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Child support/ alimony questions

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tigrislilium posted 10/8/2013 21:36 PM

I have not worked since I was pregnant with my DD (6). My WH is a loose cannon and even though I have said I'm willing to work on R I fear he'll pull the plug - and I'll have nothing. I have no job to go back to. I never had a career. I have no marketable skills (especially in this job market where tons of highly-qualified people are looking for work). My WH told me years ago that he'd take care of us when we decided to have a child, he even seemed delighted at the prospect that he'd have a stay-at-home mother and wife (all part of his fantasy that nothing's ever wrong in Doofusville).

My WH is paid very well - makes over $200k/yr (net)- but signs new contracts every 3-5 yrs with his employer so technically he's a contractor. I am afraid that he'll go in for the big D, then when it's time for him to resign another contract in a couple years, he'll decide he just doesn't want to work in that industry anymore and I'll be left with NOTHING.

I was upfront with him and told him that I expected no less roughly 20% of his income to come to me and our DD as child support if we ever went our separate ways. I don't know what he'd pull at this point as he's convinced himself (somehow!!) that he's the victim in this world of horrors of his own creation, and I'm afraid he'll fight me on what I believe (and he knows) would be fair after the hell he put me through emotionally as well as financially.

Though he made over $2.5million over the course of our marriage, it's ALL GONE. He spent it on himself and his women and impressing everyone else in the world whose opinions mattered not at all in the long run. Not only that, but we have almost a million dollars in DEBT (gentle reader, I vow I am not the narcissistic asshead who spent us into penury - I was buying clothes at Target for myself and my DD (I love Target!) while he was shopping at Gucci and Prada for himself). When I'd ask him about our money and where the hell it was all going, he'd bully and scare and intimidate me into not asking for a while, then I'd find another late notice in the mail for something (and there we were making sick amounts of money) and I'd ask him about it and get the same scary, bullying intimidation (which is exactly what a cheater does when they are afraid you're getting to close to the truth) and then I'd retreat again, ...

So much to ask here...
Can my husband quit his lucrative job just to be a shit, thereby effectively wiping me out financially? I've read that reductions in support are hard to get once they're in the decree and that it's based on what a person can POTENTIALLY make, not what they choose to make...

Considering he stole from me and OUR money for years while bullying me into not asking questions (he's a very scary angry person), is it reasonable for me to be compensated for his thievery by having the amount I am requesting in child support (being that alimony is taxed)? It would be about $50k/yr for the next 16 yrs. I believe that is more than fair considering what he stole from OUR pot while we were married, but I wonder if that's taken into account when CS is figured by the courts. Technically a percentage of the CS would be more like him compensating me for stealing from me, but I'm not sure the courts would want to put that under the umbrella of "Child Support". We have zero equity in our home (thanks to him), so it's not like we even have THAT to fall back on...

If the moneys he stole from me cannot go under CS, how would he be made to compensate me for all he stole from our pot? I think it's b.s. that taxes would be taken out of anything I receive from him - unless the net amount I receive is what I believe is fair, which would mean he'd be having to pay substantially more in order to cover the cost of the taxes, which would mean he'll be fighting it harder because it'll be more out of his designer pocket...

Am I crazy for even thinking a court would insist that he pay ME back for stealing from me and intimidating me into accepting his thievery?

At the very least, would I be able to reasonably expect $40k/yr in CS - that would be roughly 10% of his gross income - what is standard for CS for one child, if there is any such thing as "standard"? Also, I would like the CS to remain in effect until our DD is done with her bachelor's degree - in roughly 16 yrs - is that normal to ask for CS to go on that long?

I hope someone here can answer even one or two of these questions. I am scared shitless about being left with nothing but debt. I could go back to school, but that would literally take me 5 years, so I would need to be completely covered financially for no less than that amount of time. But honestly, this man STOLE from me, from my very future, and from what I was told would always be there for me - doesn't he owe me a little of what he promised me?

roughroadahead posted 10/8/2013 22:05 PM

You need a lawyer with experience in high asset divorces.

He can quit his job to be a shit but that would be rather like cutting off his nose to spite his face if he's a Prada type of guy. What would happen if he quit is that, in general, the court would impute (sort of like assign) income to him based on his previous tax returns. The support order wouldn't change. The problem is getting the money once the order is in place. Your state's child support enforcement agency will do what they can, but there is no guarantee any money will be forthcoming. Also, the court will most likely impute you full time minimum wage. Spousal support, if any, is usually a short term deal.

I don't know that the court would consider what he did as "stealing" the marital money, as it was his to do with as he wished just as much as it was yours. Maybe it will be a pattern of imprudent decisions as far as the court is concerned, but not theft.

You can agree to almost anything you want to. In my state, the child support tables stop well short of $200k. You'd need that high asset lawyer to do some math for you, and to address any tax implications. Find out what you are likely to get if it goes to trial, and anything you have leverage on to have him settle at the amount you want.

Nature_Girl posted 10/8/2013 23:31 PM

If you want repayment of what he squandered on other women you'll have to prove it, and then you'll only get half the amount.

dmari posted 10/9/2013 01:14 AM

You need to contact an attorney. Do you have copies of tax records from the time you were married that could prove his income? Make sure you have them in a safe place. Also, in some states, I think they look at years of marriage ~ 10 years ~ when determining spousal support.

Since you have been a SAHM, you will need to come up with a plan. The money that you are stating he stole from you, is that marital money (money he made to support household)? Or did he steal from an account of yours?

As far as that debt ... yowzers! You need to see an attorney. Debt is a something the court can split 50/50, like a credit card debt. You have to get yourself representation. Even if it was used on other women, you would have to prove it.

Who has custody of DD? Custody arrangements also determine child support amount (at least in my state).

Divorce is a business transition (unfortunately and sadly). It will come down to numbers and negotiation. Please get an attorney NOW. Take care and good luck!

Catwoman posted 10/9/2013 06:43 AM

If you are in Mass, I have an attorney recommendation for you. PM me.


hopeandchange posted 10/9/2013 07:51 AM

Please get specific legal advice for your situation

In Texas
CS ends at age 18 or completion of HS
CS for one child is 20% of net income based on a "single filing status" with a maximum of $1200 per month
SS is taxable to you and tax deductible to him. If you are specified in the decree to claim DD as your dependent then you will be able to file as head of household and owe very little FIT and his taxes will be reduced
Retirement savings are a big issue

There are certified divorce financial planners and I recommend you hire one to help you understand the finances and options

Best wishes


tigrislilium posted 10/9/2013 09:07 AM

Thanks so much, everyone who took the time to reply to my lengthy query.

I have gone to one attorney and they believe $50k/yr would be easy to get just for CS when taking into account his current and past income, but again, contention could make things go south fast. AND the whole question of whether or not he signs on for another few years to do that job is up in the air... what if he doesn't? Will the courts still enforce the original agreement?

My WH SAYS he'd give me whatever I asked for if I wanted a divorce because (he claims) he feels sooooo guilty for what he's done, but I don't trust him for obvious reasons. His track record is anything but trustworthy when it comes to keeping promises to me...

He stole (my word for it) money from OUR marital assets in that he would secretly take loans out on our HELOC and not tell me (that's why we have zero equity in our home), charge a ton of stuff on his business credit card and pay it off with MINE so I never saw what the actual charge was for (you can guess), and then he'd intimidate me into accepting his shadiness, and just generally spend what he wanted when he wanted, knowing he could keep me in line with a tantrum if he had to.

I consider it stealing, mostly, though, because he ACTED like a THIEF - he used scare tactics and intimidation to keep spending OUR money the way HE wanted, with no regard for either the natural consequences of his irresponsible spending or my opinions about how our money SHOULD be spent. Ie: savings, anyone? Savings is a JOKE in my house. I kid you not, my 6-year-old would have handled our money with more maturity. And all that time, if I asked for an accounting of anything related to the money he made, I would get the usual verbal abuse and crazy anger and tantrums, during which he'd break things and punch walls right near my head and throw things at me (he never actually hit me with his hands, though - he was careful enough not to do that because THEN I might cry wolf and do something about it - what an intricate dance we danced...) and scream his smoke-screening cover-ups for what he was REALLY doing with our money at the top of his lungs 6 inches from my face. (Yes, I'm in IC trying to figure out why I'd EVER put up with treatment like that... lots of family of origin issues, I guess...).

I am PISSED that we had the potential to pay off our home in less than 10 years and still be well-off, but instead my WH spent OUR marital money on entertaining and impressing and trying so hard to LOOK like the guy who has millions (not to mention spent it on other women). Well, we did have millions, but not for long... I'm pissed that we have nothing but debt after him making absurd amounts of money for the past 8 years, and that if I walk away, he's ruined MY credit in addition to his own, and I walk away from a home I loved with not even a car that's paid for. I am here still mostly because I am afraid of the unknown. That whole "the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know..." But I'm starting to feel like I'd take ANY devil over the one I know. I think I hate him.

Ashland13 posted 10/9/2013 10:05 AM

I'm Sorry, TL.

Have you considered closing any accounts possible that you share with him?

Also, once you get a lawyer, you could have the payments go through court and your state system so that payments are ensured and tracked and you won't even have to transact with WH. He would then have to answer to a lawyer or court/judge if he fooled around with the payments and related money.

The money that was stolen from you , is there a paper trail?

Have you started making copies of financial docs? This really helped speed the process along because I did this prior to my initial lawyer meetings.

I am SAHM as well, but being rushed through pregnancy recovery and some other major issues before I can look for work that may be interested back.

FWIW, there are some really good schools with online courses that go through actual colleges now. I've been doing this to earn credit/credentials while my kids are little and I can't work yet.

There are also jobs at schools like elementary who accept parents as subs if they know you-I did volunteering for a few years and got in as a sub teacher's aid and it paid fairly well until X ruined it. The schedule even fit DD's.

I know your worries very well.

Nature_Girl posted 10/9/2013 10:26 AM

I fear you're in for a very hard slap to the face from the legal system once your divorce is underway. The court system does not care at all, at ALL, about cheating. Like I said, you might be able to get back half of the money, but only if you can prove it. And I don't mean just show that the money went out of your account. You'll have to show what it was spent on.

If you have the money to hire a forensic accountant I urge you to do so ASAP.

You need to obtain legal representation ASAP and file the divorce petition ASAP. Once the paperwork has been signed by the judge an injunction is place on all of your accounts. No more swapping money, closing accounts, squandering it. It's kind of like a functional freeze while everything gets sorted out (and that can take years).

What you need to do is hold back your bitterness, anger & hatred while dealing with anyone in the legal profession (including your lawyer) and associated with your divorce. Yes, you are justifiably pissed off. But no one gives a shit. They just don't. No one is going to give a shit. No one cares about you. No one is going to lose any sleep about your betrayal and loss of finances. No one.

The more you let anyone know about your emotions, the less favorably things will go for you. Try to be as black & white, calm and matter of fact as you can.

Dreamboat posted 10/9/2013 10:58 AM

AND the whole question of whether or not he signs on for another few years to do that job is up in the air... what if he doesn't? Will the courts still enforce the original agreement?

The courts generally look at earning potential because too many times a parent has quit their job in order to try to get lower CS. Now, if he legitimately cannot find a job that makes as much as he used to then he can petition the court to lower the CS. However he has to take the action, it is not automatic.

One final thing to consider is that you cannot get blood from a stone. If he quits his job or simply stops paying CS, then he still owes it. However, that does not help if you are not getting that CS check every month. My X has not paid CS since 2009 and owes me tens of thousands of dollars. But knowing he owes me money does not pay the bills every month.

I think you should seriously consider having him pay for you to get a degree or training so you can find a good paying job so that you can be independent of him in case he does flake out and not pay CS.

I also suggest you retain a L ASAP and try to get a settlement proposal pulled together while your stbx feels guilty. The guilty feeling will not last so the sooner you get a court order the better.

hexed posted 10/9/2013 11:32 AM

Keep in contact with your lawyer.

Create your own nest egg while you still have access to the money. Personally in your situation I would be planning an exit strategy in case things go further south.

I would be squirrelling away money in an individual bank account or giving it to a trusted family member to keep safe.

I would be tracking all spending; copying all important financial and legal documents (tax returns, deeds, mortgages, retirement accounts, bank statements, credit card bills) I would open an individual credit card in my name only that he doesn't know about. I would protect myself financially starting now.

Compartmented posted 10/9/2013 21:29 PM

Are you sure he has spent all of the money? Perhaps he has squirreled it away to keep from you in case you ever found out he was cheating. Remember, he's known about this from the start.

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