Welcome to SPARC Forums. Please login or sign up.

Jun 17, 2024, 12:42:08 PM

Login with username, password and session length

Child support modificatin

Started by illogical, Apr 02, 2015, 04:33:30 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


Posts: 1
Karma: 0
View Profile

Child support

« on: Today at 02:19:12 PM »

Hi Everyone I am new to the Forum and would love some help.
I have been divorced for 8 years and have two boys 14 and 16.  I have 50:50 physical /legal and shared custody.
My Ex. is  an Electric engineer with an MBA who has worked for a very reputable company in San Diego for over 27years.  A few days ago she served me the court papers requesting modification and recalculations for more child support because she sates that "says she lost her job".
I already pay $1000 a month for child support plus more than half of all expenses.   I have a good job and work very hard for my accomplishments.  She emailed me 8 months ago to give me a heads up she is retiring.  Her husband send another nasty email 7 months ago  that he can't wait for her to retire so I am forced to pay more  child support and he had his calculation at $3000?  how I don't know!. Her husband holds a high position in the same company and she has had a very good reputation working there.
I really doubt that she lost her job and she is only 53 years of age.
In her exp. declaration she has indicated ZERO for her income and she states she has not  received any unemployment and that she is looking for a job.
I am heading to court next week  and need to argue her intent and earning potential.  I also believe she has gotten early retirement package (not sure she wanted to get early retirement or it was offered to her).
If any of you have had similar case would you please comment on the following:
1.  What are some of the strongest argument one should make to the court? what is the best way to determine  the nature of why she has lost her job?
2.  How can I convince the court about her obligations?
3.  Will the judge grant a court order for me to get the employment files from her company to understand what she was offered
4.  Neither the boys nor her has any special need or medical issue.  What should be communicated to the judge to make my case stronger.


Court should be asking her to bring at least last years taxes with her. She has to prove why there is a change of circumstances with documentation.
Does she have a lawyer?
Ask lawyer or her for copies of her termination papers and unemployment paperwork (that will prove if she is telling the truth).
If she really retired, then copies of that paperwork with pension (her age may have to do with her not collecting until 55 though?).

If she retired early, I would argue, she knew her obligation to the kids and took an early retirement package. That you would be happy to increase custody time if she can not afford them any longer.

Might be worth you to hire a lawyer for court only for this one. Tell lawyer that you want to hire/fire him so you only pay for court appearances and not letters and other stuff back and forth in-between.


Thanks you so much for these very insightful responses.
She does not have a lawyer.  I have a lawyer inexperience but ver eager and does his homework.

Thank you


get to know the California CS calculator and what makes CS  go up and down and play with it.

I believe that "time spent with the children" factors into it AND somehow so does the spouse's income when determining tax bracket....not the income itself.  I might be wrong, but for some reason I remember California calculations not being straight forward like other states and a bit more complicated.


click through to your state.


Thank you for the response.
What would happen if she claimed that her employer forced her into early retirement?  How does California law interpret this and what negative CS consequence will it have for me or her.

I am just hoping that the judge would ask her specific sicumstance to her "losing" her job after 27 years.   I wonder if judge require paper work and if so, I beleive have an excellent chance of holing the current court order without any modification.

She states that her spouse makes 20k / mo and I was always under the impression that spouses income is Irrelavent with regard to my children's and CS.  can someone shed some light and perhaps explain if spouses income is a factor in CS?

My last question is, could she take me to court again next month for more child support if she does not find another job?

Thank you all for your response


This will probably not be done with one hearing especially is she does not have any paperwork with her ( last year taxes, copies of firing and unemployment). Ask for copies of the paperwork if judge does not ask for it. Ask for trail date so you can ask her questions directly under oath. You can also push this off and ask for time to confer with a lawyer and put it off a month. Look up your state child support calculator, some states input spouse income .



I don't remember exactly -- but it has something to do with "net income" vs. gross income available and to get to net income you have to take out taxes....which means the spouses' income helps determine the biological parent's tax obligation.

Oh and is she of "age" and eligibility potentially to retire?  To me, retirement also means she still has income....just now that it's a retirement income.  I was active duty and retired at age 38....and receive income, only it's my retirement, not my normal pay.  I'd ask her to prove it's a retirement and she should be able provide proof.


 thank you for providing great information.
She is 53 year old, and absolutely no information on her retirement, the circumstances and the terms of in which she calls "I lost my Job".
She has also filled out her exp. report with many errors and income omissions (rental property), savings, 401K, 2014 taxes and etc .
The good news might be is that she is representing  herself, I have an attorney to help me with this court schedule.  He is not very experience and I have shared all your recommendation as well as I have researched the Cal. Family code laws to be fully prepared.
I can see this being  contentious, accusatory, she will throw everything at the court, irrelevant and inaccurate information, she will cry, get angry and she is persuasive.  3 years ago she took me to appellate court for a judge ruling and after I spend 20K she lost the case without any hearing.  She has fired as many as 5 lawyers and loves to create confusion with accusations that I don't buy good clothing for my kids, I don't pay for some of the expenses.  The good news is I have receipts and full documentation if I am allowed to defend these claims.

Kitty C.

Sounds like she got fired and doesn't want anyone to know.  May be why she's not able to provide proof.  You might want to ask her for her 'pink slip'.....and see how she reacts.   ;)  JK!
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......


I really doubted that she got fired for the following reason "obviously speculating"
1.  She worked at this very reputable company for 27 years
2.  Her current husband (The person she had an affair with) is a high level director
3.  I have email communication that goes back to 9 months ago alerting me that she is thinking of retirement
4.  about 8 months ago, her husband wrote another email to tell me " I cant wait for her to retire so you are forced to pay 3K/month, and that would be the first your took care of your kids"
5.  I pay $1000 currently and somehow her husband calculated based on her work status I would have to pay 3K
6.  I am guessing she accepted the early retirement package that included severance and that is exactly why she  does want to show any documentation
7.  You really have be blatantly negligent to get fired for a corp. company that you have worked for 27 years


My court date is next Monday.  Speaking to attorney he believes that the judge will set a trial,date since my Ex. Has no proof and no detail explanation as to why she lost her job.

I am wondering why wouldn't the court make a judgment of no change in CS since there is no major drastic circumstance that requires that we should go to trial. 

Wouldn't the jugde ask my Ex to explain what were the details around Losing a job? 
Would the judge require some type of documentation before upholding or modifying the order?


You will probably have a short hearing and the judge will ask a few questions and see if she has documentation to share with the court/you. Your lawyer can even ask her while you are waiting to see if she brought anything. Does ex have lawyer? Sometimes that is easier ...then you do not have to deal with her and a lawyer tells her what she has to do.

At end of hearing, just will say, you must bring xyz to next date and give to other party. At next date (could be another hearing or go straight to trial) she will be given an opportunity to give details of why she needs an upwards modification, using her proof. Your lawyer can counter her with questions regarding the circumstances of her job loss. Some places make you go through a few hearings first to see if you can settle without a trial. Just tell your lawyer to ask for it to go to trial next time so you are not paying for all these hearings....If you want to save money, you can go to this hearing yourself, see what she has, ask for trial date and pay for lawyer for that date only.

Family court has NO common sense.


Thank you Ocean, I love your wisdom and valuable comments.  Your statement about family court is right on.

She does not have a lawyer, I have hired an inexperience attorney who is fresh out of law school but has done a few family court cases and has done his homework.  He charges me $150/hr and he is very reasonable and we know each others family well.

For this hearing my attorney will go with me but if there are subsequent ones before the trail I will appear on my own.

Just to clarify, I will have no problem paying more, I just know my Ex. deceptive and dishonest tactics.   I also want to be prepared and whatever happens as long I am prepared to defend my position, all is good.


Your lawyer can have a dismissal ready to go and depending on what evidence she has, lawyer can ask for it to be dismissed as she does not have proof of change in income /change in circumstance.

Your lawyer can go up to her without you in waiting room and talk and see what she has before you go in. Many people work longer if they have younger kids. Does she have plans on collecting AND getting another job since she is capable of a job? You can prove that she is collecting xxx and then can get a job even min wage for xxx for a total of xxx. Or she could have kept working for xx. There is always that option for your lawyer to say to her "hey, can not afford kids, he can , we can go for a change of custody if you are saying you can not feed them" LOL


Unfortunately, the Judge Did not ask her anything about the circumstance of her losing her job.  When my lawyer asked for proof, my Ex flash a paper with one line.  She insisted that she was fired from her high paying job after27 years.  She claimed she had received one unemployment check in the past 4 month and then the checks stopped. The Jugge run the number based on her incorrect income and exp. filling.   
Based on all this another hearing was set for 3 wks out and the Judge ordered her to submit correct Filling of income and exp.  she had omitted a number of income that we called her on.

I would love some help in the following:
1.  How would I convience the judge for an order to understand circumstance that lead to her losing her job.
2.  I am still convienced that she got early retirement but it appeared it did not matter for the Judge.  Based on her statements and mine my child support would go up 2K starting April 1 once the judge has a chance to review her corrected income and exp form.

3.  The Judge stated that 3 month is not sufficient for her to find another high skill, high paying Job.  How much time is reasonable for an engineer with an MBA?
4.  Let's assume she does not get a job close to what she was making, let's assume it is 50% of what she used to make.  What would the judge use for her income, 50% of earning capacity?
5.  I am thinking of representing myself on the next hearing, I feel with me doing the research and knowing her I call her BS and argue my case
6.  I am thinking of achieving all the related open position for the next court date

7.  How can I legally obtain HR employee files related to her leaving.  I just want to know if truly she was fired

Please send your comments


I think since another hearing was set for 3 weeks down the road.....that's a good sign.

Talk to your attorney about being more "aggressive" in court -- maybe there's a strategy in dealing with your judge that your attorney has experience with because he's in front of the judge all the time that you're not aware of?

I'm not an attorney, but I'm thinking that many of the documents you want to see need to be supboena'd by your attorney in order to add them in as evidence that she's lying.


Thank you for your response. 
I am strongly considering representing myself, I was not too happy that my attorney did not make a huge case for seeing her documents.  And if I have to 3K every month I wna t to set a reasonable time frame for that giving her the opportunity to find a job. 

I found the experience alarming since all Judge wanted to domes run the numbers.  The Judge has given her an oppertunity to correct her mistakes in the income and exp. form before giving a final CS amount (2800-3200).

Here is a question:
Can family court judge give an order to seek employment records that led to her firing?
Will I need to go to other judges to get a subpoena order?

Kitty C.

Your atty. has to file a subpoena for that documentation, since it's YOUR side who is requesting them.  Judges don't do that, as far as I know.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......


I was able to find out through a mutual friend that she indeed got fired.
She worked at Solar Turbines, a great company that you work there for life. Apparently there were multiple layers of complains, disregard for her manger, disrespect of coworkers and etc and precisely why she would change depart every few years.
I also found out based on the number of ys at the company there is a monthly Pension which was also ommitted in the income and exp form
I also found out during the 4 months she was fired she only received one unemoyme check and then an immediate stop on future checks (her statements at the court)
I also found out she had income from 3 rental properties that were also not disclosed in the income and exp. Form

8 years ago when I got divorce she has 900K in home mortgage, in her incom and exp. She showed that her mortgage payment is 259$.  Question is where did she get the funds?
It clear that because her husband makes over 220K per year, hardly any mortgage, income from rental, inheritance and monthly pension plus child support she did not want to be at work and her relationship with her boss was extremely combative.

Major question:  how do I convince the Judge to grant Subpenea for HR documents?
The Judge was truly not interested in hearing any reason or circumstances that led to her termination?
How do I make sure to convince the judge that these information are important ?


The judge is not involved in that, your lawyer would subpoena those records for you. (as far as I know). Why did she only get one unemployment check?

Judge really won't care too much what happened, just who has checks coming in from where to take care of the children. Unless you can prove she deliberately quit to try and make you pay more really nothing more you can do there but...

1. Rental income....at trial ask her about it
2. Mortgage payment- Did she pay off most of the mortgage in the last 8 years? Is she prorating it because she has new husband? Use the divorce info and new paperwork and ask her why the payment is now less than $300.
3. See what paperwork she brings next court date and then ask for trial to move forward.
4. Send her letter (from your lawyer) asking for rental income amounts, copies of last 3 mortgage payments, and copies of unemployment checks to prove income, Ask she send it to you before the court date so you can expedite the next hearing...


I'm also wondering if your attorney can ask that her income be imputed to what it was if she was fired due to her gross negligence on the job -- almost painting the picture that once she married money, her attitude changed and she got herself "fired on purpose" because her new spouse will pay for it all.

your attorney might be able to supeoena (I can't spell that word) the HR department of her previous employer and her personnel records -- and she'll be informed that the information was requested.  THAT might be enough of a threat -- to where she will cave and drop this whole thing -- and it lays the ground work for properly getting this information in front of a judge.

MY EX#2 used that strategy -- listed folks that he thought I'd be afraid of as witnesses -- only I knew he wouldn't actually bring them to court and pay for their airline ticket to come NOR was I afraid of them as witnesses.


Here are some major Challenges that I saw:
1.  The Judge did not care about how and why she lost her job.  She just wanted to arrive at the number and started plugging in the numbers
2. We have incomplete and incorrect  information from my EX. regarding her income and exp. form.   In Ca. my attorney has to first serve my Ex for permission to get the HR documents and if she refuses, we then need to take our case with the Judge. I am afraid of this Judge not showing any interest to determine the nature of her termination
3.  I now know that she was for sure fired, she did not go to work for over a month and told the boys she has decided to take time off.  I have to prove this from her employer HR
4.  I also know she did not get along with her manager and co-works and she change department every 3-4 years, no promotions
5.  I also found out that her company offers monthly Pension to their employees based on years of service.

There is no question in my mind she wanted to retire, but her strategy was to maximize her options to get more child support, prolong court ruling for years before the court finally impute her income, receive unemployment and still secure pension

The question is does she really need to work?  What is the urgency for her to find a position?
1.  Her Husband makes over 220K a year, they have at least 3 rentals, She used to get $1000 in child support from me and now over $3000 based on rough calculations that the judge run
2. Since she was fired she thought she would qualify for unemployment but apparently received only one check and no further checks were issue.  the questions is why, is it because the unemployment agency found out she receive Pension and rental income, is it because she did not go to work and attendance is an issue with the unemployment center

I have done quite a bit of reading, have consulted with attorneys and it all seem to come down to Judge's discretion.  I am prepare to represent myself  but need a compelling story whey the court should approve my request to subpoena her documents. Currently I have an inexperience attorney but next week I will be all on my own. 


The job prob fought and won the unemployment by proving she did not show up at work.

Bottom line, child support is run by numbers. If you can prove more money on her end that will make your number go down (rentals). Do you know where the rentals are? Can you have someone ask them who their landlord is, and where they send their checks? Is the rental under the husband's name only?

Since we are talking a BIG jump in child support, why don't you see an experienced lawyer at least one time to help you and possible go to the next hearing to help you. You can pay a lawyer here for one hour of time and ask them if you can hire them for ONE hearing and see what happens. If you win or get some of the $2000 plus she wants extra it will be worth hiring someone in the long run. Once this gets inputted in court, it will be hard to change.


Ocean -- I think he has an attorney.

Kitty C.

He does, MB....but they're inexperienced.  I agree with Ocean, in that at least one appt. with an experienced atty. might give him a better idea whether he's on the right track.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......


That is correct, I do have an attorney but inexperience.  I will look into an appointment with an experience attorney.
I have been feeding legal information regarding ca. family codes and I am constantly learning and becoming educated on the laws.
My attorney will pick up the Subpoena forms tomorrow and we will be serving my ex. on Friday.  From there she will have 10 days to respond and if contest it then we will need to go to Judge and get her approval before we can ask the her employer for HR information.

I believe I have all the detail about her income, I have gathered all the pertinent information about her rental properties and mortgages.  Interestingly enough from 3 years ago until her last income and exp. form 1.5M has come into that house hold.   Even two years ago they had a 550K mortgage now at zero.  600K was spend for down payment of 3 rental  properties and another 500 K was spend to bring the resident mortgage to zero.

Question is where are the sources of all these cash?
What if she claims these all belong to her husband.  Just to remind you when I got divorced she had over 1M in mortgage for her family residence now it is zero.

I also learned that her employer does award pension?


What would be a logical rejection by the judge for not allowing subpoena documents from my Ex. employer to be examined by me before I prepare my response.

I subpoenaed my Ex. employer for HR documents to the circumstances of her firing.   She had 10 day to object, exactly 2 days before receiving these document she called for Ex-Parte hearing.   Her Ex-Parte motion was rejected but the court asked me not to open the Subpoena document and to bring the sealed envelope to the next court.
The Judge wanted to protect my Ex. in case there are some private information, health and otherwise and therefore she asked me not to open the Subpoena documents. 
There is relevance as to why we need to examine these documents, there is conflicting information and anecdotal references  that indicate she  purposely did not go to work that last two month of 2014 leading to her termination.  There are also clear indication that she wanted to retire as well has no effort to find a job for the past 7 months.

1.  What should I expect from my Ex. in convincing the judge not to allow Subpoena information as part of discovery.  Her argument has been that her HR records are irrelevant, I lost my job and discussing the circumstances is a mute point

2.  Under what circumstances would the judge not allow these documents to be examine by me?


I'm no attorney, but that sounds logical to me.....did you ever find a "more experienced" attorney?

I think I'd consider this a win right now.


Thank you for the response.  I spoke with several attorneys and at the end I chose to represent myself.  What I really needed help with was procedural and a sound strategy.  I got both and was prepared well before I went there. 
I really don't think Experience attorney means much in child Support cases,  if one is willing to read the state laws, case studies, and do some research on line.  I also think much of what happens in court is related to judges discretion since family laws are a lot looser than criminal law.  Most judges don't really care to get to the bottom of things instead they glimpse over the material and quickly , they want to make a decision.  This is precisely why one needs to have a sound and verifiable argument that is aligned with family court laws.  Tactically it is also important when, and how to argue the case. 
By calling several attorneys a common pattern will start to emerge, I also  the ca.  Law library website very helpful for review case studies and papers on the subjects.   

If anyone has experience in court where the judge accepted or rejectied subpoena document on a case where parent 1 was fired after 26 yrs please share.  I want to know what is acceptable and what is not in the eyes of judges. Under what circumstances would the judge reject examining the subpoena ordered.  Again I have the Subpenea documents but the judge asked me not Tom open the documents until the next court date in July.

My strategy is to file a response and make a strong case for to impute my Ex Income on the bases of earning capacity (Electrical Engineer, 26 yrs of industry exp.   MBA, , 53 yrs of age, no health issues).  The employment opportunity is ver high in San Diego given all the high tech, def. contracting, Solar and etc.  I know that because I monitor many job sites and apps for opening. 

Any feedback on electrical engineering market and associated careers in San Diego would be greatly appreciated.