Question: I have a child support question. My wife and I used a surrogate to have our child. But now the marriage isn't working out. My wife is usually drunk and she never seems interested in me. When I asked her why, she accused me of being gay and she said she wouldn't have married me if she knew I was gay. But I'm not a homosexual. I only told her that to cover up an affair I was having with a waitress I met at a Taco Mac restaurant.
But now her drinking is becoming a problem and I'm scared to let her stay alone with our daughter who attends the King's Ridge Christian School in Milton. My wife suffers from eating disorders and I think she may be anorexic or bulimic. My business has fallen greatly and I'm worried about our neighbors in The Manor finding out that I'm considering bankruptcy. Some of the people in The Manor have invested in my business.
I'm worried that I won't be able to pay a lot of child support going forward. Since my business is starting to falter I don't want a child support award or alimony award based on the last several years. Because I have a business that relies on the oil industry, and the price of oil is way below what it used to be, the companies I deal with are hurting and laying off employees and some have filed for bankruptcy.
So what can I do about any child support order from a court if we get divorced?
R.B. in Milton, GA
Answer: You need to make sure that your attorney has all of your relevant business data. You need to demonstrate to the court that your business really is in trouble because of the impact of falling oil prices, which is, of course, beyond your control.
You don't want a judge to think that you are trying to hide assets or that you are purposely diminishing your own income to lower your child support payments. That can be done by being transparent with your income and business records.
If you can show that your income is falling due to external factors, like the declining price of oil, and not because you are “cooking the books” or trying to show less income, then a court will be far more likely to base a child support award on your present and likely lower future income.
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