Q. I earn more than my ex. At the time of our divorce, we agreed to no child support because I have our children most of the time – he travels for work extensively and only sees them every other weekend. We also agreed to no alimony – he got plenty of assets. Over time he has gotten worse and worse about reimbursing me for the kids’ uninsured medicals. I have a high deductible insurance plan and two kids with anxiety and ADHD and one with diabetes so we have a ton of uninsured medical expenses.
I have had to scale back my hours at work because he is never around and the children have so many appointments and needs. I am now earning about 60% of what I earned last year which is still more than he is earning. I decided to file a contempt complaint to make him pay the thousands of uninsured medical bills he has failed to reimburse in the last five years.
He filed a complaint for modification requesting alimony because I earn more than him. Should I withdraw my contempt so that he will hopefully withdraw his modification?
A. No, you should not withdraw your contempt but instead serve him with a demand for his financial statement so you can show the judge that he has the ability to pay the accumulated arrears. You are doing all of the hard work and paying for everything which will be clear to the judge. Also, the fact that he filed for modification looking for alimony only after you asked him to pay the expenses he is obligated to pay, says a lot to the judge about his character.
You should make a motion to dismiss his alimony complaint. His burden is to show the judge that he has a need for alimony. If he is spending all of his income, look to see if he has accumulated significant credit card debt. If not, he still doesn’t have a need. If he has credit card debt that did not exist at the time of your divorce, look at his lifestyle now, has it increased? If so, you can still argue he is not entitled to alimony now.
Finally, you can counterclaim for child support. Because you cannot both work your prior hours and meet your children’s needs, your income is down which is a material change of circumstances.
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