Alimony and Child Support under same roof

My husband moved out when we separated and the kids and I stayed in the house (which I couldn’t afford as a stay at home mom trying to get up and running with big gap in work history). I have a degree, but couldn’t land a W2 job, so I took on every odd job I could find, started building my own business, and managed to keep us from foreclosure by cutting out everything possible (incl. heat and AC at times). The house was in need of a lot of repairs to get it in show-able condition, which I spent hundreds of hours doing myself and paid for entirely. During this time, the ex fell far behind in child support and alimony, as well as not reimbursing for medical and child care expenses or providing them with health insurance as stated in our agreement. The house did eventually sell with enough to repay the bank loan, but no profit beyond that. I ended up instead with debt from personal loans and credit cards used to cover property tax. At the time the house closed, my ex owed me roughly $7500 in unpaid CS and AL, not including several thousand more in med and work-related child care expenses. Also not including any of the costs of prepping / selling the house. At closing, the kids and I were penniless and had no place to go. So he agreed to let us stay at his rented luxury penthouse apt. rather than going to a homeless shelter. I assumed he would make getting caught up w/ unpaid CS and AL a priority so we had the means to move out, but he did not. Nor did he keep up with any child related expenses incurred during this time. He makes six figures and I am cleaning houses. Everything I was making was going right back out to buy gas and groceries (which I had to hide in my car to keep him from eating). I tried to file for child support to recoup funds to move out, but they would not accept the paperwork because we were all under one roof. Catch 22 - I need the money to move out, but can’t file to get money until we’ve moved out. It took him 6 mo. to catch up in payments to the amount owed to us 6 mo. prior at time of house closing. When he was caught up to that point, we moved out. In other words, the context for us being there at all was that he owed us money that we could have used to live elsewhere.

After we moved out, he did start to make payments, but I would have to track him down for them and sometimes the checks were bad. He was still not pay anything for work-related child-care or medical expenses. I filed for child support. He did not take it well. He got a card to my bank account and made over $1000 charges in a week. He said it was a mistake, but refused to pay it back for over three months. Meanwhile, he consulted a lawyer who told him that he does not owe any money for either AL or CS for the time we were under one roof. Based on this, he is saying the I owe HIM money, so he announced he will pay nothing until further notice. My AL was to have stopped at the end of 2011, but his refusal to pay CS as well (he’s missed last three payments) has thrown us back into financial crisis.

I do not know how that works with CS or if the context is considered. From what I have read regarding AL, payments can be stopped if the recipient is co-habitating with a partner. This is NOT what was taking place in this instance. He had a bedroom, the kids had a bedroom. I had nothing. I slept on the couch or on the floor of the kids’ room. He was carrying on sexual relations with several partners during that time and leaving evidence of this where the kids (and I) could see. He put us up in a hotel room one night so that he could have sexual relations in the apartment. He came home drunk with friends on a school night and tried to kick me off the couch at 2am so they could continue their party (it was a luxury loft, i.e. one open space = no privacy whatsoever for me). It was a semi-hostile environment for me and we were NOT having a sexual relationship.

In any case, I am still trying to untangle the financial puzzle of what was paid when. It is several bank accounts and three years worth of information to unravel and my papers are chaotic due to all of our moves. I am still working on compiling medical expenses, etc. but need to know how you would advise me on the CS / AL : one roof issue.

Thanks so much for your advice.

You have a very complicated situation and should seek a consultation with a lawyer. That said, unless there was a valid agreement or order for child support and alimony he likely doesn’t owe you those things, and even if there was an agreement, depending on its wording, he may not owe you either for the time you lived in his apartment.