While a completely empathize with your situation, I am terribly afraid that at this point in time I sense that you are doing little other than tilting at windmills.
The statute of limitations for any recourse you might have had against your own attorney for failing to protect your interests has long since passed.
Let me address each of your numbered issues and attempt to respond from a legal outsider's point of view.
1. While parents may not be able to simply do away with the support that they are entitled to, there is a difference between doing away with support and getting something in exchange for a variance from support guidelines. Importantly, child support is for the benefit of the custodial parent
--not the child directly. This is made clear through decades of court cases which inevitably hold that the paying parent has no control over how the support payments are used by the receiving parent. The receiving parent is free to use the money as they see fit.While the initial adequacy of the support agreement can be challenged at any time
, the court will not allow a perversion of justice to occur by allowing someone who might have been in your similar position to retain all that was traded (the future income based on your college degrees acquired during the marriage) in return for the reduction in support, while at the same time taking away the benefit of the other party to that agreement and thereby forcing them to additionally pay the full measure of child support under the support guidelines.
The courts will always infuse equity into the situation where it is necessary. The fact is that it is not uncommon for the courts to approve a deviance from the support guidelines where it can be shown that it will not harm the best interests of the children. Your case simply stands out because of the size of the "trade" made. The judge in your case no doubt looked at the fact that while you were going to be getting less child support, that in turn you were not going to be paying alimony
based on your potential income either. The trade off was that you got less support, but you did keep much more of your earned income.
2. While the code does indicate that the amount you are giving up in the trade must be specified, the court could easily, using common sense and looking at not the letter of the law but the intent of the law, rule that the amount was entirely capable of being ascertained from the decree by anyone with a rudimentary grasp of mathematics and therefor meets the standard of disclosure contemplated under the law.
3. I am not entirely familiar with the facts surrounding the rental properties. However, something does come to mind. There is a huge difference in the Gross income of a business, versus the gross income of an employee. While the failure to include the income he earned from the rental properties might have constituted an error worthy of review, unless the net income from those properties was $70,000, you've lost less than you really think.
Yes, I know that you will point to the code and argue "Gross Income". However, the support calculator never intended that a parent's business gross would be substituted for the net profit from the business.
A couple of examples:
a. A gas station owner has a million in annual sales--his business gross income--, but after employee salaries, rent/mortgage payments and cost of gas and sundries, she takes home just $75,000 a year. No one will expect the child support to be based on the $100,000.00 figure. If it were, then the support order
would be more than the take home pay; and even less than that after the taxes were paid on the take home pay.
b. A business owner is in the business of offering rental properties. His gross income from the properties is $70,000.00 a year. However, there are property taxes of $8,000.00, mortgage payments of $45,000.00 and associated business expenses of $2,000.00. His real income from the business is not 70K a year, but only 15k.
My response to what appears to be your ultimate question is, that I do not believe that you have legal grounds for somehow undoing what has gone on in the past 12 years. You knowingly entered into an agreement that unfortunately turned out to be a bad idea in retrospect. However, the courts will be forced to look past the letter of the law and to look at what is equitable. In theory you recovered the "lost" child support through an increase in the money you kept from your post-divorce income.
I wish that for your sake I could say differently, and while there are no doubt learned legal minds who would disagree with my conclusion, I believe it to be an accurate evaluation of the situation.
I wish you well.
Thank you very much for having allowed me to assist you. It would be greatly appreciated if you would click the green Accept icon so that I can receive credit for having assisted you.