My wife and I have been married for 5 years with an 8 yr old child and recently separated. We came to a mutual agreement in which she would get 60% of my income. I make about $2800 a month she gets $1800. We have not advised a lawyer on anything but I need to know am I doing the right thing or am I better off going to court and taking my chances to have that reduced. I have a lot of debt which I need to pay but unable to do that with current bills and expenses. What are the factors that the court looks at when deciding maintenance and child support?
Chad in Texas
Let me begin by letting you know I am not licensed in Texas. You should always seek the advice from an attorney licensed in your state as the laws of each state will be different. Every state calculates support differently. You can access online calculators for each state via dadsdivorce.com. I recommend using the calculator to give you a better idea of what your support obligation should be. It is unlikely that the obligation would equal 60% of your gross income. Child support is usually based on either both parties’ or the non-custodial parties income. The court may also factor in health insurance cost, daycare costs and educational expenses when determining support. You may also receive a credit for exercising regular visitation. I usually recommend that you have a court order regarding support so there is no question what you are obligated to pay. If you chose to not obtain guidance from the court, keep records of all money you giver your wife for support.
The mother and I both have joint custody/ physical placement of our twins in Wisconsin. She has moved to Illinois with them and I have filed the proper paperwork and appeared in court in reference to this matter. Our children are only 2 ½ years old, and she continues to move from state to state with them every year without notifying me. I have just been awarded temporary physical custody of my twins. To be fair I am allowing her to take them for a month, although she is unstable with keeping a residency the living conditions are bad. I would like for our children to visit their mother. I would like physical placement of our twins to be with me permanently.
Martel in Wisconsin
I am not licensed in Wisconsin. I am not certain what exactly you are asking. It appears that you have started the process to modifying custody and are well on your way to obtaining custody. I recommend that you giver the mother no more visitation than is ordered by the court especially if she is unstable. If the court order allows for month long visits due to the distance then by all means allow it. I would keep in close contact while the children are with her and would recommend you visit her home prior to the visit. If you do not already have an attorney contact one and determine if a custody evaluation is necessary in your particular case. Since you have temporary custody, it may not be.
I was awarded property in the decree. My Ex claimed many items were stolen, including 8 guns. I had no positive proof she had kept or sold the items. 5 years later I found 2 of my guns at a gun show. I repurchased them and asked the dealer where he got them. He showed my the receipt where he purchased them from a man living with my ex just 5 months ago. He shows her address on his drivers license. I’ve been told it’s not a criminal offense. Do I have any chance of making her pay me back for the missing items? We will be back in court shortly for a motion to modify and termination of child support. She has no idea I have discovered that she st ill had the items just 5 months ago.
Richard in Missouri
I am not licensed in Missouri so it is important that you consult an attorney in your state. You may have some cause of action if you can prove that she failed to comply with the court’s order. Remember there is a time limit on taking such action. Even if you have a claim, if you fail to file it in a timely manner the court may refuse to hear the case. Again, consult an attorney in your state to determine the feasibility of taking any action in this matter.
My question relates to tax returns. My wife and I are beginning the divorce process. We have two children, and we have tentatively agreed that each year we would claim one child on our tax returns. In my research, however, I’ve been reading that it may be beneficial for one parent to claim both children. My question is: how can we determine what the best option is in this situation? We make roughly the same amount of money, the only difference is that she is keeping the house and the tax advantage that provides. Thanks!
Jason in Texas
I am not licensed in Texas. You should also consult an attorney in your state. If you are not yet divorced, you may want to consider filing jointly and splitting any refund. Usually filing jointly when married gives you the best tax benefit. Once the divorce is finalized, it makes the most sense for each of you to claim one child or alternate claiming both. I suggest you consult a CPA to give you a better idea of the tax consequences of each situation.
My ex is wanting to take our children out of town for a few days, which is not a problem with me. But, now she wants to change her plans to where they interfere with my court ordered, scheduled visitation. I adjusted my schedule to so I could still have part of the day with them, but now she won’t allow me to see them at all that day. She has the mindset that I can do nothing about it. I told her I am going to pick up my children and bring them back early so she can still go out of town, but she says they will not be there. She says, “If I don’t like it, call the cops…they won’t do anything about it.” When that day comes, and if my children are not there for me to pick up, what can I do? The day itself is not a big deal, but I do not want this to become a recurring issue, where she believes she controls when I see my children.
Josh in Florida
I am not licensed in Florida. Please keep in mind that laws vary in each state so you should always consult an attorney licensed in your state. Guidelines or court orders regarding visitation are in place to be followed unless the parties agree otherwise. Court’s encourage the parties to be flexible in their application. Therefore, if your ex had offered you make up time in exchange for allowing her to take the kids out of time I would suggest you agree. Instead she made a unilateral decision to infringe upon your court-ordered time. If she will not agree to give you make-up time then your only choice may be to file a Petition with the court regarding her non-compliance. Contact an attorney in your state for the appropriate procedure to do so.
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Clarissa Finnell is an Associate Attorney in the Indianapolis office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is a member of the Indianapolis Bar Association and has been licensed in Indiana since 1997.
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Dorothy Walsh Ripka is the Team Leader of the Cordell & Cordell, P.C. offices in Dallas, Fort Worth and Memphis. Ms. Ripka is a seasoned attorney who has devoted her practice exclusively to domestic relations. She is licensed to practice law in Texas, Missouri and Illinois.
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