My fiance has an 8-yr-old daughter from a previous relationship. They were never married and have never been to court. Since their separation (3 months after his daughter was born) he has paid her $500 a month. For the past 5 years he has worked in insurance and now makes roughly 50k a year. My fiance has always paid his daughter's medical and dental. About 6 months ago the mother asked for an increase to $720. She has been a full-time student for at least 4 years (probably more) and on state assistance. She has their daughter during the week and then we see her for most weekends. The support payments are based off of the info she's found on the state website. Their relationship is somewhat amicable but he still fears she'll refuse him visitation with little or no warning. Advice?
Also there is no official record of his payments to her or how the support money is being spent. The mother moves quite frequently and usually has a roommate or two and my fiance never knows her street address. There are things the child needs that the mother will ask my fiance to pay for... and he does, but isn't that what the support payments are for? He's afraid to ask her anything about support because he fears if he ends up pissing her off then she'll cut off visitation.
Child Custody Lawyer
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It may be worth going to court for depending on the calculations. I am curious if this parenting time is court ordered? If so, she cannot legally withhold for failure to pay. If not, he may want to establish court ordered parenting time in order to avoid the constant worry. Your fiancee may be able to combine parenting time and child support motions into one court hearing. Feel free to call for a free consult and I can discuss this more with you 952-237-8946
Criminal Defense Attorney
This is a tip-toe dance that many men who were never married to their child's mother experience. From what you describe, it sounds as if he has not established paternity or has an court-ordered parenting time. If this is the case, the mother can (and often does) dictate the terms of dad's time with his child and dad has no grounds to object. Men are often reluctant to discuss the issue of child support modification for (reasonable and well founded) fear that upsetting mom means not seeing his child.
It's worth sitting down with a family lawyer such as me to discuss what options are available to him and what is reasonable to expect to be paying under the current child support laws. Hennepin County also has wonderful court services that are good at helping people settle parenting time disputes.