Court ordered child support was unreasonable & unattainable for me.
by John C Wright
Response follows story
In 1991 in an uncontested divorce (I was not present) the NY State Judge issued a court order for me to pay $746.00 a week in child support. (Yes, that's a week!) Furthermore, it is for 1 (that's one) kid. (One lady at the NY State Child Support Enforcement Office, told me that only P Diddy had been ordered to pay more child support then I, and his was $5,000 a month, while mine amounts to $3,232. and he makes $millions a year.)
Fact is, I have never made enough (with payroll deductions ie: taxes, insurance, etc.) to take home $746.00 a week, and therefore was never able to pay $746.00 a week in child support. (This amount is far greater then the 17% of income called for in the NYState child support guidelines.) However, the NY State Child Support had my employer take 50% of my check, and since I always had one employer... half my income has always gone to child support now for 20 years. I never quit my job or tried to run and hide, I learned to live on less.
Problem is however, while my kid is now 30 years old, (and has in fact spent more time with me then his Mom, I am still paying 50% of my check toward "arrears". My kid would gladly stop the arrears payments, but only his Mom who remarried 19 years ago, can do that - and of course, she's not about to do that.
I am now 63 and just received notice I will NOT be returning to my teaching job next year due to budget cuts, and I simply can not live on my retirement, as it too will have 50% deducted until my total arrears which now with 20 years of accumulated interest on the unpaid balance which is charged by NY State Child Support Office, it makes my arrears amount to more then $500,000.
So, if anyone can help me, needless to say, I would greatly appreciate that.
If you're not an attorney, and can't help, then I would like to make these suggestions:
Don't get married. If you do get married, don't have kids. If you do have kids, don't get a divorce. If you do get a divorce, get a lawyer. And whatever you do, never assume someone will
do the "right thing" simply because it is the right thing to do.
Furthermore, it is true, an untold amount of legal aid, resources and support is freely available to the Mother, (and I believe that should be the case). . . but NOTHING, no not ANYTHING or ANYBODY will help the Dad in these cases. If you complain or can't make payments (even as bad as you want to) you are a Deadbeat Dad and everyone just assumes you are the lowest of life on the planet. There should be more help for Dads.
As for me, since I'm 63 and loosing my teaching job at the end of this school year, my plan is to report to the NY State Office of Child Support and tell them I'm unemployed and can't pay. Hopefully, they will put me in jail. That way at least, I can spend my retirement years with a roof over my head, 3 square meals a day, and free medical.
Hello John and thanks for sharing your story.
You demonstrate some extremely valid points and wisdom from someone who has been there.
No matter how agreeable somone is "at the time", as you said, don't expect them to "do the right thing" - particularly down the road. And again, as you said, it is better to "get a lawyer". Yes, it costs up front, but generally saves in the long run.
John, you have very clearly described your situation, which is often a challenge to many people. I find it difficult to believe that a good (not expensive, just good) lawyer in your area of New York cannot help you get this child support order revised. I'm sure New York has much better ways to utilize a teacher than in jail as you suggest. There has to be other options.
At least get free - yes, free quotes from some of the best and brightest in your area. Just copy and paste the great description of your case that you've written above in the Legal Match form at the link below. Attorneys in your area that are interested will email you back. See what they say. It's a good place to start and it'll cost you a "copy and paste" and a minute. Need a Family Lawyer?
Good luck and send us an update if possible.