Normally Rick and Danny take the questions from callers, but we thought it would be a fun adventure to turn the tables. Just for kicks, we decided to ask Danny about his own extensive experience with family law.
On Child Support & Spousal Support
Rick: “Child support. It was set so many years ago, how many years out of the divorce are you?“
Danny: “This is at least a decade.”
Rick: “What has the history of child support been? Have [your exes] gone back to seek more at times?”
Danny: “No, and I’ll tell you this, you scared me on this one. I don’t care for the care and feeding of my 17-year-old son. I don’t like the way that’s going. I pay $3,000 in child support every month, and have for ten or 12
“And I asked Rick about it, and he said, be really careful, she could go back to court and get more money. Not less. More. And I went, wow, I really thought, “Check with Rick before you do anything.” Because I didn’t think about that child support. [I thought] it was carved in stone, and it’s not necessarily.
“If you can prove that the person paying the child support–and there are two sides to this–is making way more money, they can go back to court and get more money.
“And on the other hand, on the flip side of that, I learned all this from Rick, that if the person receiving the money, because they didn’t make anything, now makes equal or more money, you can go to court and get some of that reimbursed to you.
“But the fact of the matter is, it doesn’t seem to me that child support is hard and fast. It seems like a rule at the time, but that circumstances can legally change.”
Rick: “You also had an alimony obligation that, if I remember correctly, has ended.”
Danny: “Yeah, it ended recently. My original commitment to being not married anymore was $1,000,000 and $16,000 per month for the next decade.”[Background laughter.]
Mary Beth: “Starting when?!”
Danny: “Ten, 15 years ago. Whenever we got a divorce. [He divorced in 2008.] It broke down a little bit, my eldest daughter, was say…14, when we got a divorce, and that means that four years later I didn’t pay $3,000 in child support, so now it’s down to $13,000 a month. Two years ago, the $10,000 a month alimony went away, and all that’s left is $3,000 child support for my son.”
Breakdown of support amounts at time of divorce:
- $10,000 per month alimony.
- $3,000 per month child support for daughter.
- $3,000 per month child support for son.
Danny: “We get calls all the time where somebody will say, you know I’m paying my child support and it’s killing me. It’s $800 a month. Now that guy’s working hard for that money and it is killing him, but what I hear, is, ‘I’m getting screwed here so bad!’
“The thing that Rick taught me, the judge is not out to get you. Rick said this with a straight face and since then has said it many times. So I now believe it. The judge is just a guy. He doesn’t hate you or love you. He has a job to do and he’s going to do it to the best of his ability.
“And I got to tell you, I never think of lawyers or the judge as people with just a job to do. They come in and do what’s right and then go home, and that was a refreshing and satisfying idea.
“The idea, although I hope not to be in court again. The idea that the judge doesn’t hate me just because I’m the defendant or the plaintiff, or what it is, that doesn’t get [talked about].
Rick: “When the maintenance went away, that must have been a huge deal. You and Amy were already married, you had your system down. No doubt there probably wasn’t an opportunity to sock money away, did you feel that it crimped your style,
Danny: “I’m not a great saver of money. I hated sending that $10,000 a month so much, that when it was over, I demanded, or suggested strongly, that we continue to send that money. Just not to her, but to a bank account I don’t even know about, or can touch or have interest in. So what we did, it’s been over two years, and we have close to $250,000.”
Rick: “Well that’s pretty cool.“
Danny: “Yeah, it’s all amazing. You know I hope my son goes to the very best college. I’m happy to pay that part of it and everything, but until he does, the fact that my child support is ending February 14th makes me, I’m pretty pleased about that.”
Rick: “It’s ends February 14th?”
Danny: “Yeah, on Valentine’s Day. Hence one of his many, many names. My son’s name is Count Dante Jean-Michel Valentino Bonaduce.“
Mary Beth: “In real life?”[Laughter.]
Danny: “My daughter, her name is Countess Isabella Michaela Bonaduce, and I thought this would be a private thing. My ex-wife is a crazed royal follower, follows their weddings, their birthdays, when kids are born and all that stuff.
“So, I said–and this was my actual plan–I said, ‘Hey, I have an idea. Let’s name any kids that we have ‘Doctor’ and ‘Judge’ as their first names, so when people say oh look this is Judge Bonaduce, this is Doctor Bonaduce. Save me a lot of money. She said, ‘That’s stupid, how about we give them titles.'”
Mary Beth: “So it sounds like you’ve written a lot of checks, but you’re not particularly happy about it. Did you ever take advantage of the memo line?”
Danny: “Well yeah. Why do you ask? I don’t even know why this would be bad.”
Mary Beth: “I would imagine you could have been very creative.“
Danny: “To your question, it’s like you were there, I though it was funny back in the day to write ‘For Drugs’ or ‘For Sex’.”
Mary Beth: “Did that bite you?”
Danny: “Yeah, more than once but not hard core. If you found out that after this interview that I paid a prostitute with a check, it wouldn’t hurt me like it would hurt someone else. It makes me a little, to have everyone know what bad things I have done, makes you almost Teflon. Nobody cares.”
Related Reading: Part 4 – Anything to Add?