(Closed) Baby’s mama drama.. help?

posted 9 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
Member
1357 posts
Bumble bee

I’m not familiar with Missouri laws, but in Florida, you could have her sign and notarize the document in the presence of two witnesses. Make sure in the agreement it states that she is not under any duress and she is signing it freely and voluntarily. Nothing is absolutely secure in the law (that’s why we have lawyers – to find the loopholes!) but that is probably as airtight as you can get doing it on your own. Just make sure it is filed with the Court! Hope this helps…

Post # 4
Member
2324 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

You need to go on the Missouri state bar website. There should be a section that talks about lawyers that do probono or reduced price legal work, maybe a legal aid lawyer section. Contact one of these attorneys and work with them. You are going to have to see a lawyer about this. It’s worth the $$ and hardship that it will take you to pay it to get it fixed right. Good luck

Post # 6
Member
9 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: July 2009

I totally feel your pain- my FH has a 5 yr old daughter and a seriously unstable ex. She’s gone so far as to enroll his daughter in a private school without telling him and then demanding he pay for half of it! This is all in TN so I’m not sure how the laws differ but he got a lawyer for less than what you were quoted and that’s covered court once and follow up consultation. I would definitely document EVERYTHING- every phone call, every text, any contact whatsoever. And get a lawyer- most will do a free consultation to start just to get a feeling for the situation and let you know what kind of options you have.

Post # 7
Member
46 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: November 2008

Your best bet would be to find a pro bono lawyer, but that might be tough because although you can’t afford the $2500 fee, it’s a bit different than being destitute and facing eviction or imprisonment.  But still, try that route.  Also, lawyers fees vary widely, see if there’s another that will cost less.  It sounds like a pretty straightforward agreement for most family lawyers, and $2500 seems like a lot.

However, if none of those options work out, draft it yourself.  Google for sample contracts.  There are a few important features you want to include.  First, you want to state the reason that both of you are signing.  It’s called consideration.  So it’d go something like "In consideration of Mr. RNC’s agreement that Ms. Baby Mama may file as Head of Household on all state and federal 2008 tax returns, thereby claiming the full deduction for Lil K, Ms. Baby Mama agrees that all child support obligations have been paid in full by Mr. RNC as of the date of this agreement, "

You also want to make sure you limit it to this year only.  Make a statement that the agreement has no bearing on the status of tax filings for years going forward (or put those years in the agreement separately).

If possible, state that this new agreement supercedes all previous agreements (if, in fact, it does) regarding any outstanding child support payments owed, as well as any agreement regarding who can claim Lil K on their taxes.  Be careful about making this statement too broad, b/c if there’s a general child support agreement, this likely will not supercede that.

State that this agreement is the complete agreement regarding year 2008 tax returns and outstanding child support payments as of the date of the agreements, and no parole evidence will be considered.

Have it notarized, but also witnessed by at least one party that is not on "your side," but that will be honest if the agreement is contested (eg, that will state that Baby Mama did not sign out of financial duress, but rather because she agreed that no child support was owed).  Maybe a mutual friend or family member of hers that you feel like will be honest if anything is contested.  If there’s not someone that fits that role, have each of you bring your own witness.

I would add something about the specific months that there is no record of child support.  Something along the lines that no claims can be made for outstanding child support, including but not limited to the months of X, Y, and Z, whereby both parties acknowledge that child support in the amounts of $A, $B, and $C, respectively, were made.  This gives you a sort of receipt for the undocumented payments. Don’t worry about the agreement affecting any tax issues.  It’ll only come to light if one of you contest the agreement, and it’s not like the IRS hangs out at family court looking to bust people. 

Lastly, I’m not a lawyer in Missouri and this is not intended to be legal advice.

Post # 8
Member
2641 posts
Sugar bee

@ mrstye "Lastly, I’m not a lawyer in Missouri and this is not intended to be legal advice." LOL, spoken like a lawyer.

Rnc, it sounds tough to be in that situation.  She’s sounding like a stinker about the back child support.  But as far as the tax claim, I actually think he should give the credit to her.  Even if it’s a sad and understandable reason he didn’t pay for half of the tuition, she had to pay for it all.  (At least for certain months.)  So I think it was reasonable for her to ask him to fork over the dependet child credit.  Either that or offer to pay as many months as he missed, in full for her.  Or pay back the money for the months he missed, directly to her.

Post # 11
Member
212 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2009

Ok we all know I’m definitely not a lawyer, but I will share this with you. My last horrific divorce where I was protected by a ($2k) lawyer-drawn up and filed and notorized Pre-Nuptial agreement was allowed to be contested in court by his saying he signed under duress! Keep in mind: he had a completely seperate attorney advise him that it wasn’t in his best interests to sign it given he was bringing NOTHING to the table in our marriage and I wasn’t even there, yet he claimed duress! He had to eventually walk away with nothing after costing me a 10K divorce though.

My point: even one of those perfectly legal expensive ways can be fought in court and you just end up paying tons of attorney fees!

Perhaps if there wasn’t some way just talk rational with the unrational? Does she have family you guys can appeal to?

Be prepared to always deal with her and havoc 🙁

Post # 12
Member
46 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: November 2008

You might still be able to find a pro bono lawyer — not all places will question you extensively about your ability to pay.  BUT, if you make a decent salary, a lot of places may not work with you.

Parole evidence is anything outside the document.  So, say you signed an agreement with Mr. A to shovel your sidewalk for $10 per snow storm.  Before signing, you say to him, "you’ll also put down salt, right?" and he says yes.  Snow storm comes, he shovels, doesn’t salt.  You have no claim against not salting because that was outside the agreement.  This will probably be helpful for you, because you don’t want Baby Mama saying after the fact that when she signed the agreement, Mr. RNC had also agreed to do X, and contesting the agreement because that didn’t happen.  It just means that the agreement is limited to ONLY what’s in the agreement.  No side conversations, no last-minute add-ons, no previous arrangements, etc.

The part about making the statement too broad is that you don’t want to say "no other agreement applies" if this agreement is JUST about the tax and back child support issue when there’s another agreement regarding child support generally.  That is, other documentation may actually apply, so, while you want to limit parole evidence, you may not be able to make the statement that NO OTHER DOCUMENT applies.

Next, you can’t sign a document where the consideration (eg, the reason for signing, the benefit that one party is getting) does not exist.  In your case, there’s no consideration because she’s already claimed Lil K.  Therefore, she’d be agreeing to drop claims of unpaid support in exchange for something she’s already done.  Which is like me taking your bike and then signing an agreement saying "in exchange for your bike, i’ll give you $10."  Well, I already have your bike, why would I pay you for it?

The obvious answer then is to restructure the agreement.  If Mr. RNC was supposed to be able to claim Lil K this year, but Baby Mama did, then you can sign an agreement stating that in exchange for Mr. RNC dropping any claim against Baby Mama for violating their agreement regarding tax claims, Baby Mama agrees to (1) drop claims regarding back child support and (2) allow Mr. RNC to claim Lil K next year.  I’d also then put in that the parties agree to alternate years claiming Lil K on taxes so long as Mr. RNC pays half of Lil K’s tuition (you could put in something about what happens if she goes to public school, or if there’s a cap on tuition costs, etc.). 

The important thing to remember is that Baby Mama didn’t have the right to claim Lil K b/c Mr. RNC stopped paying tuition, since he never agreed to the tuition (ie, the ability to claim Lil K was not contigent upon paying tuition).  So he should have stopped paying, but still insisted on claiming her.  Baby Mama only has bargaining power over what Mr. RNC pays if he has agreed to make those payments.  If Baby Mama wants Lil K to go to camp next year and Mr. RNC doesn’t want to pay half, that doesn’t mean Baby Mama gets to claim her on taxes UNLESS Mr. RNC agrees.  Of course, Baby Mama could in turn go to court and ask for an increase in child support.

I would REALLY make getting a statement that all child support owed by Mr. RNC to Baby Mama has been satisfied in full, including but not limited to child support owed during X dates, a priority. Try to be as specific as possible about the fact that child support is not owed because it was paid in full (ANY documentation you have is good, but also state that cash payments were made that were accepted as full payment of child support obligations on such and such a date) — that will make it harder for her to claim financial duress, because she’s admitting in the document that she’s received those payments. 

Again, not admitted to practice in MO, not a family lawyer.  And I do think you should try to get one.

Post # 13
Member
2000 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

Just a thought, have you looked into legalzoom.com? I’m always hearing their ads on the radio about the legal documents they draw up at a fraction of the cost a lawyer would charge. And no, I"m not affiliated with them in any way. It’s just what I would do in your situation.

Post # 15
Member
1238 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

Great advice here.  Has your fh looked at what kind of legal advice he can get through his job?  At my work we get free legal advice through our union (electriticians are unionized aren’t they?) for anything family or non-criminal related. 

Good luck!

Post # 16
Member
208 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

My advice is…get a lawyer.  These situations are emotionally charged and can get ugly, as you have learned.  It is not the type of thing that you want to handle by yourself because chances are you cannot anticipate the potential legal ramifications of certain decisions or agreements made.  Find a lawyer you can afford and have all agreements documented.  I know that $2500 seems like a lot of money, and it is, but going it alone could prove FAR more costly in the long run.  Then, once the terms are set, stick to them.  "Side deals" such as paying child support in cash rarely work in these types of situations, especially if one party is, as you put it "unstable."  The sooner you get things sorted out, the sooner you can move on with your life.  Good luck.

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