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Handling the child support/visitation issue

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
How do you handle it emotionally when the other parent isn't providing financially, but still utilizing their visitation? DS's other parent is a good parent to him when they are together, but has not provided anything financially toward his care since September. On top of that, I'm paying an extra $120 a month for ex's $3000 loan that was tacked onto my car loan. This means I'm basically not making it right now. It is really hard thing for me to keep the issues separate. Due to the situation, there is nothing I can do to legally obtain child support (ds's other parent is a woman) so I'm left between a rock and a hard place. DS loves her, and loves his time with her. I feel like a pushover for letting this happen, I even make the hour drive each way every time it's DS's weekend over there, which uses up half of my gas money for the week. I don't know how to handle this, and I really feel like I'm being lied to when it comes to why money is never available for his care, but I know these are supposed to be issues that are kept separate. I struggle with my feelings every day, and it's increasingly hard for me to interact with her without showing my irritation.

DS's stepdad is increasingly irritated with me for not doing anything, and it's causing friction. He doesn't understand why someone would get the right to be a parent when they aren't providing at all for the child, and I don't really know what to say. I agree with him in theory, but how can I look my son in the eyes if I take his time with a beloved parent away?
post #2 of 23
Support and visitation are two separate issues. CS is not an "entry fee" into the child's life. Period.

If the other parent is court ordered to pay support, you should follow up on it via contempt filings. If s/he's not - then you either need to file for support, or realize that the money is not going to be a regular contribution.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
That's the point, I can't DO anything legally. She's a female, I'm a female, neither custody OR child support is handled legally. I am following through on my end to make sure custody continues even though no court of law would order me to, she is not following through on her end with child support. I'm asking for help on how to handle this emotionally and deal with it in my new household, as it affects all of us.

It is taking it's toll on me emotionally, and I'm asking for support on handling that. I don't need to be told that they are separate issues, I've been handling it as such without any court of law forcing me to, so please don't talk to me as though I'm saying something wrong here.
post #4 of 23
You may actually be able to collect child support and officially establish visitation--many states have "de facto" parenting statutes covering this exact situation (as well as stepparents, live-ins, grandparents acting as parents, etc.). You may want to talk to a lawyer with experience with LGBT families.

Your instincts, though, are correct--kids have a need for both of their parents, regardless of finances. Custody/visitation and child support are considered separate rights and obligations, and one can't be withheld for want of the other. Your situation is different, and legally you can probably do what you want (absent a de facto parenting situation), but ethically, I know it's tough.

Might you be able to get your child's other parent to handle the driving, or at least get her loan off your car loan? That sounds like almost a bigger sticking point than the visitation.

Good luck.
post #5 of 23
Is there a reason you have to take him to visit her, and she does not pick him up herself? That would be one thing I would cut out if I were you. I know that cs and visitation are supposed to be kept seperate, but if she not helping you at all financially, then I wouldn't help her with visitation. With my dsd, we have this problem and we have made it clear that it is her responsibility to make sure she sees her child, and since she refuses to help support her financially, we simply cannot afford to spend the money it takes in gas to make sure that dsd sees her. (she lives about an hour away)

Also I am guessing you must have cosigned or something, but is there anything you can do legally to make it to where you don't have to pay for her car?
post #6 of 23
Wow, that is a difficult situation. I would ask her to do the driving since things are so tight for you.
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
The car loan itself is mine. She needed a $3000 loan to fix her credit for job reasons, and the bank would only approve the loan if it was tacked onto my car loan through them. I was willing to do this to help her with the job, and at the time I had full belief in her as far as paying her share. It raised the monthly payments $120, put me backwards in debt for the car so I can't sell it to get something more affordable, and it is now in both our names. At the time we agreed to make this the most important bill either one of us would have, but I've paid the full amount since, and will continue to do so in order to keep my credit intact, even though other aspects of life suffer (mainly enriching activities for DS, which is why it kills me. There is no spare money to take him to the zoo, the aquarium, the science museum, anything we used to do as fun learning experiences.) I have no idea how I'd get that portion of the loan off of mine, is that possible?

I've been driving over there mainly because current DP would prefer she didn't come here if possible. We went through a lot of crazy situations that I don't want to get into, but I understand his emotional reasons. I think maybe having a talk with him about it first would be a good idea.

I'm interested in the de facto parenting statutes and I'm going to have to look into that. Thanks, Protolawyer....
post #8 of 23
I'm sorry you're going thru this. You're sooooo doing the right thing by keeping them separate, I understand how hard it can be.

I agree with Protolawyer. Do check into it. I remember when my ex demanded a paternity test when we were going thru our divorce. My lawyer laughed b/c as she explained it, even if it did come back not a match, he has been acting as a "father" (believe me, in his case I use the term loosely) and the court would still instruct him to do so. B/c its in the best interest of the child.

I wish you all the best.
post #9 of 23
Another solution is to meet ex partner at a place close to you which is neutral, mall, etc, so you don't have to drive so far. Kudos to you for putting your child's needs first. SO many parents act like immature jerks.

It sounds like you are in a really uncomfortable, rough place. having been through divorce, controlling ex, etc. etc. Just know, things do change, even though where you are now is really rough.
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
I looked up the statutes and there is nothing supporting de facto parents whatsoever, no grandparents rights, nothing. Actually pulled up a case very similar to mine. Sigh.. I would have preferred that my ex get legal recognition anyway.
post #11 of 23
I don't think there is anything for that in your state. I have a friend in a similar situation there, and she has no rights whatsoever to see the child. In her case, they are legally married in Canada, but it gets no recognition here, plus, since they don't live in Canada, they can't get divorced there, and the US won't grant a divorce for a marriage they don't recognize, so basically she has no rights (or responsibilities) to their child at all.

It's good you're looking out for the kid and not cutting off visits, and I agree with the pps -- pick a public place near you so you aren't doing all the driving.

I might be a bit concerned about the car, though. If she's on the title, and you're paying the bills, it could come back to bite you later. You should try to sort that out, as it's a legal document you're both on, so there are legal ramifications in that case. Also, if you got her to agree to let you sell it, you could possibly get a lower payment on another car. Yes, you're upside-down on the loan, so you'd still have to pay extra money (or, anyway, she should if that part was for her), but you're doing that anyway. Might as well reduce your monthly payment if you can.
post #12 of 23
I respect you for putting your child's needs and happiness above your own. You're doing the difficult and right thing. Sometimes our moral highground is all we have.

On the car and driving thing...can you take her to small claims court and get a judgement on the car loan so that you could get a garnish order later on and have her do the driving. I see that your current dp would prefer she not be around but then he's also complaining about the money....can't have it all ways.
post #13 of 23
I commend you for following through and making sure your DC has access to his other mama. You are definitely doing right by him. Too bad she is not living up to her responsibilities to both you, with the loan, and DS, with the CS.

You may want to post this question over in Single Parenting. There are plenty of mamas in that forum with similar situations, who have to overcome siginificant negative feelings to foster their DC's relationship w/ the other parent.
post #14 of 23
Originally Posted by Faerieshadow View Post
It is taking it's toll on me emotionally, and I'm asking for support on handling that. I don't need to be told that they are separate issues, I've been handling it as such without any court of law forcing me to, so please don't talk to me as though I'm saying something wrong here.
Sorry - I was thinking more in terms of stepDad's irritation and that he needs to understand that the two are exclusive of one another.
post #15 of 23
It does seem that if the car loan was taken care of you might be feeling better about this. FWIW, we are court ordered to pay the non-custodial parent for her expenses related to visition. So, hey, it could be worse??? Perhaps there is some legal way to solve the car loan sitution, then as far as CS, arrange your life as if it wasn't a possiblity. Don't expect it. You are doing a good thing for your DC.
post #16 of 23
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post
Sorry - I was thinking more in terms of stepDad's irritation and that he needs to understand that the two are exclusive of one another.
I am confused (I think). Could you clarify this for me?
post #17 of 23
I'm in a similiar situation with my ex-H, and it, too, has caused some friction with my DP. Although, legally, I could (and have) filed for CS, I've never seen a dime and I doubt I ever will.

However, Eric knowing his dad (and his dad's family) is important to him. So, we meet somewhere half-way between our towns. If ex-H's parents are picking up ds, they will actually drive all the way to my town.

I do get irked about the $, but a while ago, I just had to realize I was going to live without. I could be mad, but I'm sure my x didn't care, so I'd only be making like miserable for myself and my ds.

Can she meet you half-way instead of you doing all the driving? As far as the loan is concerned, can you take her to small-claims court for her portion? I know that may be uncomfortable, but if you need the $...

Can she bankroll any of these extras you can't swing right now? Like, can she take him out during her visitations? Do you feel safe with the visitations being longer, and thus involving less driving?

I bet lots of the single mommas can give you ideas on free/cheap things to do with your son.

As far as your current dp feels... well, with mine, I just kept stressing that this wasn't about my ex and his "right" to see our son, a right my dp feels he doesn't have since he doesn't support him. I kept reminding him that it's about our son's right to know his dad. And until his father royally screws that up (and he probably will), I'm not getting in the way of my ds's rights for what pittance CSE would give me- after all, he's got 2 other kids to (not) support, too!

I also remind my dp that when Eric looks back on his life, and thinks about who his parents were, and who raised him, he's going to think of us, and not his dad. That's what keeps me from throwing up when my exH tries to ask me for gas $ or to buy him a Hotwheel car holder. (For my x, not my ds! And yes, this happened recently! LOL Uh, NO!)
post #18 of 23
I assumed the laws where the same for everyone. I really do not know what to say here besides I hope it works out for you and your child.
post #19 of 23
I don't know how long you two have been separated or what your relationship is like, but it seems if the two of you are able to come up with a visitation schedule, then you should be able to talk to her about the finances. I'm not saying this in a way that you're not stepping up- I mean that if the parenting part of your relationship is established, this need to be as well.
I think it is perfectly respectful for you to let her know you need some things re-evaluated, such as your responsibility for her loan, and the transportation. Asking for equal imput from her is reasonable. You might have said and I missed it, but did you two plan the pregnancy and child together? If so I think she really needs to step up here. I don't have a solution to offer you, but I'm sorry you're going through this.
I'm a lesbian mama too, and the lack of legal protection on so many levels just never ceases to amaze me.
post #20 of 23
This is why banning gay marriage & gay rights is ridiculous. It causes so many problems as such as you are going through faerieshadow. I do commend you for keeping the two issues (CS and visitation) separate and it seems like your heart is in the right place. Having never been in your position, I can only say that your DS will grow up knowing and loving both parents and respecting and admiring you for your strength to make sure that he stays in contact with both his mommas! Good for you!!!
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