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Child support question from custodial mom (s/o from the afraid thread)

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
So my xh and I never went to domestic relations, we just put in our divorce papers that he would pay me $75/wk while that was a reasonable amount based on his income. He was a salesman at Mens Wearhouse. He actually has been paying me $100/wk.

I paid before school care for half of the year, he paid the other half.

We tend to split big things like ballet costumes, lessons, etc.

He recently received $55K from his equity in our house and got a store manager job. I'm assuming he's making more money and I'm kind of struggling.

My school taxes and homeowners insurance went up, making my mortgage payment go up. Other household/grocery, etc costs are going up.

I do a lot of the incidentals because it seems silly to nickel and dime him. (school yearbook, field trips, scholastic book orders, stuff like that) His $100/wk definitely gets spent. I don't want to take him for everything he's got but I'm just wondering if a revisit of the cs is in order. What do you guys think? Please be honest...

The main reason I'm doing it is because of his new job and the cost of living, increase in prices, etc.

And do I just talk to him and keep it on the side, or go through domestic relations? We haven't dealt with them at all yet.
post #2 of 44
Thread Starter 
again, I don't know why I'm feeling defensive...I'm reading my post back and it sounds so out-to-get-him.

I was trying to cut him a break because he'd lost his teaching job and moved to the salesperson job. He has a masters degree in education. He is choosing for this to be his job. He's not currently looking for a teaching job. (which, ok, whatever, that's other baggage.)

Ok.

Back on point, please, Chantelle.

I went with the original agreement on the money because I was trying to cut him a break. He doesn't need that break anymore as he is certainly more financially comfortable since the windfall due to the house and the promotion at work.

There.

Hope that's more clear. Just want to get what my dd is truly entitled to, not just some random number based on what he thought he coulf afford months ago.
post #3 of 44
I honestly don't know how I would feel about it if I was "the mom", but here is what I think (I apologize in advance, it's not what you want to hear ).

1. You are no longer a family. He is his own person, you are your own. You are to maintain your finances, and he is to keep his own. Be honest with yourself, if you just got a financial break, would you tell him you'd like to lower CS?

2. Of course he is a father and must provide for his child. You are saying he is paying $100 while he is supposed to be paying $75, correct? AND, by your own words he chips in for childcare and classes (which technically CS is supposed to cover). Both of those things show responsibility and commitment.

3. I don't agree that raising a child is one parent's job. You should not carry the weight of every single appointment, every single school conference, etc. etc. etc. But I also don't believe that every single penny for your child should come from your ex's pocket.

4. If you truly need the money for school supplies, and such, I'd ask your ex to help on case by case basis. Tell him you are going through rough times, and see if he can get the jacket for the kid that she needs, or art supplies for her next class, etc. Raising CS because you want to live on the same financial level as he does is not the right reason though.

That's just what I think. From your post sounds like you guys have good relationship and concentrate on what's best for your child. Building up resentment between the two of you might not be the best way to go.

That's just what I think. And don't feel defensive *hugs* I haven't walked in your shoes, I have only walked in mine... I hope whatever you choose will work out for you guys.
post #4 of 44
It really just depends upon income levels in my state. Increased expenses or windfalls don't really come into play.

Him getting a higher paying job is certainly a valid reason to get the amount of support readjusted.

If you know his income, see if there are calculators online for your state that will get you a good estimate of what the legal obligation is. Then you just have to go from there... And if you don't have something in your agreement about him paying half of childcare and extracurriculars he may balk over that if CS goes up.

Try posting this over in single parenting as well.
post #5 of 44
Like Oriole, I am not the "mom" right now, so take my comments as you like. I have been a single parent, and I never received any CS from her dad.

I tend to think that as far as money is concerned it's easier not to get caught up in comparing what I have to what anyone else has. I always just assume that there's more out there for me as the future unfolds. Thus far, that's proven true.

If you owned your home jointly with your partner, then you do have a right to 1/2 the profit on the sale. Did you not discuss how to handle the house when you split? That's a pretty significant asset. If you didn't handle it during the divorce, I don't know how it would be divided retroactively.

It sounds like you guys get along pretty well thus far. You try to be fair with him and he has shown you the same courtesy. It's hard to put a price on fair, and many of the best relationships have deteriorated over money. Moving from a salesman to a manager in a retail environment is likely not a big increase in pay. A lot of times it comes with more responsiblity than money.

I would consider how much of a CS increase you want/need, not how much you think you could get, and try to negotiate with him from there. Going through the courts is never a pleasant experience, even when you "win".
post #6 of 44
I agree with Oh The Irony...if you know he's making more money use one of the online calculators to figure out how much support you should be getting.

I currently get child support from my daughter's father, the amount a month is based on income, so a increase in the paying parents income is a very good reason to get the amount of support looked at and adjusted.

Good luck!
post #7 of 44
In my state, CS is calculated as a percent of income, so if income goes up, so would child support. The other parent's income is not relevant, the idea being that there is not one constant sum to which the child is entitled so one person gets to pay less if the other pays more, etc. The child is entitled to have her standard of living rise in tandem with either or both parent. That makes sense to me. If the child-support paying parent is fabulously wealthy and that makes for lots of leftover cash, well, put it in a college fund, or some sort of trust for the child. Presumably, if you were still together, your children would enjoy the benefits of increased incomes, why should that change b/c you're separated?

CS here is separate from childcare, schooling, medical, etc. Those costs are divided proportionate to income, which again, I think is pretty reasonable. While one can choose to live in a less expensive home, go out to eat less, take more modest of fewer vacations, etc., it's a lot harder to save on daycare or medical co-pays, so I guess those costs are seen as more fixed, and responsibility is divvied up appropriately.

GL, don't feel guilty. I don't see this as out to get him, I see it as working together to provide the best for your child. If he is in a position to contribute more, I don't see why he shouldn't. I don't think the money from the house should be figured into long-term CS arrangements. It was one-time.
post #8 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
Be honest with yourself, if you just got a financial break, would you tell him you'd like to lower CS?

I this logic assumes that there is a sort of a fixed amount that the child should have, and if one parent contributes more, the other contributes less and the child's theoretical financial resources and standard of living remain static regardless of the parents' income. It wouldn't happen like that if the parents were together.
post #9 of 44
I, too, am not a single mom, but here is my take.

Go by the law. That is the easiest way to do it. In my state, parenting agreements spell out everything. The one my DF and DSD's mom are working on now covers CS, medical expenses, extracurriculars, everything. It is all spelled out. That way, everyone knows exactly what is expected of them.

I would talk to your ex before going through a governmental entity, and explain that you want to get things nailed down. Reach an agreement with him, then get it legalled up. That way, both you and him are protected.
post #10 of 44
I'd also say go by the law. Unless he's making mighty big bucks, the mandated support will not cover half the actual expense of raising her and maintaining a household for her. You also have higher ed to think about for her.

That said, kkj is right, and there may not have been much salary increase. You can't know without asking. Also keep in mind that unless he gave up his teaching job long, long ago, or for some reason can't teach, a court will regard him as having voluntarily reduced his income. This varies by state, but they may well decide that he should be paying support based on his potential income as a teacher.

Bottom line: Don't try to decide for him how much c/s he should be paying. The states' view, by the way, is that all parents have a certain degree of obligation to their children, whether or not the custodial parent can support the child on his or her own, and whether or not the child's immediate needs are met.
post #11 of 44
Thread Starter 
Great advice, thank you all so much.

Now I have to figure out how to broach it with him without sounding like I'm trying to gouge him for more money.

We're trying to be respectful and work together but it's still new, so it's hard.

We're currently dealing with the awkwardness of him bringing his girlfriend to Delaney's ballet recital on Saturday night...which I'm fine with. But I had already invited him to join us for dinner afterwards and now that his girlfriend's coming that just seems to be a bit too much. My parents are uncomfortable at the thought of hosting my ex and his new girlfriend at dinner. (They always pay after the recital)

Ugh.

This is so hard.



I really appreciate everything you guys are saying. Thank you.
post #12 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chantelle691 View Post

We're currently dealing with the awkwardness of him bringing his girlfriend to Delaney's ballet recital on Saturday night...which I'm fine with. But I had already invited him to join us for dinner afterwards and now that his girlfriend's coming that just seems to be a bit too much. My parents are uncomfortable at the thought of hosting my ex and his new girlfriend at dinner. (They always pay after the recital)
Wow, that would be tough. In this situation, even though it may be a hard coversation to have, I think it would be perfectly appropriate, and likely lessen the overall load of awkwardness and stress if you talked to him about your parents being uncomfortable with him bringing his new GF to a family dinner that they are hosting. It's hard to imagine that he wouldn't understand that, and any reasonably mature girlfriend should understand that as well.
post #13 of 44
Thread Starter 
You're right, it should be ok. I'm hoping it will be, at any rate.
post #14 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chantelle691 View Post
We're currently dealing with the awkwardness of him bringing his girlfriend to Delaney's ballet recital on Saturday night...which I'm fine with. But I had already invited him to join us for dinner afterwards and now that his girlfriend's coming that just seems to be a bit too much. My parents are uncomfortable at the thought of hosting my ex and his new girlfriend at dinner. (They always pay after the recital)
Hm...speaking as the girlfriend, I've pretty much always been able to attend a meal/party/whatever with SD's mom and it's not a big deal.

But SD's mom's parents? That might get *awkward.*

Heck, I'm already dreading when SD's mom and my parents might end up meeting. And that's not likely to occur until...what...SD's wedding or something.

Good luck...if anything, I think the GF might be more understanding than you ex about why a big family gathering may not be the best idea just yet.
post #15 of 44
It is a little awkward at first.. speaking as the "new wife"... but it all seems to work out in the end.

I've met DSD's Mom's Mom lots of times as that is where they currently live. I first met her at dance class.

I know my Mom is really nervous about meeting my DP's ex and her family... this will happen in June at DSD's recital.

I am nervous about meeting all of DP's ex's family at DSD's birthday party in July... should be interesting.

But comes with the territory I guess... Good Luck!
post #16 of 44
Thread Starter 
I hope you're right about the girlfriend realizing that maybe the dinner after the recital might not be comfortable with her there.

I think my ex is pushing the issue so he can do a 'nanny-nanny-boo-boo' thing.
post #17 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
I honestly don't know how I would feel about it if I was "the mom", but here is what I think (I apologize in advance, it's not what you want to hear ).

1. You are no longer a family. He is his own person, you are your own. You are to maintain your finances, and he is to keep his own. Be honest with yourself, if you just got a financial break, would you tell him you'd like to lower CS?

2. Of course he is a father and must provide for his child. You are saying he is paying $100 while he is supposed to be paying $75, correct? AND, by your own words he chips in for childcare and classes (which technically CS is supposed to cover). Both of those things show responsibility and commitment.

3. I don't agree that raising a child is one parent's job. You should not carry the weight of every single appointment, every single school conference, etc. etc. etc. But I also don't believe that every single penny for your child should come from your ex's pocket.

4. If you truly need the money for school supplies, and such, I'd ask your ex to help on case by case basis. Tell him you are going through rough times, and see if he can get the jacket for the kid that she needs, or art supplies for her next class, etc. Raising CS because you want to live on the same financial level as he does is not the right reason though.

That's just what I think. From your post sounds like you guys have good relationship and concentrate on what's best for your child. Building up resentment between the two of you might not be the best way to go.

That's just what I think. And don't feel defensive *hugs* I haven't walked in your shoes, I have only walked in mine... I hope whatever you choose will work out for you guys.
I agree with Oriole.


Legally, I believe, CS can only be changed once per year, whether increased or decreased and a change can only be made if the income of the support payer has changed 15% or more.
post #18 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chantelle691 View Post
We're currently dealing with the awkwardness of him bringing his girlfriend to Delaney's ballet recital on Saturday night...which I'm fine with. But I had already invited him to join us for dinner afterwards and now that his girlfriend's coming that just seems to be a bit too much. My parents are uncomfortable at the thought of hosting my ex and his new girlfriend at dinner. (They always pay after the recital)
I agree that it could be awkward, but then, divorce is awkward. It gets better with time and soon enough it will be ok for all parties in your DD's life to mix a bit. If you don't think it's time yet (I think this would be a reasonable view), then it may be best to just have your family go out for dinner, and not have your ex and his GF there at all. It might be seen as very rude to the girlfriend if you invite him to a gathering and say she is unwelcome. Paradigm shift: remember that he's not your family anymore. Your DD has 2 families. It's great if both families can be friends, but I wouldn't expect his girlfriend to not be insulted if he's still being treated/feeling obligated as a part of yours.
post #19 of 44
Thread Starter 
So here's a question. If cs can only be changed once a year, does that hold true for now, if we divorced in December with an agreement that was written in August that included child support $$ but no visit or calculation through Domestic Relations?

I apologize, by the way, if I've given the impression that ONLY xh pays for stuff for our daughter. That's not the case at all. What he pays contributes to the cost to provide her with school lunches, new ballet shoes, clothes, lessons, etc.

I bear the greater portion of financial support for our daughter, and always have, including her medical insurance, copays, purchase of medication, etc.
post #20 of 44
This is in response to the original question:

How about this for a way to think about it and approach it... does your daughter have more expenses or a higher cost of living than she did before her dad got the promotion and $$ for the house? Are you bearing more extra costs than you imagined you would when you decided on the amount?

If so, I would try talking to him about it from that perspective... "with the cost of groceries and housing going up, things are getting tight when it comes to providing what our daughter needs." or "I didn't realize how many incidental expenses there are and how fast they add up... I don't want to have to ask you for $5 for a co-pay here and $7 for a yearbook there and I think it would be easier for both of us if we could add it into the budget every week."

As for going by the law, it might be good information to have in your back pocket... here's what the state would probably order you to pay, and here are the expenses that a domestic relations says we are actually supposed to share equally... I wouldn't open with that, because I think it would put him immediately on the defensive (it certainly would for me). But if you can't agree to something, it might be beneficial to show him what the alternative might be and that it is in HIS best interest to deal with it outside the system. I don't mean that to sound as calculating and manipulative as it does when I read it back to myself... but I can't find a better way to explain what I mean...
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