Modification to MSA possible ?

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Modification to MSA possible ?

Unread postby George123 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:11 pm

Hi all. Both me and EX signed the MSA back in July 2017 and our divorce got finalized in Sep 2017 in Califronia. We had lived in California for past 3 years. We settled via the MSA out of court via our attorneys.

Due to not having a good lawyer counsel, I foolishly agreed to all her terms of moving out of state to ILLINIOS with our 2 kids (aged 10 and 7). Otherwise she was threatening a lengthy court case on me and lengthy trial time etc. Since I made much more money then her, she was happy to live off the monthly child support and spousal support due to lower salary. She had taken the kids and moved out of our rental home.

As part of MSA terms, I was to meet the kids during trips to Chicago and also talk to them every other day via phone or Facetime/video chat. Additionally my EX would allow the kids to be with me for a few weeks only each year although we agreed to split child support payment 75 percent/25 percent on the MSA. She is the custodial parent.

I paid off my EX in SPOUSAL Support with most of my savings. And I send her a fat check each month for child support based on my income on the 75/25 formula. Now she is being very difficult and not allowing me to talk to my kids as per what we agreed on MSA. She is also not keen to send kids to California to visit me even for a few weeks. She doesnt respond much to calls or texts around scheduling time with kids.

I have realized that a lot of things in the MSA were not in my favor but i signed them based on my EX's threats to go to trial .

So my question is : Can the MSA be edited via a motion so I can request more custody with my kids ? Is this even reasonable request now ? Or do I have no chance here and only myself to blame for allowing my spouse to move out of state ?
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Re: Modification to MSA possible ?

Unread postby Trevor » Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:23 pm

You signed a bad MSA, so stop trying to blame a lawyer for your inability to figure out the difficulty in being a Dad two thousand miles away from your kids.

Your solution is to move to where the kids live and take back your role as Dad. What are the reasons that you can't do this, for your kids' sakes?
"Personal density is directly proportional to temporal bandwidth."
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Re: Modification to MSA possible ?

Unread postby George123 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:32 pm

Trevor wrote:You signed a bad MSA, so stop trying to blame a lawyer for your inability to figure out the difficulty in being a Dad two thousand miles away from your kids.

Your solution is to move to where the kids live and take back your role as Dad. What are the reasons that you can't do this, for your kids' sakes?


Thanks for your reply and i regret each day on having signed the MSA and settled out of court. Now I will have to quit my job at California as it doesnt allow me to work from Chicago. If i quit my job voluntarily then i have 2 more challenges :

1) I still need to afford to pay monthly child support as I quit voluntarily

2) I need to search for another job at Chicago which wont be easy based on where I stand in my career

Yes I did sign the MSA for fear of going to a trial and I regret doing that. I also put a lot of trust on my EX which i should not have . So is there anything else i can do here now ?
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Re: Modification to MSA possible ?

Unread postby Trevor » Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:52 pm

The only way to change the existing MSA is to petition the court for modification. However, courts in most states won't entertain changes to a document to which you voluntarily agreed (no coercion, you had a lawyer) that is only 4 months in effect.

A better strategy is to conduct immediately a job search in Chicago, get a reasonably salaried job and move there, within your kids' school district (this is very important). Start immediately exercising your existing court-ordered parenting time, ask her for additional time, engage in their lives as best you can (recitals, games, practices, parent-teacher meetings). You will ned to find work at a similar (read: doable) salary compared to CA.

If your salary drops off significantly, then you might ask the court for relief under the circumstances of your relocation to be near the kids. A judge might be amenable to the relative heroics of that choice compared to the dumb one ensconced in your MSA.
"Personal density is directly proportional to temporal bandwidth."
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Re: Modification to MSA possible ?

Unread postby George123 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:37 pm

Trevor wrote:The only way to change the existing MSA is to petition the court for modification. However, courts in most states won't entertain changes to a document to which you voluntarily agreed (no coercion, you had a lawyer) that is only 4 months in effect.

A better strategy is to conduct immediately a job search in Chicago, get a reasonably salaried job and move there, within your kids' school district (this is very important). Start immediately exercising your existing court-ordered parenting time, ask her for additional time, engage in their lives as best you can (recitals, games, practices, parent-teacher meetings). You will ned to find work at a similar (read: doable) salary compared to CA.

If your salary drops off significantly, then you might ask the court for relief under the circumstances of your relocation to be near the kids. A judge might be amenable to the relative heroics of that choice compared to the dumb one ensconced in your MSA.


It is virutally impossible for me to find a job in my skills area at Chicago area ( I did all this research since she left). My EX also quit her job and is now just sitting jobless and enjoying the monthly child support and other money she got via the settlement.

The case was filed in california family court. Is there anyway I can look to exercise my rights staying here ?

Is there any other option here ? I am requesting my ex to allow me more time with my kids atleast during summer and winter breaks and talking more often as we mentioned on the MSA as well . She is just being painfully difficult.
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Re: Modification to MSA possible ?

Unread postby Trevor » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:59 pm

What job skills are those you possess which are absent in Chicago? Is yours a salt-water related job?

And what about the needs of your kids to have a Dad in their lives? You realize, don't you, that what is happening is that you are (or will be soon) replaced by some guy who the kids' mother starts dating...if indeed he isn't already there, and part of the reason she bolted to IL.

I know you're not liking this line of questioning, but your kids need you more than your job does.
"Personal density is directly proportional to temporal bandwidth."
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Re: Modification to MSA possible ?

Unread postby Tom Kirkpatrick » Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:51 pm

George123 wrote:Both me and EX signed the MSA back in July 2017 and our divorce got finalized in Sep 2017 in Califronia. We had lived in California for past 3 years. We settled via the MSA out of court via our attorneys.
You're locked in to the agreement, Bro. You're gonna need a serious game plan that includes:

1) Moving to Chicago

2) Filing for Change of Venue; and

3) Filing for a Parenting Plan Modification - something other than the long-distance parenting plan you now have. <<< That, in and of itself, should satisfy the significant change in circumstance component of the modification you seek.

The good news is that you've got a CA decree. And CA is a 50/50 state. <<< Didn't your attorney tell you that??

Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:59 pm
What happened to your original post when you joined us in Sept??

Tom
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Re: Modification to MSA possible ?

Unread postby massdad1234 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:36 am

What is impossible? Getting a job? If your skills were so unique, wouldn't it have been prudent to have protected that via the decree?

We wouldn't be seeing anyone else in the CA area would we?
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Re: Modification to MSA possible ?

Unread postby TJinCA » Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:16 pm

I don't know what OP does for a living, but I can easily believe that there are jobs/skill sets that are in demand in California but not in Chicago and vice-versa, or that compensation would be significantly different. So moving to Chicago could easily involve a lateral career shift and possibly a significant reduction in pay.

If the voluntary change/reduction was shown to be for the purpose of being closer to his kids and not motivated by trying to reduce child support, it seems like the court might take that into consideration in adjusting child support to reflect the new income.

But I agree, OP signed off on the MSA (and in so doing avoided trial, which he says was his objective) so he's likely stuck with it. I don't think the court will help him, he'd need to get a voluntary concession from the mom.
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Re: Modification to MSA possible ?

Unread postby Trevor » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:03 pm

Chicago is a high COL area, as are *some* parts of CA. Not knowing where is the guy living, we can't assume the COL where he resides is the same as SF or LA, and therefore higher than Chicago. I spent a several weeks in SD late last year and the COL was not that bad, and probably not as high as Chicago. Just sayin'.
"Personal density is directly proportional to temporal bandwidth."
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