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Child support question from custodial mom (s/o from the afraid thread) - Page 2

post #21 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chantelle691 View Post
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.
I agree with the "go with the law" advice. Check with your lawyer. I'm assuming you have one. Even though my STBX & I are not going through the courts, we're more or less using our state's laws to calculate CS. You *may* need to wait until 2009, when he has his 2008 W2s, to get the increase legally changed. In my state, the calculation is based off the previous year's W2s.

But, that doesn't mean you can't ask him for more now, if you two are communicating well. Good luck!
post #22 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chantelle691 View Post
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 don't know what state you're in, but I'm in PA and I've never heard of any restrictions on visits to DRS. Once upon a time, they used to charge the parent who was making the request for a change $25 to file that request, but that was eliminated about 8 years ago. Now it's free and, as far as I know, either party can file a petition to modify at any point in time.

As far as having shown potential income, in my experience, that is only good within a year or so of them leaving a higher paying job (voluntarily reducing their income when they've shown X as an earning capacity). I agree that a mangagerial job in retail may not have come with a big financial bonus, but the $55k sure changes his financial ability to provide for your daughter.

Personally, I don't think it's gouging for money if he's able to pay more. As someone else said, if you were still together, your daughter would benefit from his increased pay.

Perhaps you could file with DRS and explain to your ex (before he gets paperwork from them) that your attorney has recommended you file with them. That makes your 'attorney' out to be the 'bad guy' in the situation. You might also consider saying something like you were applying for WIC and they require you to file for support through DRS in order to qualify (but I have no idea if he'd believe this or not b/c I don't know what your income looks like or if that's feasible).

Good luck Saturday!! I'd hope he and his GF would be mature enough that a dinner wouldn't be awkward at all, but if that's not the case, I'd hope he'd have the good sense to excuse himself from the dinner!
post #23 of 44
I'm not arguing with people here, and I am certainly not trying to pick a fight, I just think that it is impossible for a formula like child support to be fair for all people, just by its very nature. If you can decide on and agree to something outside the system, I think it is going to be what is most fair in your own personal situation... if you can't, there is something to fall back on to protect you and your daughter as well as your ex... but I have always believed that if you can agree to something outside of the system, you are most able to look at the big picture and take your own circumstances into consideration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by capagrl View Post
As someone else said, if you were still together, your daughter would benefit from his increased pay.
I've never really agreed with the "if you were still together" arguments that go with child support... if they were still together, maybe he wouldn't have taken the management job because of the hours it required away from his family. If they were still together maybe he would have a teaching job... maybe he would be staying home with his daughter... maybe he would be in school getting his PhD... maybe they would both work part time to reduce their child care expenses... People make different choices after they break up than they make when they are together, and those choices are often based on the new circumstances... in my opinion, it's not fair to try to apply the new choices to the old situation... you have to look at the new situation as reality and make decisions according to what is really happening, not what might have happened if things were different.
post #24 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by aricha View Post
I'm not arguing with people here, and I am certainly not trying to pick a fight, I just think that it is impossible for a formula like child support to be fair for all people, just by its very nature. If you can decide on and agree to something outside the system, I think it is going to be what is most fair in your own personal situation... if you can't, there is something to fall back on to protect you and your daughter as well as your ex... but I have always believed that if you can agree to something outside of the system, you are most able to look at the big picture and take your own circumstances into consideration.



I've never really agreed with the "if you were still together" arguments that go with child support... if they were still together, maybe he wouldn't have taken the management job because of the hours it required away from his family. If they were still together maybe he would have a teaching job... maybe he would be staying home with his daughter... maybe he would be in school getting his PhD... maybe they would both work part time to reduce their child care expenses... People make different choices after they break up than they make when they are together, and those choices are often based on the new circumstances... in my opinion, it's not fair to try to apply the new choices to the old situation... you have to look at the new situation as reality and make decisions according to what is really happening, not what might have happened if things were different.

:
post #25 of 44
I agree with last aricha's post.

Those who can work together to figure things out peacefully are at a much greater advantage and are much more likely to be fair in their arrangements, than if left to the system that has only one cookie-cutter formula that is supposed to fit all families.

And "if parents were together" makes no sense in most cases, because truth be told, nobody knows what would be happening if the parents were still together. *shrug*

What makes sense is maintaining meaningful co-parenting relationship with your ex-partner, and figuring out financial matters as co-parents that come from two households, supporting two distinct families, with added responsibilities and difficulties. If parents are sensitive to each other's difficulties, and put their child's interest first, then what court order can compete with that?

Because courts say "I can" doesn't mean "I should".

DP is out of the job. DSD lives with us. Her mom doesn't pay CS. We are surviving on a teacher's salary at the moment, and trust me when I tell you that it's not easy. At the same time, dragging things through court is not something we are interested in doing. It would put stress in DSD's relationship with her mom, it's not worth the money for us. If we were in dire need, and DSD's health and well-being depended on the check, I'm sure we'd make getting that CS from her mom a priority, as it is - we do what we think is in the best interest of the child - leaving her mom to her own conscience.
post #26 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by aricha View Post
I've never really agreed with the "if you were still together" arguments that go with child support... if they were still together, maybe he wouldn't have taken the management job because of the hours it required away from his family. If they were still together maybe he would have a teaching job... maybe he would be staying home with his daughter... maybe he would be in school getting his PhD... maybe they would both work part time to reduce their child care expenses... People make different choices after they break up than they make when they are together, and those choices are often based on the new circumstances... in my opinion, it's not fair to try to apply the new choices to the old situation... you have to look at the new situation as reality and make decisions according to what is really happening, not what might have happened if things were different.
Really well said.
post #27 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by aricha View Post
I'm not arguing with people here, and I am certainly not trying to pick a fight, I just think that it is impossible for a formula like child support to be fair for all people, just by its very nature. If you can decide on and agree to something outside the system, I think it is going to be what is most fair in your own personal situation... if you can't, there is something to fall back on to protect you and your daughter as well as your ex... but I have always believed that if you can agree to something outside of the system, you are most able to look at the big picture and take your own circumstances into consideration.



I've never really agreed with the "if you were still together" arguments that go with child support... if they were still together, maybe he wouldn't have taken the management job because of the hours it required away from his family. If they were still together maybe he would have a teaching job... maybe he would be staying home with his daughter... maybe he would be in school getting his PhD... maybe they would both work part time to reduce their child care expenses... People make different choices after they break up than they make when they are together, and those choices are often based on the new circumstances... in my opinion, it's not fair to try to apply the new choices to the old situation... you have to look at the new situation as reality and make decisions according to what is really happening, not what might have happened if things were different.
that


Excellent post. And what other PP's said as well. Working outside Domestic Relations makes everyone feel a lot more comfortable I think. Currently DP and his ex have an agreement outside of DR... I pray it stays that way, as DR won't look at the whole picture.

And totally agreed with, no one has a crystal ball... who knows what would have happened had the parents stayed together. Reality is they are no longer together, and now there is two families... there could be children involved on all sides, and the bickering over money only hurts them.

If an amount can be reached without enlisting DR, that would be wonderful. As long as the kids are being provided for... that's the bottom line.
post #28 of 44
(shrug) I have to say I've never understood why c/s had to be so complicated. It seems pretty plain to me: you make a kid; unless you have some alternate pre-divorce agreement in writing, you're responsible for half the costs, period. You figure out how to manage it, you're a grownup. And by costs I mean real costs given the child's expected standard of living, including likely cost to career and future earnings given the childrearing drag, and yes, there's plenty of studies to give you reasonable ballparks to work from.

Which means, of course, that if you can continue to afford having more children and paying half the costs of raising each of them, then go and God bless. If not, stop having children. If the parents want to work out some alternate deal, fine, but if not, then half and half it should be, barring medically recognized income-limiting disability.

The arguments about "but you can't tell how things would have gone financially" always seemed to me like a dodge. Actuarially, you can tell how things likely would have gone. In general, two middle-class parents will continue to be middle class parents and their incomes will rise over time; the children will do the expected middle-class things like sports and summer camp and college. We don't really have much class mobility in this country. There may be temporary ups and downs, but in general, the trend is slooowly upward.
post #29 of 44
I think child support should go up when income goes up. When he has money to buy himself nicer things/higher standard of living, the same should be afforded to his daughter.
post #30 of 44
I get the concept of "if they were still together", but I think it should apply both ways.

If the parents were still together, when things like extra cirricular activites, parties, trips, etc. came up, there would no doubt be some conversation between mom and dad whether or not such things could/should be budgeted in based on household income and expenses. What I often see happening in split parenting situations is the custodial parent just expecting the non custodial parent to put up half of these expenses without taking the larger financial picture of both parents into consideration.
post #31 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikag View Post
I get the concept of "if they were still together", but I think it should apply both ways.

If the parents were still together, when things like extra cirricular activites, parties, trips, etc. came up, there would no doubt be some conversation between mom and dad whether or not such things could/should be budgeted in based on household income and expenses. What I often see happening in split parenting situations is the custodial parent just expecting the non custodial parent to put up half of these expenses without taking the larger financial picture of both parents into consideration.
Yes.
post #32 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikag View Post
I get the concept of "if they were still together", but I think it should apply both ways.

If the parents were still together, when things like extra cirricular activites, parties, trips, etc. came up, there would no doubt be some conversation between mom and dad whether or not such things could/should be budgeted in based on household income and expenses. What I often see happening in split parenting situations is the custodial parent just expecting the non custodial parent to put up half of these expenses without taking the larger financial picture of both parents into consideration.

That is an awesome statement! I know with us DP's ex simply signed up DSD for dance classes and then demanded half of the expense. DP was never aksed what he thought about dance class. In their agreement there is not a break out of extra charges, the child support is to pay for things like this.

I found it remarkably interesting that she expected him to pay more money over a decision she made... If they were still together I'm sure she would have consulted him first, as most families do that.
post #33 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikag View Post
What I often see happening in split parenting situations is the custodial parent just expecting the non custodial parent to put up half of these expenses without taking the larger financial picture of both parents into consideration.
I tend to agree. I know that I don't keep track of every cent I spend on my kids in terms of co-pays, medicines, school supplies, school trips, sneakers, volleyballs, dance class, etc and give my DH the receipts expecting to be reimbursed for 1/2. The notion of each parent being responsible for "1/2 a child" is again something I get in theory, but not in practice.

Also, the "if they were together" adage needs to apply in both for better or for worse situations. Yes, the man's income could increase. And the stress of a new job leads to alcoholism/depression/abuse. Or there is an injury on the job and he is permanently disabled. Or it could be like my cousin's situation, where her DH died suddenly at age 37.

It seems like this concept is most commonly raised based on the notion of the man as the primary provider. I can only speak for myself, but (fortunately or unfortunately) I have never been in the situation where a partner's income made that much of a difference in my lifestyle. And I didn't ever make the decision to have a child based on the fact that some one was there to help with half of the costs.
post #34 of 44
Something I thought of today with the governement stimulus checks going out...

Just somd food for thought to the argument "it would be this way if we were still together..."

Remember, the non-custodial parent has to provide all the same things as custodial... food, shelter, etc... and pays the child support and daycare costs... however! Only the custodial parent is allowed to claim the child on their taxes and put down the daycare expense. Non-custodial parents are not allowed to write off any of their child support, it is free money given to the custodial parent. So they are shortened thousands of dollars a year to their salary that the governement will never acknowledge, and just figure their income as is, instead of with the hefty $3,400 reduction for a child.


Also with these stimulus checks... they are issuing $300/per child. This obviously is also going to the custodial parent. And it is not neccessarily going to be spent on the child... it's to help offset the hard economy right now... like the non-custodial parent isn't feeling that too, considering they aren't allowed to ever claim their child expenses to begin with and the custodial parent can?


Just saying... if the parents were still together, none of this stuff would be an issue, but just some food for though when you think the non-custodial parent *might* be doing somewhat better with a raise... remember that they don't get that extra reduction, that raise may just be helping them get by.
post #35 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
Only the custodial parent is allowed to claim the child on their taxes and put down the daycare expense. Non-custodial parents are not allowed to write off any of their child support, it is free money given to the custodial parent. So they are shortened thousands of dollars a year to their salary that the governement will never acknowledge, and just figure their income as is, instead of with the hefty $3,400 reduction for a child.

This doesn't have to be true! For any of you married to a non-custodial father, you might want to re-visit. My ex-h and I share two children. He claims the elder and I claim the younger. My DP has a child with his ex-w. She claims him in even years, he gets odd.

Kind of OT, I know, but this can be a lot of money and if child-related expenses are being pretty evenly divided, the tax relief should be evenly divided, too.
post #36 of 44
Oh, forgot to say to the OP: just change your language a little and the answer should get clear. Don't say "I'm struggling financially." Say "I'm having some trouble meeting all of my DD's needs with the money I now have."

If you have a pretty good relationship with her dad, it's all different. My kids' dad and I have flexed CS many times over the 11 years since our divorce. We've always been able to just approach each other and try to work things out. So far, we've been successful, sometimes with the help of online CS calculators. If we hit a wall and couldn't reach an agreement, we'd go to CS mediation via the courts.
post #37 of 44
Uptown, some states let you do that... others don't. DP's ex would have to agree to it, and she didn't. *shrugs*
post #38 of 44
I understand why child support isn't a tax deduction. The custodial parent doesn't get to claim the money they spend on clothes, food, etc. and neither does the parent paying child support. It isn't supposed to be free money to an ex, it's expenses for a child.

But, anyway.

I'm wondering how far off what he pays now (400 a month) is from what the courts would mandate. Here, for a parent to pay less than the standard, both parents have to sign an agreement and agree that the child won't receive any government services. If you feel that the amount is less than the standard, and you need more, then ask for it. Just go by the law.

Dh is the custodial parent and we pay the NCP. I always felt it wasn't fair, but dh made a little more this year so I'm waiting for her to file for an increase. I try to not care. It is what it is. It's the law.
post #39 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
Remember, the non-custodial parent has to provide all the same things as custodial... food, shelter, etc... and pays the child support and daycare costs... however! Only the custodial parent is allowed to claim the child on their taxes and put down the daycare expense. Non-custodial parents are not allowed to write off any of their child support, it is free money given to the custodial parent. So they are shortened thousands of dollars a year to their salary that the governement will never acknowledge, and just figure their income as is, instead of with the hefty $3,400 reduction for a child.
NCPs can claim the exemption and CTC if that's part of the decree; many parents alternate years. Also, the CP can sign over the exemption and CTC at will, year by year. I did, this year and last. I don't foresee doing it again, though, since what he pays, total, does not in fact cover half the cost of raising dd.

There's no reason for an NCP to write off c/s; it's part of the expense of raising a child. You won't get to write off the money you spend raising your child, either.
post #40 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by aricha View Post
I've never really agreed with the "if you were still together" arguments that go with child support... if they were still together, maybe he wouldn't have taken the management job because of the hours it required away from his family. If they were still together maybe he would have a teaching job... maybe he would be staying home with his daughter... maybe he would be in school getting his PhD... maybe they would both work part time to reduce their child care expenses... People make different choices after they break up than they make when they are together, and those choices are often based on the new circumstances... in my opinion, it's not fair to try to apply the new choices to the old situation... you have to look at the new situation as reality and make decisions according to what is really happening, not what might have happened if things were different.
Me, too. And I think alot of people also forget that, if they were still together, the noncustodial parent wouldn't be supporting two homes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
(shrug) I have to say I've never understood why c/s had to be so complicated. It seems pretty plain to me: you make a kid; unless you have some alternate pre-divorce agreement in writing, you're responsible for half the costs, period.
That sounds good in theory, but I would like to point out... in my Husband's case, he's paying for 80% of the child. I know he can't be the only one.
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