Child Support

My divorce was final in May and in our separation agreement signed last September, my ex husband agreed to pay $517 a month in child support for our 5 children, but it wasn’t incorporated into the divorce because he included a confidentiality clause that said it couldn’t be and refused to sign one without it. He paid for the first time last month because I was living in our house until the divorce was final and he said that even though he got the house in the divorce, since he paid the mortgage he wasn’t going to pay anything else. He has been living with his parents and decided to rent out the house for more than the cost of the mortgage. He contributes nothing at his parents’ house and they pay his car insurance as well as providing room and board. I was a stay at home mom for our entire marriage other than a couple of months in 2009 when I tried to work but it didn’t work out with child care. My ex has health insurance through his job but only for himself. I have to have Medicaid for the children and one of them has a serious heart condition. I also have foodstamps but am working towards getting off of those. I have the children during the week and he is supposed to have them on the weekends but has informed me that he would like Saturdays off so I will have to keep them then and give him Mondays since he doesn’t work that day, which is difficult with our homeschooling but we are working that part out. He informed me last Friday that his work told him not to come in any more until they call him. That he is not laid off, there is just no work, but he is still employed. He said that because of this I will receive a check next week and then that may be my last one and if I try to get it enforced through Child Support Enforcement then he will go before the judge and argue for a lower amount due to his reduced income. Should I still go to Child Support Enforcement or could that make things worse? If he signed an agreement to pay that amount last year but has only made one payment does that show he can’t afford it? He seems to think so. I know the application for Child Support enforcement costs $25 and I will have to borrow that as I only have $2 in my checking account currently and I don’t want to waste it if it won’t help. Also, how long does the process usually take? I will be able to pay the rent next month with the help of the child support but I had to sign a year lease and don’t want to be evicted. I’m trying to find work for the days I don’t have the children but we live in a very small town and there aren’t that many opportunities for someone with an 11 year gap on their resume. I’m looking for children to watch or tutor but no luck so far. It’s not like I’m asking him to provide me with luxuries I just want him to pay the basic amount he agreed to.

not an attorney

ABSOLUTELY go through CSE…what’s the worst that happens, they order him to pay a little less and you actually GET something? The alternative would be to keep a $517/month agreement that he’s not paying anyway, right? Not to mention, when you go through CSE, they will Confirm with his work what his pay is, that the no work thing is temporary (if even true!), and they will order him to pay based on his pay rate, not a temporary change. OR, they may order a lesser amount through whatever date his work says he will be not receiving his full pay.

Either way, you really can’t go wrong with CSE…it is dirt cheap (or sometimes free, I think being on Medicaid/food stamps might get the fee waived), and they will go after him, they will keep track of what is owed, they will take it directly out of his paycheck…

Don’t keep giving your ex the power…and right now, he feels like he has it all because you are at his mercy to get anything at all…CSE takes that away from him, and they will get it, whether directly through his payroll deduction, and then through his tax returns.

Get what is yours…and you never know, they may just order him to pay MORE, considering it’s for 5 kids…run the child support calculator to see…