My ex-husband and I were divorced in 2010. In the divorce, I was granted sole-legal custody of our 2 boys (due to him being abusive and an alcoholic) and he was required to pay child support according to the state of Georgia child support laws. He has been paying every month with no problems, and has at times, sent the boys extra money when they have needed something that I couldn't afford to get them. I have been told by my ex many times over the past 7 years about his many promotions and pay increases. I was foolish and didn't pursue an increase in child support at that time and figured that since things were calm, I didn't want to rock the boat and have him potentially hide from my kids and "go underground" and not pay anything like he had threatened to do so many times.
Last January. He informed me that he was taking an early retirement from his job in June. I didn't think twice about that, I really didn't care. He and his new girlfriend went to Belize to celebrate his retirement and never a word was said about him not being able to afford the child support since his retirement.
Last October, my oldest turned 18 but was still in high school as a senior. The state of Georgia had the state of Illinois (where I reside) verify that my son was still in school and what date he would graduate. My son will be graduating at the end of May and has decided to pursue a career in welding which requires him to go to community college as a full time student for probably a year. My younger son will be graduating next May and turns 18 in July.
My ex thought that he would only have to pay until May for child #1 and when he found out that he would be responsible until he graduates from college, he decided to go for a modification to reduce the payments. So, in February of this year, he informs me that he can't afford the child support payments since he has taken an early retirement. He has gone so far as to hire an attorney to go in front of judge to get them reduced. Not telling the attorney that his oldest will be enrolled full time in college, and also not telling the whole story of his finances, he is petitioning to go in front of a judge. He submitted a direct deposit receipt to his attorney showing what is deposited into his account every month from his retirement. What he failed to do was to include the information from his savings and checking accounts which hold much more money than he claims to have. According to the direct deposit receipt, he makes LESS than the amount that he is to pay each month for child support. Keep in mind, he has supposedly been living on this amount since last June when he VOLUNTARILY took early retirement.
His attorney has sent me an "agreement" to which my ex is telling me that according to his new income, he is only required to pay a fraction of the original amount decided by the court ($880.00 less a month) and that he will be "generous" and offer me a reduction of only $680.00 less per month than what I am getting now if I agree without having to go to court. Georgia law states that he is responsible until the child is 18 or is enrolled FULL TIME in school until the age of 20. When I told him about this in a text, he replied with "Just remember my offer"!?!?!?
I guess what I am asking is, I can't afford an attorney, and I am going to have to go in front of a judge about this soon. And since he voluntarily took early retirement knowing what his monthly financial responsibility is, can he get this reduction done? I want to subpoena his financial records for the last year to show the court that he CAN afford this. Especially since he bought my oldest son a new truck right after he told me about this so that my son wouldn't be mad at him. He is very manipulative with the kids, and they have even told me that he has said to them that he doesn't want to pay me anymore. Ugh.
If you can offer any advise or information, I would greatly appreciate it. Especially since I can't work due to health reasons and can't afford an attorney, and daddy warbucks and his rich girlfriend can.