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#151 of 167 Old 03-04-2009, 07:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ~Purity♥Lake~ View Post
his teacher income of $45,000 or so (my mom's a tesacher, and worked in more than one state, so I'm averaging here) is certainly sufficient to properly care for their children even if she doesn't work
The discussion did move to generalities rather than the specifics of the show. Sounds like Mom should get a job unless there are compelling reasons for her to stay home. The standard should be "the best interests of the children" (that is, in fact, a legal standard).

I know I went back to work even though I qualified for 5 years of spousal support. My kids have really suffered as a result. Being a SAHM mom was the best for my family, but I knew I needed to provide because ...

$45,000 is not enough in my area to support a family. A one br apt. rents for $1200-1600! Plus all the other living expenses! Married teachers, in my area, have working spouses because $90,000 is below the median income! In fact, families of four, earning less than $50,000, qualify for reduced cost child-care and below $45,000 reduced priced lunch.

So, Purity Lake, you must live in a much more affordable area. As it is, with my salary and CS, I still may need to sell our home (the marital home, btw, which provides my children with the stability and familiarity of the neighborhood and a school 3 blocks away, etc.) in order to make ends meet and, for this area, I have a very low mortgage, comparable to rents for 2 br apts.

Reality check, please.

M
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#152 of 167 Old 03-04-2009, 08:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Socks for Supper View Post

Getting a job is a choice.

So does Dad's time with the kids have a higher value than Mom's?
Right, but... this cuts both ways. Does Mom's time with the kids have a higher value than Dad's?

I've been lurking thru this thread, and I have to say, in the interest of full disclosure, that I am not and have never been a single mom. So I do NOT know what any of you are going thru. Honestly, I don't know how single parents do it.

Very few blended/single parent families that I know of have court mandated child support, for this very reason. All the folks I know are pretty young (the oldest is 32) and grew up in the era of divorce, judges, and friend of the court. Now, my generation has become the never married, co-parent, shoot for 50-50 custody and keep your business out of court if at possible crowd.

I can think of two blended families, one is his-hers-and-ours, and one is his-and-hers, where all the kids live with the married couple all the time. As in, 2 weekends a month or less with the NCP. Neither of the fathers, neither of the mothers pay a lick of child support. Why? In the case of all four of these people, they can barely support themselves. One lives with his grandma, one lives with his sister, one lives with her mom, and the other lives with ex-boyfriend's parents. None of them are functional adults, which is a big part of the reason that they are NCPs. None of the custodial parents I know are resentful of this at all. They are just happy to have their kids with them because they know what the alternative is.

Would it be different if the NCPs were NCPs because of demanding, high paying careers? Of course. But even then, as functional adults, is it the court's job to sort out what is essentially still a private matter between adults in a personal relationship?

So if there was any hope of this wants to be a math teacher dad and this SAHM working it out on their own, why'd they go to court to begin with, yk?

I have no answers here. I'm just kind of wondering if we're asking the right questions. Part of me thinks that CS should be more like the tax code, and less part of an adversarial court system. And part of me knows that it's not just about those people who are dead broke, there are true blue deadbeats out there, too.

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#153 of 167 Old 03-04-2009, 09:41 PM
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Everything you said in your last post can be turned around and said about the dad.
Except that it is the dad, not the mom, wishing to disrupt the status quo.

I know we have a number of non-single-parents reading this thread, some of whom have never been single parents, or weren't for long. I'm going to suggest you put on a new pair of glasses when looking at why parents "won't be reasonable" when the ex-spouse asks them to make a change.

You can't see it from the outside, but we go to hell and back trying to make stable lives for our children. They've been through divorce through no fault of their own; they may have to shuttle back and forth from one house to another, disrupting their school or social lives, and leaving them wondering where they are when they wake up; often they know they're the subjects of much fighting. Contrary to popular belief, it takes only one person to make a fight where custody is involved, so even if a parent is doing his or her best not to engage, the other parent can make the situation unstable.

So we strive for routines. We do what we can to keep our kids in the same house, same school, same activities. We try not to yank the whole floor of their lives out from under them. It makes a difference. It's a tremendous amount of work, but it makes a real difference.

When an ex-spouse arrives on your doorstep saying he wants a major change in something that affects the way you parent those children, and the life you make for them, of course the first reaction's going to be "No." And if the ex-spouse has a history of changing his mind, or being unreliable, or coming up with grand plans, going partway, and leaving the rest for someone else to clean up, that's all the more reason to say no -- even if, ideally, it sounds like a decent idea. The potential there for harm to the kids and a whole lot more work for you may outweigh the potential benefit.

So before you say, "Well, but can't you --- " Ask yourself. Ask yourself if you, personally, are willing to step in and do the work if the situation doesn't work out. Someone up above said, well, if the daddy doesn't spend the time, go get the order reversed. Is that person willing to contact and pay the lawyer, spend the time collecting the evidence, explain to the kids why yes, daddy sure did mean to come home earlier, but now he's busy, and whoops, mama would love to make it up but now she's at work?

I didn't think so.

You're asking other people to take on risks, work, and costs you aren't in a position to judge, let alone mitigate. So I'd say -- turn off the tube, let those people run their own lives, and be happy you've got spouses and ex-spouses you can work with. The situation is by no means universal.
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#154 of 167 Old 03-04-2009, 10:54 PM
 
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I know you are (deservedly) happy with your awesome family as-is, Ginger, but would you marry me? :

ETA: Hmmm. "Marrying" isn't be much of a compliment or proof of respect; after all, we know how men who married us later treated us. So maybe I should offer to make you a meal instead - that's one of the ways we show respect to our kids and friends, right? AND I'd do the dishes AND not ask you to put out!

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#155 of 167 Old 03-04-2009, 11:13 PM
 
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That is the whole point, the kids will BENEFIT from the change. Why isn't time with dad as important as the money? We aren't talking low income people here who a reduction is a make it or break it situation, we are talking about losing out on excess, but gaining time with dad.

The kids will benefit by being able to do what they do now based on what he has clearly shown he can make. The kids shouldn't have to do without because of his choice. Nor should their mother be expected to pick up the father's slack by his choice to drastically lower his income. We are not talking about him lowering his income a couple of thousand dollars. He wants to reduce his income by $85,000 dollars a year. A court isn't and shouldn't accept that.

You are trying to separate parenting and financial support and you simply can't. Because both are important.
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#156 of 167 Old 03-04-2009, 11:37 PM
 
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You are trying to separate parenting and financial support and you simply can't. Because both are important.
Exactly. I would like to stay home and not work at all. My kids would have more time with me. Better for them, right?

Unfortunately, bills don't get paid when mommy stays home. More time with me means less food on the table. Time spent is not directly interchangeable with financial support. They are related, yes, but you can't turn in one for the other, at least not when the status quo has already been set.

Luckily, the courts agree that the potential income is what c/s is based on.


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I know you are (deservedly) happy with your awesome family as-is, Ginger, but would you marry me? :
Um, can it be a threesome?

Single WAHM to 5yo DD, 2yo DS, and forever 7 week old angel DD.
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#157 of 167 Old 03-05-2009, 12:34 AM
 
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$45,000 is not enough in my area to support a family.

So, Purity Lake, you must live in a much more affordable area.
Reality check, please.

M
I do not live in an affordable area. The cost of living for this city is extremely high, and even food is way more expensive up here than it was in any of the states I lived in when I lived in the lower 48. According to the Living Wage Calculator, we need to be earning $25 per hour and working 40 hours a week to support a family of four. My husband works 40 hours a week earning $9 an hour and supporting a family of 5.

So, no, I do not live in a more affordable area, but I really have no idea why you are concerned about where I live.

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#158 of 167 Old 03-05-2009, 09:52 AM
 
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Then why is it such a stretch to ask that this Mother from the Dr. Phil show get a job instead of being a SAHM?
My X left when my kids were 9, 5, and 4 months old. Getting a job at that point would have meant child-care for the youngest two for two years (the 5 year old had a year of three mornings a week preschool and a year of half-day kindergarten after he left) and then another three years of child-care for the little one. Not to mention after school care. I only finished two years of college before we made a choice, together, to start a family. I worked part-time while he finished college, then when he got a good job I stayed at home. Financially it really hurt and he left me with tons of bills to take care of when he walked out. I was a SAHM for almost ten years of our marriage. But at the point where he left I would have probably been worse off, financially, by "getting a job".

I now work two part-time jobs - I clean our church and I work for our township - both jobs allow me to pick my own hours, which works out great, for the most part I only work when the kids are at school. The little one is now in extended day kindergarten - three full-days and two days where she needs picked up at 11:00. In addition to those two part time jobs I also have a rental income. I'll earn right around $18,000 this year, with those three sources of income.

My X is pressuring me to "get a real job". He earned just over $70k in 2008 (oddly enough his wage tax crosses my desk every quarter) and his wife is an RN. He tried to tell me that he was going to have to start paying less child support when they had their baby last October. He tried to tell me that he was no longer working overtime and would only be making around $40k. He was not at all happy when I told him I knew *exactly* what he earned, because of my job. Oh, he pays me $1200/month child support - a number we agreed on in our divorce. I could easily take him to court and get more, according to what he earns, but I don't want to make things any harder between us than they are, and quite honestly I don't need it - my kids have everything they need and a lot of things they want, and I personally am quite proud of the fact that I can take care of everything and still be a mostly SAHM.
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#159 of 167 Old 03-05-2009, 11:28 AM
 
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I think the thing here is we're all applying our own situations to a completely different scenario. This is NOT about each of our situations. It's about ONE family and their dynamic. When I start to apply my situation to theirs, it doesn't make any sense.

The dad on the show is going to be taking the kids half the time and the kids are likely in school, so the mom has plenty of time to do something to help make some money when the kids aren't with her, which is a signifcant amount of time. It's not going to be a burden, it's not about childcare, it's just being part of the family. If the dad IN THIS SITUATION is taking the kids more and doing more, why couldn't she help out? What else is she doing when the kids aren't with her?

I think if it were me, I'd want to work to have something to do and the extra money would probably make up a big difference in the drop in income.

It sounds like these people are not struggling to keep food on the table, shelter and clothes. My values are such that if this is the case, I'd much rather see the kids be able to spend more time with their dad and have a connected relationship with both parents than have extra money for fancier clothes, activities etc. Just my values, but people outweigh money for me every time the basic needs are being met.

Again, we can't apply our own circumstances without totally changing the scenario and then it stops making sense.
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#160 of 167 Old 03-05-2009, 02:22 PM
 
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So we strive for routines. We do what we can to keep our kids in the same house, same school, same activities. We try not to yank the whole floor of their lives out from under them. It makes a difference. It's a tremendous amount of work, but it makes a real difference.

.

:::::::::: :::::


Those of you who are advocating for less support, for CPs to return to the workforce, for "being responsible for our own lifestyle" can I ask a simple question? Do you think an CP has the dream lifestyle?

In our case, I stay home. Why? Because my children need me too. Maybe if my oldest was not on the spectrum, I could see working outside the home for pay. As it is, I am at the school every day to advocate for him, for his teachers and for the school. My level of activity with him is a large part of why he is a straight A student and will become a productive member of our society, instead of being a drag on either the welfare system or the legal system. Even when he does not see me (actually most of the time I am there, I am easing the load on his teachers so that they have more time for ALL of the students, not just my kiddo) I am there grading papers for other classes, helping kids in the library, helping out in gym class... anywhere they extra support... especially when the budgets keep getting slashed.

My youngest qualified for early intervention, they suspect he is on the spectrum as well. He is at a great public preschool (3 & 4 year olds). His teacher is working on her master's and plans to teach middle school social studies. She is also VERY engaging with her classroom. This month is science month. I am helping her. So far... my older kids and I have been hunting frog eggs. (Bullfrogs are an invasive species.. so taking them from local ponds is actually a good thing) We are forcing them to mature faster by pumping O2 into the tank and putting a heat lamp over the 20 gallon tank of pond water with fog eggs. Monday I will set up and help man kid friendly chemisty projects (elephants toothpaste, Base/Acid rockets, hot air bags)

My thoughts are, these teachers have to spend extra energy on my special needs kids to help make them better citizens.. the least I can do is my part to help THEM make better citizens for all the students. If we were still together, my former spouse would be by my side working for the betterment of our children. He made his choices, I pay for them.

Also... If I went back to work, paid a nanny/babysitter to just do the transport and care of the kids... His childsupport would be higher than it is now without the added daycare.... the CP working full time is not always better for the NCP.
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#161 of 167 Old 03-05-2009, 02:51 PM
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I think the thing here is we're all applying our own situations to a completely different scenario. This is NOT about each of our situations. It's about ONE family and their dynamic. When I start to apply my situation to theirs, it doesn't make any sense.
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.
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I think if it were me, I'd want to work to have something to do and the extra money would probably make up a big difference in the drop in income.

It sounds like these people are not struggling to keep food on the table, shelter and clothes. My values are such that if this is the case, I'd much rather see the kids be able to spend more time with their dad and have a connected relationship with both parents than have extra money for fancier clothes, activities etc. Just my values, but people outweigh money for me every time the basic needs are being met.

Again, we can't apply our own circumstances....


Exactly.

This show is a highly orchestrated thing that gives you maybe 8 minutes all told of info about their lives. On the basis of that, we can judge? I think not.

I can tell you why *in general* it's a bad idea to push parents to accept voluntary drops in child support, and why the courts are not going to go for it. But to suggest that this lady can or should do anything, on the basis of the Dr. Phil show, is overstepping.

(My takeaway from that show: Wow, there's a lot of train wrecks out there. I sure am sane and together. Now I must find chocolate.)

I'm impressed, btw, at the restraint & relative civility on this thread, which hasn't gotten yanked.
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#162 of 167 Old 03-05-2009, 03:19 PM
 
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I can tell you why *in general* it's a bad idea to push parents to accept voluntary drops in child support, and why the courts are not going to go for it. But to suggest that this lady can or should do anything, on the basis of the Dr. Phil show, is overstepping.
Yes. I think almost everyone here woudl agree that in 'general' it's a bad idea. That's why every case has to be discussed specifically because there are always exceptions...both ways.
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#163 of 167 Old 03-05-2009, 03:52 PM
 
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I think the thing here is we're all applying our own situations to a completely different scenario. This is NOT about each of our situations. It's about ONE family and their dynamic. When I start to apply my situation to theirs, it doesn't make any sense.

The dad on the show is going to be taking the kids half the time and the kids are likely in school, so the mom has plenty of time to do something to help make some money when the kids aren't with her, which is a signifcant amount of time. It's not going to be a burden, it's not about childcare, it's just being part of the family. If the dad IN THIS SITUATION is taking the kids more and doing more, why couldn't she help out? What else is she doing when the kids aren't with her?

I think if it were me, I'd want to work to have something to do and the extra money would probably make up a big difference in the drop in income.

It sounds like these people are not struggling to keep food on the table, shelter and clothes. My values are such that if this is the case, I'd much rather see the kids be able to spend more time with their dad and have a connected relationship with both parents than have extra money for fancier clothes, activities etc. Just my values, but people outweigh money for me every time the basic needs are being met.

Again, we can't apply our own circumstances without totally changing the scenario and then it stops making sense.



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I'm impressed, btw, at the restraint & relative civility on this thread, which hasn't gotten yanked.


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Yes. I think almost everyone here would agree that in 'general' it's a bad idea. That's why every case has to be discussed specifically because there are always exceptions...both ways.

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#164 of 167 Old 03-05-2009, 05:40 PM
 
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I think the thing here is we're all applying our own situations to a completely different scenario. This is NOT about each of our situations. It's about ONE family and their dynamic. When I start to apply my situation to theirs, it doesn't make any sense.
Yeah, but...and I hate to say it, but...

If you let ONE family slide, it sets a precedent for the court system to allow it in other families. And because, GENERALLY, lowering c/s by ONE parent's choice is not a good idea, it shouldn't be approved by the court, in the event LOTS of other NCP's jump on the bandwagon.

If you let one slide, you let 'em all slide
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#165 of 167 Old 03-06-2009, 05:25 PM
 
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Mmmm... while I do understand about legal precedents and the whole danger of the slippery slope thing, what about all the people out there who are sliding already?

I know four NCPs who pay nothing at all. I know others who pay between $13 and $30-odd per week- so not much of anything.

It doesn't seem fair to chalk this Dr. Phil dad up to deadbeat status when he really wants to be part of his childrens' lives and wants to continue paying CS, despite already having 50% custody.

I have to agree that taking this one, unique situation and trying to apply broadly doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

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#166 of 167 Old 03-06-2009, 05:41 PM
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Leta, the question is "does he cover his obligations", not "is he less miserable than a bunch of horrible guys". If you don't pay your taxes, you can't go to court and say, "But hey, at least I wasn't selling crack -- doesn't that count for anything?"

An obligation is an obligation, and a stand-up guy will do whatever he can to fulfill it. If he wants to do something else, he'll either find a way to satisfy himself and his obligations, or he'll wait.

As mentioned before, I really don't buy the argument that he can't be involved in his kids' lives because he works so much. My own childhood argues against it. Others here have suggested that if he wants to reduce his income and spend more time with the kids, he find a way to do it while maintaining his obligation. Is it easy? No. But when you make a deal with another person, you follow through, even if you come to dislike the deal you made.
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#167 of 167 Old 03-06-2009, 05:59 PM
 
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Leta, the question is "does he cover his obligations", not "is he less miserable than a bunch of horrible guys".

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