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a complication in the forcing teens to visitation issue

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Ok, new drama. Dss likes to go to his moms, but he doesn't like to stay there. She's never forced him to stay, which we like so we haven't moved to change the schedule. This week everything has changed. She's telling him that if he doesn't stay with her when he is supposed to she'll go to jail for fraud because she is collecting money (she's on SSI) for the time he is with her. We didn't know this. She told him he has to spend the night or she'll go to jail and that she needs that money so she won't change the schedule. She also told dh that she is thinking about going to court to make dss spend the night with her. He's almost 14, btw. He is scheduled to be with her every Tuesday and EO weekend, but in reality is there 4-6 on Tuesdays and usually just 10-4ish on EO Saturday. Now, dh swears he's not going to rat her out and that he just wants everything to stay as it is, she thinks she is going to get caught. Oh, yuck. I don't even have any thoughts. I'm trying to process "what's right" and I can't.
post #2 of 25
I can't imagine that a court, especially in CA, would change the custody order for a 14-yr-old to say that he is required to spend the night somewhere he says he doesn't want to. If I remember correctly, there are mental health issues involved as well... I would find it more likely they would change the orders to reflect what he wants, which is what is currently happening. Maybe you can convine her that would be the case?
post #3 of 25
Honestly, it sounds like Mom's being manipulative. I don't know a thing about how SSI works relative to custody, but even if everything she says is 100% true, she should NOT be involving her 14-year-old in it. He's far too young to be bombarded with "stay here or you'll send me to jail."



Actually...hmm...I'm looking at this SSI publication for California, and it doesn't say anything about the presence of a non-disabled child affecting SSI payments. Perhaps there are other, non-SSI benefits that are affected? Hm.
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/11125.html
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
I generally agree with you, but there is just always that chance, you know? A judge's ruling can be a surprise sometimes. Dh is trying to convince her of this.
The government is reopening the child support case, too. She sued us for child support last year and won, but apparently she isn't allowed to agree to an amount, the government has to, then they take it. They are reopening it to make sure that they get their correct amount of money. If the amount stays the same, dh doesn't care what the order says, but if they decide we should pay her/them more, then I think the order should really reflect the amount of time he is over there. Which means she'd get less money. I know that she is really taking a hit right now. She was getting CS from us, and money from SSI for dss. Some of that is probably going to stop and she's scared financially and scared she's going to go to jail.
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtoLawyer View Post
Honestly, it sounds like Mom's being manipulative. I don't know a thing about how SSI works relative to custody, but even if everything she says is 100% true, she should NOT be involving her 14-year-old in it. He's far too young to be bombarded with "stay here or you'll send me to jail."



Actually...hmm...I'm looking at this SSI publication for California, and it doesn't say anything about the presence of a non-disabled child affecting SSI payments. Perhaps there are other, non-SSI benefits that are affected? Hm.
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/11125.html
Actually, I'm never 100% sure what she is talking about. First, we knew that she was getting CS from us. Next we heard that SSI would take all but $50 of the CS. Today, she said, "He needs to stay here because I really need that $300. I'm afraid I'll go to jail." We do not pay her $300 so money is coming from somewhere else and she's afraid she's going to be accused of fraud. I assumed it was SSI because that is what she gets. I can't think of another place it would come from. . but who knows.
post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
yuck. I'm looking over this paperwork and it doesn't ask for the custody agreement, it asks for the actually amount of hours the child has spent with the NCP in the last 12 months. As if I have that number. If I tell the truth, it really will lower her CS amount. If I lie and say that we just follow the agreemnt every time, then it might stay the same, or it might go up, who knows.
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flor View Post
yuck. I'm looking over this paperwork and it doesn't ask for the custody agreement, it asks for the actually amount of hours the child has spent with the NCP in the last 12 months. As if I have that number. If I tell the truth, it really will lower her CS amount. If I lie and say that we just follow the agreemnt every time, then it might stay the same, or it might go up, who knows.
If you lie, would that be considered fraud or perjury?
post #8 of 25
I would ring them, tell them that she's been ill recently so your DSS hasn't been overnighting there, but this is likely to change, can they do a review in 3 months? Lying to government agencies is a Bad Idea: and don't forget, your DSS is 14 now. Soon enough he's going to be out in the world on his own and won't be a factor in her finances at all
If you lie and you get found out, that's probably a fine but with the possibility of custodial time. It's not worth it for your DH, honestly. I don't see a reason to change the schedule, though: he could stay overnight (it would be fine by you), he just doesn't want to :
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Oh, I'm not really considering lying, just trying to think things through. I'm not sure if I should call up his mom and say tell me everything that is really going on. Who is giving you money for what? Or, I don't get invovled, just fill out the forms and be done with it. It's just that telling the truth is going to lower the cs we owe and make his mom go crazy on us again. Plus, she seems to think she'll "go to jail" if they find out that dss doesn't spend the night with her. I don't really believe that, but who knows. Oh, and she'll start making dss spend the night. I just don't know why they are asking for the acutal amount of time he has spent with her in the last 12 months. I think they should base the cs on the agreement, you know? It is his choice to come home and they are going to make it hard on him to do that.
post #10 of 25
FWIW-when the court found out my ex was not taking the kids the way it was written in the agreement, the only thing they did was attempt to adjust the support amount. There was never a mention of jail or contempt or anything like that.

But since they threatened to increase his support, he did start taking them the way it was written so that they wouldn't. I don't know your situation, so I don't know that she would do that, but mine did.

The crazy thing was, he was the one arguing about the support amount to begin with, then when it turned out it would increase instead of decrease because of that, he started taking the kids very regularly. Made me almost wish I hadn't told the truth, since they liked it the way it was before, but I was worried about perjury and such, so I told the truth. I told him I would just tell them to give him the credit amount from the agreement without him actually having to do it, but it didn't change his mind. My attorney seemed to think I could just tell them to give him that many days credit whether he was taking it or not, not lie, just tell them to give him the credit and it would be fine. Maybe that is an option?
post #11 of 25
"I'm looking over this paperwork and it doesn't ask for the custody agreement, it asks for the actually amount of hours the child has spent with the NCP in the last 12 months. As if I have that number. If I tell the truth, it really will lower her CS amount."


I really think that you (actually, your DH, since it's his ex that is being dealt with here) should fill out that form as accurately as you are able to. You're not responsible for the financial welfare of this woman, and it doesn't sound like you think your dss is in any danger from staying at her place if that is what happens as a result. It would be far better for for your family, considering his age and the fact that you and DH have managed to have a civil relationship with the ex, if she had no formal visitation times at all and dss just visited her when he wanted to.

She's pretty clearly been commiting some kind of fraud, and there will probably be financial consequences stemming from that. Not your fault, and not your problem. Your responsibility is towards your dss. If he doesn't want to stay over at his biomom's house, then as his parents, you should take steps to try and get that legal obligation lifted from his shoulders.
post #12 of 25
I'm still floored that they gave her CS. I would tell the truth and then (if feeling comfy and generous) "gift" the balance she would be expecting to help her out. Hopefully that would keep her from forcing the overnights. I'm confused on what she would be going to jail for.
post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
I know. Half of what she says doesn't quite make sense. I believe that in addition to CS, she is also getting some kind of aid that is based on the time dss is with her and that is what she is afraid she's going to get in trouble for if they find out that he isn't over there much.

I go back and forth between feeling like this is not our problem, and knowing it will be hell for us (including dss) if the money goes down for her (not just what we give, what she recieves from somewhere else).

We're just waiting to check in with lawyer before sending the papers in.
post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
"You're not responsible for the financial welfare of this woman, and it doesn't sound like you think your dss is in any danger from staying at her place if that is what happens as a result. .
We prefer that he doesn't stay there. She has a mental illness and is an alcoholic. Her two smaller children were removed from her home, but CPS thinks dss is ok there since he is older. Not the best situation, but not illegal at this point.
post #15 of 25
They won't necessarily base child support on the actual time spent. They (CA) asked us for the same info, then based it on the schedule, not the actual hours. I think they like to have all their options.
post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 
Good to know. I really just want everything to stay the same. We pay her, she's leaves us in peace, dss is here everynight.
post #17 of 25
Mental illness, alcoholism, removal of other children, and she STILL gets visitation? Because a 14 y.o. is presumed able to adequately defend himself from a crazy drunk adult? Gloriosky. I'm not blaming you at all, I'm just incredulous that the system "works" like this sometimes. I totally see how you'd rather just pay the money to avoid problems until dss turns 18.
post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 
I know. It's really hard to lose visitation in CA. Our lawyer always says, "Even serial killers get visitation" as she rolls her eyes. I kept picking up the phone today thinking I should just call her and say, "Just tell me everything that is going on here." But, I decided it doesn't really matter. It's not going to change how we fill out the forms. We'll just fill out the forms, send a copy of the schedule, note about actual visitation, and cross our fingers.
post #19 of 25
Flor,

I have known people to get caught fraudulantly collecting SS benefits, and NONE of them have ever gone to jail. If they were to find out, all they would do is keep whatever income tax refund she is due. They will take it each year until the debt is paid. You can tell your DSS that no one is going to jail.
post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 
So, our lawyer just got off the phone with cs office, and it turns out that the mother has been collecting welfare in dss's name for a year. She claimed to be the custodial parent and that we had him 9% of the time (we have him 80% on paper, but more irl). She's been caught, so she's freaking out at dss, but even if he did spend everynight with her that he is supposed to, it wouldn't add up to what she's claimed. She also has visitation of two other kids, so I assume she's been collecting on them, too.
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