it is better to do this with the assistance of an attorney.
There is also the most simple and straightforward method which occasionally works. Talk to him. Ask him what he is earning and for written proof of what he is claiming. If his situation has improved (keep in mind: it’s possible the Corvette was leased on some great, inexpensive deal or loaned to him) suggest that you and he work out a new support amount. It might be a good idea to obtain the assistance of a mediator to help calculate the appropriate amount and draft a new support order. There are some options. Get out there and explore which makes the most sense for you. Take your eyes off his Corvette and rev up your engines to help your children.

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