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How far would you go to prove your worth

1dad4kids's picture

DH's lawyer just sent an email. In order to process a chambers application refusing the imputed income he wants us to do the following:

-Get an affidavit from a competitor in our city to express the current wage of their employees

-Get an affidavit from 3 industry professionals in accounting, marketing and office management expressing their wage and experience

-Provide my previous job description with the job offer and salary

-Provide a copy of all awards and nominations I have received

-Provide an affidavit regarding my work

-Provide evidence of me actually working for my company

All of this is to prove that the income we earn through our company is split appropriately. They are trying to impute a wage on my DH that would make my wage worth less than minimum wage. Which they expect me to be able to support my 3 kids plus SS10 with (because he also eats, wears clothes and has toys here). 

DH and I had a long talk last night, before this email. We'd been fighting and stressed about how shitty the phone conference went yesterday morning. Our family obviously can't suffer to pay CS to BM, but we also can't suffer to fight the CS. Quick calculations show we will come out better off if we can prove my company worth and DH's income isn't imputed. But what is the emotional cost, especially with less than a month until the new baby arrives. 

DH has basically told me that whatever I want to do, however hard we want to prove my worth he will do it. And if I want to just say fuck it and pay thousands more dollars each year than the federal guidelines require then he'll do that too. 

Child Support doesn't affect just him. Our incomes are shared 100% so whatever DH pays, I pay. 

Do I want to fight this? 8 months pregnant and probably with a newborn by the time the court date rolls around. Or do I want to roll over and pay (quick calculations again but at least $16,000) in additional child support? 

We're not rich. We make due. Our company is still new and our plans to expand don't really occur until after we're done having kids (another 2 years at least) and we open up a storefront. 

BM doesn't work. She's never held a job for longer than a year. Her DH apparently got fired from his $100,000+/year job for some sort of scandal. BM said in the phone conference that the union is fighting his dismissal and "he'll probably win" but I'm the meantime BM is desperate for someone to pay her bills. We have no idea how much she's taking her other baby daddy for at the same time. 

I'm frustrated, both DH and I feel defeated. The counselor said she thinks SS10 would be ready to begin a transition to 50/50 after his next session and if BM and DH can agree on a plan. She would continue seeing him through the transition and until he is fully switched to 50/50, and afterwards if he needs it. DH had set up an appointment and BM refuses to accept it until the counselor sees her new "letter" from the lawyers which will outline her obligations (which she had no obligations prior, was just there to help SS10) so I'm pretty sure we're gonna lose this counselor. Even if she sticks around there is zero way that BM is going to agree to any parenting plan that transitions SS10 before he's 18. The letter will tell the counselor she is obligated to provide a recommendation to the court on how to transition SS10. This is the only thing that might save us. If she's on DH's side, as he feels she is. 

However, BM's email to the lawyer seemed very much like she liked the counselor. So now DH and I are second guessing ourselves, maybe the counselor is just placating him and actually agrees with BM. 

If we get 50/50 then the CS amount won't be such a big deal because it will split the amount based on her income too. It would likely work out to what we should be paying based on DH's actual income (except not having 50/50). 

Uhg. I need some advice and some support and someone to tell me BM is a fucking monster. 

Comments

simifan's picture

You want to fight it now. It will be next to impossible to change once ordered. ExH was paying over $150.00 more then he should have due to overtime made while i was pregnant, even with a note saying OT is not usually available. Next year, we proved he made over $15000.00 less. The judge said - well your payments aren't late so it must not be a hardship. CS remained the same. 

1dad4kids's picture

That's a good point. DH already reduced CS to offset 2 years of overpayments so it's clear we can't keep up. Hopefully that shows in our favor.

thinkthrice's picture

If CS is being processed through a CSEU in the U.S. there is a fed incentive to order the highest amount of CS possible (Social Security Act Title IV-D) which started out in 1975 and slowly evolved into a monstrocity.

thinkthrice's picture

I am sure they have a similar arrangement there especially with lifetime child support policies

tog redux's picture

Keep going right now. What they are asking doesn't sound too bad, provided you have contacts/friends who will do those affidavits for you. It's not time to give up yet, the counselor is on your side at this point and said before that she will follow the assessment recommendations.

We will all tell you when it's time to give up. Smile

Gimlet's picture

Fight.  Don't give in to her and don't pay that controlling, awful harpy a damn penny more than you have to.

I am really rooting for you to get 50/50.  I know this has to be exhausting.   I've never heard of a kid needing counseling to spend more time with his dad in a loving and well-adjusted home (and everyone knows I am a big fan of counseling in general), but it sounds like you guys have done all the right things and I would not want to give in to her manipulation and control now.

Your BM sucks, OP.  If you need to borrow any simmering rage, I have extra this week.

justmakingthebest's picture

I would fight this big time. I would make my value as high as I can and DH's as low as I can. There is nothing I hate more than the lazy entitled BM's who think collecting CS is a income to them!

ESMOD's picture

I think the theory behind imputing is to ensure that people don't appear to be working for less than they should be in order to avoid paying CS.

From what you are saying.. it sounds like her view is that your DH could/should be earning more than he claims he is from this business you run together.  That you are artificially keeping his income low or that he is choosing to work on this business for less than he could make with a "real" employer.

If they are giving you the opportunity to "prove your worth".. I would definitely do that legwork.. the end result will likely be that they are going to take your value and his "imputed value" and percent total it against the income of the business.  I don't think they will just 100% subtract your value from the income there.  

Normally a Step parent income isn't relevant.. but in this case since you have a joint business.. that is the issue they are trying to get to the bottom of.

Chmmy's picture

Fight it.

Sounds like she has 3 men supporting her. I'm not working right now and my husband supports me but I contribute to the house and have money of my own saved and I'm writing a book that might generate income but I'm writing it to make me happy also. Whatever you do for the company I am sure you are worth more than minimum wage. Could you be the owner of the company and pay DH a fair salary?

I would fight it or she will continue to fight for more.

1dad4kids's picture

I've also written a few (unpublished) books. It's a therapeutic activity. What genre is your book? 

Chmmy's picture

A fiction book about step life!! lol

An unsuspecting young woman marries an older man with 2 kids. He had a vasectomy when he was married to the 1st wife but something goes wrong and young woman gets pregnant and marries in to a mess of a family complete with a Disney dad, money hungry BM, mother in law that favors the first family, sister in law that is a crazy bitch and I won't even get started on the little skids she inherits. Hope to publish just to get the word out!!

Picardy III's picture

The affidavits sound like a pain, but the other proof should be fairly easy to provide. Do you have relationships with your competitors (could be tricky) or with former coworkers in those professions, who could provide the affidavits? Otherwise, Glassdoor has a feature where you can view average salary ranges by job title, and I think it drills down by region and by years of seniority. Not sure if that's available in Canada.

1dad4kids's picture

We are friendly with DH's old boss. We're hoping he'll help out, but he's a busy man and he's not one to want to be involved with court matters. DH's lawyer said the people who provide the affadavits will not be called to testify but I know it could still make people uncomfortable

Picardy III's picture

Yeah, that'd be my concern asking them. Not that it's too much work to write the affidavit, but that they don't want to be involved in legal matters and possibly called to testify.

The burden of proof *should* be on BM and her lawyers, not on you, to demonstrate if your salary does/doesn't match your job. But with a crappy judge, ugh. 

Love the assumption that women can't or shouldn't have skills worth breadwinner pay, too. Real nice.
 

1dad4kids's picture

The real kicker is that even though our company could not operate without me, DH still owns the majority. 51-49. We could hire out his position and the company would still make profit, if we tried to hire out my position we would go broke. 

Picardy III's picture

Wouldn't it be sweet poetic justice if the judge determined your company is *overpaying* DH relative to your respective contributions, and imputed less to him!

One can dream.

 

advice.only2's picture

Fight it now, it's worth it especially if it's just a bit of leg work on your part. Image that money years from now allowing you and DH to do things with your family...or don't do it and imagine the frustration while you and DH struggle and watch BM do all the things you want to do with DH's money.

1dad4kids's picture

You're right, $16,000 is our family trip to Disney we've always wanted to do. 

If she took SS10 to Disney on my dime I think I'd go crazy lol

Iamwoman's picture

I would fight it now.

I know you're tired, and this is the worst timing for you. I feel sorry for you, but find it hard to believe that BM isn't enjoying the idea of stressing you out while you're pregnant. She absolutely IS a monster.

I have zero respect for people who finagle their way through life mooching and leeching from others.

If you don't fight it now, several things will happen:

1. You and DH will be stuck overpaying until the end.

2. BM will feel empowered by her "win," and will not hesitate to go after more or harass you in other ways later. She needs to be put in her place.

Take a deep breath, take very good care of yourself, and try to be as unemotional and as robotic as possible while you gather documents.

Try to see BM as a faceless entity, like the IRS, or as if you are dealing with identity theft. You just have to supply the proper documents and get through it all.

It may help if you and DH seek assistance from a tax attorney.

This really isn't just about the money. It is about establishing firm boundaries now and forever with BM.

You May have to smack her down now and then after this is over with, but she will cower and give up more quickly in the future if you win this now.

Picardy III's picture

This is all excellent advice.

BM in our case sued some years ago for insane increases in alimony, child support and extras while underplaying her income. And that was with 50/50.
Thankfully new state laws took effect right before final court ruling, changing to strict (and mainly fair) income calculations whereas earlier it was at the judge's discretion. She got destroyed, and child support actually went way down. The next time there was a court review she pulled very little shit, probably because she'd been put in her place so painfully the last time.

I wish you were dealing with a less subjective court review :(. But she needs to be cowed, if at all possible.

FWSM1964's picture

This happened to me with my litigious XH. I was paying him $10,000 a year in child support for seven years from the date of separation and he was underemployed at the time. For some strange reason, his income was not imputed despite my insistence to the contrary.

He took me back to court several times in the three years since our divorce was final in an attempt to triple his child support payments because I got paid twice in one month from two overlapping contracts in 2016. 

The mediator deflated my XH's balloon and now I only pay $2,000 a year.  He is still underemployed working 1/3 time, but my income calculation was reduced. The judge agreed with the mediator's numbers.

Now, the two youngest children are living with me and I am still paying child support.  However, it's a small price to pay for the company of my wonderful children and not having to take unpaid time off work to attend court with all the associated courtroom drama and undue stress.

1dad4kids's picture

I like the advice as looking at BM like a faceless entity. I've shifted my focus to the judge. Will the judge see this and know my worth. Does this information just provide more to read without bringing anything to the table and consequently pissing off the judge? 

I'm doing my best to provide only relevant information, but my heart is in this company and my pride has taken a beating. 

1dad4kids's picture

Thank you, everyone. Truly. 

I've never felt this close to giving up, I'm so grateful for your support and encouragement. I don't want to let her win this because the timing isn't convenient for me. My family deserves a fight from us, so we'll do it. 

I have found the offers for my 2 previous positions as well, with those positions requiring less work and paying more than I make through the company. I know my value. 

The affadavits will be a bit tricky to obtain. DH is going to ask his old boss (who fired him when we started our company as a side project so I didn't have to go back to work) to provide an affidavit for the wages he provides. 

I have asked an acquaintance of ours, they operate a similar business and like our business they are a husband wife duo and she handles much of the same work as I do. 

I've also found job postings with the salary at a higher wage than I make. 

I'll keep looking for more resources. 

She won't get my money without a fight.

lieutenant_dad's picture

I am not a business person by any means, but I think this whole situation needs to be a wake-up call for you and DH about how you do finances personally and professionally. Not sure if it makes sense to write up a contract that states you get X% of profits and he gets Y% (with an explanation as to how you came up with that number), or if one of you is paid as an employee and the other gets the profit as the owner, or what. BUT - BM will keep pulling this anytime she feels like you have nicer things than she does.

It will also protect you and your kids to have money come in to a separate account (that can then be funneled into a joint account for joint expenses). May not be a lot of protection, but at least then you can have something that is "yours" that BM doesn't need to know about and has no reason to ask about.

1dad4kids's picture

We do have a partnership contract. The judge basically see that as junk because we are partners who happen to also be married. If DH had the partnership agreement with literally ANYONE else outside of his home they wouldn't be able to touch their income. It's a joke. 

I have a private account, 2 actually. And I do earn some outside income from the company doing art and selling MLM. It's not nearly enough to support my family, and it's not just my responsibility to support my family. 

We discussed going to salary instead of taking the profits and splitting, but our lawyer advised against it saying it would look even more so like DH is trying to dodge child support. We have a clear written 5 year plan that establishes when we're going to make the switch already. DH's lawyer said he would submit that into evidence so when the time comes it can't be viewed as an intentional slight to BM

 

Winterglow's picture

"The judge basically see that as junk because we are partners who happen to also be married. If DH had the partnership agreement with literally ANYONE else outside of his home they wouldn't be able to touch their income."

That is absolutely disgusting. Can your lawyer find a way of saying that and pointing out that it's discrimination? Pointing out how backward it is in this day and age for a woman to be considered as no better than her husband's belonging ...

I'm not surprised you're angry - I'd be spitting feathers by now.

1dad4kids's picture

Our next step is with a new judge. Two of the judges in our city are previous customers of ours. DH's lawyer said it is not a conflict of interest. That would play in our favour because both judges know first hand the work I do for our company. 

DH's lawyer went full out defending my position during the conference. DH said the judge didn't even seem to be listening, he said as soon as the lawyer was done "I don't doubt she contributes to the company, but I think the percentage is still skewed". 

They would not be able to say that if it was not DH's little wife and BM's Nemesis. 

ESMOD's picture

While this is frustrating in certain cases.. like this one.  There are some valid reasons why a court might be extra cautious and skeptical about these kinds of situations.

First, a business with an unrelated person wouldn't have the same potential benefit to make the books appear that the Bio Dad is making very little money.  The reality is that people have done this kind of thing to avoid paying their "fair share" of child support obligations.

Also, the reason courts impute incomes is because they might be looking unkindly at the DH pursuing his "dream Fly tying business" at a fraction of his marketable potential earnings... especially when his new spouse conveniently earns plenty to support them both.  Again, not saying that is what is happening here.. but a judge might say.. look.. I understand it's your dream to pursue your own business... but you need to support your family (ie children).. you weren't doing this before and it has the appearance that you are trying to avoid paying your fair share at this point.

So, a company that is kept between a married couple offers opportunities for her DH to get value from the business without recognizing it as income.  Because he and his wife both benefit from her earnings if they live together.

It will look especially bad if one "partner" appears to be getting paid at a rate that is full value in comparison to the outside job market while the other one isn't making min wage.

1dad4kids's picture

Your last paragraph is what they are trying to make happen. It will reduce my earnings to minimum wage or below. While DH is making a significant amount less, It's really his only option for work. Unless he goes to another city which would be commuting and less time with SS10 which everyone at the pretrial conference agreed would be taking a step backwards, not forwards. 

I too, have taken a dramatic reduction in wages. Equivalent to his. Neither one of us is taking an unfair percentage. The last year we both worked full time jobs outside our company his earnings brought in 52% of our total household income, and mine 48%. That's pretty close to where we're at company wise. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

I understand this piece, but what I don't get in this particular situation is why the judge is only focused on OP's DH's income when BM is unemployed.

That, to me, is the bigger fish to fry. OP, her DH, BM's DH, and BM's other baby daddies are all (assumed) working to support this woman. I don't understand why the judge isn't grilling BM and asking why she isn't, and hasn't, worked. Why does she get a pass on that when DH is fighting for 50/50, clearly enjoys being a father since he has multiple children with OP, and is exploring a business venture that keeps him stably employed?

I'd love for a judge to not just impute a BM's income at minimum wage. I'd love to see a BM have to produce high school transcripts and previous work records and jump through a million hoops to prove that they should ONLY be imputed at minimum wage. I'd love to see a judge say "we'll discuss raising CS when you start providing at least 50% of child's expenses".

I do understand that there are men out there that have tried to sidestep the system and be deadbeats. But I just don't see why this judge is beating up on the parent ACTUALLY working and ACTUALLY parenting while working. AND going after a pregnant woman who is working full-time AND being a parent to MULTIPLE kids! I understand that it is OP and her DH's choice to have more kids, but you'd think all this would ding in a judge's brain as "hey, wait a minute, why am I holding a SP to a higher standard than an actual parent?!"

1dad4kids's picture

Thank you! 

This judge appears to have the "men at work, women in the home" mentality. He's very sympathetic to BM's DH being laid off, but not to me working my butt off to support our family. 

We're rolling the dice, but our chambers judge will not be the same as the pretrial judge so we're hoping the next judge is a bit more fair. 

 

tog redux's picture

Do you have any old co-workers who would do those affidavits for you? If you got along well, they might be willing. I'd do it for someone.

1dad4kids's picture

I've pretty much been the boss in my last 4 positions, which makes it tough to find affadavits from people I worked with that wouldn't be seen as bias. 

My acquaintance said she would talk to her husband/partner today and let us know. Her affadavit would be very helpful in that her position is so similar to mine. I'm not getting my hopes up though. 

still learning's picture

Not sure about the laws where you are but where I'm at if non-custodial parent willingly takes a cut in income the child support generally will not be reduced.  If DH willingly took a drop in pay to start a busniness the courts will deem that he is still able to earn his old income if he wanted to just that he is currently choosing not to.  In their eyes ss deserves the same amount of support as he had before. 

Hate to be the dark cloud but it sounds like your case isn't that strong.  All the footwork you're doing is just to process an application. After that there will be more hoops, hearings, and perhaps a trial to determine if the income should be imputed. You'll prove your "worth" but in the end it's all based on DH's earning potential. You're going to spend a lot of money fighting this and if your court system is anything like ours BM may request that you pay her legal fees as well.  

sounds like this is a wake up call to you to separate your finances from DH.  ss is only 10, in the US a CS review can be requested every 3 years and many CO's address college expenses as well.  It would be wise to set a firm financial boundary between you and DH now.  

1dad4kids's picture

DH was laid off when we started our company, and I was on maternity leave. We started it so that I didn't have to go back to work (we couldn't find child care for my daughter anyway) and we were going to have him do 1 side project a month. DH's boss sent him a text saying he wouldn't be bringing him back from the lay offs. There is no other company in our city (where SS10 and BM live) that employs DH's trade. We were forced to make our company into full time positions for both of us, just to survive. By the time my maternity leave was up, our company was successful enough to sustain our family. 

We're also in Canada

tog redux's picture

Canada also has laws saying that in certain circumstances, stepparents can be obligated to pay support. So I believe they are even more strict than many US states.

She did say that BM is imputing income way higher than DH ever made at his other jobs though.

1dad4kids's picture

The pretrial/conference judge did say he would recommend step parents income being a part of calculating the extraordinary expenses moving forward. That's a good thing because even at his much reduced wage BM's DH still makes what DH and I make combined. Of course, the new judge may change that once it becomes a chambers application

still learning's picture

Stepparents income in the US can also be taken into account for CS purposes in certain states and at the judges disgression.  So proving SM's worth may rais the CS as well.  It will be interesting to see the outcome of this.  

1dad4kids's picture

The judge at the pretrial conference basically said if we start taking the full household income of DH, then we're doing the same for BM. Since BM's DH has already made double this year that we made, she is not interested in that. Although that will be a decision for the chambers judge