Support payments and unemployment


#1

He doesn’t have the right to decide what he’s going to pay if you have a signed and notarized agreement. If he doesn’t abide, then he is in breech of contract.

If he is unemployed, you may have to consider a temporary adjustment. If he refuses, and continues to pay the 146.00, then your only solution is to sue him for breech of contract.

I understand your concern and fears. This also happened to me-except it wasn’t a job loss—just an ‘I dont like the agreement I signed’ deal.


#2

You can file for child support. Your husband is in breech of contract by changing the amount that was agreed upon, unless there was a time frame listed in the agreement. No he can not decide what he is going to contribute if he signed an agreement.

If you file for child support, the state will more than likely use the agreement then the previous income for figuring the amount. If he is unemployed voluntarily, the state can use his income capability to figure child support. I do not think that they use unemployment when figuring.

Sadly, unless you take him to court for changing the amount, the amount that the state gets for you is not likely to be the past due amount. Meaning that the $400 a week that you have not gotten for the last couple of weeks, he will likely not be forced to pay. But if you could take him to court, the agreement, since notarized, would hold up and then there would be a court order for back pay up to the date that he lowered the amount. Legally, he would have to pay that amount or renegotiate. This is why we urge people to be careful about signing agreements that they do not fully agree with or intend to follow through on.
It does not matter if you ARE trying to screw him over, he agreed to that amount or he should not have signed a binding legal contract.

Probably the best thing to do right now is to file for child support through CSE or DSS and do whatever you need to do to make ends meet and to take care of the children. Do not expect him to contribute at all and that way whatever he does pay will be a bonus. Keep documentation of what he pays (or doesn’t pay) and any other information. When the children stay where, who pays for clothing, scool supplies, medical insurance, medications. Document all of this.
Ask him to pay you with a money order or check. Do not accept cash because there is no way to track this. He could tell the court that he did pay $400 to you in cash. He would still be responsible for the amount because the court does not really recognize payments that can not be tracked but in order to avoid that situation all together…Or get a receipt book and write him a receipt every time he does pay you in cash. You both will have a copy that way…
Keep any receipts for anything you pay for also.

Maybe legal aid could help…but I’m afriad I do not know much about that program…


#3

Speaking from personal experience, DO keep record of ALL past due and arrears off the original agreement. Legally, he is bound to repay that amount. My ex did the same thing. Basically paid when he wanted to for however much he wanted to dispite our signed agreement. I kept strict records of payments and any emails that corresponded with them. Once we went to court, I had some weight for a bargaining chip when it came to ED. For exchange for for ‘forgiving’ the arrears, I didn’t have to buy him out of the house. I won in that respect eventhough the kids and I suffered for lack of income. I managed.

Keep records in a spreadsheet. Fair or not fair, he signed and if he doesn’t like it, then he’ll have to have it redone.

Hopefully, the joblessness is temporary and he’ll be able to get back on schedule. If not, keep records and file for child support.


#4

Does your agreement allow him to modify support if he loses his job?

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit radio.rosen.com for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Sutton Station
5826 Fayetteville Rd. Suite 205
Durham, NC 27713
Phone: (919) 321-0780

ROSEN.COM

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 only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


#5

Hi Helen,

No, the agreement does not say anything about modifying the support if he loses his job. The only stipulation about him losing his job is about health insurance. The agreement states that he pays $1200 a month in child support and $400.00 a month in spousal support. Like I had mentioned before, I am not trying to make him homeless or anything vicious like that, but I just do not make enough at my job to meet expenses. I can’t afford to hire an attorney either, which really puts me in a frustrating situation.

Thanks!


#6

I understand your concern. If the agreement does not permit a modification then technically he still required to pay you what the agreement requires. If the two of you cannot work out something you both agree to then your option to enforce the contract would be to sue him for breach of contract. If you did so it would work out one of two ways:

  1. If the court found he quit his job or was otherwise voluntarily unemployed, or was not making sufficient efforts to secure new employment, they would likely conclude that he had the means to comply with the contract and was choosing not to. In that scenario, they would order him to pay you what was written in the contract.

  2. If they found his income was involuntarily reduced and that he was trying to find a new job but could not comply with the contract, they may find that he is not in breach and could order any number of remedies.

You should also be aware that the court can modify child support to conform with the child support guidelines.

It is probably in your best interests to work with him on a new amount, but you don’t have to accept what he offers. I hope the two of you are able to come to some type of agreement.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit radio.rosen.com for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Sutton Station
5826 Fayetteville Rd. Suite 205
Durham, NC 27713
Phone: (919) 321-0780

ROSEN.COM

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 only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


#7

My husband and I have been separated since July and we both signed a notarized separation agreement. At the beginning of this month, he lost his job and is now on unemployment (I am not certain why he lost his job, but has not been able to keep a job for more than 8 months in the 11 years we have been together). In the agreement, he was to pay a total of $400.00 per week for support payments ($300.00 for child support and $100.00 for spousal). Now that he is getting approximately $500.00 per week from unemployment benefits, he decided that he will only give us $148.20 per week.

What I need to know is how does child support work when the non custodial parent is on unemployment? There is no child support order, so should I do that now? This has been a power play from the beginning and I am really suffering now financially. I just don’t think he has the right to decide on his own what he is going to contribute.

We have two children (5 and 7) and I am so afraid that we are not going to be able to make ends meet because of the drastic change in income (also the reason we cannot obtain an attorney). My husband insists that I am trying to screw him over if I ask for any more money, but I just want to do what is right and what is fair. This whole situation has really caused a lot of grief for both me and the children.

Thanks,

Cynthia