Q: Child Support
My wife has been paying child support for over a decade and was recently contacted by her son who is now an adult. The child has not been living with the father, but with the grandparents. We also suspect that the father is using her child support to pay for his child support for a child he had with someone else.
In addition, my wife recently received paperwork stating that the child is in college and that the father could ask for an extension but the father is not paying for college. The grandparents are. Does my wife have any legal options?
A: The starting point for this discussion is the relationship between your wife and her ex in laws.
If her son lives with the ex in laws, then she can speak with them about having her child support payments directed to them instead of in favor of her ex. Presumably, your ex and his parents had an arrangement whereby the money paid by your wife to her ex was being forwarded by him to his parents for your son's benefit... but even if it was not being paid over to them by your ex, that was an issue between your ex and his parents but will not give your wife a basis to seek relief from the court against your ex. If anything, the in laws could have taken action against their son to change the direction of your wife’s payments for her sons’ benefit.
The only thing that your wife can do now is address to her ex in laws a change in where her child support money goes until her son is emancipated. If your wife’s relationship with the ex in laws is good, maybe they will agree to terminate direct child support ( and payments to their son) and agree to share her son’s college costs with her in a specific ratio and therefore permit her to close out her probation department account.
Whatever arrangement your wife is able to work out with her ex in laws though needs to be in writing and signed off by the ex in laws so that your wife can get an order of the court to close out her probation department account and confirm the arrangement between her and her ex in laws for college contribution purposes. If the ex in laws had no idea that she had been making payments to their son for the past decade, then maybe they will be more willing to cooperate since their son pocketed XXX dollars per year that could have and should have been spent on their grandson.
A: Thank you for your question. Child support can be tricky, in that most of the relief only reverts back to the date an application is filed with the Court. It is imperative that your wife speak with an attorney experienced in child support and college contribution as soon as possible so that she can get an application filed. If she delays further, she may not be able to get back the child support she is still paying and she may experience an additional increase due to the college contribution.
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