Legal actions for breach of divorce decree


If your separation agreement allows for modifications of the child support based on a court order, then your wife may be able to have it modified. It will depend on whether or not the court feels that the children’s reasonable needs are being met with the current amount. However, if your agreement does not speak to how or when child support is to be reduced (i.e. when your oldest child graduates from high school), then your failure to pay according to the agreement is a breach of that agreement. A verbal agreement won’t hold up in court when you have a written agreement to the contrary.

If you are paying child support for another child, then it should be included in your worksheet calculations. If you can show it would be in your children’s best interests (based on a substantial change in circumstance) to be with you instead of her, a court may order a change in custody. However, if your only reason for changing custody is to avoid child support, then you may not fare so well.

Good luck,

Shonnese D. Stanback
The Rosen Law Firm
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 200
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.256.1534 direct voice
919.256.1667 direct fax
919.787.6668 main voice
919.787.6361 main fax

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.

According to our separation agreement I was to pay my ex-wife $300 a month child support. It was a low amount because I gave her the house without requesting that she buy me out of my share of it and because I am an excellent provider and agreed to help her with the children in anyway needed. This was a verbal agreement that was discussed in the presence of our attorneys. When my oldest graduated from high school, I assumed that the child support would be cut in half, but I would continue to provide whatever was requested of me. I was told that because I breached the contract by reducing her child support after my oldest child graduated, that gave way for her to sue. The attorney that handled the separation and divorce claimed that he couldn’t find the worksheets that detailed the contents of the separation agreement, like the one that would have shown that the $300 was $150 per child, instead of a flat $300 a month until my youngest child turns 18.
According to worksheet A, I will owe her approx. $500 a month, plus $125 to repay her the $1400 (what the judge ordered 12/31/03). I have bent over backwards to the 10th power to provide for my kids, money here and there and it meant nothing. Why is that?

$625 a month is detrimental to my well being. I have a $700 house payment, $545 truck payment, another child aged 6. Why is none of this considered? Can I sue her for custody? I strongly disagree with the way she spends her child support, and I just as soon have sole custody than to have to pay her $500 a month and then still have to buy clothes, shoes, lunch money, trip money for school functions, because she won’t. She always tells the kids to ask me for the money and I can’t disappoint them. My sister who doesn’t have any kids also provides my kids with substantial amounts of money to help out, because my ex-wife also has my kids to ask her for money because she knows we will do anything for my kids. Why doesn’t this matter? I need help. I don’t feel like my lawyer did a good job representing me. They treated me like I was a deadbeat dad or something.
What is your take?

I want to hire another lawyer and go back to court. Is this feasible?

Kenya M. Dalton