Last week I sat in my attorney’s office, glancing at my iPhone clock every few minutes so as not to go a second past the $350-hour, and watched her pore over Prince’s Income and Expense Declaration. The good news: he made six figures last year. The bad news: most of that money is rental property income, with almost the same amount deducted in expenses. So the most I could see is $943 a month, which could be even less if Prince turns child support modification into another custody battle.
Because my ex-husband is late getting me his tax return (the dog appears to have eaten it), I decided to table the child support issue and focus on one more pressing.
Private school tuition, and how to exempt myself from it.
One of the conditions of giving Prince school choice for Luca was that he pay 100% of his tuition and school costs, down to the pencils. Our judgement says that he (aka his parents) pays for Franny’s private school tuition through sixth grade, but what happens after that is undetermined.
So when it came time to apply to middle school for Franny this fall — SEVEN schools, seven application processes, seven dog-and-pony shows — I OFW‘d him and told him I would agree to enroll her in private school with the understanding that he pay all the tuition. He agreed to pay through eighth grade. But an agreement on OFW is not legally binding.
“You need to have him sign a stipulation,” my lawyer said.
“He probably won’t sign it,” I said.
“Then you CANNOT sign any private school agreements. And you send Franny to the public school in your district. The judge would rule in your favor since it’s a good school and she’s with you the majority of the time.”
“Then he’ll start serving the your-mother-wouldn’t-let-you-go-to-private-school Kool-Aid,” I said.
“Would he not send her to private school just to spite you?” she asked.
“That’s a rhetorical question, right?”
We shared a gallows-humor chuckle.
“I’ll write up the stipulation now,” she said. “It won’t take very long.”
It took longer than she thought, but she took pity on me and didn’t charge me for the extra half-hour. As I headed out of her office with the stipulation in hand, she stopped me by the door.
“Are you worried that you might be too thin?”
“No,” I said, “but I think you’re worried.”
“Are you eating?” she asked.
“Usually. When I remember.”
“I have something for you,” she said.
She ushered me into the lobby and opened a pink bakery box. I helped myself to a chocolate-frosted doughnut.
“You need to keep your strength up for the fight,” she said.
“Franny has six more years at home,” I said. “That’s a lot of fighting.”
She handed me the box.
“Take them all,” she said. “And let me know if he signs the stipulation.”
To be continued…
Looks like my fight this year as well. Except, Ted will take me to court to force me to pay 50% when I can’t make ends meet as it is, plus I am behind paying child support simply because the money just doesn’t exist. I feel your pain. Hugs.
Nancy Kay says
I can understand why you want to avoid the child support modification process through legal action. Since my ex planned ahead to look as broke as possible by starting a new biz right before our divorce began, I had to pursue modification for child support after divorce.
It was 18 months of legal back and forth paperwork with our attorneys again followed by a trial by a judge with each of us hiring an accountant to review the records and testify against each other during trial about what ex’s self-employed income should be for child support calculations. The judge then took a full 6 months to issue a half page statement which modified child support upward but definitely not worth what I had to spend to get to that point.