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Author Topic: Questions regarding financial affidavit  (Read 1191 times)

annemichellesdad

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Questions regarding financial affidavit
« on: Oct 18, 2006, 10:12:29 AM »
Hello Soc.

These questions regard the submission of financial affidavits in regards to child support proceedings. The state is Georgia.

On the morning of May 13, 2003, the mother and I appeared in court together for our first child support hearing (her petition). She had also asked for attorneys fee. At the time, she lived with her father and stepmother.Moments before the judge walked in, she handed me a financial affidavit. I had submitted one to her some 4 weeks earlier. The judge reviewed both affidavits. A temporary order was granted that day, ordering me to pay her $300 per month plus half insurance. After another hearing three months later, the unchanged final order was entered. (He did NOT award attorney fees.)

Eighteen months later, mother filed for contempt against me alleging that I had not paid CS for three months. Again, she was seeking attorney fees in addition to the alleged arrearage. We went to court and, in CHAMBERS, I presented three envelopes to the judge, all postmarked, showing that the checks had indeed been mailed but had been RETURNED TO SENDER because she had taken the child and moved away and her forwarding service with the post office had expired. She had failed to inform either me or the court of her new address. (She had continued to arrange pickups/dropoffs at the old house in order to maintain a ruse that she had not moved.) I was prepared to hand over the checks to her immediately and call it quits, but she didn't want to back down on the attorney fees, claiming that she wasn't responsible for the postal service's mistakes. Personally, I found that argument absurd, but I was genuinely trying to foster amicable relations in a deteriorating relationship for the sake of our child. I told the judge that I would AGREE to pay half of her attorney fees in the action as a gesture of good will. The amount that I paid to her was $750. During these proceedings neither of us submitted a financial affidavit. My financial situation had not changed since the proceedings eighteen months earlier, and I assumed hers had not, as well, especially since she had not changed employment.

Months later, she filed yet another contempt charge (groundless... she's just addicted to litigation) and asked for attorney fees.  At this point, I viewed her conduct as simply harassment, so I decided to at least not make it easy for her. In Georgia, attorney fees are discretionary, and as such, the person asking for them is subject to financial discovery. Accordingly, I submitted a lengthy discovery request for bank records, credit card statements, and all sorts of things. To my surprise, rather than retaliate, she dismissed the motion altogether.

About six months later, I bumped into her stepmother in public one day and we small talked. During that time, I learned that she was divorcing my ex's father. We stayed in touch after that by email, keeping each other informed about our cases.

A few months ago, her stepmother and I bumped into each other and public and started talking. Naturally, we talked about our respective cases. As we talked, however, we started seeing some things which caused us concern. She had filed for divorce on May 3, about ten days prior to my initial hearing. Between the 5th and the 13th, there were six separate attempts to serve him at his home (where, at the time, my ex also lived). Again, my hearing was on the 13th. On the morning of May 14th, he transferred all of the marital property, including the house, to my ex. He also transferred all stock in his privately held real estate corporation to her.  As a result of these transfers, Ed was able to appear in court and claim that he had no assets whatsoever (except an old car, clothes, and a computer).  Just hours after transferring these assets, he was finally successfully served.


1 - Was my ex under an obligation to inform the court (and me) of her substantially changed financial circumstances, which occured less than 24 hours subsequent to the temporary support hearing and three months prior the hearing in which a final order was issued?

2 - If so, were we each under continued obligation to during the contempt proceeding to keep the court and each other informed? Neither of us specifically requested any discovery. Again, I assumed her financial status had not changed.

3 - Had I known that her financial situation had so SUBSTANTIALLY changed, I may not have AGREED to pay half of her attorney fees. Does her failure to inform me and the court of these substantial changes in her financial status since the last time she submitted an affidavit constitute FRAUD? And, as such, are there grounds for demanding that they be returned?

I should point out that in the divorce hearing between her father and stepmother, the judge actually declared the corporation ILLEGITIMATE, saying that it clearly existed purely for the purpose of maintaining his own personal expenses. I am unsure how that affects my ex as sole shareholder, but thought it worthy of mention. The house, however, is still in her name (and actually up for sale at the moment) and is valued at around $400,000.

Other things of note which may or may not be relevant: 1) My ex, acting as Chief Financial Officer of the corporation, wrote checks to her father from the corporate over a period of two years (and during her contempt proceedings) totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars. On them, they allege that the purpose of the check is for a "loan repayment", yet no record has been produced in the divorce proceedings discovery reflecting any loans from him to the corporation. 2) The account reflects no other activity whatsoever except the annual corporate renewel and filing fee to the Secretary of State's office. 3) Although she is admitted by her father as the corporation's "sole shareholder", the corporation (or her father) has not filed an income tax return since 1993. Thus, it is difficult to ascertain the true financial worth or activity of the corporation. 4) The stepmother has filed a lis pendens on the house

Clearly, this is a case of two people attempting to conceal assets from two different court proceedings. Thus, any other insights you may offer would be appreciated!

Thank you!




socrateaser

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RE: Questions regarding financial affidavit
« Reply #1 on: Oct 18, 2006, 02:01:49 PM »
>1 - Was my ex under an obligation to inform the court (and me)
>of her substantially changed financial circumstances, which
>occured less than 24 hours subsequent to the temporary support
>hearing and three months prior the hearing in which a final
>order was issued?

Yes. Discover rules require parties to keep each other updated as to any material changes in facts.
>
>2 - If so, were we each under continued obligation to during
>the contempt proceeding to keep the court and each other
>informed? Neither of us specifically requested any discovery.
>Again, I assumed her financial status had not changed.

No, not unless you asked for discovery. Parties have a duty to use the discovery tools to diligently obtain relevant evidence. Failure of a party to disclose what could reasonably have been discovered by the other party, is called "intrinsic fraud."

Unfortunately, only "extrinsic fraud" is actionable, i.e., fraud which could not be reasonably discovered via diligent use of the discovery tools.

>
>3 - Had I known that her financial situation had so
>SUBSTANTIALLY changed, I may not have AGREED to pay half of
>her attorney fees. Does her failure to inform me and the court
>of these substantial changes in her financial status since the
>last time she submitted an affidavit constitute FRAUD? And, as
>such, are there grounds for demanding that they be returned?

See #2 above.

 

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