Update, sent letter to ex asking to discuss costs. Received a letter back from a lawyer that she hired requesting mediation with the same mediator we used three years ago that I liked. I had no lawyer at that mediation even though she had this one. Also requested last two years W-2 and a Mass Probate financial statement. Here are my few questions:
#1 I am thinking about representing myself again in mediation and saving attorney costs for court, if needed. What do I have to lose if I have in my head a total amount I want to pay that I believe is more than fair? Do you think that is not wise? I am assuming I start low and she starts high and we meet somewhere in the middle and if we don't agree then we go to court. This is not child support but college contribution.
#2 I don't want to hand over my last two years of w-2 this far in advance of mediation. It just gives her lawyer all this ample time to do all these calculations of what I can afford or can't and prepare a defense for mediation. Do I really have to give them now just because she asked for them as mediation is non bidning or can't I push back and say we can exchange them just before mediation? Especially since this is for college costs and not a standard child support calculation? It does say we need to exchange financials in our divorce agreement, but my ex does not abide by our agreement at all anymore, not sure why I need to if she does not!! (has violated all visitation arrangments last two years, does not tell me when child switches middle or high school (2 times), never consulted with me on any choice of colleges and just applied without telling me and all schools were out of state. I don't have a relationship with my daughter anymore. (have not seen her in a year and half, dont know who her friends are, if she works, what she does etc. Her mom has tried as hard as she can to alienate me from her life and now the daughter acts just like her mother and does not call or want to see me or anything.
#3 In Massachusetts, a child over age 18, the standard child support guidelines don't apply anymore. They base child support payments (if any) on if the child goes to college and what the cost of that college is and depending on the cost of the college either order a same, smaller amount or none at all.. So, this language while self explanatory is vague and does not explain to me how a court calculate child support over age 18 but that they do somehow in certain situations but don't use the standard guidlelines. So, this tells me they won't (a court if we end up there) does not use my income and my ex income to calculate a "new" child support amount based on current incomes anymore because she is over 18 next month, but either take my current child support amount and adjust it down to a smaller amount or to none, depending on the cost of college. How should I approach a child support amount in mediation if there is no longer any standard to apply it to? I don't really know how to handle that piece and don't want to hire a lawyer just to figure that piece out...
#4 Do I have any leg to stand on for anything that my daughter won't call me or visit me for the last year and half and my current wife and her half brother, she has not seen in 2 1/2 years? I am completely alienated. I am not saying I don't want to pay for college and help out but I don't think I should be on the hook for a 60K year college no matter how much money I make under the current circumstances. If my other child who lives with me would not speak to me while living in my house, you can bet I would not be forking over money to pay for their college, why should it be any different with this one just because they don't live with me... I feel like a bank account and nothing else.
Thanks in advance.