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The numbers don't lie...

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I was blown away by the difference in money for our kids per year. We spend over 4x's the amount per year on my step kids than our own kids. I think court calculations are inflated a little. : IDK, this system is just crazy at times to me.
post #2 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by momsadvice View Post
I was blown away by the difference in money for our kids per year. We spend over 4x's the amount per year on my step kids than our own kids. I think court calculations are inflated a little. : IDK, this system is just crazy at times to me.
4x as much sounds about accurate, or maybe even a little low, for what we spend on my stepdaughter, as opposed to what we spend on my son. And unfortunately, when money gets a little tight, cutting back, even a little bit, is not an option with my stepdaughter, so my son is the one who goes without.
post #3 of 26
A lot goes into the monetary cost of a child. Right now, DSD costs us more than DS (Not so much due to CS but due to expenses - she is here over half time).

But I would attribute this difference more to age than to anything else. DS is a toddler. He doesn't eat as much, doesn't have school expenses, his clothes are less expensive, he hasn't participated in as many activities over the course of the year, if we do an activity as a family, he often doesn't get charged admission, he doesn't get invited to birthday parties yet, does not get an allowance.

When the new baby arrives, he or she will be less expensive than DS currently is because they will only need breastmilk and we have a lot of baby things left from DS.

So if you dsc are older, they just might cost more. Not that this is always the case, but it can be a factor.
post #4 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by momsadvice View Post
I was blown away by the difference in money for our kids per year. We spend over 4x's the amount per year on my step kids than our own kids. I think court calculations are inflated a little. : IDK, this system is just crazy at times to me.
I agree with this. It seems that my childern get a lot less then my step daughter and we are always sruggling to stretch every penny.
post #5 of 26
Decided to delete.
post #6 of 26
I am a custodial parent. I can tell you for sure that the "costs" of child support and the like are only a fraction of what it costs to raise a child. Our older children's father makes more than 100K a year, in a low COL area. He pays about 1200 a month in CS, sounds like alot doesn't it? It is not enough to support half of their expenses.

When they are gone for even a week out of the month, our electric bill is nearly half. Our food budget is slashed, the fuel budget drops dramatically.

Tutoring... 120 a month. (both older kids are in an Spannish immersion program)
Basketball.... 100 a month... year round drill coaching, league fees, shoes, uniforms... this does not include travel expenses for travel team
Soccer .... 100 a month... year round drill coaching, league fees, uniforms, Travel not included.
PT... 100 a month Oldest boy has laxed ligaments, PT will hopefully reduce the chances of major knee surgery.
Meds for oldest...119 a month.. insurance reimburses only 24 bucks.

Those are the just the activities...

Childcare................800 a month. (I am in school part time)
Food budget.........6-900 a month depending on how much the garden grows
when they are gone, the budget drops to about 2-300.
clothing............... 150 a month (averaged out over the year)
Entertainment.........50-300 (including birthday gifts for friends winter ski, wakeboarding in summer)


I know that their father is putting nothing away for college. In the last six years my husband and I have added 12 thousand to our son's college account and 25 thousand for our daughter. Our youngest son only has 5K in his account, but he is only 4 years old, he has never not once gone without.


All of these numbers were judged as reasonable by the judge in our case. My ex husband tried to say that I had " mercedes benz activities on a pinto's budget" The judge replied to his attorney... "at a 120 thousand a year, these activites are on the low end of what is expected."

My husband and I do not make all that much in terms of money, infact last year, our income was half of my former spouse's. We have had some wise investments, we sacrifice interms of housing, and drive paid off fuel effecient cars. Our area of splurge is in our choices of activities.
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by momsadvice View Post
I was blown away by the difference in money for our kids per year. We spend over 4x's the amount per year on my step kids than our own kids. I think court calculations are inflated a little. : IDK, this system is just crazy at times to me.
How did you calculate this?
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by boobybunny View Post
I am a custodial parent. I can tell you for sure that the "costs" of child support and the like are only a fraction of what it costs to raise a child. ....

I know that their father is putting nothing away for college. In the last six years my husband and I have added 12 thousand to our son's college account and 25 thousand for our daughter. Our youngest son only has 5K in his account, but he is only 4 years old, he has never not once gone without.
Check your divorce documents AND your state's laws carefully. In many states, the divorce documents often say the issue of post-secondary support is "reserved" (to be decided later) and the state's laws say that if the child goes to college after high school, (1) the NCP owes child support until the child finishes college AND (2) the NCP owes a portion of college expenses, often in the same porportion as the parents split medical costs etc. So whether your kids' dad is saving for college or not, he may owe most of the cost.

As to whether child support pays even half of what it really costs to raise children - . Let's just say that as a CP (a solo parent), with many split-custody friends as well, I'm completely siding with you here.
post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seasons View Post
Check your divorce documents AND your state's laws carefully. In many states, the divorce documents often say the issue of post-secondary support is "reserved" (to be decided later) and the state's laws say that if the child goes to college after high school, (1) the NCP owes child support until the child finishes college AND (2) the NCP owes a portion of college expenses, often in the same porportion as the parents split medical costs etc. So whether your kids' dad is saving for college or not, he may owe most of the cost.

As to the whether child support pays even half of what it really costs to raise children - . Let's just say that as a CP (a solo parent), with many split-custody friends as well, I'm completely siding with you here.
I could only hope... he is court ordered to pay 81% of medical expenses. Our daughter has said for over five years now that she is going to medical school. We have been saving as much as we can to help her fulfill her goals.
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by boobybunny View Post
I could only hope... he is court ordered to pay 81% of medical expenses. Our daughter has said for over five years now that she is going to medical school. We have been saving as much as we can to help her fulfill her goals.
Google "YOURSTATE 'post-secondary support' " - good luck!
post #11 of 26
I wonder if this couldn't go both ways? I know my expenses for the kids that live full time with me are very minimal, but the son my ex and I share, his expenses are exorbitant. I know I am fortunate to recieve child support, but when nearly 1/2 that child support has to be put by for travel expenses to and from his fathers house, it makes it a challenge.

Plus, factor in that I have to buy him "new" clothes, because his father previously complained that with the "massive" amounts of child support he paid, I shouldn't be thrift store shopping for him - this is a child that RUINS 2 pairs of jeans per month, to the point where the school will not let him wear them, the athletic shoes he goes through every 2 months, replacing anything left behind at his fathers (since they are too cheap to send them back!), activities, and even silly stuff like the $25+ I spent out of my own pocket to ensure that my son had a decent gift from his father this Christmas, because we wouldn't want his precious father to look bad in his eyes... well, it really adds up. That's not even factoring in savings for a car or college for him, and we already know his father isn't planning to help with those things at all. That's one more thing I have to put by every month - effectively bringing massive child support to just about nothing.

Kids can be so expensive, but they certainly are worth every penny, aren't they?

I'm going to add: I think it's great that this board exists, because it would certainly NOT be good if any of our children - bio, step, blended, whatever - heard us "complaining" about how expensive they were! I remember overhearing a snippet of a conversation between my SM and Dad complaining about how much I had cost them one summer, and it was very hurtful, and it built a huge wall between my SM and I that still exists to this day.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
I didn't post this to make it a side issue or debate. I just thought it was very interesting and wanted to share my shock when actually doing the numbers. All cases are different and in mine these are the facts.

I used all the calculations that we spend for the kids.... food, clothes, shoes, medical, dental, eye, travel, activities, and so on.

I started this adventure in ways to figure out how to cut costs even more and stretch our money further. This was a detailed project of mine for all our expenses including something as simple as soap for a year budget wise.

Both my husband and I are from divorced families and know the consequences of talking about or arguing in front of the kids. We don't do that. My best friend is a single mom and her story is completely different than mine, so I can see both sides and know first hand how so many different factors go into every case. I was thinking something different when I was talking about the court system.

I love all of my kids and am not complaining about them at all. I can see how somebody could possibly interpret that though. Sorry to confuse anyone.
post #13 of 26
I understand completely with what you are saying. It is amazing to me how these things get calculated and then others get nothing like they should or rephrase need.
post #14 of 26
Both my DP and I have 50/50 splits with our respective X's, and pay no, nor receive any child support.
To be frank, I think that is fair in our case.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by momsadvice View Post
I used all the calculations that we spend for the kids.... food, clothes, shoes, medical, dental, eye, travel, activities, and so on.
Did you include a % of the mortgage, and of utilities?

For instance, a child living in the home full-time will of course "create" more house and utilities spending than a child only visiting EOW. In fact, house spending is probably the child's greatest expense in the household.
post #16 of 26
Whoa, you calculated every expense for a year, down to soap??? Where do you find the time?!? (No, seriously. I'm not saying I couldn't find more time, but since each member of my family uses a different soap/shampoo for various reasons, it'd be insane to try, not to mention everything else! I couldn't even tell you what we spent on Christmas, other than to say we didn't go into debt, and used only "regular" funds, nothing out of savings or anything, which means it couldn't be *that* much, definitely less than years prior, and w/ more kids too!)

p.s. - I agree w/ Seasons on the house spending, but also, from the medical aspect, I know I can claim loads of medical stuff (on my taxes) for my eldest that I don't send off to his father for the 50/50 reimbursement (not sure if it'd be eligible stuff, but either way, seems ridiculous to nickel and dime over anything that cheap, I think I've paid the last few rx and dental stuffs out of pocket anyway)... new humidifier, for one, but also countless bottles of meds he used over the winter. He won't use much in the way of my herbal stuff, but I had to buy tylenol, motrin, pepto bismol, mucinex, etc, plus Vit C, Zinc, multi-vitamins, and a bottle of eucalyptus essential oil to scent the humidifier for him. I don't want to add it all up, it'd be crazy! Now, I'm going to step away before I get flamed for admitting to the use of all those meds this Winter, but I will add that we had it bad for about 2 months, with one sickness after another, it was crazy. Those reciepts I do have!
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seasons View Post
Did you include a % of the mortgage, and of utilities?

For instance, a child living in the home full-time will of course "create" more house and utilities spending than a child only visiting EOW. In fact, house spending is probably the child's greatest expense in the household.
This is what I was wondering as well. If the NCP lives in a house that's larger than they would need without their EOW kid, you have to factor that cost into the NCP side of the equation as well.
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by plunky View Post
This is what I was wondering as well. If the NCP lives in a house that's larger than they would need without their EOW kid, you have to factor that cost into the NCP side of the equation as well.
Exactly. When we lived in an apartment, we had to have an extra bedroom for the kids. I guess we didn't HAVE to (no one was forcing us), but still that was an extra $250-300 a month that we wouldn't have to spend under normal circumstances. And even now in a house, there is one bedroom that gets used 2-3 weekends a month.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seasons View Post
For instance, a child living in the home full-time will of course "create" more house and utilities spending than a child only visiting EOW. In fact, house spending is probably the child's greatest expense in the household.
I don't really agree with this. We don't keep the house any warmer when my step-daughter is here vs. when she is not. We have the same number of bedrooms we would have whether she was here every day or every other weekend. The increase in water due to laundry and bathing is absolutely unnoticeable. We don't turn on any more lights in the playroom when there are three children playing in there vs two. Honestly, the cost of feeding one extra person is not even that much different when she is here. And perhaps when you add up the speed at which we go through soap, shampoo, toilet paper, etc and multiply it over her lifetime, it might end up looking like a decent amount, but on a monthly (or even yearly) basis it is pretty negligible.

She is here for long stretches (months) at a time, and gone for months at a time, so we have a pretty good idea of the difference between when she is here and when she is not.

I'm not saying that children don't cost anything, but I think an accurate assessment of the actual cost of any individual child would depend a lot on each family's individual circumstances, not an across-the-board formula.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by aricha View Post
I don't really agree with this. We don't keep the house any warmer when my step-daughter is here vs. when she is not. We have the same number of bedrooms we would have whether she was here every day or every other weekend. The increase in water due to laundry and bathing is absolutely unnoticeable. We don't turn on any more lights in the playroom when there are three children playing in there vs two. Honestly, the cost of feeding one extra person is not even that much different when she is here. And perhaps when you add up the speed at which we go through soap, shampoo, toilet paper, etc and multiply it over her lifetime, it might end up looking like a decent amount, but on a monthly (or even yearly) basis it is pretty negligible.

She is here for long stretches (months) at a time, and gone for months at a time, so we have a pretty good idea of the difference between when she is here and when she is not.

I'm not saying that children don't cost anything, but I think an accurate assessment of the actual cost of any individual child would depend a lot on each family's individual circumstances, not an across-the-board formula.
ITA... The costs come out the same for us whether DSD is here more often vs our normal EOW. She plays with us, so lights and such are on the same... water isn't noticed... even when she accidentally left it running the bathroom for hours the water bill really wasn't affected like I thought it would be. We have to have a bedroom for her wether we had her full time or EOW, so we have the extra housing costs as well. I've never really understood the housing/utility equation... both parties are affected by this.
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