>1. As a pro se in this case, should I pick and choose what to
>answer (i.e. if I don't think it's relevant or *helpful* to my
>case, should I ignore it, or should I make an effort to be as
>transparent as possible)? (I don't feel I have anything to
>hide, but I also don't want to shoot myself in the foot by
>giving them more info then they need.)
You must answer every question, unless privileged by some rule of evidence or constitutional right.
In addition, if you do not know an answer, then you can state that "I do not have sufficient information to answer the question."
You may also state that "I do not understand the question," assuming that you don't reasonably understand what is being asked of you.
Finally, you can answer, "I object to the question as too broad, overreaching and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence," if the question is not only irrelevant, but that your answer is not even reasonably likely to lead to any relevant information. This last answer is the sort of thing that is almost certain to get the other attorney to file a motion to compel discovery, if you use it in a frivolous manner, so be careful about using it unless you are able to explain to the judge as to why this question is entirely without merit.
>2. Some of the information I want to get from them in the
>interrogatory I will send him is if he/his wife have other
>bank accounts then the (depleted) one he's reported (and their
>balance). I also want to find his wife's income
>(relevant--shows his ability to pay since he is unemployed
>student). Suggestions on how to do this? Interrogatory?
Let me start by stating that I don't know whether or not the new spouse's income is a factor that the court may use to calculate ability to pay. There are frequently a number of other factors that must be met before a judge will find that a person is deliberately underemploying themselves and is relying on a new spouse's income. So, it may NOT be relevant or even "reasonably calculated," which makes it very difficult for me to tell you how to get the info.
Most husbands/wives know about their partner's employment, so you should ask your ex directly in an interrogatory, and see what response you get. Then if that doesn't get what you need, you may need to subpoena the other spouse. However, be advised that there is a marital privilege that prevents a spouse from testifying against his/her partner against the wishes of the party spouse, if the question concerns communication between spouses taking place during a valid marriage. So, if the husband says "I don't know," then you will not be able to obtain the info from the other spouse.
You can, however, subpoena the other spouse's employer, and you can the right to subpoena the other party's tax returns, because they are not testimonial evidence. So, if the returns are jointly filed, then you can get them with a discovery request. However, if they are "married filed separately" tax returns, then you must subpoena the records from the non-party spouse. Then we get into an argument that by producing the returns, you are forcing what, but for the other party's obligation to file a tax return, would be unavailable as privileged as testimonial marital privileged information. So, it ain't cut and dried, and a lot of it depends on specific evidence law of your jurisdiction, and I don't practice WA law, and I haven't investigated this issue (and I don't have time).
I would simply start asking and see what objections you get back, and then take it from there.
>3. Any suggestions on how best to frame my argument that the
>court should impute his income at demonstrated earning
>capacity? Or, failing that (since army income might be viewed
>as non-replicable), that they should take into account his
>education and experience level and impute it higher than the
>state average for his age?
You can ask the court to order the person to submit to a vocational evaluation with an expert. You can also just show evidence of jobs from the classifieds or online sources for work that the other party has previously done, and then ask that the court either impute earning capacity or order the other party to "seek" work comensurate with their apparent earning capacity, and then regularly report to the court on progress.
It's tough to prove that the other person can earn more, when it's a borderline case. Imputing income is more useful when there is an obvious and gross disparity between a person's actual income and their past demonstrated earning capacity. You need to try to make your case "obvious" to the court, assuming that it is obvious. Example:
If the other person has $100,000 in their checking account, merely because they don't efficiently manage their money, and you know that there is a savings account with instant access for deposits and withdrawals, that pays an FDIC insured 3.5% interest, then it is "obvious" that the person could be earning money on at least $90,000 without any risk to either their assets or money management requirements (unless they routinely write $10,000 per month in checks).
So, this extra income is clearly imputable, because it's unreasonable to not take money that is lying out on the table.
>4. How sympathetic have courts been , in your experience, to
>imputing an NCP's income at a lower amount than actual earning
>capacity when NCP is pursuing a degree? (Does it make a
>difference if it's a second bachelors degree?)
My experience is that the court is more sympathetic to a situation where the child is younger than older, because there is a longer period of child support
to which more education may be applied. If the child is 17, and the parent is looking for a new degree when they're 50 years old and have been working in their profession for the past 25, then the court will probably say, "That's nice...go to school if you want, but keep paying support at the imputed rate."
>5. Would recent large purchases ($22K cash for a car) have any
>real bearing on how the court viewed his ability to pay? (I
>know it wouldn't legally--but dang, that's a heck of a cash
>layout when he's anticpating 'student poverty'.)
Support is about income not assets. Now, if the person buys a $150K Mercedes for cash and earns $25K per year, then that will likely raise the court's eyebrows. But, $22K for a motor vehicle is about average these days, so the question is, where did the $22K come from, and is it reflected by the person's earning capacity? Cause if it's not, then like with the Mercedes, the court will start disbelieving the assertions of the payor parent about his/her income, where spending far exceeds actual earnings.
>6. To the best of your knowledge, will my having another child
>to support (mine and my husband's), have any bearing on the
>determiniation of CS?
No. The paying parent has no obligation for a child not his own, legally. You chose to have another child with another partner, so it's your problem to support that child.
>7. Can you give me suggestions (other than go to the local law
>library, which I'll do) on how to search law, administrative
>code and case law releavnt to issues of imputed income, and
>in-kind income (since a significant minority of his army
>income could be viewed as in-kind)?http://www.salary.com