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does failure to pay cs = inability to provide for ds on visitation?

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
my exdh hasnt paid cs since december 2009. he is now just over $3k in arrears. he has told me multiple times (bc i keep asking where the damn $ is!) that he cant afford to pay cs right now. he lost his job and is getting unemployment. he has also applied for SS disability. the basis for the app is a dx of paranoid schizophrenia after a brief in-patient stint in dec.

last week, ex got ds for his 2hr dinner visit. i offered him an extra hour since ds usually calls me last minute every week to ask if he can stay later. i told ex ds was too excited to eat dinner with me and would need to eat there.

90 mins later ex called to say he was about to go to the grocery store to get dinner and he would have to bring ds home 2 hrs later than planned, for a total of 5 hrs. at first, i said ok.

i called back a few minutes later and spoke to his wife (we get on famously ) who told me they had been waiting for my exmil to bring over some $ bc they couldnt afford to buy food. we talked for over an hour, during which time i could hear my ds asking when dinner would be ready. finally, i just asked him to bring ds home so i could feed him. the visit ended up being something like 3 hrs, give or take.

if exdh is refusing to use his unemployment to pay cs
(i'm working on the garnishment issue, i need to post another thread w/ques about that) bc he says he cant afford to support himself, his pg wife, her 4 kids, and the one they have together, and now it seems he cant afford to feed ds during his "parenting" time, is it fair to say that maybe he shouldnt have extended visits? (i have sent food on numerous occasions, but he just brings it back unopened. he wont give it to ds...my "obsession" with healthy food is an issue he chooses to make a point of contention between us. i send things like amy's pizza and burritos, fun foods, but he still refuses to allow ds to eat them. i could live with ds eating garbage EOW, i cant live with him not eating anything at all.)
post #2 of 35
So, he is, or is claiming to be so impoverished that there's absolutely no food in the house? But he also won't feed him food you send? Have you discussed this issue honestly with your X? It seems like you and his new wife talk at length - what is her take on the situation? Does she work? Is it the case that none of the 4 (or 5?) children plus a pregnant woman are being fed adequately?

I guess I'm a bit confused about how whether your DS is actually going hungry. Because if the child is truly voracious - and hasn't eaten for an extended period of time (more than a couple hours - I'm of the belief that kids can survive without a constant stream of snacks), and they're refusing to serve food that is in the house, that's a significant problem. How long are the visits, usually?
post #3 of 35
Food stamps for a family that large is adequate to feed all of them (especially if they don't eat healthy) and an extra person on occasion. Are they all starving or is he only unable to feed the extra mouth?
post #4 of 35
Thread Starter 
their food stamps are enough to feed 2 adults and 5 1/2 kids plus an EOW visitor if they cooked from scratch. they do lots of frozen stuff and cold cuts for ease of prep (preg mama!) so the stamps DO NOT last a whole month. i used to get FS, and they never lasted me a whole month, either.

yes, i have tried to talk to him. i have tried I-messages, NVC, and just plain old trying to have a nice conversation. it doesnt work. there is no yelling or screaming, if he doesnt like the topic, no matter how nicely i try, he just hangs up or drives away. he is mentally ill...

this last weekend, ds came home from school at 3pm. he hadnt eaten since 11am. he left at 4pm. thats was 5 hrs with no food. he was very hungry, understandably. the longest visit is 48hrs and he almost always comes home crying for food. at first i thought he was just being his usual dramatic self, but after this past visit i am starting to wonder if they really dont have enough food!
post #5 of 35
That sucks! The last time my dc went to their dad's house he didn't feed them all day long. I was so mad I told him they would have to visit at my house from then on (there were other factors but that was a big one). Can you send something he will serve? I know it's ridiculous but it seems your dc loves to visit and the food is the big problem right now. Maybe those junky frozen burritos or ramen or something. Do you think it's that he doesn't want the rest of the kids seeing that your dc gets something different or is eating when they aren't? You could send enough ramen that they could all eat the same thing without breaking the bank.
post #6 of 35
I would send him with food. Honestly i watch my neighbor go through this every weekend. She barely has enough food to feed her two kids that she has on the weekends. She has asked the dad for grocery money but he refuses. She has had to give up her visitation days even though she desperatly wanted the kids because she couldn't afford to feed them. Visitation is seperate from money. Not feeding kids because you are neglectful is much different then not feeding them because you can't. And if you are capable of giving that food then it benefits everyone.
post #7 of 35
Where is the wife on this issue? She must know you send over the food - so they all just sit there starving, waiting for the MIL or whoever, every day, but there is the food you sent... sitting on the table, unused?

How old is your son? Is he old enough so that if you pack extra stuff in his lunchbox, he can feed himself some snacks at least?

My ex is not lacking in the money area - he simply hasn't the sense of a goat when it comes to taking care of a child. Sure, they eat very well.... when ex is hungry. And my son is not much for complaining or mentioning things like hunger/discomfort, so I've been known to worry that he's starving all day with ex. But at least my son's old enough to get himself a snack if he's really starving, and I still frequently stash things like power bars in his backpack "just in case".

But to answer your original question - I would agree that it wouldn't seem right for your ex to get extended visits with your child, when your ex can't even scrape together a meal at a short visit.
post #8 of 35
You don't have to go by anything except what is in the custody order so I don't think you should if you don't think your child is going to be fed. If you are willing to send over food because you think that your son should be at your ex's house longer then that is nice of you, but you aren't under any legal obligation to do so. If you want that time for a break for yourself then I think you should send food and consider it the cost of having a safe babysitter since you would have to pay more for someone to come in than you have to pay for a microwave burrito. You shouldn't have to do that because he should be paying child support and feeding your son when he is there though.
post #9 of 35
The state can garnish unemployment wages up to 50% (it would be 60% if he were single) with an additional 5% for child support. They can also garnish SSD for child support, as well. But you first need to get collection set up through the state agency that handles child support and you will need a garnishment order.

If he has actually applied for SSD, contact the SSA and find out what paperwork you need to complete and provide to get the dependent care portion should your ex be approved. You will also get the lump sum payment for dependent care if he is approved. But only if the SSA is aware that you are the custodial parent.
post #10 of 35
Oh wow i missed the part about you sending food and him not using it. really beggers can not be choosers. You have done what you can do, i would not offer or give extended visits until dad can prove he can financially care for your son during visits. And yes unemployment can totally be garnished for child support. You need to look into that!
post #11 of 35
You need to wrack your brain and write down every time your son has come back hungry, every time you sent food and it got sent back. You need to document this for as long as you can. This documentation will help you if you have to go back to court to get the custody arrangement changed.
post #12 of 35
Thread Starter 
i journal every single visit and communication with exdh, have done so for about 2.5 yrs now.

i called SS yesterday and they told me to go to the local office with my income deduction order and notice to payor to get it set up in case he is approved. i'll do that in the next week or so, i have plenty of time yet. he only just applied and they told me it will take about 6 mos to get an answer, likely a denial.

as for the unemployment garnishment...i have the income ded order from our divorce, but unemp. wont accept it from me. they will only accept it from the State of Florida Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement office. here's the problem...i used to use the state agency bc i received public assistance. they have a weird way of disbursing money. for example, his obligation at the time was $106/wk. he got paid biweekly, so i was getting a check for $212 every other Friday. then they decided they would do it differently...106 times 52 divided by 12. ok, that was $459.33/mo. they said they would no longer send more than that each month, but in reality what happened was i would get the first check for $212 and then a small partial check 2 wks later. in months with 3 fridays i did not get a third check. there system sucks and is highly flawed. so in our divorce 2 yrs ago, we agreed in mediation that we didnt want to use the welfare child support system anymore. we mediated that he would pay me directly, but the judge changed it to being garnished from his paychecks. i was fine with whatever arrangment eliminated child support "enforcement" from our lives. now, unemployment is telling me they will not take my IDO from me, it has to come from CSE. i wrote a letter explaining the situation, included the IDO and notice to payor, and then went so far as to throw in our 10 page Order Approving Agreement Reached at Mediation, and highlighted the parts that say we are not using CSE, per the judge. unemployment still wont garnish. they told me to call the governor, so i did and am waiting to hear back from his office.

i totally realize that non-payment of child support doesnt automatically mean denial of visitation. but if the man cant feed the child while he has him, and he refuses to feed him what i have sent (btw, our order also says each parent is responsible for providing food, toothpaste, etc during their time. i have to send toothpaste, body wash, cotton swabs, etc or my ds comes home 48 hrs later unwashed), there must be grounds for limiting the amount of consecutive hours ds can spend there. we have our annual one wk visit coming up next month. i will get to take ds wed night for 2 hrs, but the rest of the week he quite literally may go without having enough to eat.

ftr, ds is 8yo and the visitation schedule is EOW, one wk in the summer, and 8 hr visits on xmas day, thxgiving day, and fathers day. exdh was offered more, but he bargained away his visits during mediation in exchange for me taking on all of our joint marital debt. it actually went like this:

mediator: "who will pay the discover card?"
exdh: "well it was in my name, and i mostly used it. if she pays it i wont ask for 4 wks in the summer, just 2"
me: "hell yeah"
mediator: "who will pay the chase card?"
exdh: "well, it was my card, but if she pays it i'll be ok with just one wk in the summer."

i am not joking, some ppl actually do this to their kids.
post #13 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
If you want that time for a break for yourself then I think you should send food and consider it the cost of having a safe babysitter since you would have to pay more for someone to come in than you have to pay for a microwave burrito. You shouldn't have to do that because he should be paying child support and feeding your son when he is there though.
um, i have sent food and it comes back completely unused. he is NOT a safe babysitter. i realize i shouldnt have to send food, and i realize i should be getting child support. but he wont pay out of his unemployment; he claims he cant afford to. he claims he is so broke he needs help buying food for his pg wife and 2 kids plus 4 stepkids. so, sending ds, even with food which i know wont be used, is not really "safe". thanks anyway

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avani View Post
I would send him with food. Honestly i watch my neighbor go through this every weekend. She barely has enough food to feed her two kids that she has on the weekends. She has asked the dad for grocery money but he refuses. She has had to give up her visitation days even though she desperatly wanted the kids because she couldn't afford to feed them. Visitation is seperate from money. Not feeding kids because you are neglectful is much different then not feeding them because you can't. And if you are capable of giving that food then it benefits everyone.
that is terrible. i cant imagine refusing to provide food or money for food for ds's visits. when i got tired of wasting organic-y stuff, i lowered my standards to healthier "regular" food. when that got wasted, i started having pizza hut delivered to their house, just enough for ds, but i couldnt imagine not doing anything. maybe your neighbor could visit a food pantry the day b4 a visit? i might start suggesting that do my ex.
post #14 of 35
Just a point of clarification here: he is struggling to put food on the table for himself, children, and pregnant wife, and you want to take away his unemployment check? I'm confused. Is he applying for jobs? I assume this isn't his long-term financial plan? Or am I mistaken? I don't know his situation, but usually unemployment checks are quite small and can really diminish a family budget.

Also, I will say it's crazy he won't use the food you send, and I'd tell him he has to feed him my food or his own if he wants dinner visits. Your son deserves to be fed. You tried doing the right thing by sending food, so I think you can ask that he either uses it or only has DS for short, non-mealtime visits.
post #15 of 35
It doesn't sound like he is struggling, more like coasting through life and using whatever freebies he can come across (from this and prior posts by the OP). It's not her son't fault that he keeps having kids and stepkids that he can't afford. Her son deserves to be cared for. When he agreed to make her son, he agreed to be resposible for life. It's not OP's responsibility to make sure that he has enough money for whatever he wants to do after their relationship is over.
post #16 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
Just a point of clarification here: he is struggling to put food on the table for himself, children, and pregnant wife, and you want to take away his unemployment check? I'm confused. Is he applying for jobs? I assume this isn't his long-term financial plan? Or am I mistaken? I don't know his situation, but usually unemployment checks are quite small and can really diminish a family budget.

Also, I will say it's crazy he won't use the food you send, and I'd tell him he has to feed him my food or his own if he wants dinner visits. Your son deserves to be fed. You tried doing the right thing by sending food, so I think you can ask that he either uses it or only has DS for short, non-mealtime visits.
what are you confused about exactly? i am not trying to take away his unemployment check, but i certainly do expect that he do his fair share to support his son. my ds is his oldest biological child. exdh got with this woman when my son was 4.5yo. he knew that her 4 children from 2 different fathers did not receive support. he chose to take on that responsibility on top of his first child, and at the time he could swing it, but the stress of supporting a huge family on $35k/yr wore him down and he had a breakdown and did 3 days of psych in-patient. now he is using that to try for disability. whether its right or wrong isnt for me to say, but he is saying he cant afford to pay for his first child bc he is struggling to maintain his "household". his 2nd and 3rd babies (wife's 5th and 6th) were deliberately conceived. if he couldnt feed and clothe 5 kids, why did he create 6 and 7?

and i cant just tell him he cant have visits if he doesnt have food. this eff'ed up system forces me to send ds unless and until i get a modification of our divorce order. i dont want to waste time doing that if it wont get me anywhere. its always my first choice to try to work it out with exdh outside of court, but i am starting to really worry about the situation over there for my ds wrt to sleeping and eating arrangements.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtRoadMama View Post
It doesn't sound like he is struggling, more like coasting through life and using whatever freebies he can come across (from this and prior posts by the OP). It's not her son't fault that he keeps having kids and stepkids that he can't afford. Her son deserves to be cared for. When he agreed to make her son, he agreed to be resposible for life. It's not OP's responsibility to make sure that he has enough money for whatever he wants to do after their relationship is over.
its strange bc he used to have such a great work ethic. when ds was a toddler and i really didnt want to go back to work yet, he paid his child support plus he gave me $300 extra in cash every month to help me get by. he was at work 6 or 7 days a week, made amazing commisions, and was very generous with ds. everything changed when he got with this woman and assumed financial resonsibility for her kids. now he seems content to live on food stamps, medicaid, unemployment and disability. its sad really to see how he's degenerated the last 4 yrs.

and thanks for your kind words of defense. what you said is dead-on correct. its not my problem to worry about their issues (oddly enough, exdh's stepkids are like nieces and nephews to me, they call me on the phone to chat and i have them over on weekends when ds is here). my main concern is my son, and everything else comes second. if ex worried less about the 4 stepkids and focused on his own bio kids, he wouldnt feel so much pressure, but i can understand how someone couldnt live in a house with kids and feed some but not others. i am more distant so i see it differently.
post #17 of 35
You could go back to court for a modification, but it sounds like you are the party that is better off financially. Which means - you could be ordered to pay child support for your son to have visitation. I've heard of being done (rarely, but its been done before). A court would be unlikely to take away visitation (except for the fact that he refuses to feed your ds what you send - I would have a lawyer write a threatening letter about that). They would most likely require that he attend counseling and deal with that issue.

You insisting on child support when he is struggling so much to feed the children that LIVE with him is NOT going to go over well with a judge. It just won't - fair or not, its not going to look good for you.

I understand that you want him to contribute, you just need to tread carefully when it comes to what you look like in front of a judge.
post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
Just a point of clarification here: he is struggling to put food on the table for himself, children, and pregnant wife, and you want to take away his unemployment check? I'm confused. Is he applying for jobs? I assume this isn't his long-term financial plan? Or am I mistaken? I don't know his situation, but usually unemployment checks are quite small and can really diminish a family budget.

Also, I will say it's crazy he won't use the food you send, and I'd tell him he has to feed him my food or his own if he wants dinner visits. Your son deserves to be fed. You tried doing the right thing by sending food, so I think you can ask that he either uses it or only has DS for short, non-mealtime visits.
Are you suggesting that because he decided to take up with another woman with a four children that this OP should just give up the money that her son is owed for support? The other children's mother can apply for aid for her kids from THEIR father/s. OP's child deserves support and food during visits. For me this is serious enough I would go to court for an emergency order to suspend the week of visits. A week of hunger is not fair to this child at all. Sounds like a couple hours at a time is all this father can handle and the visitation needs to be adjusted accordingly.
post #19 of 35
I do get a little huffy about this sort of thing. When my quasi-estranged boyfriend was here, he had to pay child support (duh!), but my State is not very caring of the non-custodial parent's financial situation. They'll take up to 50% of a person's pay for child support and medical insurance (no, that wasn't a typo). When DD was born, he was paying about $400 a month in child support, plus another $300ish for health insurance (for his prior two children). The credit he got to his expenses for DD when they were figuring how much the modified order should be? $189. Total. They don't care if he's on unemployment. They don't care if he has enough money to actually live on. The credit for another kid is ridiculous. That's not even enough for daycare. But, that isn't his other two kids' fault. It's not their problem, and shouldn't dictate if they get child support. Now, I'm filing for child support, and from what I can gather, all his support payments will go into a pool, and then be doled out among the kids. I'm just hoping to get enough to help out with daycare. It's not a huge issue yet, but I don't know how I'm going to pay for two kids in daycare once this little one arrives.

The point of all that is to say - I read very carefully when someone is talking about what they are trying to get the non-custodial parent to do (having been on both sides as the step-person and the bio-mom).

It looks to me like OP is just trying to go about enforcing her current order, not trying to get more out of him. I don't think a judge is going to look at the step-kids as his actual financial responsibility, based on looking at Florida law. Those kids are the responsibility of their own parents. However, any future bio-kids of his will be a consideration, but it looks like mostly to the point of if he gets a second job to support those kids, the court will disregard the income from that second job when calculating how much he should pay to OP for their son.

It also sounds like, should she go in front of a judge, that she is looking for his visitation to be considered until he gets back on his feet. Under Florida child support laws, they don't care if he is on unemployment, he still has to pay. Additionally, OP, I'd talk to a lawyer and find out whether, if you were to take this to court, if they would throw out your divorce agreement and try to enforce the normal amount for Florida. The plus side of that would be the State would go after him for the money for you so you would get something, the downside is that you won't get as much as he agreed to, provided that you can get everyone to cooperate with your divorce agreement.

I do agree with thyra that the judge could possible award child support to him to pay for his visitation time. However, I'd talk to a local lawyer about that possibility. I was not able to find any examples of that happening in Florida (although I'm not a lawyer, so what do I know!).

I don't have any sympathy for him being able to support the step-kids (note: I have sympathy for the kids being taken care of, not for it being at the expense of his bio-kids). Those kids should be getting child support from their own father(s?). If I remember correctly, aren't they also getting disability payments?

Finally, it sounds like they are already getting tons of public assistance. However, OP lives down in the Southern Baptist Bible Belt. Every. single. church. down there has a free food pantry. If they don't have one, whoever is on staff that day will take money out of the church funds, go buy groceries, and give it to a needy family. They can get food.
post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtRoadMama View Post
It looks to me like OP is just trying to go about enforcing her current order, not trying to get more out of him. I don't think a judge is going to look at the step-kids as his actual financial responsibility, based on looking at Florida law. Those kids are the responsibility of their own parents. However, any future bio-kids of his will be a consideration, but it looks like mostly to the point of if he gets a second job to support those kids, the court will disregard the income from that second job when calculating how much he should pay to OP for their son.
I did not know the OP was from Florida.

The risk in getting the current order enforced, is that if she goes to court the court may choose to modify based on changed circumstances - based on the fathers changed circumstances. The father is the one who now has another bio kid, and another on the way. The father is the one who is not working as much as he used to, is on unemployment, etc. The modification could very well go in his favor. Especially since he supposedly doesn't have enough money to feed the children that live with him. I know those children aren't his responsibility, but if his new wife can't get cs for some reason a court isn't going to tell him to force those children to go hungry so that he can pay cs to his ex who is able to support her child.
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