My ex makes a lot of money now. Are the kids or I entitled to any?
QUESTION: My ex, when we were going through the divorce, never once provided us with his financial declaration. I know he earns $132K a year, as he sent me an email during our divorce about it, because he thought I would come back to him when I saw how much money he earns. He was wrong. My daughter turns 18 at the end of 2017 and her child support will stop despite her living at home after that and attending college. She will not be able to afford to support herself completely and I will not be able to afford her completely either. Our divorce decree states that child support ends when she turns 18 or graduates whichever is sooner, but in all honesty as a single mom with a 13 year old at home too, I need him to continue paying me for her. Is this possible? How do we force him to provide his financial declaration when we redo the child support calculation for my son? He has spent four years boasting about the bonuses he gets all the time from his work and I want them to be taken into consideration when the new child support amount is calculated. I am getting alimony and am not asking for more despite knowing that he can afford to give me more. What should I do?
ANSWER: This is a two-part question, so I will answer it in two parts:
The 18-year-old “child”. Unless your 18-year-old is disabled or your decree provides for the parents to pay for college or some other kind(s) of support after the child legally emancipates, you are out of luck when it comes to asking a court to continue child support beyond 18 and her graduation from high school. I could lie to you and claim that there is hope, but I don’t realistically see any. Not even close.
But if you based child support on an income for your ex that was inaccurate (and inaccurate to your ex’s advantage), you can and (it seems to me) you should seek a modification of child support to ensure the child gets the support he deserves from his father. If your attorney does not know how to get a hold of Dad’s accurate and complete income information, get a new lawyer. Getting that income information is relatively easy. Court rules require him to provide it to the court, not just to you. If he’s deceptive and evasive with the court, the court should have a big problem with that in its own right.
As to whether you can get your hands on any of your ex’s post-divorce increased income: in theory, yes, but practically speaking, I don’t think so. If you were stricken with terminal cancer (or a similar crisis) and had crushing expenses as a result, you might persuade a court to increase and/or extend alimony, if your spouse were shown able to bear that increase. This is known as an “extenuating circumstance” basis for increasing alimony post-decree. As you might imagine, the bar for making a successful argument for this is (and rightly so) very high.
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