T Nation

question regarding child support and spousal support


Looking for advice from any atty's on the site. I am going through a divorce and my wife and I have been living apart since July 2003. We have been married 6 years and the last 4 she has been a stay at home mom. She is 29 and I am 32. I have 2 kids-one paternal child and my son's father lives in Fla.. He pays child support ($385 per mo). Since the split in July I have been paying $700 per mo child support for my daughter which I think is fair. I have also been paying 70% of the credit card bills and the full Tahoe payment of $550 per month. The truck is in my name and registered in my name but I bought it a couple of years ago as her transportation.
I went to court yesterday for the custody issue and have to go back in April for child/spousal support issue. My wife thinks she should be getting more money and that is where I disagree.
My income is around 60k/yr but last year I worked somewhere else and was tracking 110k/yr. I lost that job due to reorganization and only worked there about 8 months. Prior to that I was with the same company for 6 years and was tracking about 80k/yr for the last 2 years before I left to move back to Richmond.
Her atty is going to try to impute my income from my last job where I was making over 100k/yr which is why she thinks she can get more.
Do you think she will qualify for spousal support? She has been working since July and started a new job yesterday and will be making about 35k per year.
What are your takes on this?


The laws regarding child support and alimony are written gender nuetral but in pactice they are very much not.

You should be prepared to pay an average of your income for the last three years. The judge will listen politely to why you only earn $60K now but in the end they will look at your earning potential rather then what you earn. FYI- if your wife's income was in question this would not be the case...trust me.

As to alimony. Expect to pay transitional alimony for at least three years if not 5. Lifetime usually kicks in after 8.

I am not an attorney but have been thru this myself and supported others. As a man you will be screwed to the wall. In my opinion $700 mo. plust the extra's you are picking up is more then fair.

FYI- when I lost my job many years ago the judge actually said to "work two jobs" to get my income up to previous levels so that my ex's standard of living would not have to suffer. Trust me it is not fair at all.


You are going to be a lot more my friend. At a minimum, I think it will cost you about 60% of your aftertax income which means at least $25,000. Currently you are paying about $15,000 plus some on the credit cards. Try and get the settlement based on your current salary and, if you have to, give an escalation clause if your salary gets back to where it used to be. Also, get as much of the total payment classified as alimony for two reasons:
1) It is normally deductible from gross income for tax purposes
2) It end if your wife dies or remarries.
Good luck.


Thanks for your input. I'll be fucked if the judge asks me to get a 2nd job. I work at least 60-65+hrs per week already. What would really suck is trying to find time to train!


"What would really suck is trying to find time to train! "

Not to be a dick, but put things in perspective. What really sucks is that your son now has two absentee fathers.


fuck getting married that's a bunch of bullshit.


Thought you might appreciate the female perspective on this...
I went through a similar situation and have actually been on the receiving and as well as the paying end. In California they don't play favorites with women. I had to take on a second job in order to get my income back up to it's "potential" in order to maintain the child support that I was paying. In my opinion you are being more than generous but unfortunately there are a lot of women out there who will take a man for all they can get. If she is unhappy with the help that you are giving her beyond what is already ordered than screw it, don't bother. Let the courts do their thing. Looks like you're gonna be stuck with child and spousal support but they will give you a time limit with the spousal support. Hope you have a good atty as well! Good luck!


hedo: It sounds like you got rammed in the pie-hole like I did a few years ago. You are dead-on about the prevalent attitudes in the courts, especially in the state of Florida, where I lost my anal cherry to a certain nameless bizzatch of a judge.

Anyway, there are a number of web-sites devoted to helping fathers combat their greedy ex-wives and the uncaring legal system. Search in Google.com or something for "father's rights divorce alimony" and I'm sure you will get a number of different webpages. Best of luck, Musl, you're gonna need it.


Doogie-Thanks for your dumbass reply. Not that it is any of your business but I have been a part of my son's life since just weeks after his conception and will be for the rest of his life. It's not his or his sister's fault and I make sure they completely understand that and that I still love them both very much.
I posted my question to see if anyone had any "real world" takes on this and everyone did EXCEPT you. Learn some manners and if you don't have anything constructive to contribute then DON'T.


Geez, I really hope you find time to work out. I'm sure the kids appreciate a buff dad on the weekends.


Have you two worked out who gets to claim the child for income tax filing??

My ex and I rotate years. You will be paying taxes on all of that child support and then not able to claim them as a dependent. Double whammie! My ex hadn't even taken that into consideration until I offered to make it part of our settlement.

I also refund a pro-rated amount of montly child support if he has them beyond two weeks. Something to think about.


Some people just don't get it.


You have your own attorney right?


Yes I do. Am switching to another (haven't yet) though since it is getting a bit more complicated and my current atty. does not specialize in divorce.


Lothario - I did!


We have done that. This year we will file together and I will give her 1/2 of the return. Next year I will claim my daughter then we will rotate. Wish more women were as easy to get along with as yourself.


I have very little advice to offer from the client viewpoint but I was employed as a part-time legal assistant for 3 years for an attorney that did a great deal of dissolutions, child custody and support cases.

You need to be very organized and cooperative on these types of things. Start a log of conversations, the times, dates, and generally what about. Start gathering all your financial records for the last couple years and this year in order to prove the changes in wages. You may need to get an affidavit or simply a letter from you employers regarding your current wages.

The biggest advice is to be amicable and willing to give in. Don't nickel and dime every issue. It's fucking pointless to argue and bicker about the tiny little things and gives the whole proceedings a bitter nature. If you have to pay $5 more in alimony but save hours in attorneys fees do so. Plus, if a dispute comes up later regarding the custody or support, you will look like the better man in the eyes of a judge.

I remember clients arguing over little things like who pays for birthday presents and such. They only person who profited from this was the attorneys. It's more phone calls and more wheel spinning that they get to do and that means more and more billable hours.

Be nice and play like mature adults. These situations really suck but if you can attempt to keep the emotional aspect seperated from the business aspect it tends to help.