Can Rent Concession Count As Income
(Rogers, Arkansas )
I have really got myself into a mess. My oldest daughter is 17. I had sole custody of her until she was 12. Her Father had moved away to California and we never saw or heard from him. When she turned 12 he returned to Arkansas and remarried and had another child. He came to me asking to have custody changed because he could not afford the support payments. After months of arguments and threats he tried another method.
Please understand I had no real education or understanding of anything legal. He asked me to come in for a meeting with his attorney and instead of a messy custody battle if I would cooperate he would do his best to help me. I went in and sat down with them and basically got fear tactics to the point where I felt I had no power but to concede. I know know that was completely false but this is only the beginning.
I have 4 other children whom I support. I told my ex that changing custody to end his support was one thing but I had no idea where I would come up with money to pay him. He and his lawyer assured me that child support would be set at minimum allowed and that he would never pursue collecting it. It was set at 24 dollars a week by the judge and for five years things on this side have sailed pretty smooth with the exceptions of my daughter being miserable and wanting more than anything to come home. She spends every free moment here as it is.
Anyway, in November I received notice from the office of child support enforcement that they had my case under review. Since that moment my life has progressively fallen to ruins and I have no idea what my next step should be. She is now 17 and he is coming after me of the 5 years of child support and put in an order for modification.
When this started they just started garnishing my wages for the support amount plus a percentage for arrearages. I was shocked but willing to pay whatever was necessary. Next they started taking 50% of any bonus I was paid. Again, annoying, but fine, use them to clear up the past amount I get it.
I just received a petition for modification last Thursday and this one knocked the wind out of me. I manage an apartment complex and live above the office.
I am required to do so by law in order to do leases otherwise I would have to have a real estate license. In other words it is a requirement of my employment. It is not included on my w2 earnings nor do I receive an i-9 for it. I make 7.50 an hour.
They attached an earnings statement to the petition that included the apartment as income. Also in the 13 week audit I had made several incentive bonuses because the property had high vacancy that I managed to eliminate. My ex receives 50% of those bonuses towards arrears. Also I had some extensive overtime in that period due to the property condition as well. The overtime has since been eliminated and is no longer allowed.
With all their figures they have me making almost 50,000 a year and as such the child support amount is through the roof. I received my w-2 yesterday and even with all the huge overtime and bonuses my gross income for last year was 24,000. All bonuses I made were in the 13 week period they audited. I believe it was a total of 3000 and they will not be recurring.
I went and tried to talk to the OCSE about the discrepancy but he was unrelenting. I have no idea what to do and I can't really afford an attorney.
From what I have read a judge will look at my other children as a second family that occurred after my oldest daughter but in my eyes she was part of that family when the custody changed and it was understood I have obligations to them. Under this order my base pay of 600 dollars bi-weekly GROSS they will take $248 dollars. I can't support my family off of that and it will leave me not being able to make ends meet.
When they sent me the order for support from the custody change I sat down and read it for the first time. I was shocked to see what it contained. It stated that he always paid his support and consistently exercised his visitation rights. Both are lies and OCSE has records of his arrears. Plus how do you exercise visitation regularly from California when you child is in Arkansas. They lied to me to persuade me to this and they lied to the court.
Do I have any legal ground to stand on? I feel my sanity slipping quickly and I really need your help! Thank you!