Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Man's All Play Attitude Catches Up To Him; Leaves His In A Dangerous Spot

Dear Tazi:

My adult son, "Jimmy" is 43, and thinks he is still the greatest thing since sliced bread. Admittedly, he was a very attractive young man; but years of smoking, heavy drinking, and hard partying have robbed him of his looks. Unfortunately, he does not realize this and thinks he is still God's gift to women.

This past Christmas season, Jimmy's long-time girlfriend (and mother of his son) "Joanie" got tired of waiting around for the wedding ring he promised her no later than three years ago. She packed up her stuff and moved out of state, taking my five-year-old grandson with her. Because they were always a couple, Jimmy and Joanie never went to court to establish custody rights, so I believe Joanie is within her rights to move away with their son. Jimmy has not seen this situation as a wake-up call to put his partying ways behind him and honor Joanie and their son by getting married and becoming a family man. Rather, he responded to my criticism by telling me he was "getting bored with Joanie, anyway" and was "tired of always having to babysit" his son. I am so angry with him, I can't even see straight! As if all of this was not bad enough, here comes the reason I am writing to you:

Jimmy has not offered any money for child-support, arguing that he does not get to see his son so why should he pay support? Joanie has threatened to sue for child-support if Jimmy does not agree to a reasonable, contracted amount to send on a weekly basis. I know that child-support is based upon the income a person has reported on their tax returns; I also know that Jimmy - who owns his own successful contracting company - has not paid taxes in over a decade, business or personal. If Jimmy ends up going to court, his lack of tax returns could lead to criminal charges of tax evasion. Due to his partying ways, Jimmy has not saved a dime of his earnings and there is no way he would be able to pay his tax debt, plus penalties. My late husband left me some life-insurance monies, but this was to be used for my own security in retirement. Jimmy does not know that I have this money, so I have not felt obligated to offer it. I am so confused as to what I should do, because Jimmy has ignored Joanie's demands, shrugging and saying "Let her sue. I have no proof of income!" Help!

Worried To Pieces

Dear Worried To Pieces:

The fact that your son has not paid child-support - or taxes - is unnerving, to put it mildly. You are right to be concerned about your son's plight, but please do not put your financial security at risk for someone who has squandered their own - even if it is your own son. The fact that Jimmy "owns his own successful contracting company" tells me that his tax burden will be a big one - income taxes (Federal and state); social security taxes; and business taxes will all be owed, along with interest and penalties. Your son's tax burden could easily top $200,000, considering that he has not paid taxes "in over a decade"; which is why the first thing he needs to do is contact a good tax attorney and hope against hope that there is a way to file accurate tax returns for the past decade or more. Your son does not sound like the responsible type so I doubt he has any kind of paperwork or receipts documenting his income and expenses.

April 15th is quickly approaching!

In spite of your son's claim that he has "no proof of income", unless all of his clients have paid him cash there will be a paper trail - cashed checks, business records/filed receipts, tax write-offs from those who paid him to make improvements to home or business, and payroll receipts (if he has anybody working for him). The fact that Joanie was with your son for at least three of these past ten years leads me to believe she knows roughly how much your son earned from his business; any additional information she can provide (names of clients, job sites, etc.) will tell her attorney where to start digging for information.

My advice to you is to show your son this letter, and spell out for him what he is not seeing: that his past has caught up with him, and unless he wants to spend the foreseeable future in a jail cell, he will first honor Joanie's request for child-support and second work on putting his financial house in order. It is long past time for Jimmy to grow up!


P.S. One does not "babysit" their own child! It's called "parenting", and I hope you made this fact clear to your son! --T.K.