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How do you folks handle shared expenses (clothes, college)? - Page 2

post #21 of 40
I have a good friend whose decree mandated 1/3 each to mom, dad, and child, for a maximum of 4 years of in-state public university costs. It seems to be working well for their family. Both mom and dad were prepared for the child's college years, and had a definite amount for which they knew they would be liable.

Almost all of the child's portion was covered by scholarships, so his hard work in high school was rewarded. He's still doing a minimal hours work-study job. I think he's working 10 hours a week at his school's library, as well as summers for his uncle's landscaping business. He's a responsible kid, and is taking a lot of pride in partially earning his own way.

The same family had a lot of issues when he was younger, though, with clothing/haircuts/school fees/music and sports equipment/etc. They had a 50/50 split, which worked fairly well for parenting time, but as a friend I got sick of hearing the never-ending bitching over reciepts and costs between households. Each household would go ahead and purchase whatever was needed for the child, and then add it to a spreadsheet. The costs would be totalled monthly and divided 50/50, with whichever household owed the other money paying monthly.

It seemed very *fair*, but the result was one in which each household was endlessly keeping reciepts, tracking $3.95 purchases for school supplies, and just being really, really petty. I say this as a good friend of one of the parents--this approach really seemed to maximize resentments between the households.
post #22 of 40
ProtoLawyer, don't forget to keep us updated on what they finally agree on if you ethically can, especially if any of our suggestions helped reach their solution! Ok?
post #23 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ione View Post
ProtoLawyer, don't forget to keep us updated on what they finally agree on if you ethically can, especially if any of our suggestions helped reach their solution! Ok?
Will do, if they figure it out (or get it court ordered) while I'm still working there (it's a summer clerkship that may or may not go beyond August...I'd love to work for my firm after graduation but it's teeny and they may not have the work, so we'll see).

As for ethics: I've been advised that so long as I keep things vague, and post anonymously (as I do), and change or omit identifying details, I'm fine.
post #24 of 40
off topic so you can PM me to answer my questions. I was wondering about your lawschool kid experience. I just finished my first year but I am pregnant again so next year part time. Just curious when I see your stuff about when you are done? How your experience has gone? etc...
post #25 of 40
For us, clothing is not addressed in the wording of the agreement. It is just part of the expense of raising a child. I don't really understand. It seems like in the situation, the mother will receive child support and that is to go towards clothes. I'd expect that the dad would buy clothes, too. We've never billed for expenses! Things not covered by child support I'd imagine would be split based on portion of income (like 75/25 for example). But, honestly, I can't imagine the constant back and forth of receipts! When dss was younger we bought all the clothes and expected them to come home (dh has custody) but with a teenager, I don't feel like it is any of our business where he leaves his sweater or which shoes are at which house.

College is not addressed in our agreement either. I've heard of people being responsible for a portion based on their incomes.
post #26 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flor View Post
For us, clothing is not addressed in the wording of the agreement. It is just part of the expense of raising a child. I don't really understand. It seems like in the situation, the mother will receive child support and that is to go towards clothes. I'd expect that the dad would buy clothes, too. We've never billed for expenses! Things not covered by child support I'd imagine would be split based on portion of income (like 75/25 for example). But, honestly, I can't imagine the constant back and forth of receipts!
Yeah, usually, variable expenses subject to reimbursement (i.e. not counted in CS) here include medical expenses, school, child care (but only child care due to parents' work/school--a babysitter for a concert doesn't count) and agreed-on extracurriculars. Even with that, there are a lot of receipts (my partner and his ex have stopped passing the receipts back and forth--if anyone wants to see them, they exist, but now, it's just a monthly "you owe me X, less the Y I owe you for the prescription."

Clothing is almost never mentioned--of course, parents can contract to reimburse each other for just about anything. I've been asked about food! (Um, no...that's really considered part of CS and your cost of having a child, and if you're having trouble paying for food, maybe it's time for a CS increase, or perhaps public assistance or some financial planning if your ex is already paying what s/he should be.)
post #27 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtoLawyer View Post
Clothing is almost never mentioned--of course, parents can contract to reimburse each other for just about anything. I've been asked about food! (Um, no...that's really considered part of CS and your cost of having a child, and if you're having trouble paying for food, maybe it's time for a CS increase, or perhaps public assistance or some financial planning if your ex is already paying what s/he should be.)
PL, I can see why the wife might ask, even if CS is being paid in full. CS (as we've been over in other threads) may not come close to paying half the child's basic costs. For some custodial-mother/kid households in areas with high housing costs, the issue may not be "do I go on public assistance" (probably not eligible, if the mother's working FT), but "if you don't pony up, we're going to have to move to a lousy neighborhood, and the kids will have to go to a dangerous or crummy school, because I've tightened the belt all I can and we still can't afford to live here and eat." And in that case it's basically an appeal for the children's welfare. There are men who recognize this problem, are not interested in having the children pay for the divorce in an "everyone suffers materially after divorce" way, and will commit legally to paying more than the state requires -- to avoid month-by-month hassles, to avoid the demeaning business where one ex has to go monthly to the other cap in hand, and to give the ex-wife enough security that she can make plans based on a reliable budget. (That was actually the divorce world I knew; I was shocked to find out that most men will stop at whatever the state requires, but then I was also shocked to find out how badly so many people behave in divorce, and afterwards.)

Because the CP is frequently under greater constraints than the NCP is, when it comes to freedom to work late, weekends, go to work when the kids are sick, etc., telling the CP, "Well, get a better job, then," may not be realistic until the kids are nearly grown. This is well-documented.

If the NCP's going to be well-off after CS is paid, and if CS plus the woman's earning ability aren't adequate to maintain the kids' standard of living, I don't see a problem with asking the guy to do a decency-based general top-up based on the kids' actual expenses, including housing. Maybe the woman's lawyer is telling her to justify it by attaching it to a specific type of expenditure.
post #28 of 40
Thread Starter 
Mama41...I suppose I can see *why* someone would ask for food expenses, but I can't imagine keeping up with the accounting (as you mention). And how would you do it? Would the payer have to/get to approve or veto the food provided by the payee? Or would he have to directly reimburse for Froot Loops or veal or (insert food for which s/he has a personal or moral objection)?

I have heard of families splitting the cost of school meals, which would be less of a headache, since those often get paid once a month (or 20 at a time, etc.) and the expenses are regular and predictable (although that then brings up "why should the kids eat school meals when it's cheaper and healthier to pack them?" from the NCP and "there are only so many minutes in the day and if you want to spend them making lunch, feel free" from the CP).

Financial disclosure sheets, here, require an itemization of expenses, including food, clothing, housing, gas, entertainment, health care, you name it, by both parties. This includes money spent on children, spouses, live-ins, parents, random strangers--anyone in the household who receives any money or support from you. CS can be ordered to deviate from the formula if one party's expenses, related directly or indirectly to the children involved, are legitimately higher than expected or suck up a greater proportion of income than would be fair.
post #29 of 40
Well, my DH has a standard decree. CS to mother (who has sole physical, shared legal). CS should cover all clothing, haircuts, food, extracurriculars, basic medical expenses. Extraordinary medical expenses (like the braces he needs) are split 50/50. At one point DH suggested they start a college fund, she declined. There is no provision for college or anything past the age of hs graduation, which in his case is 19 I think.

I agree that maybe the easiest thing is to have a flat amount that is supposed to cover a certain list of things. There will always be petty issues, no matter how the relationship is arranged. When the CS covers clothes, mother can be cheap and tell SS to "ask your father." When clothing is split, there is nickel-diming and a difference of opinion on needs, cost, etc.

The problem with the clothes is that DH actually isn't responsible for buying anything, but we have to keep some items at our house for sS and the X won't send them, so we buy them. We try to let ss control his own clothes (what is where, etc, within reason) but it does get annoying when nice/special items disappear.

proto, I think that there will be certain issues that won't ever go away, though I recognize that what you're trying to do is minimize them.

As for college. I have to be honest, and I may come across as a bitch, but I am not inclined to pay for ss's college. Our income is too high, so using it on his FAFSA will disqualify him for aid. I'm sure his mother has no plans (she never does). At the most I guess I can see contributing 1/3 of in state costs and offering him a roof. I think a PP's suggestion of the 1/3 split is great because it doesn't give the kid a free ride.
Like I said, maybe I"m a bitch, but the college thing chafes. I have retirement, a huge student loan debt of my own, DH's loans, possible montessori for our kids, and two other colleges to think about. :
post #30 of 40
I wouldn't expect clothes to be a separate issue... I would expect it to fall under CS costs.


We technically aren't responsible for clothing either I guess... but as Mom never sends any... DSD has a full wardrobe here too. If we had to pay for clothes twice, that would really irritate me.

As for college... I know it differs state to state if the parents are responsible for it or not. I finally found out in PA we aren't. The governement can't make "in-tact" families pay for their kids college, so why should they be able to force split families? Seems unfair. Granted the whole having to provide your parents income for possible aide when they aren't paying a dime isn't fair either... tis why I didn't go to college right off the bat. With my parents income I didn't qualify for anything, but I certainly didn't have the money, and I don't know why the governement thought my parents did, because they didn't. Eventually I got approved for a loan. But not one of the no interest nice ones... still fell into too high a bracket, go figure.

So I'll just stop while I'm ahead.. beacause honestly I feel the entire college funding in the country needs to be reviewed.. the costs is ridiculous, and there isn't enough aide... seems silly for something that is becoming as standard as high school and it costs that much and it's screwing everyone.
post #31 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtoLawyer View Post
Mama41...I suppose I can see *why* someone would ask for food expenses, but I can't imagine keeping up with the accounting (as you mention). And how would you do it? Would the payer have to/get to approve or veto the food provided by the payee? Or would he have to directly reimburse for Froot Loops or veal or (insert food for which s/he has a personal or moral objection)?
In practice I don't think the accounting would happen. How are you going to separate these things on the receipts, anyway? At least with clothing, it's clear what's children's and what's adult. (Personally I have no problem with keeping receipts; I do it routinely for business and taxes, so for me this would just be one more folder. But I imagine most people would drop it within the first month.)

Quote:
CS can be ordered to deviate from the formula if one party's expenses, related directly or indirectly to the children involved, are legitimately higher than expected or suck up a greater proportion of income than would be fair.
That sounds reasonable. The woman's lawyer may just know from experience that the court will expect her to take the kids to live wherever, and that the only expenses a judge will take into consideration are things SN-related expenses, not children's-lifestyle expenses. Frankly, if she has to ask the guy, she's probably out of luck. A guy who's interested in preserving the kids' lifestyle, neighborhood, school choice, etc. will step up without a request via a lawyer, and will be telling his own lawyer to save her support advice for somebody else.
post #32 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
So I'll just stop while I'm ahead.. beacause honestly I feel the entire college funding in the country needs to be reviewed.. the costs is ridiculous, and there isn't enough aide... seems silly for something that is becoming as standard as high school and it costs that much and it's screwing everyone.
I completely agree, and I think the problems lie in K12. If K12 did its job, instead of trying to be social workers, people wouldn't have to go to college to prove they're housebroken and can read. As it is, college is increasingly remedial HS. (I know in part because I'm asked to write remedial textbooks for the college market. It's a very large market, and growing.)

In the meantime, though, unless they're pretty spectacular, the kids will have to go to college. That's just the reality. So you have a choice of saving for them or letting them go off and acquire tremendous debt, and having them start life that way. It's a particularly bad situation if you're not also saving in a serious way for your own retirement, because a few years after they've paid off their own humongoid loans they're going to be trying to help take care of you. Eldercare is remarkably expensive. I don't know how these people are going to buy houses or do much for their own kids, or deal with their own old age.
post #33 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
In the meantime, though, unless they're pretty spectacular, the kids will have to go to college. That's just the reality. So you have a choice of saving for them or letting them go off and acquire tremendous debt, and having them start life that way. It's a particularly bad situation if you're not also saving in a serious way for your own retirement, because a few years after they've paid off their own humongoid loans they're going to be trying to help take care of you. Eldercare is remarkably expensive. I don't know how these people are going to buy houses or do much for their own kids, or deal with their own old age.

Yes I know... sadly it's what my generation is already living through... We were told throughout school that we won't ever see social security, yet more than $100 a pay gets taken from me for it... quite ridiculous as I could use that money now.

Oh well...
post #34 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Selesai View Post
As for college. I have to be honest, and I may come across as a bitch, but I am not inclined to pay for ss's college. Our income is too high, so using it on his FAFSA will disqualify him for aid.
See, this is where I have a problem, and it's what happened to me (so yes, I have a lot of bitterness). Your household income will disqualify him for aid, but you're not willing to help out. So yes you're being bitchy to do that, especially when one of the reasons is that you're paying for Montessori and thinking of college for 2 other kids (presumably your biological children).

I wish the federal government would just exclude some incomes from consideration. My stepdad's income made me disqualified, but my mom and stepdad weren't contributing financially to my education. Neither was my father, but I had to track him down to find out his income. There's an abandonment waiver, but I couldn't get it because I'd lived with them until I graduated high school. (Plus there's the whole issue of lying on a federal form to say that I didn't have contact with them...). So yes, it does seem horrible of you to do that to him.
post #35 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post
See, this is where I have a problem, and it's what happened to me (so yes, I have a lot of bitterness). Your household income will disqualify him for aid, but you're not willing to help out. So yes you're being bitchy to do that, especially when one of the reasons is that you're paying for Montessori and thinking of college for 2 other kids (presumably your biological children).

I wish the federal government would just exclude some incomes from consideration. My stepdad's income made me disqualified, but my mom and stepdad weren't contributing financially to my education. Neither was my father, but I had to track him down to find out his income. There's an abandonment waiver, but I couldn't get it because I'd lived with them until I graduated high school. (Plus there's the whole issue of lying on a federal form to say that I didn't have contact with them...). So yes, it does seem horrible of you to do that to him.
I think what you're saying is fair, and I will accept the criticism. I agree that your situation was not fair to you. I suppose I should clarify that I misspoke-- my ss would be disqualified if he used our income, but since we aren't custodial, my understanding is that he will use his mother's (stepfather's) income and he will qualify under that amount.
Now my kids, they won't qualify for anything.
Maybe that makes me less of a bitch?
post #36 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Selesai View Post
As for college. I have to be honest, and I may come across as a bitch, but I am not inclined to pay for ss's college. Our income is too high, so using it on his FAFSA will disqualify him for aid. I'm sure his mother has no plans (she never does). At the most I guess I can see contributing 1/3 of in state costs and offering him a roof. I think a PP's suggestion of the 1/3 split is great because it doesn't give the kid a free ride.
Like I said, maybe I"m a bitch, but the college thing chafes. I have retirement, a huge student loan debt of my own, DH's loans, possible montessori for our kids, and two other colleges to think about. :
Sounds fine to me, so long as a) you don't cause him Brandi's problem; b) you're not discouraging your DH from helping his son pay for college out of his own earnings.
post #37 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
Sounds fine to me, so long as a) you don't cause him Brandi's problem; b) you're not discouraging your DH from helping his son pay for college out of his own earnings.
I agree re: a. I would not discourage, as to b, but this is the rub, I am the WOHP and DH is a SAHD. So I feel that it is unfair to DENY him the ability to pay for any of SS's post-age-18 care since it is "our" money, not mine. Maybe things will change in the next 4 years and he will choose to work part time, but I don't know. I guess this is all a bridge we'll cross when we come to it.

Sorry for the threadjacking, OP!
post #38 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Selesai View Post
I think what you're saying is fair, and I will accept the criticism. I agree that your situation was not fair to you. I suppose I should clarify that I misspoke-- my ss would be disqualified if he used our income, but since we aren't custodial, my understanding is that he will use his mother's (stepfather's) income and he will qualify under that amount.
Now my kids, they won't qualify for anything.
Maybe that makes me less of a bitch?

I just want to point out that it is very likely that depending on where your son decides to go to college, your information will be included in the financial aid picture. Most colleges now require the PROFILE, a collegeboard financial info form to be filled out, in addition to the ubiquitous FAFSA. This form includes a section for non-custodial parent information and tax return, in addition to taking into account a lot of other details that FAFSA leaves out.

This form is also becoming more and more common, and in four years it will probably be everywhere. I don't know if this will change your mind, but your info will almost certainly be included when your ss looks into college.
post #39 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by txdancer View Post
I just want to point out that it is very likely that depending on where your son decides to go to college, your information will be included in the financial aid picture. Most colleges now require the PROFILE, a collegeboard financial info form to be filled out, in addition to the ubiquitous FAFSA. This form includes a section for non-custodial parent information and tax return, in addition to taking into account a lot of other details that FAFSA leaves out.

This form is also becoming more and more common, and in four years it will probably be everywhere. I don't know if this will change your mind, but your info will almost certainly be included when your ss looks into college.
Yuck. If that's the case, and if selasai's income is likely to disqualify her ss for aid, then it seems to me there are two ethical courses: One, her dh goes to work part-time and earns enough to cover childcare plus 1/3 in-state college expenses for his son (room/board, tuition/fees, books, incidentals); or two, selasai makes up the diff.

It's one thing to say "married people aren't required; divorced people shouldn't be required either"; it's another thing to stick a foot out and trip the kid. Intentionally or not.
post #40 of 40
Thread Starter 
Yeah...college funding really is a minefield.

FAFSA and other forms require students to list parental income and assets. Even if they parents have said repeatedly that not one red cent will be provided for school, their income counts. Financial aid is then calculated based on the parental contribution that the parents are not making available, and students are either forced to take out increasingly scarce private loans, work more while in school, or not go.

Heck, Yale Law School counts parental income for unmarried students up to age 28 or so (although they don't use parental income for calculating loan eligibility, just scholarships and grants). I can't imagine asking my parents for law school $.
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