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Tina, my husband just got served with a couple papers from…

Hi Tina, my husband...

Hi Tina, my husband just got served with a couple papers from his divorce in 2010. He was served with alimony, which he paid but the child support was never set. The mother of his children drove us out of the state (restraining order, parental alienation, break ins, theft, you name it) so we left and lived our lives in Florida. We recently move to NH and got served today. John is the stay at home Dad with odd jobs and I am the head of the household - she is claiming 64k In back child support and modification of child support.. I’m confused and scared. We always kept our finances separate but I’m scared they can put a lien on my house or garnish my wages.. any thoughts?

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have been taken? Have any papers been filed in family court?

Well just the one piece of paper from the sheriff who said we have 20 days to sent the form in.. then when I called the court they said ANOTHER one is coming for 64k and court is March 26th at 8:30

Lawyer's Assistant: Family law varies by state. What state are they in?

Massachusetts, we live in NH

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I think that’s the bot***** *****ne

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/15/2018
LegalGems
LegalGems, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 13,709
Experience: Experienced Family Law Attorney
Verified

Hello! I will be reviewing your question and posting a response momentarily; if you have any follow up questions please respond here. Thanks!

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I am sorry to hear this; so to be clear there was never a child support order?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Never, the divorce was in 2010 I think, we were married in 2011 (I wasn’t a home wrecker they were separated)
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I can’t really afford 59 bucks after the 52 I just spent and from what I’m hearing lawyers are like 250/hr and I may have to save up for 64k!?! ������

That's an autogenerated phone call request and I don't participate in that premium service so I'd be happy to assist on this page; just a moment please.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
No probalem, take your time.. she was crazy, she broke and entered and he had to get a restraining order against her, she threatened me, poisoned the kids against us. Like Jerry Spinger trash material.. scary and I hate confrontation
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
My main fears are them garnishing my wages or putting a lien on the house. I make decent money and worked so hard to get where I am and I just can’t believe I may have to pay her
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
We have always filed separate taxes and do finances separately

Thank you;

per the following statute the court only has jurisdiction to make the support order retroactive to the date the request was initially filed; please see:

Section 13. (a) Any payment or installment of support under any child support order issued by any court of this commonwealth or by a court or agency of competent jurisdiction of any other state shall be on or after the date it is due, a judgment by operation of law, with the full force, effect, and attributes of a judgment of this commonwealth including the ability to be enforced; shall be entitled as a judgment to full faith and credit; and a judicial or administrative action to enforce said judgment may be commenced at any time; provided that said judgment shall not be subject to retroactive modification except with respect to any period during which there is pending a complaint for modification, but only from the date that notice of such complaint has been given, either directly or through the appropriate agent, to the obligee or, where the obligee is the plaintiff, to the obligor.

That statute is here:

https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXVII/Chapter119A/Section13

So what that means is that any judgment can be challenged if there was no prior order.

Now if for some reason there was a support order then only the parent, not the step parent is liable for it (though that would presumably affect one's standard of living of course).

The step parent's income cannot be garnished as they are not legally responsible for the step children. One moment please - I want to make sure I addressed your posts in full.

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The parent that is in arrears (back support) can have their (but not the step parent) tax refunds intercepted as well. The support order can be converted into a lien but that would only attach to the parent's property (and to jointly owned property as well).

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
This is great helpful information. So what if there were orders but we never received them because we were out of state.. we never did

That can be tricky because one can claim the court did not have jurisdiction and move to quash the orders based on lack of jurisdiction; but it is possible that the other parent was able to obtain an order which allowed service by publication (newspaper) or posting (at the courthouse).

So the file would need to be reviewed to determine if there is grounds to support a motion to quash based on lack of proper service.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I’m having bandwidth problems sorry
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Ok so if I take John’s name off my house is my house safe from a lien
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Also, what happens if you don’t show to the court? What do they do?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Not that’s the thought but they said we have 2 Summons in there and we only got one. Can anyone just make anyone show up to court?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Did I lose you?

I'm still here- your questions just came through; let me review them please.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Take your time, don’t worry and thanks!

If a name is ***** ***** to avoid a valid judgment then the court may void that transfer and restore title -because one cannot transfer title to avoid legal obligations.

If a party does not show to court (and they have been properly served) then the interest may continue to accrue; the problem is that if a party does not show the court will think the party is not contesting the plaintiff's version of the facts, so a default judgment will be entered.

So as you can see, given the amount of money at issue, it would be important to hire an attorney to get the original court file, possibly request a continuance of the current hearing, and prepare a defense based on what the file states as far as service, whether there is even a valid order, etc.

Any party can file and serve a summons-but if the summons is not received or is not properly served, that's when the recipient can file a motion to quash - which is frustrating because it does take time and money. The party may request legal fees as a sanction however, if the plaintiff misrepresented service issues.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
What if I’m so pissed off at this whole situation and boot him back to Florida (where his legal residence is anyway) - does it go away? ��

It does not go away as far as he is concerned;

but if the parties filed for divorce, the support obligation would belong to the parent, not the step parent; and if any of the step parent's money was used (ie bank account lien because of joint account, etc) then the court can "credit" the stepparent for that money when dividing the property.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Ok got it... got to lawyer up, pray and show up for court. Super helpful for my anxiety and I will recommend you! Oh typically how much would lawyer fees cost? Like we will have to pay hers and ours?

I don't like estimating legal fees because they vary SO greatly;

one needs to take into account the lawyer's experience, prestige, size of firm, locale (whether city/suburbs etc), and then on top of that there are:

1. flat fees- a lawyer charges a flat rate for the service based on what the lawyer thinks it will take in time and effort

2. limited scope representation- the lawyer only does some of the tasks, with the client doing the easier tasks- to keep down costs

3. full traditional representation.

Then it depends on whether the parties are able to reach an agreement as well. Generally family law attorneys charge between $150-400 per hour; but again it can even be higher if the attorney charges a surcharge for trial hours/prep.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Awesome.... lol should’ve been a lawyer!! Jk I’m sure student loans are killer and the pain and suffering.. pffttt anyway, again I appreciate your help, you’ve been very helpful!!

Glad to help; I'm sure this came as a shock.

(and yes, the loans are a little out there- I think you are the first person to realize that! I appreciate that!)

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Haha - yes it was a shock for sure.. it’s been 10 yrs since the divorce.. anyways, thank you and I have veterinary friends.. people always think the same with them- you are appreciated! Have a good night!

Thanks again!

You have a good night as well;

Take care!

LegalGems
LegalGems, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 13,709
Experience: Experienced Family Law Attorney
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
You too!
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