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Could be an interesting discussion/debate? (child support) - Page 3

post #41 of 43

My ex and I recently had to go to court because our oldest has aged out of the system, and I'm not sure if it's like this everywhere, but in RI child support doesn't automatically stop even though the law says it does. I know that doesn't sound sensible. The law reads that a child is entitled to support until s/he is 18 AND has graduated from high school, but not past age 19. Still, the NCP has to go to court to have the original support order modified to legally stop paying child support. RI is notorious for taking everything to court....court fees, motor vehicle tickets, etc. = big money around here. Anyway....


Ex is active duty Navy. He was arguing with the attorney (and eventually, the judge) that his housing allowance shouldn't be figured into the child support equation, because it's non-taxable income. I kept reiterating that it's INCOME, period! Hell...he wouldn't necessarily be getting a housing allowance if he didn't have dependents on his record. Taking his housing allowance out of the calculations reduced the payable amount by over $150/month. Never mind that the housing allowance has ALWAYS been figured in and he's never contested it until this last court date. Never mind that he's seen his kids for one day in the past 19 months. shake.gif


So, the attorney said that since we couldn't come to an agreement, we'd have to let the judge decide. The judge was pure mischief. He was the stereotypical white-haired older man, but with pink cheeks and a grin that made him sort of seem like Santa Claus. Anyway, he heard my side and heard my ex's side, and then declared that he was figuring in the housing allowance, "not based on my experience as a judge, but based on my experience as a Judge Advocate General in the United States Navy." I almost started laughing in the courtroom. My ex had appeared telephonically in the courtroom, and his end of the conversation was simply silent for a bit as he processed what the judge was saying. I'm so tired of my ex being a douche about taking responsibility for the kids. I know that DS2 misses him (DS1 enjoys spending time with his dad, but doesn't really miss him), but I think it's almost better that he lives out of state. My boys have a great stepdad who makes all the difference. love.gif


FWIW, my ex left me for another woman, so I don't feel any guilt whatsoever in forcing him to support his kids. When he left me, he left them. It's not like I'm the one who took off and destroyed the family. He knew he'd be transferred to another part of the country (or world) at some point. They deserved better. Yes, I'm bitter. Not because I miss him, because I don't, but because he continues to hurt our children in small ways.

Edited by 2xy - 5/30/11 at 6:20pm
post #42 of 43
Originally Posted by blondygirl View Post

Oh this is getting frustrating now to explain my situation 100% so that readers wont judge my actions without completely knowing whats going on...


If I recall correctly, you're new.  So let me explain that none of us have anything to go on except what each of us chooses to put in our posts.  So, if anyone is going to respond to your posts (and, of course, it's not very gratifying if no one responds), those responses can only be based on what you chose to put out there.  


So, if you simply report that you restricted your ex to pay-per-view parenting, you've left people to think that's how you believe non-custodial parenthood should be.  So don't let yourself  feel unfairly judged, or hurt, because people respond to that.  If there's more to the story; if you want people to understand that the arrangement is appropriate only because of your specific circumstances, it's best to lead with the whole back story.


But also keep in mind the vast array of family situations in this forum.  For everyone like you (a custodial Mom who thinks her ex is a low-life jerk) there is some Mom who's amicably sharing custody with an ex she still respects as a father...or a step-Mom sharing her husband's heartache while his 1st wife limits his access to the kids and tells everyone he deserves it...or a custodial step-Mom who sees fatherhood in a whole new light, watching her husband raise his kids from before.  


Here, we're always engaging people on both sides of our own, basic situation.  That's wonderful: it really makes us think beyond our own, knee-jerk perspectives and question whether we're approaching things the right way.  It's good to be challenged!  But it also means we should be very thoughtful about how we present things, before hitting Submit.  In other words, any time you bring up denying parenting time to your ex, expect someone to object.  No doubt, someone reading your post is the wife/GF to whom a divorced Dad complains, "My *** ex wouldn't let me see my kid again!"


...he has told me on several occasions that he plans on moving back to his home country and finding a wife and starting a family...he threated that he would start selling drugs to make sure he paid the C/S on time...I know the second we were supposed to go to court he would be back in his own country so fast and nobody would benefit...


Clearly (from the selling drugs comment), your ex likes to say things to push your buttons.  This is very common for men in his situation.  He's young.  And is he - possibly - from a country with more sexist views of women, where he grew up expecting to be the respected king of his household, once he had a "woman" and kids?  Yet, here he is:  

* The mother of his child has little respect for him and you've moved on to another man you think is better than he is.

* He's completely at your mercy to see his daughter.

* When he's with her, he probably doesn't feel very confident about how to care for or interact with her, without you around.  So he takes her to his parents' a lot?

* Even if he were to find what seemed like a good job, he despairs of ever earning enough to support himself the way he'd like to live AND support his daughter, the way he secretly knows he ought to.

* He knows if you DID decide to take him to court, he WOULD be ordered to pay a set amount to you...and he knows plenty of men wind up in trouble - even in jail - when they can't keep things together enough to stay on top of those payments!  He is also at your mercy, over whether you two wind up in court, or not.


It's childish, but effective, to distract himself from those depressing, emasculating thoughts by saying things to upset or frustrate you - and to imagine that he's controlling you: 

"Fine.  You want C/S?  You just turned me into a drug dealer!  Hope you're happy with yourself!"


"You better not take me to court!  I'm moving back to ???, where I'm going to find a real woman and start my real family.  You'll be looking to serve me with papers and I'll be gone, baby!"

Either way, he walks away thinking, "See?  I'm master of this situation.  She's not gonna take me to court.  I know just what to say, to get her to do what I want."


I say this gently - not judgmentally - because I know none of this is easy, esp. when you're a young parent...but I hear you saying you're making solid, well-reasoned decisions, by not pursuing court orders; yet, I think you're letting yourself be manipulated.


You really don't know what he's going to do.  Is he going to stay here and sell drugs if you take him to court?  Or will he flee the country?  So far, he hasn't left the country and he continues wanting to see his child.  So he MIGHT actually do what most other Dads who are sued for C/S do:  feel ticked about it, try to find a better job and struggle to make the payments.


It does not make you weak, or needy, or dependent, to pursue child support.  It is completely separate and different from filing for welfare (which you wanted people to know you haven't done).  WHY pursue court orders?  


#1- Do you mean to be selling him time with your daughter?  There's a word for that, and it's not nice.  OR (and I'm sure this is the case) do you give him parenting time because he's her father and you know - despite all his shortcomings - it's good for your daughter to have a relationship with him?  If so, her needs for time with him do not change because he has no money this week; or because he was a jerk to you; or because you're mad at him for any other reason.  If he gets parenting time because of HER needs, there should be an agreed amount of time that it benefits HER to spend with him, each week.  You shouldn't be allowed to deny it for any reason and HE should be taken to task if he blows it off!  (Right now, there's no real way to establish whether he is or isn't a responsible father.  If he doesn't see his kid for long stretches, he can just say it's because you wouldn't let him.)


#2- The older your daughter gets, the more important it will be for her to be able to count on regular, predictable time with her Dad.  It will show her she matters to him; that he makes her a regular part of his schedule.  If this does NOT happen for her, she will need to know that at least she can count on YOU:  that YOU do not play games, or charge her Dad admission, to see her (which he will tell her he can't afford).  She will need to know YOU aren't partially responsible for her Dad letting her down and she DOES have ONE parent she can model herself after.  But, if the parenting time schedule is based on his initiative (calling you to ask for time with her) and your whim (whether you think he deserves it, this time), there will be no way for your daughter to know WHO is keeping her from seeing her Dad.  She will be caught in the middle of your story vs. his.  If there is a court order and she knows Wed. evenings and every other weekend is her Dad's time and you don't stand in the way, things will be more clear.


#3-  It IS possible to work out parenting time schedules and C/S without a court (my ex and I did), but you have to get along very well together and BOTH be focused on the kids - not pushing each other's buttons - to accomplish it.  That doesn't sound like it's the case, for you, with your ex threatening to move or sell drugs, etc.  Family courts exist, to bridge that gap.


#4- You mentioned seeing a connection btwn. your ex contributing something toward your daughter's financial needs, and him seeming like a better father.  Yes!  The more responsible he IS for her needs, the more responsible he FEELS for her needs.  The more he is a FATHER and not like a fun uncle.  Even if you don't need the money, it's good for HIM to contribute it and your daughter has a right to receive it.  If you don't want/need to use it, put it into a college fund for her.  But if he's going to pay it, it shouldn't feel - to HIM, to YOU, or some day to your daughter - like an admission price you're charging.  It should be a consistent, agreed, fair amount that addresses her needs and your incomes.  Again, it doesn't seem like you two could possibly come to agreement about it on your own, so that's what a court is for.


#5- You CAN minimize the adversarial nature of it all, and the cost.  You can write up a fair proposal, file it with the court, serve him with a copy and give him a chance to either agree to it or respond, if he thinks compromises should me made.  Then you can respond.  If neither of you wants to hire attorneys and appear in front of a judge, you will both be motivated to meet in the middle and be reasonable.


...since I've been limiting contact between my ex and my daughter, she has enjoyed her visits with him much more. He used to be the "mean" parent, spanking her over every little thing...But since he hardly sees her, he is now the "nice" one, I know she gets away with anything since when I go to pick her up she'll throw a tantrum in front of him and he'll do anything she wants...now she's happy to see him cause she'll get to be a little "queen" for a day.


Yes, but this is not parenting.  If he feels so bereft of time with her that he feels compelled to abdicate his role as a parent and JUST be a sugar-daddy, your daughter may be having fun, but she has lost a FATHER.  Long-term, this is not in her best interest.  If he needs to learn better parenting skills - like alternatives to spanking - that's a separate issue.  But unless he's abusing her, you don't fix disagreements over parenting styles by cutting the other parent's time with the kid so short that he/she quits trying to be a parent, at all.


Your own description makes it clear that the "queen for a day" treatment is not good for your daughter:


It is frustrating when she comes home because she'll continue to act like that, but she's a very smart girl and all I have to do is explain to her that at my house, she needs to talk nicely instead of throwing fits, and be obedient, and almost always that's all it takes for her to switch gears back into being kind and respectful. If she spends the night though, it can take her another 24 hours to return to herself. Whenever she comes back from being with him over that long of a period she is quite rebellious when I get her back. I think she doesn't appreciate being left with him for too long.


I DON'T think you're trying to "punish" your daughter.  I think you truly believe this is better for her.  But MANY kids struggle with the transition between parenting styles and expectations at their parents' separate homes and feeling upset about leaving the parent they're with (or sometimes only about leaving the primary custodian).  That's VERY NORMAL.  It is usually a mistake, if the custodial parent interprets this as a "sign" that visitation with the non-custodial parent "isn't working" and should be lessened.


If I die, my ex wont be in the country to claim her will he? Plus, I'm not sure I would want her to live with somebody who claims that he's part of a gang and going to sell drugs. Even if he's lying and saying that just to get me upset, well he's simply an idiot. My husband will be here and he will always provide for her and I am certain that should I die, there is no doubt custody would go to him. My entire family is very close and they all love my daughter so I'm not worried about where she'll end up.  Thanks for your concern though.


It sounds like you need to choose:  If you want your husband to be your daughter's father and raise her, if you die, then don't take money from her biological father, at all.  Look into having your husband adopt her.  Then there wouldn't be any question about whether he could raise her if you died.  Right now, it's unclear.  All your ex would have to do is insist on a blood test, prove she's his and testify that he has exercised visitation and paid support for her, by private agreement with you.  You're relying on the ASSUMPTION he's going to move away (although he hasn't yet; and you recognize that he sometimes says things just to upset you); and the ASSUMPTION he wouldn't make the effort to get custody, if you died.  But people CAN do that, even from other countries.  Again, you don't KNOW what he'll do.  


Yes, your ex might contest an adoption.  But then he'd wind up with a set order for support and regular visitation times, instead of you having to deal with him asking to see her whenever it suits him and offering whatever amount of money is convenient to him.




post #43 of 43
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

I don't really see the problem with the child support system thats in place currently?  I mean, I guess if you're a NCP you probably think its terribly unfair that a certain % of income goes to your children, but otherwise I don't see anything wrong with it.


Any system like this is designed to be most fair to most people most of the time. But that doesn't mean it is fair to everyone all the time in every situation. I think some states have done better than others tinkering with their formulas and calculations methods in order to make it more fair to more people... I think it is probably, generally, fairly reasonable for the very "normal" divorce-with-children situations. But it does less well with situations farther outside the norm.


I think it is a huge generalization to assume that all parents with a smaller percentage of parenting time begrudge the financial contribution they make to their children's lives. My husband and his ex decided on an amount they believed to be fair based on their own unique circumstances. They didn't believe my step-daughter would be best served by the amount the state calculated, so they agreed to something they felt was fair. There are quite a few factors that have changed since the amount was established, and there are times that I believe it should be adjusted, but I always consider whether it is fair and reasonable-- Can we afford it? Can mom afford it? Is either family struggling to provide for my step-daughter or her siblings because of it? Because that is really the bottom line... It is SO easy to get wrapped up in who needs what and who deserves what and who is spending what on whom... but what it really boils down to for me is whether or not the child's needs are being met by the current situation. Sure, we could all use more money, and I'd be happy to get more handed to me or pay less of it to other people... but when it comes down to it, the system is there to ensure children are being provided for as comfortably as their parents can afford.

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