I don’t think I can wait one more year, per the separation agreement, to update our current child support agreement (there is no court order), but I also have some concerns about putting it into action now, and could use some feedback.
First, the amount he’s paying me is outside NC guidelines. We “agreed” to an amount much less than the child support calculator indicated because he said that if I took him to court for child support, he would counter-sue for joint custody. He also threatened to stop making payments on the mortgage and sink my credit (the house was still in both our names at the time), and also threatened to quit working entirely and move in with his father. As long as I didn’t take him to court, he was satisfied with seeing the children every other weekend and 2 weeks per summer. I wasn’t willing to gamble my time with my children, and I was living with my father rent-free, so I accepted the amount. For our first 7 months apart, he didn’t pay me any child support at all, so I gained a lot of debt. When he finally did start paying, he said that if he had to start making payments to me, he’d stop making mortgage payments. To keep my credit in shape, I agreed to move back into our house and take over the payments, and he and his girlfriend moved to an apartment. My father helped a great deal financially at that time. I was only there about 6 months when my ex offered to move back in and get the house out of my name, so he did, and I moved back in with my father.
Along the way, as my children got older, their daycare costs dropped, and I’ve earned raises over the past 2 years we’ve been apart, so I’ve finally gotten to a point where my finances are manageable. However, I now have to move as outside circumstances have made it that I can’t stay with my father any longer and am getting an apartment. This will put my expenses well beyond my income, which is why I’d like to go in for a modification. My concerns are that, for a period, I did live in my house again and way paying a mortgage for a short time, but didn’t file one then, and I’m wondering if that could hurt me now, even though my father is no longer in a position to help me? Also, he’s threatening me again with fighting for joint custody. Of course, he only wants it when money’s an issue, and he’s an irresponsible parent, but I still can’t help feeling concerned. I don’t have spare money for an attorney to help me with this if it’s not very likely this will go my way. According to the calculator, it would mean an increase for me of over $300/month. Is this worth my trouble, or should I just try to hold out until next year?