15 Sep In the head of a family mediator – Session 4
The parents arrive together at our fourth session.
Mediator : How are you two?
The two answer me in heart: “Yes! We are getting used to it. ”
Ombudsperson: There are still a few topics to discuss according to my notes, including alimony. Do we start with that or do you prefer another subject?
Mariève responds immediately that alimony is a necessity. She can not do it and is in debt. Alex answers that it is not she who had to buy everything again to furnish herself: “Do you know how much it costs to furnish a 5 1/2?”
I ask them if they wish to discuss alimony or financial aspects as spouses and co-owners. Mariève says she prefers to discuss child support since Julia is the priority. She adds that she has submitted her tax returns as well as her last three payrolls.
I ask her to show them to Alex and explain what she has won last year and what she plans for this year. Mariève informs Alex that there will be no big surprise on this side since she intends to keep the same job. His salary is estimated at the same amount as the last two years, or $ 42,000. His pay stubs confirm that this amount is realistic for the current year.
Ombudsman: Is it your gross or net salary?
Mariève: Gross. You see it on line 199.
I ask some additional questions related to his job: are there benefits? additional time possible? union dues? Etc.
Then I turn to Alex and ask him to inform Mariève.
Alex: I do not want you to believe that I do not want to pay for my daughter, but it’s just that I can not afford it.
Mariève: It’s not the question Alex! Did not you bring anything?
Alex: I did not find. Anyway, it’s always me who pays. I am strangled financially; it’s not just you who find it hard. Then, I do not have the financial help of my parents like you – you know that.
Mediator: What if we did different scenarios? Could it give you an idea of child support? Can you each look at your budget?
Since both are open to this proposal, I collect the following information:
- Mariève: $ 42,000 in gross salary
- Alex: $ 60,000 or $ 75,000 in gross salary, $ 800 in union dues (to be deducted)
- 1 minor child in custody shared 43% with Alex (Monday evening to Sunday evening, every other week = request from Alex) or on exclusive custody with exit right extended to 29% with Alex (Thursday evening to Monday morning, a every two weeks = request from Mariève)
By entering this information and some other supplements to allow the software to calculate the monthly alimony to be paid, the different scenarios give:
- A. $ 145 per month at 42/60 and 43%
- B. $ 210 per month at 42/75 and 43%
- C. $ 450 a month at 42/60 and 29%
- D. $ 535 a month at 42/75 and 29%
Alex: I must confess to being a little lost with all the scenarios.
Mariève: Can we bring them? I would like to look at them with my own calculations. It does not seem to me much for all Julia’s expenses.
Mediator: Remember that alimony calculates only the nine basic needs. Special needs and certain other expenses will have to be discussed separately. I put it on my list for the next meeting?
On a “yes” mixed with a shared sigh of parents, I leave them a copy of the scenarios and a document explaining the alimony and its nine basic needs. Legal information regarding other expenses and its possible distribution as to the mode of custody that will be chosen (shared custody or sole custody) is also given to parents. They undertake to read it for the next meeting. Alex makes the commitment to bring his last three pay stubs. Finally, each parent receives a standard budget to complete.
Ombudsman: The budget is particularly important and interesting. You may be surprised to find the expenses that each of you already assume for Julia. Moreover, there will necessarily be reorganization finance side, it is in my opinion an exercise that will be useful.
*Source of the image*