#98 – Child Support

I had a unique client consultation this morning. I figured it’d be a doozy, since the first words out of the guy’s mouth were: “Whatever I say here’s confidential, right?”

After I assured him of the sanctity of the attorney-client privilege, he explained his novel legal issue. He expected his ex-wife to file papers seeking an increase in child support, and he wanted to know whether he could fight her application. Nothing unusual there, since dueling ex-spouses often seek to redo their divorce terms. But his story morphed beyond the norm when he told me the basis of her claim.

“She says she has to pay a lot more for Corey’s grooming, so she needs more money from me.”

“Grooming” seemed an odd word choice for a child’s haircuts, but I didn’t want to nitpick. I simply asked the first of several obvious follow up questions: “How old is your son?”

“In dog years or human?”

I immediately looked for a hidden camera but failed to spot one. Because the guy hadn’t cracked a smile, I saw no choice but to take him seriously. “Are you telling me Corey is a dog?”

“Yeah, an Alaskan malamute.”

I peered closely at his eyes, hoping to catch any sign of a practical joke. Yet none appeared, so what else could I do but play along? Forget about my prior list of anticipated, obvious questions; only one inquiry seemed pressing: “Are you paying child support … for a dog?”

Apparently, disbelief must’ve crept into my voice, because my prospective client not only answered in the affirmative but also whipped out a very official-looking divorce decree with an attached property settlement agreement. He then pointed out the agreement’s explicit provision obligating him to pay monthly child support to the couple’s “son, Corey Alan.”

I was so dumbfounded I didn’t think to ask him why the dog had a middle name and why a husband had agreed to pay “child support” for a canine. Instead, all I could think to say was: “Why does the dog need more grooming?”

That’s when I heard the real eye-opener: “My ex wants Corey’s nails clipped every week, so they don’t scratch when he’s screwing her. Do I have to pay for that?”

As you might guess, I couldn’t answer his question immediately, since I’d never come across this particular issue. I told him I’d need to research the subject and get back to him. 

Only after he left did I finally examine the caption of his divorce case and belatedly notice the alleged malamute fucker’s name: “Lisa Sharon Greenspan.”  Aha!  I’ve been wondering if my sister would retaliate for the recent desk plate fiasco. Now I know.

This kind of dog needs his nails clipped regularly.

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