Family Court: Promoting Hostility?
To be honest, the family court system served me pretty well throughout my divorce. Everything went smoothly and efficiently. Tyler and I were able to do everything without lawyers, and we ended our marriage on relatively good terms.
We’re having a little bit of an issue with the system now, though. And the issue is with child support.
I try to avoid talking about money and child support on my blog, especially because it appears to get people worked up if I talk about how cash-poor I am these days. (I mean listen, I may technically be a dentist, but for now and the immediate future, I’m basically one missed child support payment away from switching to “the family cloth” (google it), okay people?) But this topic doesn’t exactly have to do with money, so I’m going for it.
I’m not a fan of how the system forces everything to be so hostile. Here’s the story: when we got divorced, I was still in school, so I had no income, and I filed for child support accordingly… with the mutual understanding between Tyler and I that we would modify the order to reduce his payments once I started residency and started making a little bit of money. (It isn’t fair now that I have a job, of course, for him to continue paying as much as he did when I had no income at all.) Now that time has come, so we went to see what we had to do to make that happen.
We figured we’d just re-do the calculations and have the order modified. But oh, no. Apparently not. Apparently he has to sue me for the modification, pay a fee, pay to have me served with papers by a state marshal, and both of us have to go back to court. It’s L, Tyler v. L, Julia all over again. And then, next July when I get a “real” job, my income will change again, so he’d have to sue me again.
I mean really, Connecticut? This is nobody versus anybody. This is two parents, who have struggled enough in the past to civilly co-parent their child, working together to figure out who is financially responsible for what, and for how much. Yes, I do understand that all of this is supposed to promote fairness, objectivity, and equality for both parties. But when it comes to family cases, there is already enough discord between the parties, and it’s so important for the children involved that things stay civil and friendly… why is it set up this way?
We have worked so hard to develop a coparenting relationship, and now we have to take a step backwards with something that is a simple, straightforward calculation? Can’t there be a way for us to fill out the requisite paperwork and file for the order to be granted without having a lawsuit involved?
So we are going to do our best to calculate it on our own, outside of court. We’ll come to an agreement on a new amount. There won’t be any documentation, but I think I can be counted on to be mature enough not to go running to Support Enforcement Services about how he’s legally required to be paying me x and is only paying me y. He might not be my favorite person, but I’m not out to screw him– I just want him to financially support his child in an appropriate manner, in accordance with his income and mine. And in that respect, we are 100% on the same page.
With all of that said, it is encouraging that we both feel the same way about it, and are willing to come together and figure it out all on our own, for our daughter’s benefit. The system might have to be set up in a way that promotes hostility, but fortunately, that doesn’t mean we have to operate that way.Add a Comment