Your Questions Answered: Ex Seeking More Child Support

3 06 2010

Dear Jacque,

I am wondering if you can point me in the right direction?  My husband’s ex-wife just filed suit seeking more child-support.  We feel very strongly that she is doing incredibly well right now in respect to support and that her request is very unreasonable.  I don’t know how to research legal defenses/arguments, etc. that an ex-husband should make when he is faced with a suit seeking more child support.  Do you know where I can find that information?  When I do a “google” search, all that I found was information to help the ex-wife claim more money, as opposed to helping the dad prevent a larger and unreasonable child support obligation. Thank you very much.

I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with that stress! The laws in each state are so different that it’s hard to say where to start researching but I have a few ideas. You might try going to the best family lawyer in your state and ask if they have experience with stepfamilies. Ask all of your friends for referrals. Again, make sure they have stepfamily experience. You could listen to the podcast I did with stepfamily law expert Margaret M. Mahoney, professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh and the author of Stepfamilies and the Law. As far as I know her book is the only one on this topic. The Stepmom Circles podcast I did with Margaret is archived and available here in The Store.

Also here are a few organizations that help fathers:

http://www.fathersrightsinc.com/
http://www.fathersrights.org/ (this site has attorney referrals too)

I know that there are no easy answers here. As a stepmother I can see how challenging this would be. I know I don’t need to remind you but I’ll say it out loud for all of our benefits: Both a biological mother and father have a legal and moral obligation to financially support their children until they are successfully launched into the world. Rarely do these situations end up feeling fair to anyone. And money is something that is often in short supply on all sides and can easily be used as a tool that exes use to continue fighting. If the ex would agree to work with a mediator instead of going to court, that would help everybody. Court battles are not fun.

If you do end up having to pay more support out of your household to support your husband’s former you’re going to have to deal with the anger that brings up. Perhaps you can reduce your resentment and stress over the situation if you focus on the fact that A) You are doing a good deed by helping to raise these kids. B) You’re racking up some seriously good karma! C) This will come to an end. The kids will grow up. The payments won’t continue forever.

You might also look for a financial adviser or coach who can really help you put together a plan that will work for you and your family no matter what happens with the child support payments. Good luck!

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New Podcast: Stepfamily Law

26 08 2009

stepmomcircles3Gals: Listen to this episode of  Stepmom Circles, my free podcast for this week’s interview. I talked with stepfamily law expert Margaret M. Mahoney! She is a lawyer, a professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh, and the author of the ONLY book about stepfamily law that I’ve been able to find, Stepfamilies and the Law. The book was published in 1994, but sadly not very much has changed since then. Click on the book link to see the entire book online or order a copy of it if you’re looking to do more research.

Join the Stepmom Circles group on FaceBook to discuss the show!

Click the above link to listen to this episode or visit HERE to browse all the Stepmom Circles episodes.





Legal Status of Stepparents

20 08 2009

Stepfamily law in America is a big hot mess. If you are confused about your legal status as a stepparent, don’t feel bad because everyone is confused. When I started doing research last week about what the laws are in Minnesota, I wasn’t suprised to find that as I stepparent I am liable for the kids while they are in my care but I have no rights. 

To find out more about the law in America, I’m interviewing stepfamily law expert Margaret M. Mahoney, professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh, and the author of Stepfamilies and the Law for my Becoming a Stepmom podcast radio show. If you have questions you want me to ask Ms. Mahoney, comment on this post and I’ll try to fit them into our interview!