POST HEARING MEMORANDUM
1. Defendant’s Motion for Modification
A. Procedural Background
The hearing record confirms that in July 2012 the plaintiff filed for divorce
. The parties contested the divorce between January and April 2013. A settlement divorce was reached on April 12, 2013. As part of that settlement, Mr. Walsh waived alimony
and Ms. Walsh took a lump sum in lieu of alimony. The parties also agreed on child support based upon defendant earning more at the time of the divorce. The parties split the child care equally. Defendant lost his job at the end of 2014. After not working for three months, defendant moved in March 26, 2015 for a post judgment modification of child support. For various procedural reasons, Ms. Walsh was able to adjourn my motion until August 2015. Additionally, she immediately retaliated against defendant by filing motions for contempt and to take the children from defendant. By the time the motions were ripe in August 2015, defendant had regained employment and the parties reached a further stipulation in August of 2015.
In the Fall of 2015, defendant’s employment situation again changed, and defendant started to earn significantly less money. Despite earning less money, defendant did his best to keep up his obligations. Finally, in January 2017, defendant again filed pro se
for a modification of child support. As soon as Ms. Walsh saw that defendant was filing for a modification of child support, she again retaliated against him by moving for contempt and again asking to take the children from defendant. Defendant’s January 13, 2012 motion for a modification was incorrectly filed as it had the addresses of the parties transposed. Therefore, defendant refiled on January 26, 2017. Hearings were held on Ms. Walsh’s motion for contempt on April 3, April 4, May 15 and July 3, 2017. On July 3, immediately after the hearing, the Court decided that the testimony during the hearing for contempt was sufficient to determine both the motion for modification and the motion for contempt. The parties asked for the opportunity to put in papers and the court granted until Monday July 24, 2017. The defendant ordered transcripts of the May 15 hearing and the July 3 gearing on July 3, which were promised 10 days ago, but have never been delivered, so defendant is unable to cite the transcript for those days.
B. Financial Background
At the hearing, it was undisputed that: in 2015 defendant’s adjusted gross income was $82,845. In 2016 defendant’ adjusted gross income was $33,187. It is further anticipated that Mr. Walsh will earn around $60,000 to $70,000 this year.
It was further undisputed that Ms. Walsh’s adjusted gross income was $137,172 in 2015 and $145,917 in 2016. Ms. Walsh submitted an affidavit showing her annual salary to be above $150,000 a year in 2017.
She also has a wealthy boyfriend who contributes to her lifestyle and has significant additional attributable income.
The evidence also showed that, despite Mrs. Walsh’s claims, defendant did not regularly earn $150,000 in his career. Indeed between 2009 and 2017, a 9 year period, there are 5 years where he made or will make well less than $100,000. In addition to 2015, 2016, and 2017, in 2009, he made $59,000 (plus $15,000 in unemployment) and in 2010 he made approximately $22,000 (plus $9,000 in unemployment benefits).
Ms. Walsh also has a wealthy boyfriend who contributes to her lifestyle and has significant additional attributable income As noted in footnote 1, Ms. Walsh lives at his house, he pays for vacations, arts, entertainment, etc.
Under the child support and arrearage guidelines, the correct way to calculate child support in shared physical custody
situations is to have the parent with the higher income provide support to the lower income parent.
Therefore, in 2015 when there were 2 children being supported, defendant made $82,000 and Ms. Walsh made $137,000. The combined weekly income was $4,200 per week. Using the guideline for $4,000 per week, Ms. Walsh should have been paying Mr. Walsh $708 per week. If Mr. Walsh had the only income at $82,000, he would have paid $431 week. If Ms. Walsh had the only income at $137,000 she would have paid $577 to Mr. Walsh.
In the first half of 2016 in 2015 when there were 2 children being supported, defendant made $33,000 and Ms. Walsh made $144,000. The combined weekly income was $3,400 per week and using the guideline for $3,400 per week, Ms. Walsh should have been paying Mr. Walsh $641 per week. If Mr. Walsh had the only income at $33,000 he would have paid $215 week. If Ms. Walsh had the only income at $145,000 she would have paid $597 to Mr. Walsh.
In the second half of 2016 when there was 1 child being supported, defendant made $33,000 and Ms. Walsh made $144,000. The combined weekly income was $3,400 per week and using the guideline for $3,400 per week, Ms. Walsh should have been paying Mr. Walsh $435 per week.