childsupport to leverage parenting time


            Posted on Feb 08,2015

            Use child support to leverage parenting time.

Q. I've been divorced for three years. Our three children, now ages 9, 11, and 12, live with my ex-wife. I'm a self-employed programmer. I pay my ex $2,500 a month child support. The court ordered I have the children with me a minimum of every Thursday, overnight, plus alternate weekends from Thursday after school to Monday back to school, one full week during each July and the first two weeks each August; and alternate holidays.

Since our divorce, my ex has constantly changed my weekly time and cut or refused to give me summer parenting time. She says I need to get a full time job instead of staying home with the kids.

What can I do to ensure I'll get all of my parenting time?

K.L., Paxton

A. You did not say your ex cut your weekly parenting time. If so, prepare a list of each time she changed weekly parenting time, plus all email exchanges on point. If not, then start collecting this material and keep a detailed chart.

After you've got months of documentation, file a complaint for contempt asking the court to enforce the schedule. Expect the judge to give what the court thinks is a stern lecture after which the case will be continued for a few months to see if your ex complies. Most don't comply until they face going to the county jail on civil contempt for a few weeks or weekends.

You need to expect your ex will file a complaint for modification, asking for more child support. So now is the time for you to go on line and use the court calculator to see if you'd have to pay more or less child support. The number that comes up is presumptive, meaning the judge has to impose that as the new child support number. So if you are earning less, your child support should go down. If so, that just might get your ex angrier, don't you think? Thus, if possible, you should offer to keep paying the old amount. If the number is higher, your ex should be happier which, in turn, might lower her incentive to mess with your parenting time.