05-02-2012, 10:08 PM #1
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Need to be pointed in the right direction. Any help would be appreciated.
Jurisdiction / State: Michigan
I reside in Michigan. I have been divorced since Aug 2010 and have 2 children (Joint Legal Custody, Physical Custody to me) I receive no Child Support, provide the Health/Dentaln Insurance for us and in the divorce decree it states that my ex will pay half of the cost of Doctors visits/care for the children. My ex has not worked since Feb 20, because of his own health reasons and is currently waiting on a decision from SSI/Disability as well as DHS as to when/if his case will be addressed and he may receive support from the State/Government. I have several problems. I have asked him several times for money for the childrens bills as ordered and I have not received a dime in over a year. What can I do about that? I have already filed Bankrupcy because of this guy and now he wont follow the order. Also, last night he informed me that he would be taking in a "roommate" to help pay his bills at his home. Yep, that's right a male "roommate". He lives in a 2 BR apartment. I asked about the sleeping arrangements when the children have scheduled parenting time....his reply was "Not Sure Exactly".....I have not done any backround on the new "roommate" however I believe that he does not know this person well (like only 4-6 weeks of talking over Facebook and texts. A few in-house visits) and my fear is that the "roommate" is some type of criminal/has a record. Is there anything that I can do to limit/restrict the ex's parenting time?? Also, my ex is very explosive....that among many other things is why I left him with the kids. I have had a PPO against him in the past (during the divorce) but that has expired. I went to my county courthouse today to ask questions but that is like getting a straight answer from a kid....they just talked in circles. I need real help.
05-02-2012, 10:34 PM #2
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First let's take the financial aspect. You can take him back to court and try to have him held in contempt for non-payment. This may or may not happen. Given that he has a disability case going on, the court may be more lenient with him than they would ordinarily. Or , you can try to sue him in small claims (if you've paid the full amount) for reimbursement.
Second, the room-mate.
It's honestly - in the eyes of the court - none of your business unless you can prove that this person is a threat to the children. If Dad has spent several weeks talking to this person and wants to help him out, that's up to him - the courts will trust his judgment, just as they trusted yours when you decided that Dad was good Dad material
I see no reason at all for restricting parenting time. There's no emergency and your children are not in any danger.
So, if you have a court order for parenting time and you refuse without a darn good reason (and I mean an emergency - not that you don't know/like the new roomie), you can find yourself held in contempt.
If you do it often enough - you can lose custody to Dad.
By the way, the court employees are not allowed to answer legal questions.
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05-03-2012, 03:10 AM #3
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OP, Proserpina has dispensed some excellent information.
So, I will only add that IF your "ex" does eventually get disability benefits, you likely will get paid.
But, it might be a drastically reduced amount.
Why, do I say that?
Well, social security (SSI) payments are often untouchable, as far as child support goes.
This excerpt from a well written article explains it well.
Even if he were to receive SS payments, his obligation would likely be adjusted downward.
Either way, this would be considered a significant change in circumstances.
By the way, this article was written by a Michigan attorney.
1) The child support may go DOWN but itís not going to go away
Ok, letís get it poppin! Under Family Law for most states, a person who is required to pay child support may be able to petition the court to reduce their child support obligation based on a material change in circumstances. In other words, if their obligation to pay was based on a certain financial calculation at the time they were working, they may be able to lower their payment if certain circumstances arises that prevents that from being able to pay that amount. Iím pretty sure a disability determination by a Federal agency may be helpful. HOWEVER, just because youíre on disability doesnít mean that you NO LONGER have to pay child support. The clock still runs and as long as youíre receiving benefits, you are still on the hook to satisfy your obligation. It may be lower but you still have to pay.
2) DIB may be garnished
When you worked and paid into the system, you earned quarters of coverage which allows the Federal Government to pay you based on your earnings. As a result, if you are on disability, you may be able to draw money per month based on your earnings. As a result, most state Department of Revenues have relationships with the Social Security Administration which permits them the ability to garnish a percentage of your disability to satisfy your child support obligation.
3) SSI might not
Most people donít understand that Supplemental Security Income is a NEED BASED program (in other words, a welfare program). As a result, when you apply, you usually a) donít have enough quarters of coverage from your own earnings, b) are disabled, and c) are so poor that you need the monetary assistance to survive. In some instances, child support agencies may not be able to get at disability benefits because this program is need based.
5) You gotta be ON disability in order to get it done
People think that as long as they are APPLYING for Social Security Disability benefits that they donít have to pay their child support. First, this almost never works because most judges arenít moved by an application for Social Security or a letter from your representatives saying that are applying (some judges are sympathetic. Be happy if you got one). Second, until you have a determination from SSA that says you are disabled, the courts may not be sympathetic until you get a decision. Finally, the decision takes so long that the family court is not going to sit there and wait for you to be approved or denied.
6) The Family allowance is not to cover your child support debt (DIB)
Under the DIB program, if you have kids, you may receive an additional amount of money for your children. However, this extra amount of money is not amount to satisfy your child support debt. Sometimes, people think that this extra money goes towards that obligation. One, the extra money goes where your child is. Two, the extra money is NOT designed to cover your support obligation. Three, you are STILL responsible for child support.
7) You have no choice. The Government will take your money if you owe child support.
If you are on the DIB program, the State will garnish a percentage of your money. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you have NO say so in the matter. You can appeal and tell them that you need to lower the percentage (good luck with that) but the reality is that states and the federal government have a relationship to ensure that you satisfy the obligation.
Child Support and Social Security can sometimes work funny with each other. However, the reality is that the Child Support obligation doesnít go away just because the person is on disability. However, SSI programs are for those people who really NEED money because they are financially destitute so there is no guarantee that those funds may be garnished. Disability may not exempt you from your obligation, however, the program you fall under may impact the childís ability to receive it.
Last edited by army judge; 05-03-2012 at 03:14 AM.
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