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spinoff: where the money goes - Page 3

post #41 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by harleyhalfmoon View Post
Gee, I wish I'd thought of that!

Seriously, mama41, don' you think that if we could, in most cases, we would? What about the custodial parents who complain that they don't get enough money from the other parent to support their child. Should they "just make more money", too?
That is precisely what I do.

I don't enjoy the work, it's intellectually dishonest, and my bosses are painfully easily impressed. It's like living in a bus station of the mind and it leaves me wondering which nation will lead the world next, because if this is the kind of stuff the schools want, it ain't us. (I make most of my money writing K12 texts.) It pays very well, is steady, and allows me to support my daughter while leaving me considerable time to do my own (nonpaying) work and throw away time writing responses like this.

I never had a reason to make this much money before, and you can bet that as soon as this job is done, I'm done working this much for pay. I have other things to do. However, if my daughter's dad is going to bail on part of his obligation, then there are two people available to pay the price: her, and me. It's not acceptable to me that she pay for his lack of responsibility. That leaves me.

Now in a way, there are some nice side benefits. It never occurred to me that I could bill at this rate before, because I never had a reason to bother. In future that'll make things easier for me. But on the whole, no, of course I don't want to work this much. C'est la vie.

One of the things I did, before I got pregnant, was to think about how much kids actually cost. Not in time, because I pretty much figured it'd eat most of my life for a couple of decades. But in money. It wasn't that easy to find that kind of info, but eventually I found some, probably at the Kiplinger site. The numbers were absolutely staggering, so I figured, Well, this must be for investors' kids who go to yacht lessons when they're three. I had a closer look at the numbers, and sure enough, they're for ordinary kids who live in a house, maybe go to a sleepaway camp, do a sport or two, plan to go to college someday. I thought about it for a while, did some figuring, and said, Yeah, I could swing that.

If after looking at the numbers I'd thought, "No, I don't see my way clear to making that kind of money," know what I'd have done? Bingo. Not had a kid.

We have a lot of messed-up kids and young adults now. A lot of kids who've had multiple major upheavals in their lives and not a whole lot of constancy. Divorce, parents moving away, new parents coming in, moving house, changing school, picking up and going to different states, bouncing from one parent's house to the other, maybe another divorce, and poverty. A lot of them look OK on the outside; a lot of them get by, more or less, as adults, but are not so hot under the skin. Their education's suffered, too. I cannot help but believe that a big part of why we have so many messed-up kids is that we decide that we can endlessly bounce kids around and whittle away at their lives in our quest for romance and fresh starts.

I'm reading my daughter an old favorite of mine, a book called The Moffats, by Eleanor Estes. It's set in the Depression. The home life of these kids seems incredibly stable and protected by today's standards, and yet it's a single-parent family -- actually it's the kind of story that used to be tragic. The mom's a widow, a dressmaker, and they're not far from real poverty, but most other people are poor, too. The kids are always with her, the siblings aren't split up, there's no coming and going, they live in a house with a lilac bush outside. They've always lived on that street, and they know everyone, and everyone knows them. The five-year-old goes to the same kindergarten his 15-year-old sister went to. The neighbors are all housebroken and the women wear hats. I think this is really telling. The kids' lives in a widow-and-orphans Depression story looks good.

If we cannot do anything about the culture of divorce, then at a minimum, as parents, we can buffer the kids by protecting them from more rapid changes, keeping family close, and making sure the kids can live well, with good opportunities and with good room and safety, and in stable setups. If you can't see that as a likely thing, then again, I would say pass on having the kids.
post #42 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
That is precisely what I do.

I don't enjoy the work, it's intellectually dishonest, and my bosses are painfully easily impressed. It's like living in a bus station of the mind and it leaves me wondering which nation will lead the world next, because if this is the kind of stuff the schools want, it ain't us. (I make most of my money writing K12 texts.) It pays very well, is steady, and allows me to support my daughter while leaving me considerable time to do my own (nonpaying) work and throw away time writing responses like this.

I never had a reason to make this much money before, and you can bet that as soon as this job is done, I'm done working this much for pay. I have other things to do. However, if my daughter's dad is going to bail on part of his obligation, then there are two people available to pay the price: her, and me. It's not acceptable to me that she pay for his lack of responsibility. That leaves me.
And what will you do if, after this job is over, you can't make as much? What if you are unable to pay for 50% of your daughter's finances? Or what if, the only way you can manage is to work two or three jobs and have relatives/daycare/your daughter's Father raise her because you're working 24/7 to fill that 50% guideline you made? What would you have done if you had not had the skills/opportunity to work the job you're working now?
post #43 of 88
I simply don't understand your logic mama41... countless families make it work with less money than that and just re-distrubute the money, maybe the child doesn't get every extracurricular activity they have a whim to do... will it kill them? No... I'm sorry but you make it sound like every working class citizen has no business having children because they cannot offer every luxury imaginable to their child.


EDIT: I guess I'm royally screwed then as I only make $1,600/month... how irresponsible of me... and I'm on the higher end of the pay scale for my area!!
post #44 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post


Several years ago I was on a listserv with some teachers. Teachers have one of the last functioning unions in the country. A teacher was very upset because his classroom was hot in the summer and the kids were sweating; in fact he was so hot and sweaty he could barely teach. The kids couldn't learn. The principal refused to do anything about it. The teacher complained a lot and the other teachers joined in to commiserate. They all knew the problem, it was terrible.

I watched this for a while, incredulous, and then said, "Why don't you bring in an air conditioner and plug it in? They cost about $200-300. If the principal says unplug it, offer to pay the electric. If he unplugs it, call a reporter and tell him the kids are so hot they can't learn, and the school won't let you spend your own money to cool off the room."

You would have thought I'd said, "Why don't you rape a student or two?" Teachers from all over the country hopped on me. "We don't have the power!" they said. "We'd get fired! Nobody would hire us!"

I said, "But you have a tremendously powerful union, and, even better, an organizing network. You all seem to have the same problem in summer, and I can't think of any other business in America that says no air conditioning, it's good for you to be hot. If a tenth of you guys don't show up for work one day, the whole ed system falls apart. You guys are in the catbird seat. I bet with a one-day strike, you could have the problem licked in a month -- OK, a few years, it's government."

Eventually I quit, because I realized they didn't want to solve the problem. They wanted it to be magically solved for them, which wasn't going to happen, so instead they'd have a good time complaining.

.
Wow, you really have no idea the complexity of it all do you? Yes, the teachers have a union, but so does the custodial staff, building operators, electricians, maintence workers, ect. installing a window airconditioner would cause a grievence to be filed on behalf of their union for "loss of work opportunity", sanctions would be taken, fines given to most involved, and so on. Trust me, we tried it here last year and we have one of the largest unions in the state of Ohio. in the end it cost a lot of money and still had to be taken out. We had a special needs class that planted flowers around the school grounds as part of an educational unit. Yep, the support staff union filed grievences for "loss of work opportunity" dispite the fact that a work request for the planting of flowers would have been denied as an unecessary use of funds and man power. In my classroom my overhead screen was in the back of my classroom, to use it I had to have the kids all turn around and it was an unecessary disruption to the learning process. I had a work order submitted for 2 full school years, called monthly to ask about it and was told it was low priority (to shed some light, we have 7 highschool buildings, 7 junior highs, and 49 elementary schools in our district) So that summer I made some wooden supports (basically identical to the ones there) and took in a drill, removed my screen and re-installed in at the front of my classroom. When my building operator saw it he filed a grievence against me for "loss of work opportunity" despite the fact that their union said, yes they sat on the work order for 2 years, and no, they had no plans to do it that school year either, the grievence was settled in their favor. I have an official reprimand in my file (no matter how stupid it seems, it is still part of my official personel file and with as competitive as teaching jobs are in this area (approximately 200 applicants per open position) it can easily knock me out of contention should I try to switch districts) and the building operator was awarded 5 hours of double time pay for the job that took me under an hour to complete AND a job they said they had no intention of doing anyway.

It is a flaw of the educational systems and the strong hold that unions in-general have in our society. Not the teachers who are trying to protect their jobs.
post #45 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post
Generally speaking, those who pay CS always think it's too much and those who receive it think it's never enough.
I actually think the amount I receive is pretty fair, (incidentally I did agree to reduce the state ordered amount by about $500 (ordered support was $1,500) a month because I wanted him to be able to keep the house we had built just before Maia was born and still be able to do fun things with them)

my ex's take home pay is $2,500 a month more than mine. From Jan-May of this year he paid just the kids child care and no actual child support (he paid the center directly) it was $1,000 a month but he gets to claim the deduction on his taxes, Starting in June he will pay me a court ordered amount of $500 a month (June-Aug, he will actually be saving money because I don't teach inthe summer and even on his days he will be bringing the kids to me while he works so no daycare cost). Maia starts kindergarten in the fall so no more day care for her either. Starting in September he will pay Sage's day care ($500 a month) and $500 a month c/s (we both have full health benefits at no cost as part of our benefits package) So he will pay out $1,000 a month but only $500 directly to me. This still leaves him with $1,000 a month more useable income than me.

My take home plus child support is $3,000
His take home minus child support and day care is $4,000

We do have shared parenting and 50/50 time so our costs of raising are pretty even. Had I not approved the varience and required the court ordered amount it would have put us both at a useable income of $3,500 a month. We will split the kids for tax purposes, each claiming one child except this year, he is claiming both so he can do both daycare claims.
post #46 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post
Generally speaking, those who pay CS always think it's too much and those who receive it think it's never enough.
I would agree that this is true in many cases. Ultimately CS isn't 100% about money. Sure it's about financial support and personal responsibility, but it's also about hurt feelings, anger, control, etc.

I don't think DH pays too much. All total it's around $900/month for one child. It does bother me that because he is self-employed the court assumption is that he is somehow finagling his income to cheat on CS, thus he ends up paying based on an amount higher than he actually nets. And like Jsma said, if he suddenly makes less, he may not get a reduction because CS can be based on "income potential" rather than the bottom line.

The thing that bugs me the most about CS is that all I ever hear both DH's ex and other CPs complain about is that they don't get enough money. The dad doesn't pay enough support, thus he doesn't love the child. He's a bad dad if he won't pay for this. The dad spends more on Family B than Family A.

I never hear the moms saying, "My ex spends so much time with our child." or "He is a really great role model." or "He shows up on time for every single visitation." I'm sorry but just like there are deadbeats, there are great non-custodial dads.

But character doesn't seem to count if you don't "say it with cash." The minute you're late paying your $7.50 toward a $15 co-pay you obviously don't love your child. That's not about money.
post #47 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkj323 View Post
I would agree that this is true in many cases. Ultimately CS isn't 100% about money. Sure it's about financial support and personal responsibility, but it's also about hurt feelings, anger, control, etc.

I don't think DH pays too much. All total it's around $900/month for one child. It does bother me that because he is self-employed the court assumption is that he is somehow finagling his income to cheat on CS, thus he ends up paying based on an amount higher than he actually nets. And like Jsma said, if he suddenly makes less, he may not get a reduction because CS can be based on "income potential" rather than the bottom line.

The thing that bugs me the most about CS is that all I ever hear both DH's ex and other CPs complain about is that they don't get enough money. The dad doesn't pay enough support, thus he doesn't love the child. He's a bad dad if he won't pay for this. The dad spends more on Family B than Family A.

I never hear the moms saying, "My ex spends so much time with our child." or "He is a really great role model." or "He shows up on time for every single visitation." I'm sorry but just like there are deadbeats, there are great non-custodial dads.

But character doesn't seem to count if you don't "say it with cash." The minute you're late paying your $7.50 toward a $15 co-pay you obviously don't love your child. That's not about money.

That is so incredibly true kkj323!! We had a very rough winter... as I sort of glossed over... overtime was cut and DP was just not making anywhere near what he was when C/S ws decided. The one week he could only pay half the child support... it's all he had, because his company shut down for inventory and he wasn't selected to do it so he didn't even get a full 40 hours pay. He told his ex he'd make it up... this was the FIRST and only time he was short...

She FLIPPED and held DSD over his head saying he must not care and he couldn't have her for his visitation that weekend because of it. We threatened to call the cops because she cannot legally keep him away from his daughter, especially as this was his first time EVER that he was SHORT.. not even that he didn't pay at all.. just short.
post #48 of 88
It's just all so situational and complicated.

Does my CS go to cover rent and utilities? Hell yeah it does right now and my ex is okay with that. I was a SAHM for 9 years and only had some PT freelance income--think less than 10k a year. We separated rather suddenly and we already had some financial issues. I was in no way prepared to support my children at all and shocked that my marriage imploded. Hindsight being what it is, I don't think I will be ever be dependent on a man again after I get everything sorted out.


I do think that it is fair, and my state does as well, that some of that money goes towards household expenses. But it is such an individual thing to calculate and there seems to be no standard way to do it.

CS to me though covers the basics. It doesn't include preschools, daycare, extracurricular activities, or medical co-pays. My agreements with my former husband reflect that very accurately and thoroughly so that there is no gray area.

Yeah, people get triggered by this crap all the time. My FS, when we were first switching over to him paying me instead of paying the bills, made a comment about how he would "see if he could pay me after he paid his rent". Sorry dude, not good enough. Course that followed his TELLING me that he couldn't have the kids on his scheduled day because he had to work and well, guess what, I already had work scheduled.

Oh, and I think the support is fair. I entered numbers in a calculator for the state, looked at actual expenses for both households and arrived at a number that seemed equitable to both. We agreed on it without the courts.
post #49 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by harleyhalfmoon View Post
And what will you do if, after this job is over, you can't make as much?
By "job", I mean the job of raising her. That's about 14-18 years from now, assuming things are reasonably normal. If not, could be much longer.

Quote:
What if you are unable to pay for 50% of your daughter's finances? Or what if, the only way you can manage is to work two or three jobs and have relatives/daycare/your daughter's Father raise her because you're working 24/7 to fill that 50% guideline you made?
HHM, there's a thing called planning.

No, don't get angry. It works most of the time if you take the time to do it well.

The only way -- and I mean only -- that I would be unable to meet that 50% number is if the entire economy crashed and we were all in an Argentinian depression together. I've put in place enough from various income streams, enough assets, enough savings, and enough insurance, to guarantee I'll hit the mark for years even if I get sick and can't work.

How did I get to be so privileged? I sat down and made a plan, and I decided that I would not have children if I couldn't afford to raise them on my own, if necessary.

So I waited until I saw I had lots of skills and was employable in any number of capacities. I waited until I had money in the bank and good insurance. I chose to live in a low-cost area with excellent public services, within walking/biking distance of anywhere I'd likely need to go on a daily basis, including work, stores, school, doctors, recreation, etc.

What if I get fired? I live on emergency savings until I hear back from one of the many people I don't have time to work for now; if that doesn't work, I go stand behind a counter. I've arranged things so that I don't actually need the salary to be very high. My minimum required from wages is about $18K, which is certainly doable on minimum wage.

What if I lose my health insurance? I've arranged things so that I have a buffet of group health insurance options, all affordable.

What if I get too sick to work? Disability insurance, and the fact that I have multiple income streams means that losing wages alone still leaves me able to pay the mortgage and buy essentials. Frankly, the kind of work I do means I'd have to be very sick indeed not to be able to work. Even various disabilities would still leave me able with adaptive tech.

What if we have a hideous illness that blows the roof off the health insurance? Catastrophic insurance that covers up to $5 million after the first $20K out of pocket.

What if someone sues me? Umbrella insurance and incorporation.

What if I die? A life insurance trust and trustworthy trustees.

Back behind all of that, if absolutely necessary, I've got family who would chip in to help. So the safety net is triple-ply. The only circumstance I can think of where I'd need family to step in, though, is if my daughter developed some serious chronic illness and required nursing care around the clock. In that case, even if I were still freelancing and could work while she slept, I'd probably be too exhausted to work much, at least until I got accustomed to the illness and its needs. In that case savings and sale of assets would keep us going for a few years on a normal budget, by which time SSD would have kicked in. But the problem with serious illness is that things get more expensive than normal, even with good insurance.

This kind of security wasn't hard to set up -- you will notice that I can provide dd's 50% even if I'm dead -- but most people don't bother. Which is a pity, because if they did, I think there'd be a lot less trouble in life. Will every single person be able to do what I've done? No. But by age 30 or so, most will. If you're single, of average intelligence, and reasonably well physically/mentally, and you're not paying to support other people, you can devote yourself to setting yourself up securely, and do it pretty easily. 30 leaves you with a pretty big window left for having kids, if you want a big family.

What you can't do is to wake up one day, think, "Wow, I just met the greatest guy and I never really thought about kids before, but I think I could have kids with him," and expect to be able to meet your half of the obligation if things fall apart later.

Quote:
What would you have done if you had not had the skills/opportunity to work the job you're working now?
And if I hadn't been able to make money any other way, or set things up securely, or otherwise see that it was pretty likely I'd be able to consistently provide half of a child's support at a reasonable, middle-class standard of living?

Not had kids, even if I'd wanted them bad. That one's pretty easy, HHM. Because not being able to support the kids and having them anyway guarantees that you shift the burden either to other people who haven't offered, or to the kids, or both. And I'm not that kind of lady.
post #50 of 88
I've been following this thread with some frustration because I think it's sad to see parents and people who care about their kids pitted against each other. To me, there is a much bigger problem. In our society, the costs and work of raising children is something privately handled within the nuclear family with minimal to no societal support. This is very damaging for nuclear families, but even more so for people who live outside of this 2 parent ideal (that matches almost no one's reality today) and this thread I think shows exactly why. I believe that daycare and education should be subsidized/paid for by the government - not individual families. Or if women, or men, choose to stay home with their kids that that work should be compensated fairly just as any other job is. The society as a whole needs parents in the workforce and it needs healthy, educated kids to grow up and be the next generation of workers who make our society run. Therefore, the costs and burdens should be collective. I think if children do not have enough food or shelter or clothes, then they should be helped. Yes, individual families choose to have kids. But 1) it is a deeply indoctrinated value that people should raise kids and are selfish if they don't; 2) I think it's a basic right to have that kind of relationship regardless of your financial circumstance; 3) what if everyone decided they didn't want to have kids because they couldn't afford it? society would cease to exist.

Instead it is all about holding parents responsible and pitting them against one another. But what about the single mom who works minimum wage and the non-custodial dad who's getting by on $8/hour and having his pay garnished for child support. Who does this help? Instead, there should be resources that that family can access. Most parents love their kids and want to do the best they can by them, but things are so messed up in our system that it can become a struggle to just survive. And mothers and fathers are punished. For ex., women who apply for any kind of government assistance (medicaid, food stamps, welfare) are REQUIRED to file child support claims against the fathers. The gov't then goes after the fathers and garnishes their wages. But the moms don't get it - instead the gov't takes it to "pay back" what the mother is taking in services.

Reality check: real wages are lower than they were in the 1970's; food prices have gone up more than 60% in the last year; gas is at an all-time high; hundreds of thousands of families are facing foreclosure because of predatory lending and speculation that only benefited the big banks. People are struggling. And instead of blaming each other, we need to start demanding and fighting for some basic things that could help: paid national maternity leave (like they have in every other advanced industrial country); subsidized childcare and healthcare (like they do in most of Europe); a real living minimum wage; safety net support for single mothers and their kids; reinstitute and expand welfare and food stamps; take the money out of the Iraq war and spend it on good, enriching schools with universal after-school care. These would be a start.

Our kids deserve better. And it's not the individuals parents who are failing; it's the system that's failing.
post #51 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
House/energy/water: $650-800 (beyond my single-living housing expenses, which are easily calculated).
(Bolding mine)

I'm sorry to say, but I don't believe this for one second.

Quote:
Ultimately CS isn't 100% about money. Sure it's about financial support and personal responsibility, but it's also about hurt feelings, anger, control, etc.

I don't think DH pays too much. All total it's around $900/month for one child. It does bother me that because he is self-employed the court assumption is that he is somehow finagling his income to cheat on CS, thus he ends up paying based on an amount higher than he actually nets. And like Jsma said, if he suddenly makes less, he may not get a reduction because CS can be based on "income potential" rather than the bottom line.

The thing that bugs me the most about CS is that all I ever hear both DH's ex and other CPs complain about is that they don't get enough money. The dad doesn't pay enough support, thus he doesn't love the child. He's a bad dad if he won't pay for this. The dad spends more on Family B than Family A.

I never hear the moms saying, "My ex spends so much time with our child." or "He is a really great role model." or "He shows up on time for every single visitation." I'm sorry but just like there are deadbeats, there are great non-custodial dads.

But character doesn't seem to count if you don't "say it with cash." The minute you're late paying your $7.50 toward a $15 co-pay you obviously don't love your child. That's not about money.
Amen.
post #52 of 88
Thread Starter 
Bronxmom, I'd totally be with you if having children was involuntary. But it isn't. We choose to have the sex, and if we're women, then most of the time we choose to have the kids. Even now. They haven't closed down all the clinics yet. So if we have kids, it's because, somewhere along the line, we decided we wanted them. We did that knowing we live in a country that does not have a social safety net, and that means that the utopian shoulds don't matter. We did that knowing that if anyone was going to support those kids, it'd be us. And that means that if one parent flakes, the other one, if responsible, must pick up the slack. Nobody else will. And we knew about that going in.

Similarly, the people who are being foreclosed on now -- maybe we failed some of them in their grade-school education, and they were mentally incapable of pulling out a calculator and doing a simple interest-rate calculation, or reading a newspaper, or filling in the boxes in a "What Will My Mortgage Payments Be?" online calculator. Otherwise, I am afraid that they got themselves into the mess. That the ARMs would spike and the lending party would end was no secret to anyone who understood that banks can't forever make money by lending it to people too poor to pay it back. If the borrowers cannot read or have some sort of mental problem that makes it impossible to understand that much, then they have my deepest sympathies and I think the people who preyed on them should go to jail. I feel the same way about people who prey on old people who're heading off into dementia.

But otherwise....you cannot sign contracts and expect that social shoulds will come around and get you out of them. You sign them in the world that exists. Change world first, then expect help with the mortgage and the kids. If you try to do it the other way round, someone else is going to pay, and odds are good it'll be the kids.
post #53 of 88
Mama41, I think you are making an assumption that people are totally rational beings. We just aren't. Things are much more complex imo. And I just don't buy that planning will take care of everything. Shit happens.
post #54 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikag View Post
(Bolding mine)
I'm sorry to say, but I don't believe this for one second.
You want the numbers? Or are you just dedicated to the idea that it can't be true?

Condo, current base costs:
Mortgage/taxes: $394
Assoc dues: $85 (incl. water, trash, maintenance, snow removal, landscaping)
Elec: $70
Total: $549

House, current base costs:
Mortgage/taxes: $998
Elec/gas: $160/mo on budget plan, varies if off plan
Trash/water: $45
Maintenance: avg. $105/mo (annual heating/air maint, annual siding/roof repair, gutters, plumbing/elec, ext. paint, city sidewalk repair orders)
Yard: $20-40 (tree service, fert/weed, pest control)
Total: $1328

Difference: $779

For the house I haven't included things like costs of garden or DIY-repair equipment, snow removal, garden-center purchases, etc. The mortgage is low by this-city standards, though regionally it's a little high; for this part of the country, taxes are quite high. We have excellent public services for it, though.

OK, go pick at it.
post #55 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oh the Irony View Post
Shit happens.
You survive a lot more of it without major financial disruption if you plan well and are willing to look realities in the face. You're talking to someone who just spent five years taking care of, attempting to parent with, and then going through divorce with a seriously mentally ill man. And who graduated from college into a major recession, and was not allowed to go live at home. Who suffered from her own chronic illnesses through her 20s and early 30s. Whose dad had brain cancer. I know a little about shit happening.

On the other hand, if you don't plan and don''t really want to deal with realities, things get expensive very fast. Here's just one example:

My ex's parents could not face the idea that their son had a major mental illness, even though they're both psychologists. (Go figure.) For a year before he left work, I asked them probably once a month for insight into what was going on with him. They never said a word about the severity of the problems, and indeed after he left work and got approved for disability, his mother was still clipping out fulltime professional job ads for him. If they'd been able to look clearly at what was going on with him, and say, "Yeah, he's pretty sick, he might be home a while," I'd have had him change his benefits setup so that he was paying his long-term disability premium with after-tax money. A difference in his paycheck of about $3 a month. Had he done that, he'd be paying no income tax on the proceeds now.

Annual dollar cost to him: Around $8K.

Another? For three years, he pursued a federal disability claim. Three months before his final hearing, he decided to get a part-time job. He was making under the SSD minimum, and the job was a stretch for him anyway, so he figured SSA would be fine with it. I checked around and heard that this was a mistake, that _any_ work in the midst of an SSD claim was likely to sink you. He refused to believe it. After his hearing, despite mountains of evidence and psych testimony, he was turned down with a 20-page explanation about his part-time job and how he was capable of working a few more hours a week.

Cost: $25K in back benefits, guaranteed child support, and ongoing support for the LTD insurance company to continue paying his private claim.

It doesn't take a lot of these to rack up real money. Conversely, if you pay attention and get them right, you can put the money away and have a cushion in place for when the shit does hit the fan. Meaning that you may be seriously ill, but you have health insurance, the illness doesn't make you homeless, and the older kid can stay in college.

Of course people are not always rational, and of course shit happens. But if you do some planning and prep, these things can very often hurt a lot less, and leave you able to fulfill your obligations.
post #56 of 88
Ah, this is such an interesting thread!

I think what my ex pays is fair, for his income. I have to stay home with my dd, who is disabled and we have two other boys. So right now I am currently not able to work.

Monthly Expenses:

House: 1900 (we live in Hawaii, this is actually cheap for where we live! Most homes run 2500-3000 a month!!!) My mom is currently sharing the rent with me.

Expenses - utilities - 700
Childcare for Ds - 400 shared. So 200 each
Medical co-pays - 150 (I pay up to 500 a year and then we split)
Gas - 480!!! We've hit $4 a gallon here and live 30 minutes outside of town. Totally sucks, and I have the most ecofriendly car you can get with three kids that's not a hybrid.

I should add that I currently get income from the state to stay home with dd.

Ex pays about 1400 a month, plus gives me all bonuses, dividends and tax payments. I'm sure if he had a girlfriend she would think he was getting socketed. But the truth is, we made the decision to have children together, and while he is struggling financially it is nothing compared to the fact that I am raising three children, one of whom is disabled, by myself. Even he agrees with that. If I didn't have help from him, we would be on the street! So his money goes into the pot to pay for everything, gas, clothing, bills, toys. This is what child support is for. I think of it as money that would be used for the same things that it would be used for if my ex and I were still married. I am graduating from school in about a year - finishing up another degree by going VERY part time. Hopefully by that time dd will be in school and I will have an employable degree. I am planning to put all the money into savings for college and a house. Yes, I count paying for housing costs as the most basic component of child support.
post #57 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkj323 View Post
I would agree that this is true in many cases. Ultimately CS isn't 100% about money. Sure it's about financial support and personal responsibility, but it's also about hurt feelings, anger, control, etc.
No, for me it's pretty much about the bucks. I was shocked at first when xh made it plain he didn't want to pick up his half of the costs, esp. since it'd be no hardship for him. But now it's just the reality. It hasn't improved my opinion of him, but it's a fact.

Quote:
I don't think DH pays too much. All total it's around $900/month for one child. It does bother me that because he is self-employed the court assumption is that he is somehow finagling his income to cheat on CS, thus he ends up paying based on an amount higher than he actually nets. And like Jsma said, if he suddenly makes less, he may not get a reduction because CS can be based on "income potential" rather than the bottom line.
Those assumptions made me angry, too. However, I see where they come from, and family court is a big stupid machine built badly for poor people and liars. Again, a reality. No gigantic bureaucracy is going to be terribly sensitive; you learn to work around what you can.

Quote:
The thing that bugs me the most about CS is that all I ever hear both DH's ex and other CPs complain about is that they don't get enough money.
Well, on the whole, we don't. CS seldom pays half the cost of raising the child. That's amply documented.

Quote:
The dad doesn't pay enough support, thus he doesn't love the child. He's a bad dad if he won't pay for this. The dad spends more on Family B than Family A.
I think this one really depends on the circumstance.

Suppose a guy leaves the marriage, and leaves the kids with the woman. He's already walked out on the everyday job of helping to raise the children. Yes, he sees them regularly, but by and large, he's not there and she's the one raising them. There is a way of rationalizing, and believing that the guy really does mean to do right by the kids at least, if he at least provides well for them. Or at least does his share financially.

Then that doesn't happen either; he pays the mandated support, but that doesn't come close to holding up his end. The woman has no choice but to make up the slack while also making up the parenting slack. (Yes, I know many of you have wonderful husbands whose exwives ran away with the children and they tried for years etc. I'm talking in general.)

That's a pretty ordinary picture.

Quote:
I never hear the moms saying, "My ex spends so much time with our child." or "He is a really great role model." or "He shows up on time for every single visitation." I'm sorry but just like there are deadbeats, there are great non-custodial dads.
There sure are. Don't make love and money mutually exclusive, though. If you're a divorced parent, you're supposed to provide love and money.

Quote:
But character doesn't seem to count if you don't "say it with cash." The minute you're late paying your $7.50 toward a $15 co-pay you obviously don't love your child. That's not about money.
If things are that intolerant and the CP's not desperately poor, then yes, I agree, it's not just about money. if the problems go further than that, though, and the NCP does not routinely hold up his end financially (by which I mean half the costs, unless he's ill or the CP has said not to worry about it), then I don't see that you can really talk about good character.
post #58 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
I simply don't understand your logic mama41... countless families make it work with less money than that and just re-distrubute the money, maybe the child doesn't get every extracurricular activity they have a whim to do... will it kill them? No... I'm sorry but you make it sound like every working class citizen has no business having children because they cannot offer every luxury imaginable to their child.


EDIT: I guess I'm royally screwed then as I only make $1,600/month... how irresponsible of me... and I'm on the higher end of the pay scale for my area!!
My income is below US household median, and my daughter does not have "every luxury imaginable". She lives in a modest house, goes to public school, and wears hand-me-downs; our car is 15 years old. She's been in an airplane once. (Well, twice, we came home.)

JSMa, we were over this one before, but the families that make it work on a shoestring tend to do it because both parents agreed, and they have the cost of maintaining one household, not two. On the whole they're not saying "Let's move in with your parents so that we can have a third child," or "Let's both work 12 hours a day so we can have a third child."

But that's the effective reality for many single mothers when the guy isn't paying his share. She'll live at her mom's for a while and/or work crazy hours. If he goes off, has another kid, and then comes to the woman and says to her, "Sorry, I'm gonna pay even less, you can figure it out somehow" -- where was she in this decision? Nowhere. Of course she's going to scream about it.

Blended families are not really blended. You welcome the stepchild into your home. But you are not one family. Let me ask you: Do you want to send your child to your DSD's mom half the time?
post #59 of 88
Thread Starter 
I've made a massive timesink for myself here and Must Stop. Am logging out now so I won't be tempted to respond, but I'll check in every so often and read responses. Thanks to all; I think it's been a good conversation.
post #60 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
You survive a lot more of it without major financial disruption if you plan well and are willing to look realities in the face.


Of course people are not always rational, and of course shit happens. But if you do some planning and prep, these things can very often hurt a lot less, and leave you able to fulfill your obligations.
Yeah Mama41. I know you've played the cards you were dealt. And I agree with the fact that some planning and prep help. Wish I had done more myself.

I just don't take it to quite the extreme you do...I can't get behind the idea that people should only have kids if they can raise them in a "reasonable middle class standard". I part ways with you there.
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