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Form: FL-397 (Request for Income and Benefit Information from Employer) CHILD SUPPORT

Napa, CA |

I'm going through a child support hearing in Napa County. My former spouse earns $113,000 per year, her husband claimed annual earnings of $85,000 as of May 2012, and despite remaining in the same job with same title, now claims he only makes $65,000.

Our child lives 50% with both parents. Four months ago I became unemployed and filed for immediate child support modification which formerly required me to pay her $720 per month.

She has also stopped working (taking FMLA leave) and claims her paediatrician "recommended" she stay at home with her son until he is 2 years old.

I'm on food stamps and cash aid. She has an attorney, I do not. For discovery purposes, since she now claims to be 100% living off her husbands reduced salary, can I send a FL-397 to husbands employer?

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Attorney answers 2


You can try, but it might be objected to. Try legal aid

My name is Stephen R. Cohen and I have practiced over 38 years and can be reached at 213-819-1171. I practiced mainly in Los Angeles and Orange County, California. I am not seeking clients from existing relationships with other attorneys, and give only limited advise over the phone (the phone is primarily used to set appointments), these services do not create an attorney client relationship. I apologize for mispelling< as I am a lousy typist, My answers may offend as I do not believe in pulling punches or sugar coating the truth. Further regarding courts in other states my opinions are largely based on logic and what I think is the modern trend which is to consider the needs of the child.


For purposes of calculating child support, the new husband's income will not be considered. The primary purpose of the ex-wife including it on her Income & Expense Declaration is for purposes of showing that there are two people, not one, sharing in payment of househole expenses, and to identify the ex-wife's tax-filing status.

As my colleague stated, your request will invariably be denied because it pertains to your ex-wife's income, not the new husband's income. As the form itself reflects, you would serve such a document on the employer after the ex-wife failed to fill out her Income & Expense Declaration within 30 days.

Even if your ex wife is on leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), doesn't mean she has the legal right to not work for 2 years based on the pediatrician's "recommendations." In such cases, it would be appropriate to ask that the "inpute" income to her, e.g. $113,000/year due to her wilful refusal to return back to work.

The problem here is that she could make an equal argument that you are not making good-faith efforts to seek employment.

Your case is complicated. May I suggest you speak with an attorney willing to provide a free consultation--to, at the very least, put you in the right direction.

Good luck!

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