As of July of 2013 Diane’s divorce was finalized. Her ex-husband retired from his job in law enforcement voluntarily at the age of 46. He relocated to Florida to be with his girlfriend and her family. Diane was left in New York to raise their 5 children alone, who at the time ranged from ages 5- 11.
During the first two years after the divorce money was tight, but manageable. It was a different quality of life for her children. Many things had to be cut back on. Diane received her child and spousal support every month as scheduled. Diane also found a job that has flexible hours. This allowed her to work and raise her children. Raising five children alone is not an easy task. She cooks, washes, attends parent meetings, helps her children with homework, and makes sure they are involved in extracurricular activities. She wants to make sure they have a happy childhood. She loves them and would do anything for them. This isn’t a sacrifice. It brings joy to her life that she is raising 5 wonderful caring children in this world.
Starting June of 2015, things changed. Diane stopped receiving the child and spousal support from her ex-husband. This meant that she could not pay his share of the mortgage. She did receive the child support payment later in the month and was able to make the June mortgage payment although it was late. This was just the beginning down a long road.
From that point on child and spousal support came late, then partially then not at all. At one point she begged for money from her ex-husband so the water wouldn’t be turned off. At least something until he paid his full support for the children. She borrowed money from her family. Unfortunately this meant the mortgage payment would be late or missed completely. When she finally did receive some money from him she would play catch-up with the bills.
Finally, in September of 2015 Diane made the decision to get help for her family. She went to the Child Support Enforcement office. They helped her prepare a petition against him for non-payment of child support. Because of their help, she was able to represent herself so she did not have to retain a lawyer which enabled her to avoid legal fees. She now had to wait until her first court date. During this time she struggled to pay the bills and even sold jewelry and other possessions in order to pay the bills. Diane spends hours sorting through newspapers finding coupons to cut the supermarket bill as much as possible.
But courts can take a long it time to get through a case. Beginning January 2016 to the beginning of July 2016, she and her ex-husband made several appearances in front of the Magistrate. During that time child support was not being paid in full. The mortgage fell 3 months behind and the bank had started to talk about foreclosing. Fortunately, in July, she received some of the money owed, enough to pay the back owed amount on the mortgage, and he was ordered to pay the rest of the owed amount of $8000. In July and August she received the full amount of child and spousal support as well as a little extra to go toward the $8000 due even though, as she later found out, he had $100,000 in an account and could have paid the full $8000.
And then it started again, September 2016, Diane did not receive the child and spousal support. Instead on the day she was celebrating her daughter’s 13th birthday with family, she received court papers in which her ex-husband was petitioning the court to stop all future child support and spousal payments. Once again child support stopped coming and the mortgage payments could not be made. Diane then filed a second suit for non-payment of child support.
As I said, Courts take a long time. From November 2016-May 2017, they made many court appearances, 2 of which he did not show up for, both regarding the case he had against her which was dismissed. Fortunately, her boss was understanding and never stopped her from taking time to take care of her family by going to court.The mortgage was not being paid and she knew that foreclosure papers would be arriving at her door any day. Finally, in May it was confirmed by the judge that her ex-husband was willful of non-payment of child support and he was incarcerated until the back owed amount of approximately $21,000 was paid. This was the Thursday before Memorial weekend. The Tuesday after the weekend she was informed that payment had been paid and that he was released.
Unfortunately paying the mortgage back was not so simple. The foreclosure papers had been drawn up and she received them the following week. After speaking to the bank they gave her the option to modify which went through and she thought the house was saved.
But her days in court with her ex-husband do not end here. The day after he was released, he went back to court and filed a petition requesting that the house that she and their 5 children live in be sold immediately. These papers were filed in the County Supreme Court and asked for a response in 3 weeks time. She knew that this was no longer a case she could handle by herself and needed help so she retained an attorney to protect the only home that the children had ever known. She hoped that the money she had left after making the new monthly mortgage payments would be enough to cover the legal fees.
Her ex-husband has not been making his monthly child support payments again so for the third time in 2 1/2 years, in June of 2017 she had to file another petition for non-payment of child support.
Both of these cases are still ongoing in the courts. Her ex-husband has again been found willful of non-payment of child support by the magistrate and he will be going in front of the judge for a confirmation hearing next month. She hopes that she will be receiving funds from the child support case as well as also receiving funds from her income tax return but she will not receive it until at least April.
Unfortunately Diane has run out of time. The legal fees for the case in front of the Supreme Court in which she is trying to save their home has continued to grow and she owes $9000. She doesn’t have the money to pay the owed legal fees, which she needs to do to finish the case with her ex-husband regarding the home. Diane has been to court at least 20 times in the last 3 years. The cases have follow up court appearances, which now has put her in her position of unnecessary debt. Her ex doesn’t show up for court appearances, which give delays getting the money needed to support the children. These delays mean the family will probably lose the house and her children will be in need of basic necessities. This has been a cycle that keeps on repeating for the last several years.
She is once again behind with the mortgage payments and owes the bank $10,000 or the house will go back into foreclosure status at the end of the month.
For 3 years she has fought to receive the child support needed to care for her 5 children and to keep them in their home. I know that Diane would appreciate and be grateful for any help that you can give her at this time. Thank you so much for any help you can give to her and her family.
- Margaret Bavosa
- Bob Higson
- Peter Konigsberg
- Robert Miller
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