Dad wants daughter in college, not Army.


            Posted on Aug 31,2014      

            Dad wants daughter in college, not Army. 

Q.    When I got divorced, our two children lived primarily with my now ex-husband. I agreed to pay him $100 a week in child support.  Five years ago our daughter, then age 12, moved in with me.  At that time, my ex and I had about the same income. So we signed an agreement that neither of us would pay child support to the other.

Now our daughter wants to go into the army for a few years and then consider college.  My ex wants her to go to college. He threatens if I let her go into the army he'll sue me for contempt because I stopped paying child support.

I think he is wrong because we agreed I could stop.  But, before I waste a lot of money fighting him, I want to be sure.

 C.C. (Wrentham)

A.      In order to be valid, an agreement to modify child support must be approved by and incorporated into a probate court judgment.

By statute and case law, the judge has no power to retroactively modify the order back to when you signed that agreement. When you signed, you two could have filed your own joint complaint for modification to have your agreement incorporated into a Judgment of Modification. By not doing that, you left yourself open to being ordered to pay him $26,000 ($100 x 52 x 5 years) in back support.

Just because you fell into what was, until now, an unknown legal trap, doesn't mean your ex has to leave you stuck there.  Ask your ex to talk with your daughter so he can try to convince her not to now go in the army. Maybe she'll convince him this is her decision over which he has no control and that "you shouldn't blame mom"�. That may cool his desire to file a contempt against you. If not, ask your ex to let you start to pay $100 a week into an account that would be used to help your daughter pay for college once she gets out of the army.  

If that doesn't work you need to immediately file a complaint for modification, get the summons from the court and promptly serve your ex with a copy of the complaint and a motion to end your child support obligation retroactive to the date of his being served. That should stop the bleeding. And by filing your complaint first you might avoid a judge ordering you to pay your ex's legal fees on his complaint for contempt.

At some point in time could it be your ex will figure out his daughter has his personality?