Nothing was settled this morning in the hearing to modify child support. Here is an overview of what happened.
- His ex-wife did get a new lawyer.
- They now have a scheduling conference order
- The judge is making them go to mediation and hopes to not see them back in his courtroom because they will resolve through mediation.
- Mediation is $200 per hour, per person, minimum of two hours.
- Her attorney was required to explain all the proceedings to Tony since he was representing himself.
- Her attorney stated that she has had many cases where the father cannot pay and the judge will tell him to "go flip burgers".
- Tony said he was completely willing to "go flip burgers" if he has to pay but then there will then be child care expenses that they will both have to split.
- Her attorney scoffed at the amount he was ordered to pay originally, saying "$390 is nothing for two kids".
- Tony agreed that $390 was not much except when you do not have it AND they have joint custody with the exact amount of time and custody for both parents.
- Her attorney asked if he was behind in his ordered payments and he told her that yes, technically he was BUT he paid $400 in January after losing his job January 7th. He paid $250 in February and then he filed for a Motion to Modify February 3rd.*
- She gave him some options for mediators and they have to have made an appointment with a mediator by end of April and they are to have a decision/agreement to the judge by the first part of May.
Our Pre-Paid Legal (I cannot say enough great things about PPL, I even used it when I was in Oklahoma pregnant and divorcing Anna's dad as a resident of California) consultant said that the purpose of mediation to for her side to say what they want and for him to say what he wants of can do. They will still have to use the child support calculator and what will be decided is which income it will be calculated on.
Custody cannot be decided during this Motion to Modify Child Support, so even though they have made other arrangements this past year the judgement will be based on the 182/183 split. In order for his ex to receive more child support than in my previous post, she will have to get more custody and that would require a separate Motion to Modify Custody to be filed.
Tony is going to inquire about childcare costs in the area and bring that to mediation. He did inform her lawyer that he is watching the kids all summer and during the school year he gets out at three and will still be able to keep them. His ex came back with the argument that they would be standing around for 15 minutes until he got there. He informed her that is what they do now since the kids go to different schools.
Let's just say, worst case scenario, that he has to pay based on his last three years average, $252. In order to do that he would have to get a part time job after school and the kids would go back into daycare. And let's just say daycare is $400 a month. His ex would net $52 but we would have to pay $452. It is crazy and yet that is what she is.
* My advice to anyone that loses their job or has a reduction in ability to pay child support by more than 10%. FILE A MOTION TO MODIFY, IMMEDIATELY. The decision to modify becomes retroactive to the date that you file. That is why Tony is not paying child support now, based on the legal advice of our previous attorney and PPL, he can take his chance that the judge will decide a lower amount or none at all. If that happens the decision goes back to the date he filed, February 3rd. If he had continued to pay her she would either have to give it back, not going to happen, or he would be ahead in payments.
Even if you do not have all your ducks in a row, FILE A MOTION TO MODIFY and then get all your paperwork and lawyers in order. It will be worth it and you can file without an attorney.