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Is it worth it to get an attorney?

Posted by on Jan. 5, 2014 at 10:54 AM
  • 52 Replies

Brief background: BM and DH settled things outside of the courts when they divorced 7 years ago. Custody is 60/40. DH has been paying CS directly to BM all these years until BM recently opened a case with CS office and is now requesting a review.

In the divorce:

BM got: 1/2 of DH's retirement, $900/mo child support, the house, and claims all 3 kids on taxes every year.

DH got: he was supposed to get 1/2 of the house equity but there wasn't any at the time.

DH recently received all the papers each party had submitted to the attorney reviewing them. The attorney had requested the most recent 3 months pay stubs (which would've been Oct, Nov, Dec) and past 2 years tax returns. 

BM conveniently submitted old paystubs for July, Aug, Sept, because she's a teacher and her income goes up at the start of each school year (Sept), and also claimed she has 80% custody because she broke it down in hours and included all the hours the kids are in school. (The state looks at overnights - DH has 149 overnights, so we're not worried about that part). She also submitted a financial worksheet stating that her monthly expenses come to $5000 a month, but when DH calculated the numbers, there was a $1400 discrepancy unaccounted for.

The point is, she will obviously fight dirty in this. The hearing is set for Feb 4. The base calculation without accounting for any deviations is that DH would have to pay $1455/mo (that's before taking into consideration the custody situation). Our landlord is a family law attorney. Should DH ask him to represent him in this case? And if so, how much does that usually cost?  

DH and I keep our finances separate, but both of us live pretty much paycheck to paycheck. DH generally can't afford the $900/mo as it is without having to use his credit cards every month. So he definitely couldn't afford more. So I'm wondering if this would be one of those cases where an attorney could be beneficial?

by on Jan. 5, 2014 at 10:54 AM
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Replies (1-10):
thecircus8
by Silver Member on Jan. 5, 2014 at 10:59 AM
2 moms liked this
There is a difference between fighting fire with fire and fighting dirty. I would get a lawyer, personally. It sounds like she wants to screw y'all. As a BM myself I don't get it... but in order for you guys to survive you make have to fight!
runinpinkshoes
by Silver Member on Jan. 5, 2014 at 11:03 AM

I'm not a BM, but as a human being, I don't get it either. The kids would be the ones to suffer if she got more from him.

Do you have any idea how much an attorney would cost though? DH is meeting with him Monday morning to ask a few questions, so he could ask him then. I'm just trying to get some ideas.

Do you think having an attorney would actually affect the end decision? Or is it more black and white math, like, here's what you owe based on these numbers.

Quoting thecircus8: There is a difference between fighting fire with fire and fighting dirty. I would get a lawyer, personally. It sounds like she wants to screw y'all. As a BM myself I don't get it... but in order for you guys to survive you make have to fight!


thecircus8
by Silver Member on Jan. 5, 2014 at 11:10 AM
1 mom liked this
Well DH lawyer is a shark. We just paid him almost 3000 dollars, on the credit cars. But I.do think that a lawyer could help. At least make BM account for the missing 1400 and use the most recent pay stubs. On the other hand, if you have a halfway decent caseworker they would spot the discrepancies. Are y'all going to court or is it a paperwork type thing?

And yep it only hurts the kids in the long run. My ex pays 400 a month, and when he starts his new job this summer he is going to double it. I didn't ask. He just is, and he isn't court ordered to pay at all. Because of him living in another state. I could go through federal CSE, there's just no need.

Quoting runinpinkshoes:

I'm not a BM, but as a human being, I don't get it either. The kids would be the ones to suffer if she got more from him.

Do you have any idea how much an attorney would cost though? DH is meeting with him Monday morning to ask a few questions, so he could ask him then. I'm just trying to get some ideas.

Do you think having an attorney would actually affect the end decision? Or is it more black and white math, like, here's what you owe based on these numbers.

Quoting thecircus8: There is a difference between fighting fire with fire and fighting dirty. I would get a lawyer, personally. It sounds like she wants to screw y'all. As a BM myself I don't get it... but in order for you guys to survive you make have to fight!


Annawest
by Bronze Member on Jan. 5, 2014 at 11:10 AM
1 mom liked this

My retainer was 1400 dollars.  That was for my entire divorce.  I would find it somehow to pay for a retainer.  You might be able to find a lawyer that will let you make payments to them. 

The attorney would be able to ask for the recent paystubs, why is there this 1400 dollar discrepancy, etc.  It will help take the stress away from you guys.  In my state, it's black and white, but my ex wasn't trying to screw me over either.

runinpinkshoes
by Silver Member on Jan. 5, 2014 at 11:15 AM

I'm not sure - there's just a hearing on Feb 4th where each party can argue their case and a judgement will be made. 

Quoting thecircus8: Well DH lawyer is a shark. We just paid him almost 3000 dollars, on the credit cars. But I.do think that a lawyer could help. At least make BM account for the missing 1400 and use the most recent pay stubs. On the other hand, if you have a halfway decent caseworker they would spot the discrepancies. Are y'all going to court or is it a paperwork type thing?

And yep it only hurts the kids in the long run. My ex pays 400 a month, and when he starts his new job this summer he is going to double it. I didn't ask. He just is, and he isn't court ordered to pay at all. Because of him living in another state. I could go through federal CSE, there's just no need.
progressandjoy
by Silver Member on Jan. 5, 2014 at 11:25 AM

 

We looked into getting a lawyer. The cost was between $2000 - $3500, but we anticipated a full blown custody battle. Fortunately, BM didn't really have the money to take us to court – so we've been able to start saving for the inevitable.


Personally, I think I'd feel more comfortable and confident with a lawyer. DH can be a hothead when it comes to BM, so we'd need someone that can remain calm and articulate.

zannahdeux
by Silver Member on Jan. 5, 2014 at 11:30 AM

The court will most likely ask her to submit the most recent pay stubs and if they don't you should be able to request this. They do look at overnights and you are over the 103 mark so you will be ok. I am not sure it is worth a lawyer as it is a pure calculation. What they both got in the divorce unfortunately will not effect the calculation or a judge. Who pays for health care? 

By law either of you can request a cs review every two years so she is within her right to ask for this...good luck

runinpinkshoes
by Silver Member on Jan. 5, 2014 at 11:33 AM
Okay, that helps to know, that it's a pure calculation, thanks.

DH pays for healthcare.

As for her opening a case and requesting a review, that part is fine. It's the way she's misrepresenting her financial situation that seems shady and makes us nervous.

Quoting zannahdeux:

The court will most likely ask her to submit the most recent pay stubs and if they don't you should be able to request this. They do look at overnights and you are over the 103 mark so you will be ok. I am not sure it is worth a lawyer as it is a pure calculation. What they both got in the divorce unfortunately will not effect the calculation or a judge. Who pays for health care? 

By law either of you can request a cs review every two years so she is within her right to ask for this...good luck

thecircus8
by Silver Member on Jan. 5, 2014 at 11:35 AM
I would def get a lawyer, if you are going before a judge.

Quoting runinpinkshoes:

I'm not sure - there's just a hearing on Feb 4th where each party can argue their case and a judgement will be made. 

Quoting thecircus8: Well DH lawyer is a shark. We just paid him almost 3000 dollars, on the credit cars. But I.do think that a lawyer could help. At least make BM account for the missing 1400 and use the most recent pay stubs. On the other hand, if you have a halfway decent caseworker they would spot the discrepancies. Are y'all going to court or is it a paperwork type thing?



And yep it only hurts the kids in the long run. My ex pays 400 a month, and when he starts his new job this summer he is going to double it. I didn't ask. He just is, and he isn't court ordered to pay at all. Because of him living in another state. I could go through federal CSE, there's just no need.
DesertFlower197
by on Jan. 5, 2014 at 11:54 AM
1 mom liked this

I fight in court for child support all the time without an attorney. I'm in CA. The judges don't look to closely at the income and expense docs. They also don't say a word when they request the most recent check stubs and two years of tax returns.  My ex supplies nothing and absolutely nothing happens to him. Ever.  I have also proven he uses an alias and/or fake social security number. Nothing ever happens and he owes tens of thousands in back child support and he isn't put in jail.  I'm not telling you that you don't need an attorney, but, bottom line is the paperwork can usually be found on line on the court website, and the judge puts the numbers (income from both parties) into the disso master and out comes the guideline child support amount.

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