My ex-wife is now saying she will come after me and allege that I never paid and I will have to owe years of back child support.
If my cash child support payments were recorded in our tax returns, is that sufficient proof of payment?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Texas child support laws where I am licensed to practice.
Payments paid directly to the obligee (in this case your ex-wife) are usually not considered child support. This is because the state has an interest in keeping a record of child support payments thereby ordering payments be made directly to the state disbursement unit.
However, before the courts became so strict with the payment requirements, many decrees state payment may be paid directly to the obligee.
If your ex-wife has filed or plans to file a Motion to Enforce Child Support, you will need to file an answer and a affirmative defense that all or part of the alleged unpaid child support was paid.
The obligor (you) must provide a payment record or any other evidence that is satisfactory to show you are current in payments. If you have tax returns to prove you have paid child support, that evidence should be sufficient to show the court you have paid.
If in fact you have paid and can show evidence of payment, you should also file a motion for sanctions asserting the motion for enforcement was groundless and brought in either bad faith or for the purpose of harassment.
Lastly, you will also want to file a counter-petition seeking to modify your child support obligation.
In Texas, we have a three year modification rule meaning the court can modify a child support order without pleading and proving a material and substantial change if it has been three years since the order was rendered, and the monthly child support guidelines differ by either 20% or $100 from the amount that would be awarded under his current child support guidelines. Of course, you would need to produce proof of you income.
In the event, three years have not passed you can still file for a modification of child support but he must prove a material and substantial change since the earlier order.
Several circumstances will support a material and substantial change, but in your case it would be a change in your financial circumstances due to a decrease in salary.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction.
To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Robin W. Klein, an associate attorney in the Houston, Texas, office, contact Cordell & Cordell.