How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dimitry K., Esq. Your Own Question
Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 41220
Experience:  I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.
18572087
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Dimitry K., Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My wife and I are going through mediation right now and I am

Resolved Question:

My wife and I are going through mediation right now and I am uncertain if we will be successful in negotiating a divorce agreement. There are a number of vexing issues
that plague our negotiations and we are at the limit of our respective positions,
prompting me to consider abandoning the mediation process and hiring my own
attorney to represent me. I wanted to ask if you could answer the following
questions before my next mediation session is this Friday, July 2.

Specific questions I need answers to are my legal rights relating to:

1. Child Support - I have two (2) children, ages 19 and 17. The oldest is a rising
sophomore at Northwestern University and the youngest is a rising senior at
Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School. College costs are pretty much covered
in our 529 plans. I have been unemployed for 18 months, absent a 6-month
consulting assignment in mid 2009. Is what I owe my spouse for support
a mathematical formula only or is my unemployment relevant to the judge?

2. Health Insurance - is joint payment of uninsured health expenses for my children
mandated by MA statutes? They will not live with me, going forward.

3. Life Insurance - I read somewhere that willing over your assets to your children
(my intent, post-divorce) cannot count toward child support. My wife is insisting
on me buying a term policy of at least 5 years (i.e., until emancipation) even
though I will be able to name my kids beneficiaries of over $1 million, which will
be my split of the family assets, net of any college costs. I am a diabetic and
have been turned down for life insurance years ago, solely because of this condition.
It may be impossible / prohibitively expensive to get coverage, even for a 5 year
term. What are may rights and obligations?

4. Extracurricular activities - Is it true that this item is no longer part of child support?
If not, is there a general rule-of-thumb on what is included and what are reasonable
amounts?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for your questions. I will do my best to assist you.


1. Your obligations under child support are based on yours and your wife's joint salary, meaning that if you are unemployed, your obligation is lessened (as you have no funds to pay from).

2. Yes, you must pay health insurance, but only for the 17 year old. You can claim that the 19 year old is now a legal adult, and you no longer have to support him.

3. If you are unable to get life insurance, then the courts may request that you set up annuities or trust accounts solely for the benefit of the children.

4. Yes, that is true--those are not covered under regular support and maintenance of the child. Unfortunately without knowing specifics I cannot give you a better answer, but the easiest rule of thumb is if it is related or required for basic support and maintenance, then the other party can ask for it--anything else you can deny until she can prove cause.

Hope that helps.

Edited by Dimitry Alexander Kaplun on 7/1/2010 at 5:55 PM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

 

Thank you for your reply. I wanted to refine my questions, based on your feedback.

 

1. Although I don't have a job right now, I do recognize the reality of my family's financial

situation. I don't think that not giving any support post-divorce is either ethical or

legal. My wife wants me to pay child support in Year 1 at a rate based on my 2008

salary ($190k), even though I have noincome right now and my unemployment

benefits have also been exhausted. While I recognize that such matters may vary

greatly from case-to-case and even from judge-to-judge, I wanted to ask what you

thought a mostly likely verdick would be in Massachusetts.

 

2. The question was not on payment of health insurance for our children, but rather

what the financial obligation is for the non-custodial spouse for uninsured health

expenses like co-pays, elective services, etc.

 

3. Concerning my potential inability to get health insurance coverage, could I not

instead set up my will in a family trust to name my two (2) children the sole

beneficiaries of my estate and obviate the need for health insurance?

 

4. As a follow-up to this question, I had read that Social Security covers child support

payments in the event of a death of the parent. Is this true? If so, since everyone

in the US has Social Security, why soes this continue to be a point in divorce

negotiations?

 

5. Is it acceptable to insist that a portion of my child support payments be set aside

in a college fund? If so, is there sa rule-of-thumb as to what is reasonable?

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 6 years ago.

1. Although I don't have a job right now, I do recognize the reality of my family's financial

situation. I don't think that not giving any support post-divorce is either ethical or

legal. My wife wants me to pay child support in Year 1 at a rate based on my 2008

salary ($190k), even though I have noincome right now and my unemployment

benefits have also been exhausted. While I recognize that such matters may vary

greatly from case-to-case and even from judge-to-judge, I wanted to ask what you

thought a mostly likely verdick would be in Massachusetts.

I do not understand your question--if you are asking as to the level of your support, it will be based on state guidelines with which the judges have minimal ability to modify.

 

2. The question was not on payment of health insurance for our children, but rather

what the financial obligation is for the non-custodial spouse for uninsured health

expenses like co-pays, elective services, etc.

That is based on the divorce and the custodial decrees, and varies from one decree to an another. Typically the expenses are split 50/50 between the parents, and is also based on whether or not the parties share legal custody and the ability to say "no" to elective and optional services, for which the non-custodial parent can deny payment.

 

3. Concerning my potential inability to get health insurance coverage, could I not

instead set up my will in a family trust to name my two (2) children the sole

beneficiaries of my estate and obviate the need for health insurance?

No, health insurance the future payments are different. Children and minors require support right now and not in the future. You can, however, negotiate with your spouse about having her pay for the insurance herself in exchange for such a will condition. If she agrees, the courts will uphold it.

 

4. As a follow-up to this question, I had read that Social Security covers child support

payments in the event of a death of the parent. Is this true? If so, since everyone

in the US has Social Security, why soes this continue to be a point in divorce

negotiations?

No, that is not true. When a person passes away, so does his obligation (or his estate's obligation), to make child support payments.

 

5. Is it acceptable to insist that a portion of my child support payments be set aside

in a college fund? If so, is there sa rule-of-thumb as to what is reasonable?

No, support is supposed to go for current use. If you wish to set up a college fund, you can do so privately, with other funds, but you cannot control how the custodial parent will utilize the child support payments.


Good luck.



Edited by Dimitry Alexander Kaplun on 7/1/2010 at 7:01 PM EST
Dimitry K., Esq. and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Question 3, I meant life insurance, not health insurance coverage.

Does this effect your prior answer?

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Oh I see, my apologies--that does modify my answer a bit but not in a fundamental way. If your spouse is agreeable to such terms, then it is going to be upheld. In addition if you can show that based on your health and your situation you are physically unable to get affordable insurance, then the courts may permit you to have this alternative even above your spouse's objections.

Hope that clarifies.

Edited by Dimitry Alexander Kaplun on 7/1/2010 at 7:39 PM EST
Dimitry K., Esq. and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you