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Dr. Phil 2/27 - Page 2

post #21 of 167
seriously? if you marry someone with a certain income, they have no right to ever change because you agreed upon a certain lifestyle?
if that were true, no mom who thought she'd want to be a SAHM, then decided to go into teh workforce, or vice versa, should be allowed to do so. after all, both parents agreed on teh desired lifestyle, right? she should be stuck in whatever origninal position she chose for life. and divorce should be totally illegal if thats youre thinking. thats a radical change in lifestyle.

people change, they grow, and you cant expect them to be exactly what you need them to be forever - emotionally, spiritually OR financially. a woman might want a divorice because its better for her emotionally and spiritually, a man might want to become a teacher for the same reasons.

you are responsible for you and your choices. thats it.
post #22 of 167
My ex says that because i left with the kids then i don't need his support. Thus the reason why he works under the table and pays no taxes and since he told the court he is unemployed they issued zero child support for 4 children and i have sole custody he has zero visitation. I was not supported by the courts or the ex. I think there will always be two sides to every story. I know my ex tells everyone i kidnapped the kids and he has no clue where we are so he can't pay support.
post #23 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodmom2008 View Post
So you think that a lawyer should be able to stop doing that and become a server making minimum wage? People have done that after a divorce.

I completely disagree with the first dad. I don't see why his ex should be forced to pick up his slack because he changes his choice of career to one that is making considerably less. Especially since she had no say in his choice at all.
she shouldnt have say in his life. she has say in her life. if she wants a certain lifestyle, she can go create it.
post #24 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollycat View Post
seriously? if you marry someone with a certain income, they have no right to ever change because you agreed upon a certain lifestyle?
if that were true, no mom who thought she'd want to be a SAHM, then decided to go into teh workforce, or vice versa, should be allowed to do so. after all, both parents agreed on teh desired lifestyle, right? she should be stuck in whatever origninal position she chose for life. and divorce should be totally illegal if thats youre thinking. thats a radical change in lifestyle.

people change, they grow, and you cant expect them to be exactly what you need them to be forever - emotionally, spiritually OR financially. a woman might want a divorice because its better for her emotionally and spiritually, a man might want to become a teacher for the same reasons.
If you're still married to your spouse, or I suppose even if you aren't, you can ask your co-parent to support your kids fully or partially while you go down in income. If your co-parent says no, and you are divorced (or if you divorce pretty soon afterwards), then you gotta keep up your earlier $ agreement.

"Change and growth" is fine if you live all by yourself. Once you impact other people, you need to ask permission to change what you have earlier promised (implicitly or not) to give them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hollycat View Post
you are responsible for you and your choices. thats it.
People who divorce are responsible for their CHOICE of creating a child, and therefore must support that child.
post #25 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollycat View Post

you are responsible for you and your choices. thats it.
Except when you choose to have children. Then you are responsible for meeting the needs of those children (emotionally, physically, financially) to the best of your ability. And frankly, their needs come first, regardless of whether you decide on a whim you all of a sudden want to change careers/jobs/lifestyles.

I know that growing up with 2 parents working full-time in blue collar jobs, that both probably had dreams and aspirations that chose NOT to pursue, because they would have reduced their income, thereby affecting my brother and I and our standard of living. My father made okay money, but hated his job. Did he quit so he could start his own woodworking shop or fly-fishing guide business? He WANTED to, but No. He didn't. Because it would have meant financial hardship for our family and he realized his responsibility was to provide for his minor childen, regardless of the fact that he would rather be out fishing. When my brother and I were barely out of the house (my brother moved in with me when he was 17, and I was 22), my Dad quit his miserable job, took 3 years off, built himself a small house, did all the things he'd wanted to for years. And I applauded him. But he made damn sure that his minor children were taken care of before doing what HE wanted to do.

As for the guy who wants to be a math teacher, fine. He should be able to change professions, especially as his desire to spend time with hs dc seems sincere. That doesnt mean that his cs should be reduced dramtically. It means that HE should be the one willing to lessen his standard of living, not his children. If he's making the decision to make drastically less money, HE will be the one to move into a small apartment, drive a beater car (or take the bus), buy his clothes at Goodwill, go without internet and cable, etc. His children should not be the ones going without because of his career/lifestyle change. If his desire to spend time with his dc really IS sincere, he will be willing to scrape by, like so many of us single mothers do.
post #26 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by Socks for Supper View Post
As for the guy who wants to be a math teacher, fine. He should be able to change professions.... It means that HE should be the one willing to lessen his standard of living, not his children. If he's making the decision to make drastically less money, HE will be the one to move into a small apartment, drive a beater car (or take the bus), buy his clothes at Goodwill, go without internet and cable, etc. His children should not be the ones going without because of his career/lifestyle change. If his desire to spend time with his dc really IS sincere, he will be willing to scrape by, like so many of us single mothers do.
Wonderfully phrased!

Because I made the choice years ago to have a child, some of my future choices are lessened. I can't run out on a whim to meet friends at a party, for instance. (Not without arranging a babysitter, earning the money to pay for said babysitter, having a cell phone on me for babysitter to call, returning home when I told babysitter i'd be home, etc.) I can't buy a Miata car. (Because it doesn't have room for a car seat, and because buying it would take away money needed to feed my family.) Now assume that I'm a parent with a child support obligation. If I want to become a teacher, my choices of how to do so are lessened because of my earlier choice to have a child. (I'll have to work days and go to teaching school online in the evenings, or move into smaller apartment, or delay the career change until child is 18 and I don't owe child support any more.)

I don't understand the "but I'm divorced now! Why can't I act like a single non-parent with the same full range of choices I had before divorce?!" mindset - I really don't. I suspect some people, in going through the psychological changes of a divorce (especially if they initiated the divorce), find themselves forgetting about their past commitments and consequences of past choices (like the choice to procreate). Throwing the baby out with the bathwater, as it were - or at least trying to throw the baby's child support $ out with the now-ex-wife's bubble bath.
post #27 of 167
I agree with a lot of the conversation happening here. I don't want to see Dad's cut their income in order to stick it to the ex wife. I don't want to see kids go without basic needs either. But I don't think that's what this certain situation is about.

The only question I would have for this particular Dad is "how old are your kids?". I am assuming because of how things were talked about on the show that his kids are school age. If I'm wrong then my stance could change a little.

This particular dad only wants to change his child support to half of what he is paying now. I'm sure with a $100,000 income a year that child support amount is more than most CP's get. He doesn't want his child support to decrease to that of a $30,000 math teacher. He wants to pay more.

This CP doesn't work, which is a luxury that most don't get, a huge blessing to her life and her kids. So if Dad's current position stresses him out, leaves less time for his kids, and he wants to change, I say let him. If the CP wants to keep living how they are, taking vacations to mexico, then she needs to get a job to provide that.

Even on half of Dad's current child support I have a hard time believing that these kids would be living in poverty. Plus they will have more time with their dad, so I think that is a bonus that is worth more than money.
post #28 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollycat View Post
seriously? if you marry someone with a certain income, they have no right to ever change because you agreed upon a certain lifestyle?
if that were true, no mom who thought she'd want to be a SAHM, then decided to go into teh workforce, or vice versa, should be allowed to do so. after all, both parents agreed on teh desired lifestyle, right? she should be stuck in whatever origninal position she chose for life. and divorce should be totally illegal if thats youre thinking. thats a radical change in lifestyle.

people change, they grow, and you cant expect them to be exactly what you need them to be forever - emotionally, spiritually OR financially. a woman might want a divorice because its better for her emotionally and spiritually, a man might want to become a teacher for the same reasons.

you are responsible for you and your choices. thats it.
First, let's address the issue of the sahp (gender neutral because either gender can do this). That is a decision made by BOTH parents. Not just one. When I became a stay at home mom, my ex and I discussed it and we BOTH agreed to it.

Second, yes, divorce equals a radical lifestyle change. One that includes the inability to willingly reduce your income if there are children involved.

Yes, people change. And if the person wants to change careers that is their choice. Doesn't mean that s/he will be able to reduce child support as a result of his/her choice.

And you are right, the person who is willingly reducing his/her income is responsible for that choice. That person's choice to reduce their income should have no impact whatsoever on the amount of child support ordered. That places an unfair burden on the parent who didn't willingly reduce their income.
post #29 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollycat View Post
she shouldnt have say in his life.
Which is precisely why the courts impute income. Because the parent who is expected to pick up the slack has no say at all.
post #30 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by trinity6232000 View Post
I agree with a lot of the conversation happening here. I don't want to see Dad's cut their income in order to stick it to the ex wife. I don't want to see kids go without basic needs either. But I don't think that's what this certain situation is about.

The only question I would have for this particular Dad is "how old are your kids?". I am assuming because of how things were talked about on the show that his kids are school age. If I'm wrong then my stance could change a little.

This particular dad only wants to change his child support to half of what he is paying now. I'm sure with a $100,000 income a year that child support amount is more than most CP's get. He doesn't want his child support to decrease to that of a $30,000 math teacher. He wants to pay more.

This CP doesn't work, which is a luxury that most don't get, a huge blessing to her life and her kids. So if Dad's current position stresses him out, leaves less time for his kids, and he wants to change, I say let him. If the CP wants to keep living how they are, taking vacations to mexico, then she needs to get a job to provide that.

Even on half of Dad's current child support I have a hard time believing that these kids would be living in poverty. Plus they will have more time with their dad, so I think that is a bonus that is worth more than money.

And he can do that. But he's not going to be able to reduce his child support. Nor should he be able to. The CP shouldn't have to pick up the slack that his choice created. She, after all, has no say in his choices.

BTW, once he gets it accepted that he pays less child support and is no longer making what he used to, he can then go back and have it reduced to be calculated on the $30K. Child support is always modifiable. He may be saying that he wants to pay more than what it would come out to on $30K now, but he's just trying to get his foot in the door to getting it calculated solely on the $30K.
post #31 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollycat View Post
seriously? if you marry someone with a certain income, they have no right to ever change because you agreed upon a certain lifestyle?
if that were true, no mom who thought she'd want to be a SAHM, then decided to go into teh workforce, or vice versa, should be allowed to do so. after all, both parents agreed on teh desired lifestyle, right? she should be stuck in whatever origninal position she chose for life. and divorce should be totally illegal if thats youre thinking. thats a radical change in lifestyle.
Hollycat, first consider that choosing a career and paying child support are two different things. As others have said here, go, live your life; so long as you don't forget your significant obligations and promises to others.

Second, your parallel doesn't hold up. SAHMhood doesn't normally last more than ten years or so; less if the family's smaller. The kids go off to school, the mom returns to work. A cardiologist, on the other hand, can be expected to make a healthy six figures for 40 years. More in some areas.

But -- especially if you're talking about younger children -- the SAHM supports the husband's ability to work, and you can attach a dollar value to that service if you want to; it isn't hard to do. If the mother abandons the family, wanders off, leaves the babies with the guy, and eventually makes some money, I sure do think she owes the guy not just child support but a significant chunk of childcare change and compensation for the career train wreck she put him through.

Quote:
people change, they grow, and you cant expect them to be exactly what you need them to be forever - emotionally, spiritually OR financially. a woman might want a divorice because its better for her emotionally and spiritually, a man might want to become a teacher for the same reasons.
Which is absolutely fine so long as either he's childless or has the funds to meet his prior obligations while making himself so happy.

Quote:
you are responsible for you and your choices. thats it.
I hear this sentiment among younger people frequently, and it troubles me, because it comes out of a complete vacuum. In the world of this sentiment, there are no laws, no contracts; there's only the whim of the moment, of which everyone else should be supportive. I think it contributes mightily to a terrible shock of discovery that the paper your signed has real meaning, or that the law regards you as having certain obligations just because of your position or your history. There's a feeling then that all this is horribly unfair, unexpected, and nobody told you.

Well, I'm telling you. Older people, who've had a chance to see the consequences of living by whim, tend to make agreements with an eye to something more than today or this year or even this decade. Older people are, in general, are the ones who make the rules and own the stuff. They also understand families as built on not just love but implied contracts built to run at least through the children's minority.

I think that the firm "everyone makes his or her own choices, and the only ones that are your business are your own" sentiment is sometimes misconstrued and misapplied. It comes out of spirituality, psychology, and classroom management, and in those arenas it works very well. But we also have arenas called law and politics and government, and those are about individual choices in the aggregate. And there you see some ugly consequences to this sentiment of "to each his own". If we had applied that in the South, we'd still have slavery today.

(/headshaking about the uselessness of "social studies")

Anyway. The reality is that when the men abandon the kids by dancing off to follow their dreams, someone else must pay for them to do that. Usually it's some combination of the children, the mother, and the taxpayer. Now I can tell you right up front that as a taxpayer, I'm not willing to pay for some guy's private happiness. He can go pay for that himself. As an ex-wife, I'm not willing to fund my ex's midlife crisis. And as a mother, I'm not willing to see my child pay for it, either.

The only situation I can see in which "lawyer daddy becomes a monk and stops paying child support" is OK is this: The mother happily makes up the difference to a point where a) she doesn't need public support; b) the kid neither lives in poverty nor has his future harmed significantly -- for instance, if it had been reasonable to expect he'd have had help going to college, she'd better be able to help him go to college. That's a responsible way of changing the contract.
post #32 of 167
There have been many well-written posts on this thread.

In divorce with children "live and let live" just doesn't cut it as so many have pointed out.

Yep, dad (or mom), feel free to change careers and reduce your income, but *you* live with the consequences, not your children. You go rent a room; you don't make it impossible for your child to continue the piano lessons he or she has taken for the past four years since long before the divorce (for example). Your choice doesn't make it impossible for mom to keep the house your children have lived in since birth, etc. (Sadly, this happens anyway, but that doesn't make it ok).

Children bear so many of the costs of divorce ... my children have lost so much quality of life in so many areas. Their dad will be filing bankruptcy and I may lose my children's home because of *his* irresponsibility (that will be up to a bankruptcy trustee). That was his choice, not the children's choice.

My stbx is saying he can't contribute to a 529 plan for the kids because ... oh, yeah, bankruptcy as a result of living in expensive apartments and buying a car he can afford and charging his lifestyle on cc he can't pay back.

The children pay in SO many ways.

But if he decides to go deliver pizza for a living, no court is going to excuse him from child support. Not that he'd pay it, mind you.

Sigh.

M
post #33 of 167
one thing that got me thinking (and i haven't read the entire thread so this may have been mentioned) ...

the last child support mediation i attended with my ex-husband i had to agree to an imputed income of $30,000. even though i am a sahm (and was when we were married), homeschooling our 2 kids and going to school part-time, if i were in the workplace, i was told that i would be making that amount of money. so, i had to claim that amount in the calculation of section 7 expenses.

so if that is the case, then the same should apply to a father who changes careers and earns a reduced income. theoretically he should pay what he was making at his higher paying career career because he *could* make that money (and it's not even a theoretical possibility like in my case, but rather a fact).

i don't even necessarily agree that is right or fair but i kind of wonder what the courts have to say about it, especially in canada.
post #34 of 167
i think this thread makes me truly grateful that my lifestyle is dependent on no one but me.
post #35 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollycat View Post
i think this thread makes me truly grateful that my lifestyle is dependent on no one but me.

My lifestyle is dependent solely on me.

My kids' lifestyle is dependent on BOTH me and their father.
post #36 of 167
Trinity, my ex's income rings up at somewhere around $60K. By the time you take out his 401(k) contribution (no, he can't spend it now, but he'll certainly benefit later from it), taxes, etc., c/s comes to about $600/mo for one kid.

We live in a moderate cost-of-living town in a 1600 sqft house with a 1/8 acre yard. 16-year-old car, public school, no memberships in any fancy clubs (I don't think there are any around here anyway), hand-me-downs, no trips that don't start with a grant proposal or a check from my relatives, no fancy cable, friends' birthday presents are regifts or homemade, no weekends away with the girls. I work; monthly budget is currently about $2750, which is still well under the median for a two-person household in this town. Now, if I were a single woman just taking care of myself, my household budget would be closer to $1500/mo. So raising my daughter in a lower-middle-class fashion costs me about $1250/mo, meaning xh contributes almost exactly half. Not quite fine, because dd had more opportunity and a far less busy mother before the divorce. But it'll do.

Now I don't know the Dr. Phil dad's circumstances, but in this state, with one kid, he'd likely be paying c/s on about $60K even, once they did deductions for taxes, pension, etc. Which brings the c/s to the princely sum of about $985, leaving the mom to figure out how to make $22K net while picking up the kid from school daily, raise the kid without a partner, be there every evening to help with homework and do the chores, and take care of herself. Meanwhile, the guy is living on a net $4K/mo., with retirement savings on top.

If this guy wants to reduce his c/s by half, he'd be down to about $490. Or less than half of what it costs to raise the child. Who gets to take up his slack? Why, the mom! Mom is wonderful. She'll suck up anything.

(Why doesn't Mom just reduce household expenditures? Because she's already scraping the floor on this lavish lifestyle she's got going. She'd have to sell the house, take the kid out of her neighborhood and school, rent in a less safe neighborhood, put the kid in a failing school, and teach the kid how to creep around without disturbing the downstairs neighbors.)

I have a solution for this fabulous man! Save some money. In my example, he'd need all of $6K saved for every year of the kid's minority. Shouldn't be hard for a single guy with disposable income of $4K/mo! I bet he could get it squared away within a few years, and then >poof<, he's free to go live his dream without harming his kid or making the kid's mother's life more difficult. Put the money in an irrevocable trust, have it pay out automatically, congratulations, everyone's a winner.
post #37 of 167
i think this thread makes me truly grateful that my lifestyle is dependent on no one but me.

You are very fortunate.

Most of us were in committed relationships where part of the commitment was to raise and provide for out children. It is a shame the commitment to the partner was not kept, but neither morally or legally can or should someone be excused from their commitment to support their children--innocents who have no choice in any of it.

My dear, where I live, the only "lifestyle" I could have had when my stbx walked out was poverty because part of our commitment was that I sah with our children. Do you really think a parent should be able to walk away from his or her children and leave them in poverty because "it's their choice?"

As it is, in my case, I have returned to work (and that is really causiing some hardship for my children), have drastically reduced our lifestyle (and will some more) while stbx has been living a self-indulgent single life that has lead him to bankruptcy.

His choices do matter and he should be held accountable for the consequence his choices visit on his children.

M
post #38 of 167
yes, im fortunate, but its more than luck. for me, frankly, its being aware of what the facts are in life. i disagree that this is a "new" phenomonon. men have been screwing women - and vice versa - forever. whats new is a growing culture of personal responsibility.
it was a choice to marry and have kids later because i knew that if someone wanted to support me, that would be great, but that id always have my own money. i know myself well enough to know i would NOT do well depending on another for that. it was a choice not to marry people who seemed terrific but i could just tell might have a propensity for meanness down the road. it was a choice to wait to be evolved, and then marry another who was on the same path.
as it turns out, i not only make more money than id ever need, but so does he. and money is a non issue for us. (i grew up poor, btw, which might explain my choice to really take total responsibility for myself and my kids.)
post #39 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollycat View Post
yes, im fortunate, but its more than luck. for me, frankly, its being aware of what the facts are in life. i disagree that this is a "new" phenomonon. men have been screwing women - and vice versa - forever. whats new is a growing culture of personal responsibility.
it was a choice to marry and have kids later because i knew that if someone wanted to support me, that would be great, but that id always have my own money. i know myself well enough to know i would NOT do well depending on another for that. it was a choice not to marry people who seemed terrific but i could just tell might have a propensity for meanness down the road. it was a choice to wait to be evolved, and then marry another who was on the same path.
as it turns out, i not only make more money than id ever need, but so does he. and money is a non issue for us. (i grew up poor, btw, which might explain my choice to really take total responsibility for myself and my kids.)
hollycat, I also waited until I was older and had the wherewithal to raise a child on my own. That does not excuse my ex from responsibilities and obligations. Your "culture of personal responsibility" is nothing more than total responsibility for women, and total irresponsibility for men. You might be doing it willingly, but it's remarkably bad policy.

And not just for childrearing. A society does not function when the rule is "expect nothing from anyone else." We expect other people to stop at red lights, to pay their bills, to have sex inside instead of on their front lawns, to refrain from shooting at each other, to maintain reasonably safe workplaces, to hire without racial and sexual discrimination, to produce peanut butter that isn't a salmonella farm, to be honest when they say they graduated from medical school, etc. The expectations are important enough that we have whole legal and penal codes to see they're met. In fact you could not support your child without them. If you stepped back to the world of 50 years ago, before laws to do with discrimination in education and hiring, you'd have had one hell of a time finding adequate employment. The men weren't actually anxious to hire us and pay us real money.

So -- if you want to free the man, so be it, but in general, no, I don't think it's a good idea.
post #40 of 167
im not saying everyone should get a free ride.
i absolutely agree that a man should be held to his word, and if that needs to be renegotiatied, it has to happen in good faith. absolutely. im not saying let every ahole off the hook. i think this thread is about the nice enough guys who want to change their lives, and should be allowed to do so, to renegotiate with a fellow human in good faith, not the total a-holes who are getting away with murder.
and the nice guys - lets assume the math teacher is one - who renegotiate may not be sending as much $ to their kids, but they are showing them the value of living their dreams, giving back to society, being happy, and much more important lessons that should be equally important.
im not saying no one should ever be rid of their responsibilities. and i understand the pain of a total ahole man taking your for a ride, but from my own experience, isnt there any responsibility taken for marrying the ahole? you know what im saying? the fact is, if you married a guy who was the kind of guy who lived up to responsibility, we'd be having a different conversation. most men do live up to responsibility. if you married one who doesnt, there is some culpability on you, i think. i learned the hard way this lesson and i realized that i had some culpability in the men i dated who werent what they seemed. it was easy to play the victim, but it didnt pay the rent. nor did it keep me from making the same mistake again. because i was the kind of woman who hooked up with that kind of guy. that was the real problem. the only thing that did empower me was the question, what kind of life to i want? and how do I get it? that has been the great joy of my journey and its one i truly hope all women who want it have.
it wasnt easy. but now i have a man who would do anything for me - financially, spiritually, emotionally - and its so pure because i dont need it. im pretty wealthy, totally secure, happy and healthy.
i actually consider me cleaning up my emotional life the same as cleaning up my financial life. once i empowered myself emotionally, the rest followed.

should the aholes be held accountable? absolutely. but good luck with that. and is that the life you want for you? and your kids?
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