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Question on child support

post #1 of 69
Thread Starter 
Not sure if this goes here or in single parenting. I am remarried and such now, so posting here.

Im wondering if there is a hard and fast rule on the following situation.

I was married 5 yrs, had one child, then divorced. During that time I worked to put him through school and he worked part time. We made $35k between us and that split about evenly. I have primary custody and DH had her every other Sat night and one night per week. Child support worked out that DH paid me $265/month at that time. He had the ability to earn an income then, and I was destitute.

Over the next few years I got a very well paying job and DH changed routes and entered a trade job/schooling program. I was making $75k/yr and he was making about $35-40, plus going to school. I floated most all of DDs expenses and DH dropped down to just one night every two weeks (but grabbed her a couple nights/week for dinner and such).

I then remarried, had a child, and am expecting another. DH is engaged to a wonderful woman, they are getting married this summer and live a couple miles from us. A few months ago I left my full time job to stay home with my soon to be 3 kids. DH finished his schooling and now makes an annual income of around $60k.

5 months ago when I was still working and we only had an annual discrepency of income to the tune of about $15k, I thought about talking to him about the fact that he only has her every other weekend and that $260 doesn't cover his share. DD is nearly 11 now. When I reran the numbers on the state form then, he would have owed about $550/month if I would have pursued it. We agreed that we would bypass the court and he would just foot some bills. He picked up the lunch tab for school, her dance class, etc.

We have always had an amicable relationship, even though he is kind of a schlep. The climate is changing a bit. One, I now have no income, but by choice. DH is remarrying and already I have started getting....hey, not sure I can write the dance check, or the lunch check, or we are rebalancing this and I can't cover this or that until next month, etc. They are planning a child immediately and I am sure that will push that further.

I am trying to find a balance. On one hand, it is not my DHs fault that I chose to leave the work force. He should not have to pay more for that factor. However, that well paying job I had also had me working 65 hrs/week and traveling all over the country. I would have quickly had to downgrade to a more doable job to the tune of maybe $40k, to be able to function. But at the same time, he is now making $60+ a year and only paying $260/month. Whether I work or not, that is not his share. Even if we figured it with that income and my old income, he would owe me more.

I am so not up for a court trip, and we are so peaceful and things have always been very smooth. But he isnt holding up his end of the help now. And it will only get worse. He seems to think that $260 is ok and anything else is a favor to me. If we did go to court, will they say I have zero income and he has $60k since I made the choice to stay home with my "2nd" family?
What I want is a fair amount, but I dont want him to pay more than his share because I have decided to be a SAHM.

The reality is that my DH does well, but we halved our income for me to stay home. We manage on that, but it makes more clear to me that DH1 is not pulling his half for DD.

Any advice on how to work this, but still keep the peace? His fiance has been lovely and I am trying to be fair my my DH and I, but not cause massive uproar in either family.
post #2 of 69
The Court will presume that you are earning what you could earn at a regular job working 40 hours a week, without travel (i.e. $40,000). Then, it will put that income into a diode program (also known as a child support calculator), along with his income and the distribution of time between the parents. Out will pop a number and that is the amount he will have to pay. You can usually get the program online. Just google "child support calculator" and the name of your state (i.e. "Wisconsin child support calculator or Nevada child support calculator").
post #3 of 69
I do that here in CA you can request a "recalculation" at any time, once a year. The redo both incomes and can readjust balance based on that. I also know that the payee can request them to consider changing circumstances (ie: a new child with a new spouse that he has to support) as much as court sounds crappy, I would at least have your support office do an adjustment if possible.

He should at least be paying the original amount agreed upon-IMO-

I can relate to things getting sticky. My ex and I were totally on great terms and then when my son hit about 13 things quickly went down hill...in terms of relationship, undermining my own parenting, and of course the support...(see my other post) I wish I would have just put my foot down firm and clear back then. As great as things have been all these years, he just reached a point where he figured our sons were adult enough to suddenly not require the support or care that they once did. I let little things slide for the sake of peace and am now greatly regretting it.

Anyway-that's MY drama-my advice is to call your support office first...then move on to court if need be. Perhaps you can request a sit down with him to discuss "child related business matters" ...and remember your choice of employment or not is really none of his business. The bottom line is, you are the "majority" parent, and he has a responsibility to help pay for her expenses. You should not feel guilty for any reason for asking what is rightly yours. Easier said than done I know, but keep that in your head when you guys do talk and it may help a lot.
post #4 of 69
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it.

I just ran the calculations in Kansas, based on:
My income est at $50,000
DH1 income est at $60,000
No alimony ever

It showed he owed $644. Even if I was making my old salary, he would owe nearly $600. And this takes into account the fact that I recently got him to add DD to his BCBS health insurance, which DID NOT raise his premium a penny, but I credited him $100 of insurance in the calculator.

Even going with what I WAS making, he is paying less than half of what he should. Wow. Kind of an eye opener for me.
post #5 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeChRi View Post
Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it.

I just ran the calculations in Kansas, based on:
My income est at $50,000
DH1 income est at $60,000
No alimony ever

It showed he owed $644. Even if I was making my old salary, he would owe nearly $600. And this takes into account the fact that I recently got him to add DD to his BCBS health insurance, which DID NOT raise his premium a penny, but I credited him $100 of insurance in the calculator.

Even going with what I WAS making, he is paying less than half of what he should. Wow. Kind of an eye opener for me.
It sucks huh? I guess with out going into detail about my own situation, I would just advise to be careful about letting him dangle "peace" over your head. My ex has done that for years and it finally very recently dawned on me that I didn't have peace in the first place or I wouldn't be doing all this math. Hopefully an eye opening discussion will solve this issue for you guys. I've noticed what helps me is to yes, point out where I have given him more than I should have (ie: covering all those extras in the past) but also letting him know that I don't want payback-but to consider all that before getting pissed at what I'm asking for...I just want to adjust the current amount to what is fair and just. He can be mad at the calculator, not me, for I have done more than I should have already...if you know what I mean? Best of luck mama!
post #6 of 69
"He seems to think that $260 is ok and anything else is a favor to me."

... and this is why you need to go through the system. I'm so sorry for your trouble, OP, but you are seeing the writing on the wall here.

Even if you showed him the CS calculator and he agreed to start paying that much (not bloody likely), you would still be at his mercy in terms of when he actually gave you the check each month. You NEED to go through the system on this.
post #7 of 69
Oh, and in terms of the fiance, you are doing her a FAVOR to get the child support adjusted to the right level ASAP. Before she makes a permanent commitment to this guy, she should know the full story on how much of their household money is going to be diverted from her kids to the kids he had before he met her. It's a major, major issue.
post #8 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeChRi View Post

Any advice on how to work this, but still keep the peace? His fiance has been lovely and I am trying to be fair my my DH and I, but not cause massive uproar in either family.
I would focus on what is fair to your child.

I agree that going through the system is the way to go in this situation. (And I don't go through the system currently myself--but my ex pays the amount the calculator shows plus he pays half of medical co-pays and bills and half of agreed upon extra-curriculars.)

The court can just enter your income based upon what you could be making.
post #9 of 69
In your situation I would not go through the system. It has been my experience the system is a mess and uncarring.

Is there anyway you can crunch the numbers with him then take an agreed amount to a lawyer?

You are right, in this situation, it is not his fault that you are not working. It isn't that you were layed off. I also agree with you, it isn't right that he isn't paying that much.

I would also doubt that his rates for insurance hasn't gone up by adding a child, that would be very odd to happen.
post #10 of 69
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
Oh, and in terms of the fiance, you are doing her a FAVOR to get the child support adjusted to the right level ASAP. Before she makes a permanent commitment to this guy, she should know the full story on how much of their household money is going to be diverted from her kids to the kids he had before he met her. It's a major, major issue.
I have thought of this, and is very true. When they sit down to combine finances, I want this settled so I am not a bomb dropper later.
post #11 of 69
Thread Starter 
[QUOTE=Oh the Irony;14992797]I would focus on what is fair to your child.

QUOTE]

This is where I argue with myself. The idealistic part of my brain says: What is fair to my child is to live in a world where her parents do not hate each other, they work together to make sure she sees everyone on every holiday instead of splitting because they are pissed, etc. She is not aware of the money situation, and her life as she knows it, will not change because of that.

She will have what she needs regardless. However, when I take that extra $300/month and total it until she leaves home, that is $20k. That would sure help the college fund, eh?
post #12 of 69
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post

I would also doubt that his rates for insurance hasn't gone up by adding a child, that would be very odd to happen.
His out of pocket rate did not. I have confirmed this with him. His employer covers. His share will go up when and if he converts to a family plan after getting married.
post #13 of 69
Thread Starter 
Much good advice, and lots to think about. I really appreciate all of the candid feedback and opinions.

I think my next step will be to talk to someone at the child support office, and get an exact figure on what that number would be if we did go back through the system. Then I will sit down with DH1 and tell him I checked, this is where it at, and let him know the current situation is not working. I know him well and my gut says that he will be freaked just knowing I spoke with someone in the child support office. Then I will try and work out a plan with him, between us, that we both feel good about. And I will be very clear (and will definately stand by it) that if our off the record plan does not hold up (now, or after he is remarried and has to deal with ex-wife complaints) I won't hesitate to run it through the system.

I feel like this would let him know I am very serious, but that I value the fact that thus far we have worked pretty well out side of the system. But, with the groundwork laid that if that ever changes, I now don't feel bad going through the system.

DH2 and I have always felt like there is value for us in having the peace that we do in our life. DH2 even sold them thier house they just bought. But that is when we thought we were getting shorted a hundred bucks or so, not $300+. I doubt DH1 has any idea that the number is that either, or he may be MORE than willing to pony up some mroe these days. Out of fairness to everyone, I think I should have that convo with him first, but AFTER talking to support office to get my facts straight.
post #14 of 69
I have such a different situation than others, but more similar to the op's, so it's hard to say. But I don't go through any system; hate using courts or the state unless absolutely necessary and in my case it's not. That said, my ex pays almost nothing but that's because he's had nothing to live on for most of her life since we split. He's barely made ends meet. Just now he's beginning to steady himself and get work and he's been contributing more - plus he now has her 3 nights/week, which I think is significant in terms of the expenses. And honestly, she costs money but it's more on stuff like family vacations or xmas or big ticket stuff like braces (which he's going to pay half of).

My feeling is that if things have been okay, that you sit down and have a discussion of the calculator, what is fair, etc and ask for an agreement between you that is steady and doesn't change - that he should see it as as much of a committment as if it were state-ordered. If he starts breaking that THEN I would go to court and I would think it wouldn't be that hard to get ordered. But why jump the gun if a conversation could help it?

In terms of the extra $300 and college fund - is he going to pay 1/2 of college? I would sort that out now and that might affect things. To be honest, $640 sounds like a lot of money. I guess that's how these things work, but when you take into account that both ex's are re-married so hence part of two-income families (or 1 income; 1 sahp families) then it seems like it's not totally necessary. But if you think it is, then you're within your rights to ask for it.

The whole way this system works is messed up in my opinion. I think families should be given subsidies for raising children and that's where the money should come from rather than these messy situations where fathers are essentially criminalized and mothers are often left destitute. But that's a whole other subject I suppose....
post #15 of 69
I noticed not many Stepmoms chimed in on this... because it can be a hot topic... but I'm going to throw a perspective out there.

I'm with bronxmom on how crappy the system can be.

I fully beleive parents should support their kids... but the "fairness" lines seem to get blurred a lot.

In your case, it does seem like your ex could pay a little more... but honestly over $600/month sounds like an awful lot to me... how much would that affect the other household. I know that isn't really your problem/worry...

But in a humane perspective... It sounds like you and your ex split up while your child was still pretty young, as you have gone on to have another family and now your ex is trying to do the same.

I know for us if DH's ex decided to take him back to get another $300/month.. heck if she wanted just another $60/month right now it would mean we'd be in some financial trouble and be getting creative with the grocery bill. And the sad part is, I have checked our state calculator and because DH has gotten a raise in the time since the divorce, ex could take him back and get some extra money, possibly. And that scares the heck out of me because we honestly don't have it to give.

I think the best thing is to talk to your ex and tell him the number, but perhaps if you can live with a compromise of a number that works for everyone, that would really be nicer for all the families involved.
post #16 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
In your case, it does seem like your ex could pay a little more... but honestly over $600/month sounds like an awful lot to me... how much would that affect the other household. I know that isn't really your problem/worry...
Really? He's grossing $5000 a month, and his daughter spends more than 90% of her time with the OP, and $640 is a lot?
post #17 of 69
He may not neccessarily be taking home $5,000/month... taxes, 401K contributions, health care contribtions, etc.

But regardless, I guess I just don't really look at it as a "oh non-custodial makes this much money, I should be entitled to X" as much as a "realistically how much does this child need for normal everyday expenses"

I'm not a fan of the entitlement clause that is part of so many states systems, because in the end it screws the second family. As I said, I know this turns into a hot topic, and I likely should have kept my mouth shut... but I think our perspective should be heard sometimes too.

I live in a state where the custodial parent can keep taking the non-custodial back through the system again and again for any kind of raise to their salary. They look at it as the child is entitled to more money because their parent is now making more money.

No one looks at nor cares if parent is trying to make more money just to start living after CS. I know this isn't neccessarily the case here... but well, in some similiar ways it is.

For instance, OP said she knows her ex and his fiance are planning on TTC soon. What if fiance is planning on being a SAHM? Then all of a sudden another $300/month needs to come out of budget. We have no idea what other financial obligations this family has... what may look good on paper, may not be.

My DH looks like he can easily afford the $600/month that he is paying... but in reality it leaves him with not much to live on. Thankfully he married me and I have an income so he actually gets to have a roof over his head...

I digress... my DH is looking to finish his degree in engineering where he can earn more and hopefully give me my dream of being a SAHM.

But I'm not going to hold my breath for my dream to ever happen... because I know well enough how my states system works and if ex wants to take DH back to get more money when he gets a better paying job, she can get it... leaving me no choice but to continue to work just so my family has a roof over it's head.

Just some perspective from the other side...
post #18 of 69
I can see how this could be a touchy subject.

Having said that, if my ex ever informed me he couldn't pay provincially mandated support because he was getting married and having a baby - well, there'd be hell to pay.

He has an obligation to his existing children - first. Full stop. I do not receive alimony, all assets were evenly divided during the divorce, etc. What he pays merely supplements every dollar that I earn, and that goes to those little girls.

Quite frankly, I'd love to get re-married and have another child. I can't afford it, so I'm not. Yes people deserve to live, move on, be happy - it doesn't mean you can just forget about your already existing obligations.

ETA -

"I live in a state where the custodial parent can keep taking the non-custodial back through the system again and again for any kind of raise to their salary. They look at it as the child is entitled to more money because their parent is now making more money."

That's how it is here in Ontario; every year post-tax season, my ex has to show me his statement of earnings. His child support is adjusted accordingly - whether he makes less or more. This year he may make slightly less, so my support goes down. Seems fair, no? Next year if he makes more, it'll go up.
post #19 of 69
Thread Starter 
Lots more to weigh in on.

JSMa, I appreciate your opinion. I have a few thoughts. If some disagree with you, it's totally not hostile, just thinking aloud trying to form my own thoughts on it.

I think a ton about not asking for more so that I don't upset his soon to be wife. She is a teacher. He probably wont ever make much more than he does now. They just bought a first home. My biggest fear was that he would marry some idiot woman. She is wonderful and I could not pick a better step-mom for DD1, although she is very opposite me. She provides experiences for DD that I don't. I value that a lot. Part of that is why I keep my mouth shut.

That being said , my ex is a mediocre father at best. My new DH is wonderful. He foots the bill for DD1 without thinking twice. He works extra so I can be home, so I can enroll DD1 in whatever classes I think she needs, etc. He provides 90% of the fathering that my DH1, who lives down the road, choses not to. So part of me feel like....why am I putting the liability on DH2 (because he is willing) and dont think about his extra effort, to afford Dh1's new wife more comfort? I am choosing her feelings and financial/lifestyle comfort over my own. If my current Dh and I got in a bad fianancial situation and suddenly that $300 month was vital to pay for DD1s needs, we would sell our house, cars, move, whatever to take care of here. But DH1 NEVER has or would be willing to. So DH1s new wife willl never be asked to make a sacarfice due to the child that existed before she accepted marriage, but my DH2 will. Does that make sense?

Now, I feel like there is a middle ground for sure. I tend to be someone to put everyone else first and it bites me everytime.

The emotional part of my head, that I dont listen to much, says...listen jerk, I put myself in a position to have to get all kinds of help and live in a way that no human should ever have to, after our divorce. I did that so he could go to school and get a comp sci degree to support our fam while I went back. Which I was never able to do. What did he do with that degree? Nothing. He decided to learn to lay pipe for the local union. He bought a new truck with a $650/month payment. I never said a thing, and despite the situation now, DD DID suffer greatly then.

So that part of me says...dammit new step-mom, I paid for (in many ways) the position DH1 is in right now and the income he is making for your household. So asking for an equal contribution is completely fair.

Now that is the angry part of me, lol.

Realistically, I just want him to offset a fair amount of the cost of DD1. I very much do not wish to put he and fiance in a bad position, but I also do not want to put my family in one in order to subsidize them. If that makes sense?
post #20 of 69
Thread Starter 
And a few other comments....
He will not pay for any of college. He "does not believe it actually helps you gets ahead". He is the kind of guy that believes his job is to keep a roof over your head and keep you out of jail until you are 18 and can fend for yourself.

As far as $5k gross/month....When he works 40hr/week his gross is $60k, although he works a ton of OT I did not account for. He does not contribute to a 401k (not a future minded guy). He works for a rockstar company (as part of a rockstar union) and his out of pocket health insurance premium is extremely low.

After taxes, he brings home a decent chunk of that. Again, not trying to make a play for all of it I can, just trying to get a little more help from his side.
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