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Question #170:
Hi, I live in New York state (upstate), and I was never married to the other parent of my child. We have been split up for 3 years now, but never had a custody hearing. I was engaged in December of 2005, and am getting married in August 2006. We went to mediation 2 months ago, and I thought all was fine, until he called tonight and told me that he will not sign the papers and has contacted an attorney, who has drafted another set of custody papers. In the mediation papers (that he won't sign) we have joint custody, and I have physical. I am moving 3 hours away (in the same state) in 2 weeks. He is upset that we didn't come to an agreement involving claiming the child as a dependent on our income taxes. The child lives with me, other than his every other weekend visitations. My fiancee will be financially responsible for myself and the child once we get married, and will be spending considerable more money on the mortgage, and gas & electric, and clothing, than what I get in support, I will have no problem proving that after the division of family members, we pay more for the child's living expenses than what I get in support. He is hounding me about being able to claim our child on taxes every other year. My question is why would I give him permission to do that? My child lives with my fiancee and I, WE take care of him financially, I don't want to sound selfish, but what would I gain from doing this?
Before my ex found out we were moving, he only saw our son when necessary, now he is acting like super dad all of a sudden. I don't know why he waited until 2 weeks before my wedding to spring this on me, but we went to mediation 2 months ago, which gave him plenty of time to do it prior than this. Is there any way that now, after all this time that he can keep me from moving out of the county? This move will notjeopardize him seeing his son, just as much as he has been (every other weekend). This move will also put our son in a better school with more to offer academically. The move will be very good for my son.
Please let me know why I would sign that paper giving my ex the permission to claim our son on taxes, and if he can still keep me in the county that we are in if I refuse to sign the papers. I feel like he is trying to bribe me into doing this for his financial reasons.
Thank You So Much for your time.
From the way you describe it, you are right; he is trying to coerce from you an additional financial concession and intentionally waited to just before your marriage to spring it on you. I suggest you mediate this matter as well. Perhaps you could agree that he would get the deduction when he contributes to the child's support X number of dollars. Or perhaps give him the deduction once every fifth year. You have to decide how much this deduction is really worth to you.He is statutorily required to provide the child with approximately 17% of his income. Do not let him off the hook so fast. Insist on this child support payment if he wants the deduction.
If he remains adamant, and your agreement to mediate did not include a provision to arbitrate unresolved disputes, you may have to have a judge resolve this matter. If you explain to the judge the entire situation and the underhanded tactics your spouse is employing, you may find the judge receptive to your plea. Get an experienced, matrimonial attorney to represent you. Do not do it yourself!

Good Luck!

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions
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