This site is built around our, well my, experiences in the family courts system, modifying my child support payments.
Before I ended up in the family Courts the SECOND TIME - there was the family courts the FIRST TIME, aka my divorce.
Before that, there were the overwhelming, yet seemingly insignificant, details that spiraled into DIVORCE.
He had a job and two businesses, three if you count the cash. We lived with our baby son in a big house, drove nice cars, ate out all the time...Money wasn't a problem or a conflict... It was great, until it wasn't.
It began with him staying late at work. Then it was overnight. Then it was days and eventually weeks. He was having an affair.
I felt it in my gut, but he denied it.
We tried seeing a counselor. The counselor believed he was having an affair.
He denied it. (It wasn't until years later that I ran into a former co-worker of his who confirmed, HE WAS HAVING AN AFFAIR.)
He moved out, filed for divorce, closed his businesses, went on unemployment...
He said he hit hard times.... we hit hard times.
He made promises about what a great dad he'd be. "Don't worry, I'm going to take care of our son," he said as he reached towards me with a handful of cash.
I didn't look beyond my attorney's advice... about anything. Because of his recent "financial disasters," I agreed to what the attorney told me, a pittance of child support based on the income he showed and no contribution to anything.
You can read our awful divorce decree and documents.
I knew there was more money there, but didn't want to fight.
I was overcome with the details and despair.
My son and I moved from our 4000 square foot house into a 700 square foot apartment with my mom.
The weeks ticked by into months, into years.
My now ex, Mr. Ex, refused to contribute school, fell months behind on support, and yet somehow managed a new car, new clothes, and new gadgets.
"Money's tight. Here's a little something," he'd say unfurling a couple 20's from the wad of cash.
It was "a little something" indeed.
After years of this, I asked to see his taxes.
My intentions were to see his income taxes and modify support according to his current earnings vs unemployment from years ago.
And per our agreement, we were supposed to exchange our income taxes annually, to determine if child support payments were accurate.
We never did.
Eventually, I called the state department who collects and pays through our child support payments.
"Surely they'll be able to see his taxes," I reasoned.
More time ticked by.
His visits grew slim to none, as did his child support.
Frustration and bills forced me to call attorneys - again.
Ugh... $3000+ retainers without any guarantee of anything and just seeing his taxes?!?!
Instead I returned to court myself - Pro Se
I filed to see the Judge.
I couldn't even begin to imagine that our child support case would go where it did. I thought that maybe I'd get an uptick of a couple hundred bucks.
I get it, and admire, the mom's who can "turn down child support."
I read an article years ago about a mom who claimed that she declined child support from the father of her kids and it was the best decision ever - good on her, I guess?
But for me, and many many many other moms, child support is necessary, helpful, a lifeline....
So I set a date to ask the Judge to compel Mr. Ex to show us his taxes.
Then by sheer luck, I stumbled on... money my Ex had hidden in a business that he'd transferred to his girlfriend.
Thus began - our journey - and eventually this site.
Whether you're contemplating divorce, or in the midst of it, reading our journey and all our child support court filings will arm you with a better understanding of what you need to do to come out the other side without draining your resources to zero.
It will help you see the bigger picture - a roadmap through the winding tunnel. It will help you understand where you can take some control back, just like I did.
Other moms often thank me for sharing.
They tell me they've been able to manage their legal costs and expectations better, process their emotions without opening up their checkbooks, and organize themselves because they see the steps in front of them.
I hope my story does the same for you. I hope it inspires and informs you.
The second time in the family courts modifying child support cost nearly $80,000 in cash, not to mention the emotional and physical costs, which can't be quantified. And while it was expensive, it was the right thing to do.
The more you know, the more money you keep and get for yourself and your kids.
This is our story.
It's not written by an attorney, therapist, or financial planner.
Beyond being our story, it includes ALL OF THE COURT FILINGS. I can't overstate how invaluable these documents are. Most women in divorce have never seen a "petition" or "motion" until they're being served with them.
By including the public filings of my case along with the behind the scenes, you will experience the process first hand. You'll be able to better understand and evaluate your own documents.
All's fair in love and war.
It's not the same in divorce.