1. The execution office
They signed a divorce agreement after two mediation sessions. He said that they decided to divorce after a dramatic conversation during which she informed him that she had fallen in love with someone else and wanted to divorce. She always used to tell him the truth to his face, plain and simple, as they say. For him it was like a fist to the stomach but he had a samurai's self-control and he did not stand in her way. They divorced signing a divorce agreement and since then have managed an excellent divorce relationship. That is, he paid her child support and took their twins almost half of the time, every week like a Swiss clock. His support enabled her to manage her successful career and her love life without hindrance.
Under the surface he was finding it difficult. He paid her NIS 5,000 a month for the twins and paid NIS 4,500 a month to rent a small apartment close to their school. On productive months, that left him with NIS 4,000 and on less productive months, with 3,000, to live on for both himself and the twins. The generous divorce agreement granted her the right to demand half of the education expenses, including after-school classes and tutoring. However, since she was blossoming after the divorce and saw that it was difficult for him, they agreed that despite the agreement she would not charge him for education expenses and just pay them out of her high child support payments.
That was the status quo for three years, until he found new love. Although he was a highly sought-after man, it took him time to recover from the breakdown of the family unit and none of the women he met was able to capture his heart. That is, until he met Irit, who was said to be irresistible. After three intoxicating months together, they decided to fly to Paris for a romantic weekend. He has not been to Ben-Gurion Airport for five years now and Irit, who realized she had a diamond in her hands, bought the airline tickets for them both. He informed his ex-wife of` the flight, expecting to receive her blessing for the trip just as he had done for her countless trips since their divorce, but she did not respond.
It turned out that she wasn’t happy hearing about Irit and the flight from the twins, who were talking about their dad’s new girlfriend with the tactless enthusiasm of 12-year-old girls. She felt exploited. "He has money to travel abroad but cannot pay his daughters’ after-school classes!?" She grumbled to a friend, "I’m going to end this." On the morning of the flight, a messenger arrived with an envelope from the Execution Office. She demanded reimbursement of all the girls’ after-school classes payments and the rest of the education expenses retroactively, with interest and indexing as per the Execution Office’s policies. She also had a stay order issued against him to prevent him from leaving Israel for his trip. He did not get to go to Paris on that formative weekend and he took a loan to pay her demands.
Since then, and contrary to the agreement that required his consent to do so, she continued to submit more and more receipts to the execution Office for classes, tutoring and other educational expenses, without bothering to pass those to him or get his consent. She collected the high expenses by means of a fixed lien on his salary, leaving him helpless and with no means. This week we filed a lawsuit against her. We motioned to annul the child support clause in the agreement due to change of circumstances, breach of the agreement and lack of substantive good faith in executing it. When she received the lawsuit forms, she turned to him for the first time since the Paris incident and asked to turn back the clock. He did not agree to do so.
The moral of the story: For all those who have divorced and think they can still manage their ex’s life, think again. Even an amazing ex can become the ex from hell when pressed against the wall. Beware of vengeful use of the execution office, the torture instrument of modern society, because at the end, as you know – Karma is watching from the sideline and smiling.
2. Shared custody
He was pathologically cheap even before they got married. My belief is that it is very difficult to live with a miser when you are not stingy yourself, but she explained to me that this was one of the main reasons she decided to divorce him. He was cheap with money, but also with compliments and terms of endearment. He was never generous with his love and, in the end, he began to be stingy with sex as well, an area in which they had had great compatibility according to her. For three years now, they have been in a divorce process that started with a bang and calmed down a year later, together with a partial divorce agreement and a Gett (a Jewish divorce document). Since then they have been slowly negotiating the issues of child support and custody.
They had three sons who were practically staying with him half of the time and so the social worker told her she would recommend joint custody. The wife came this week for a consultation on this matter, saying that her cheap husband’s method of avoiding paying for the kids’ expenses was not to approve them in the first place. There was no approval for a neuropsychic evaluation for the youngest child suffering from ADHD. There was no approval for orthodontic treatment for the middle son despite the obvious need for treatment and there was no approval for private math tutoring for the eldest son who then had to move to a lower math group in school. Obviously driving lessons for the eldest son were out of the question and he was sent to work and fund his driving lessons himself in the middle of his final exams and despite the huge salary his stingy father was earning.
She paid all the expenses as best she could, but she was helpless when the ADHD issues of her youngest son and teeth problems of the middle son could not be addressed due to their father's lack of consent. This week, a hearing was held in their case. The social worker who recommended joint custody wriggled on the stand when I questioned her about the connection between her recommendations and parental responsibility and the connection between parental responsibility and the satisfaction of the children's needs. The judge listened and looked at her. “There was no joint parental responsibility here,” she ruled, “even though the children were staying with him half of the time.” The mother was granted sole authority to make decisions regarding the children, subject to a professional recommendation and without the need for his approval. Also, despite the fact that the children stayed with him half of the time, he was ordered to pay a much higher child support than the amount he offered to pay in the negotiations.
The moral of the story: If you think you are cheating the system by systematically resisting all your children's expenses, hoping to make them the mother’s responsibility, consider that you may find yourself stripped of significant parenting powers and paying more.
3. Reduction of child support
They divorced three years ago after tedious negotiations that never seemed to end. When the agreement was signed he felt that life was just beginning and she felt that something in her heart had died. Nevertheless, they shared joint custody of their three girls and each month he gave her NIS 9,000 for child support. Yes, it was a very large sum even then, in an age where child support was exclusively paid by the father, but he wanted very much to finish the negotiation saga that lasted years, he was optimistic he could afford the payments and so eventually he signed the agreement. The woman who captured his heart was waiting for him and he felt that with her he was ready to start his life again, from the beginning. He remarried and had a newborn son (after three daughters) that he fell in love with the moment he saw him. His love was impossible to miss and was evident in his eyes. The more his love bloomed, the more his ex’s resentment grew, hording her frustrations and anger in a special folder bearing his name that held records she had obsessively collected for the doomsday she knew would come. Despite her bitterness, he wished for normalization and tried to maintain a normal parenting routine with her, especially for sake of the girls who enjoyed their father's loving nest but were also loyal to their mom and ached for her loneliness, apparent even when she had boyfriends in the background.
When she cursed him and his newborn son something broke in him. The economic difficulties he had due to raising the girls in joint custody and paying high child support were piling up. He endured debts, loans, a decline in income and other economic hardships while She, on the other hand, was blossoming professionally, earning tens of thousands of shekels a month and insisting on getting every last shekel from him. He pleaded for a change, even temporary, to the agreement but faced a brick wall. When he felt he couldn’t take it anymore, we filed a claim to cancel the child support. Within 14 days, a statement of no less than 500 pages (!) was received and started with a dramatic opening: "like a cruel raven, the plaintiff comes out of his safe and secure nest, striking with his beak and economic strength at the weak prey, who is coping proudly with the many challenges that the plaintiff left for her." As you can see, things speak for themselves.
This week, a hearing was held in their case, after we read every page of the 500-page long defense statement. Both parties argued passionately and the divorcee herself prepared a written speech in which she called her ex-husband the “accused" and admitted that she had stored every document for the day of judgment she had waited for. The wise judge, who understood the magnitude of the bitterness, ordered her to shorten her defense statement and set the case for trial, while recommending that the divorcee accept the pleas of the "accused" and conduct negotiations with him.
The moral of the story: Do not sign agreements that you hope you can meet, only sign agreements when you are sure you will be able to meet them. If someone is in distress and turns to you to negotiate, listen to them, otherwise you are sending them to court, and court, as is well known, is an expensive endeavor.