Know your rights...
Hopefully each check you sent had child support written into the notation area of the check. Even so, the fact the the monthly amount sent was identical to his support obligation is a clear indication the monies were meant to be the support payment. If she wants to commit fraud and risk perjury charges in the future, that's her own stupidity at work. She knows the payments were meant as child support. Anything before a court order would be preceived as a gift, but afterwards, no. The only months such payments might be argued as 'gifts' would be the month of a childs birthday and Christmas. Yes, you would do well to find an attorney. Weigh the cost of hiring one over what you stand to pay twice to her.
It is always best to go to the CSEU in person. Sit with a representative and show the proof. There are websites where you can sign up to have the payment sent in through channels that document the transaction. You can also set up an income deduction order so that it comes out of his pay automaticly. This is the best way to do things. Seriously, you're not out of pocket as you think you are right now. Any judge would see that the monthly amount equalled what was owed to the child each month.
Regarding your rights. If you file your taxes jointly, you should also file an injured spouse claim. The state is intercepting the tax returns because an amount towards child support is in arrears. Since there was no order not to do this at the time the child support was awarded, the state is obligated to the child to seize any tax returns even though your husband was told he could pay off the back support in a weekly amount with the regular support. The only way not to have that happen where back child support is an issue is to have the judge state that tax returns will not be seized. Since that was not the case, the state seizes tax returns when a social security number is flagged.
Honestly, why fight it, you want the support obligation paid off before the child turns 18 anyway. At least then the child has a chance of having the money spent on their needs. Some parents treat child support as their personal pay day and if they receive money after the child turns 18 as back support, it's highly unlikely they will hand over such funds to their child. If you can get by with having the full amount seized, let it go. If you have need of the funds, file injured spouse so that your own portion of the tax return is not handed over to the other parent. Same with the rebate check. You are entitled by law to half of the amount. If you didn't file injured spouse, I suggest you call the IRS and let them know you need to. You may still be able to do so. If not, you know to do it next year. The forms are available online for print out as well as at any tax preparer's office. Otherwise, what you can do is adjust your deductions so that your money stays in your gross income and not as a free loan to Uncle Sam each week. If there is little to seize, then you have little to argue over.
The way to enpower yourself is to know your rights and enforce them. Anyone can sit around and complain about what they go through. We all have issues we have to deal with and some less prettier than others. The key to any of it is simply this; know your rights and know how to assert them. Don't allow another to create rules when there are laws in effect. You can be a thorn in another's side fairly easy and make it clear that you expect them to abide by the laws as well or it's going to hurt.
and see just how easy it is to set up CS payments. A small fee is involved, but worth the paper trail. You can also do the same directly with the Department of Revenue.
Childsupport is not supposed to be about control. It's supposed to be about the support of a child. I highly recommend that you both do everything you can to see to it that the back support is paid off before the children turn 18 or whatever age or situation that the presiding judge declared would be the last date of obligation. Even then, know that you will need to contact both the court and the state that your obligation is met and the case should have a cease order noted. If a child is still the responsiblity of a parent come a certain age, the parent can petition for an extension, so brace for such things too. Pull the original records and read over them. You can get copies at the courthouse in person or pay a fee online to have them mailed if your area allows for that.
Cost of living is up across the board for all of us. Many that never knew how to weigh wants and needs will learn the hard way simply because of the way the economy is. Truly take a look at your own budget, take note of things you buy daily and weekly. Then ask yourself, do you really need a soda, do you really need to go to the movies, do you really need another shade of nail polish or the latest issue of GQ? You can make a sandwich using romaine lettuce leaves and have it be even more nutrional for you. Turn the AC off, avoid using heat when you can put on an extra pair of socks and a sweater, use energy saving lights, wash a few things out by hand, stretch your meals with grains. Buy in bulk when you can and divide it out to insure it lasts as long as you need it to. Don't buy paper towels when a washcloth will work just as easily. One cut of steak can easily feed four people if you simply prepare it in a different way. Slice it thin and stir fry it with a bit of oil, add seasoning and vegetables and you can serve four what you might have only served to one had you just grilled the steak. One chicken breast or thigh, one chicken buillion cube, four cups of water and two cups of dry rice cooked together will make more chicken soup for you than you can get from any can. It really comes down to rethinking what you buy, what you eat and how you prepare it
You can take advantage of local libraries that offer free movies, computer usage, books and magazines to help meet entertainment needs. They also have free internet so you don't even need to have a computer or pay for internet access yourself unless you use the net to earn income yourself. With most making use of T1 lines, you can quickly do most anything you need to do in 30 minutes. There are many free email accounts to make use of, you don't need an ISP of your own to use email.
There are many ways to cut corners even when you think you've cut them all. Have a day off? Find a local fast food join that needs a filler crew; someone that works only one or two days a week. Get paid to sweep the floors etc. Worn out and need a break? You and your spouse can treat yourselves to a day spa at home. Take turns, run a bath for the other, boil some water in a tea pot to add to the bath to keep it warm, wrap a towel around their neck so the water soaks into it, drape a washcloth over their face, greet them with a warm towel when it's time to get out, give them a rub down afterwards and let them fall asleep relaxed, a bit of pampering can go a long way to add spice to a marriage and it doesn't cost money.
Baking soda is cheap and works as a toothpaste, natural deoderant, scouring cleaner, detergent aid and a great soak for tired feet. All that for less than the cost of an average newspaper! Tea is wonderful without sugar and a healthy drink for you. Leave a bit earlier for work and drive a bit slower to save on gas. Plan your errands in advance, make lists and stick to them, don't let your eye wander when you see sales signs. Need extra money? Offer to babysit for someone to go to the movies without their children. You're looking at two hours of your time with a cutie or two and for the price of say an admission ticket in return, you have a bit of extra pocket change. Who wouldn't be willing to pay someone ten dollars to be able to watch a movie without a little one in tow for a change? If they can't afford that, then they should be picking up the free movies at the library and staying home with their children anyway.
I know many managers and teachers that hold two and three jobs. If you need extra money, there are ways to get it. It just means giving up having days off or coming home a bit later than usual. The courts know this and that is why they have no sympathy when you say all of your income is going towards support.
Need help making ends meet? Find a local charity that helps and donate your time in helping others, in turn you gain access to reduced or free groceries. Share.org is one place to start. In helping others, you often find yourself getting back as much as you give. Need a new wardrobe? Talk to friends about their own closets, they might be in the same position and looking at just as empty a wallet. Don't want to give the clothes up? Offer a temporary swap. That way, if by chance something should happen to the loaned outfit, the other simply agrees to keep the other's. Find recycled clothing stores that offer you cash for old clothes in good condition or allow you to trade items off. They're out there. My children shared popular jeans but were in different schools, no one knew and yet they were able to dress nicely. Same with jackets and shirts. Yes, it helps if you're that close in size. Make use of yard sales, some never even wear clothes they buy and the tags still on the clothing make that very clear. There are just so many ways of really making do during rough times, it just takes a bit of thought and a willingness to understand what the difference is between wants and needs.
The courts do not care how hard you struggle when it comes to meeting the obligations of a child. With so many that run from their responsibilities, the courts had no choice but to step in and make parents be responsible. I hate knowing that many use children as tools within a self proclaimed war on the ex. Parenting classes are a bonus to all. It takes a high level of maturity to understand that after a child is born, it's not about who loves who, who left who, who makes what, it's about a life involved that was completely innocent in the decision making that brought them into the world. Both parents should work together as a team even apart to insure their child has the best fighting chance at a good life. I find it incredibly sad when I hear that a parent refuses to let it be anything less than about control. That's so incredibly selfish and immature that I truly wish the courts would then immediately revert custody to the parent that can show they can put their own ego aside and get on with the task of parenting a child.
Unfortunately, being the new spouse of someone with such obligations, you have to put yourself second to the child support obligations. Again, the courts look at it this way. If he can't afford to make his child support payments, how can he argue he can afford to get married? Oh? The new spouse works? Well, great, you can help your new husband pay his debts. End story. They simply have no sympathy to your struggles.
My husband deals with a woman that showed him when he married her it was not about taking care of the children, but about what money she could put into the bank. She saw child support as her own personal hedge fund. The money she received in support for her children was not even put into the family budget, it went to her own personal account. The marriage was horrible and she was cruel to his firstborn to the point she was refusing to let the child come over. He had enough and filed for divorce. She had a baby while still married to him and eagerly went after child support from him thinking that there would be no way the courts would order a DNA test on a child born during a marriage. Wrong! They will order such tests.
Turns out what he suspected all along was very true, she was a cheater and the baby was not his. Then we find another of her children she was receiving support for is not the biological child of the ex paying support, but rather her soon to be ex. Talk about a mind blower. Seems she wasn't divorced from the one before she became involved with the next that time either. What a mess! For a child to find out that the man they thought to be their father never was and the one they were told was not, was. He was awarded visitation and she promptly took off. She's living with a man that isn't even paying his own support obligations. They're both on the run and being irresponsible at the same time. Yes, the courts are a pain to deal with and often seem one sided, but to assert your rights, you have to first know what they are, or you're just running blind or worse, complaining needlessly when you can find ways to regain control of your own life.
Of course, my husband meets his obligation and when I need to help, I do. He's way ahead in paying the support. We make sure of it. After all, it is his child regardless of who the mother is. It's cruel that this child he cared for as his own but was told was not, turns out to be his own and he has not been able to be a part of her life. She was so willing to have him be responsible for an infant knowing that another could be the father...and was. Yet she lied in print in several court papers. We did find out what his rights are and it's not easy to assert them, but you keep on trying. Now, when we find her, she'll be in for a rather rude awakening in regards to the new laws on the books. Did you know that several evictions from residences can be seen as part of child neglect in the eyes of the courts? The money he pays each month alone is ample enough to pay rent yet she doesn't? Odd. We seem to always be one mile behind in catching up with her. Despite all that is paid to her weekly, she doesn't seem to pay her bills. Yes, it's fustrating that the State on one hand, knows where she resides because they are sending her the payments but won't release the address to us and then by the time any order goes through, she's gone again.
More laws need to be on the books. I think such types of parents should be charged with felony kidnapping when they go out of their way to interfere with visitation when the other parent is not a danger to anyone. Right now, our own state has a new law that helps revert custody of a child when a custodial parent inteferes with visitation. We plan on having that enforced the month she is finally served. The harsh reality is, there could very well be damage between him and his daughter. With so many lies being told she has no way of knowing he would rather starve than miss a child support payment? That he talks of her all the time and wonders how she is and cries because he doesn't know the answer? Of course not. Likely she is being told he does not care for her at all. After all, he heard her tell that same story to her other four children about their fathers and we discovered they too had faught for their rights and don't know where she or the children is. In my opinion, she should be arrested and striped of all rights to all of them. That is just so unfair to the children. Sometimes you just marry the wrong person. Enough to divorce and move on with your life, but a child should never become the victim in that.
In the meantime, if meeting his obligation means we go without something, then so be it. If the child was under our roof, she would be first in our world anyway. Children are both a blessing and a responsibility. You cannot control what a custodial parent does with support money. But you should do whatever you can to make sure the support is current in every way no matter what you sacrafice. In the end, the child will know that you did all you could to make sure the money was there for them. This year, we filed injured spouse for the rebate. While I support his child too having made payments when he could not through no fault of his own, I have children of my own as well and they're just as entitled to my support as his own. We decided that half of the rebate would do just as well in our hands as it would in hers. Likely better, since we pay our bills. I refuse to file injured spouse as taxes go, because any amount that goes towards arreage is that much more paid while the child is still in her care. We already know when one turns 18, she tosses them out with no further support from her. Nice huh! Doubt she will be different with his daughter.
So keep in mind, you've no reason to feel lost right now. Find time to talk with a child support enforcement representative yourself. Your husband can add your name to the caseworkers list of who can speak on his behalf. I'm on my husbands because his hours prevent him from dealing with people on the phone and I can be on hold and still work. Your marriage is supposed to be a partnership. Not a 50/50 split, but rather you both put in everything you can into it. As his spouse, he is within his rights to contact the CSEU and let them know that you can dicsuss the case with them and they with you.
Please keep in mind when you are talking with anyone at the CSEU or DOR, these people are paid to do a job, they didn't make the rules, they can't break the rules and they have nothing to do with you being in the situation you are in. Stay calm and be respectful. If you don't like what you are hearing, tough, listen to what is said and then ask any and all questions you want to ask. As long as you are respectful, the caseworker will help you with whatever they can. Start acting like a raving lunatic and you'll hear them state their case and hang up on you. They don't have to stay on the line with an idiot. They're not paid to take abuse off an angry person. You're just one of millions, yes millions, that they have to deal with. If you feel yourself becoming angry, be nice and tell them that you're having trouble staying calm but really need to be pointed in the right direction if they can't help you. Often they will share numbers of other agencies that can. They are not your enemy and best to have them be the most of an ally you can make of them.
Since you're involved in meeting his obligations, make it your business to know your rights. Many people simply do not file taxes properly because they have never been shown how. You might be better off itemizing than taking standard deductions. Keep track of every dime you spend and keep receipts as if they were gold. It can mean a huge difference in the end as taxes go. You just have to look into it completely. If you trust another to do it for you, they don't always ask the right questions involving your own circumstances. Any tax preparer would have told you that you have a right to file an injured spouse claim had you simply mentioned that your tax returns were being seized due to back child support.
Unlike your husbands ex, I made sure the courts knew of every penny put into my hands by my ex as support of our children. After all, it wasn't about him and me anymore, it was about children that still needed both parents to provide for them. They were entitled to that. I could have easily kept quiet about the money. But I want people to be fair with me and the only way to go through life demanding that, is to be a fair person yourself. Would he have done the same for me? Heck no. But I held my head up in court when it came down to a fight over rights to a child no longer with us and knew I did all I could to be fair to them and fair to him. I knew I had the truth on my side and my children knew first hand, not only did the support monies go to them, my own did as well. Even after they turned 18 and money trickled in, I divided it equally between them and handed it over. So what if I did without too when he wasn't being responsible and that I was their sole support while he was irresponsible. Truth is, that money should have been there for them when they needed it and it wasn't. No way was I going to keep it for myself. But talk to him and he'll tell you I spend it on myself, I never let him see them and I'm a horrible mother and he's just being drained dry while I have so much fun raking in his hard earned cash. I did the math, his 125 a week has never kept up with what I have been out of pocket on just my children's needs, never. Try living it up with four children on 125 a week! T'aint about to happen. Who did he think was paying the mortgage and supporting them during his two carefree years? I didn't even so much as date. My babies came first, their wants before my own needs. They know that too but I never felt sorry for myself or made them feel bad for my choices. Heck, a gallon of milk each week from him? Now that was just too much to ask too! So honestly, I could care less what lies he spreads. Nor do I feel sorry for him being made responsible or for him loosing his license. Who's fault was that? His own.
Ask my children and they'll tell you that despite his abuse towards me, I put that aside and kept the phone number the same and he knew he could see them when he wanted to. Yet he told a judge he had no way to get in touch with his children. Wouldn't I have changed my phone number if I didn't want him to be able to call his children? DUH! He said he tried to see them once and I physcially and verbally attacked him. HA! I never even walked out the door or even said one word to him when he showed up to pick them up, he had came to see them, not me and I already knew the details I needed to know; where they were going and when they would be back. He said to a judge that he had never lived at any other address since we parted, yet I had driven my children to see him at a house he rented that was completely different from the address he gave the state. My children asked him on the phone for help with school supplies, he said he didn't have any money to send and yet he was paying for dinners out with his new love interest that didn't know he had children. He said he didn't send me money because he knew I wouldn't spend it on the children, yet I was their sole support even when he was with us and was making a paycheck that he never brought to the table. When someone works that hard to avoid responsibility, how can they convince a judge they loved a child? When the attorney asked him did he think I was a good mother, he said yes. When asked if he felt I did everything I could to take care of them, he said yes, always. Then wanted to recant what he said when he realised, omg, he told the truth. Funny how a lawyer can get you to answering questions really fast on the stand and slip in a few unexpected questions. He even had the nerve to admit he told me not to take child support out of his bank account because he needed to pay his light bill...but I took it anyway! Well duh! Why was he short on cash that week? He was out at the bars chasing skirts as always. I had already agreed to a lower amount than we first agreed to. Was I supposed to just let him pay whatever he felt like each week depending upon his own entertainment issues? I think not. When he realised I fully intended to end the relationship and expect support for our children, he packed up and ran home to his mommy. That woman told me I needed to find someone else to take care of my children and leave her son alone, he was entitled to have a life. She lost all respect from me that day. When my youngest died, I made her eat her words. Another did step in and become daddy and I have more respect for him than their own father. This man never ran from his responsibility and has faught to have rights, not fight to escape them. Family is NOT always what you are born into. She helped hide him from being served and came close to being charged for it too.
The CSEU told me we would hear from him the day he was served. I doubted that as we had not heard from him in two years and certainly had no received a dime from him in child support that entire time. Sure enough he called the very day he was served. His new girlfriend had even given him the cell phone he was using. She had no clue he had four children and he was making sure I knew we'd be lucky if we saw 25 a week from him. I told him the children would have felt lucky had they received only 25 a month from him. Little did he know I kept the paper he had notarized for me outlining our self worked out child support amount. The one he made thinking he would get me back. The courts went with the amount notarized and still it paled in comparison to what many get for just one child.
It's very humbling to have your life dissected in a court room by people that don't know you. Yet there is nothing more rewarding than knowing your children knew you did all you could to take care of them and provide for them and would stand by your side and let the truth be told. If you want to be seen as a good parent, you have to behave as one. Lying will only unravel in time and certainly within a court house that has access to the very records one said could ever exist. Being irresponsible with your paycheck, making a child suffer without when they could have been provided for, failure to be a parent to a child even if short on funds can all easily strip you of any rights to claims of a childs estate because all is seen as neglect and worse, abandonment. So always, always, be the best you can be even if it falls short or fustrates the hell out of you or causes you to eat rice and gravy all week or to wear the same clothes one more year. It could be more than a child somewhere else has at all. After all, they tend to outgrow their clothes you know? My ex sat in court and said he made money, but he had himself to think of. He smoked a carton of cigarettes a week, drank beer with his buddies and went so far as to say he drowned his sorrows in a bottle many a time. But what about his children? 20 a week could provide school supplies at a minimum and not even that was sent? He truly expected the judge to feel sorry for him. Crazy! Heck, you can even live without buying sugar, who in their right mind would try to convince a judge you need to smoke or drink beer? ***arghhhh
Your husbands children may be your best witnesses. Depending on their age, they could as easily tell the courts that the child support was coming in and mommy just wanted to say it was a gift so she could get even more money. I've rambled I know...my apologies. Honestly, you can only control so much in life, but you just need to be aware of what it is you can....or you simply will always feel out of control. Do I know what it means to struggle? More than I care to admit to. Do you know my children learned along the way that you can make ends meet if you know what to cut out that prevents you from doing so? They even learned how to start fashion trends by recycling clothes by cutting them apart and making new ouftits. They learned how to make simple dinners seem special. What movie in a theater can compare to one in a darkened living room where a popcorn fight won't get you tossed out while the movie is still running? They never saw themselves as poor when we struggled because they had more than others that had parents with higher incomes. They had someone truly involved in their life and that person put them first even if it meant she did without. That's not a sacrafice, that's simple parenting. Doesn't make you better than another, just means you're trying your best to be a good parent no matter what. Sometimes, lifes lessons, even during hardships, can be more valuable to a child than any amount of childsupport given. Children can often learn how NOT to be a parent by watching one of their own be an absolute moron.
I certainly hope, that despite how the mother is behaving right now, that you both do everything you can to let the child(ren) know that you are doing everything you can to help take care of them and be there for them and not have it just be about making a child support payment. So much more to raising a child than simply writing out a check.
Good luck to all of you!