I am currently receiving child support payments from my ex-husband who is on disability. He was ordered to pay $551 per month according to my decree. We have been going to court because he is trying to get the amount lowered because he pays support for 4 others as well, but was not married to the mothers.
Our children are 21 and 19 now, but he owes way over $30 thousand and $24 thousand of that amount is the principle, the other is the interest. His attorney is trying to get it lowered to $50 (can that be lowered that drastically?) because he is on a fixed income and disability.
At the DHS administration hearing I was told that the amount will probably be lowered since my divorce decree was so many years ago. The DHS representative said that although he was ordered to pay the $551.00 when we divorced the guidelines to garnish wages from his disability check are different now. They have, however, been garnishing the current amount from his disability check for the past year.
My question is why or how can it be lowered so drastically? Will I have to get a lawyer to fight this or what can I look into to make sure the change does not occur? Thanks.
By Donna from Tulsa, OK
I don't believe anyone who posts to this board is qualified to answer your question. Laws are different in every state. You really need the advise of an attorney from your state that is familar with your type of problem.
Unless the Social Security laws have drastically changed in very recent years, Social Security Disability can be garnished. I am still receiving back child support from garnishing his disability payments for my son who is now 30. And let me say, I did not live in a big house with a swimming pool. I lived in a 728-square-foot one-bedroom house with my son from his age 6 to 19 and we had no air conditioning until he was 17. We were never able to take vacations or even go to very many movies. I became an expert in finding free things to do in our small town.
My ex-husband always worked "under the table" so as to hide from us and to keep from paying taxes, etc. It was when my son's father went on Social Security Disability that we were finally notified that he had been found. I had registered with our local Missouri Support Enforcement Unit, but unless you are actually on welfare, locating non-supporting fathers is very low priority with them. I was never on welfare, my salary was always barely above the income limits.
Before hiring a lawyer, talk to your Social Security office first, it will probably require an actual visit. You probably won't even need a lawyer. They will tell you the documents you will need. Good luck!
None of us can really answer that. I know you would like that back support, but then on the other hand, if you would have to hire a lawyer would it be worth it. From what I have always heard, the first kids born to a person gets more support, than later ones, but I don't know if that is right or not. The person that is paying support should be smart enough to not have more kids than they can afford to support.
Ditto on talking to an attorney but the main question you need to ask yourself is if it's worth your expense, time and headache now that your children are grown and your former husband is now disabled.?
And, yes, the back pay can possibly be lowered because he no longer has the income /circumstances he did when you two originally divorced and there's only so much blood you can squeeze from a turnip. Something is better than nothing.
Playing devil's advocate here, and wouldn't do so if he was not disabled, but how long has he been disabled? Was the $24,000.00 amount (before interest you mention which is about two years worth of the original back support you're seeking) owed before he became disabled? And whether it was before or after he was disabled how could he even be able to repay it now?
Please don't get me wrong because I can't stand deadbeat parents, whether male or female, but there are circumstances where the reason for being deadbeat is not always in someones control and compassion does need to be considered.
Talk to an attorney! If there is a state department of child support services, or family services, make an appointment and go talk to a case worker. My ex- is now on veteran's disability, and his check is not garnished either. However, when he requested the amount be re-figured, HE did not send in the required paperwork, so it remains the same. I have already accepted that I will never, no way in h-e-double-toothpicks, receive the close to $300,000 he owes in arrears, however, I'm not letting his just skate off scott-free. His income tax refund is intercepted, as well as any government stimulus checks, so we get a little bit, every now and again. My kids are now 13 and 17, divorce has been final for 14 years.