Anyone getting more than minimum child support? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-15-2014, 05:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, I've been frantically trying to figure out how come I spend almost the entirety of my meager wages on my children, whereas my ex, who has the kids about 20% of the time, spends about 1/8 of his income on the kids (state mandated child support).  This is what I agreed to, with no lawyer, under extreme duress after years and years of psychological abuse.  Does this make sense to anyone?   I am going to talk with 2 lawyers next week.  But just wondering if anyone knows what "normal" is?? We have joint legal and physical custody - for some reason I agreed to this.  I was a SAHM for 10 years, homeschooling, and I left the marriage with nothing.  I have been so brainwashed I don't know what is going on! This is my third thread trying to figure it out... and I'm getting closer, little by little. Most of my friends are either childless or married SAHMs and nobody seems to be able to figure this out.

 

Oh, and he makes about eight times what I make per month.

 

Thoughts?

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Old 02-15-2014, 06:55 AM
 
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Have you used your state's child support calculator? It should give you the most accurate estimate of what a judge would order in your state for guideline child support.

In my case (state is CA - ex still lives there, I live in Germany with my Army DH), I have two children with my exDH. I am a SAHM, so the state imputes approx $1500 per month income to me. Ex is underemployed (and has been for over ten years - grr!) and makes about $3400 per month. Time share is 85/15 in my favor, and there are no add ons for child care or travel costs. I receive $845 per month, which is about what CA's calculator game me as a proposed figure.

Hopefully this example gives you a good guide for whether or not what you are receiving is fair. Just remember that each state's guideline is calculated differently. Good luck sorting things out!

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Old 02-15-2014, 07:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, that is helpful. Well you are getting more than me, percentagewise. And my ex makes a ton, by my standards. Are you supposed to pay for childcare out of your own pocket?? When i pay for childcare, it costs more than i make! Also my ex harasses me to get the kids involved in activities he wont help pay for, but he is rolling in extra cash... which makes me scratch my head since i do almost all the work... is there no justice? I read some stuff about havng child support increased for educational expenses... i just dont know why our lifestyles can be so different! I thought they were supposed to try to make things even??
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Old 02-15-2014, 07:14 AM
 
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The child care expense is definitely something to be brought up in court. Our decree indicates that child care for work or school is to be shared 50/50. We were initially on the honor system (i.e. One of us pays the full bill and presents it to the other for reimbursement), but eventually, the expenses were worked into the child support calculations instead. My kids from this marriage are now 14 & 11, so no child care is needed. Medical expenses should be handled similarly to child care, but activities are somewhat of a grey area - dependent more upon what your state and particular judge see as important.

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Old 02-15-2014, 05:28 PM
 
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In my state childcare and medical bills are separate from child support and each parent pays a percentage based on their income and parenting time. I would suggest going back to court to determine these expenses.
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Old 02-15-2014, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you! I swear, the littlest things can be so helpful!  It's the weekend so I can't get a hold of Legal Aid or any lawyers, and the waiting is killing me, so thank you for telling me that.  I just need to know if I'm crazy for thinking that I deserve to be able to live above poverty after sacrificing just about everything to my husband and kids for 12 years! Thanks!

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Old 02-16-2014, 02:02 PM
 
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Definitely run the numbers through your states calculator to get an idea what he will likely owe you. 

 

And in my state also, child care, medical expenses, and extracurricular activities are all in addition to child support-you might have to pay them up front, but he should owe you either half or a percentage based on your income.  


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Old 02-16-2014, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you.  The calculator does say he's paying approximately the right amount, but all the extra lessons, chiropractic, team sports, camps,  etc. are coming out of my pocket and it finally hit me that that makes no sense.  Now that you say that, it makes me wonder if the mediator who looked over our stuff just assumed we would split costs in a friendly way, not realizing that he has no intention of doing so, and that I can't talk to him about money because it turns into mind games immediately.

 

Well, thank you!  I have a lot to mull over.

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Old 02-17-2014, 09:53 AM
 
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I think the split of expenses above and beyond strict child support is a gray area...unless specified.  In my divorce decree, I only got child support...no mention of extra expenses.

 

In DH's divorce decree, they don't split expenses either.  He does pay for DSD's health insurance and they split what isn't covered by insurance.  


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Old 02-17-2014, 06:04 PM
 
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Extra lessons and team sports are not included as child care. Child care only covers expenses for the children to be watched while a parent is working. It may be something you can get put in but it may also just wind up costing you attorney and court fees.
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Old 02-17-2014, 06:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DragonSlayer View Post
 

Thank you.  The calculator does say he's paying approximately the right amount, but all the extra lessons, chiropractic, team sports, camps,  etc. are coming out of my pocket and it finally hit me that that makes no sense.  Now that you say that, it makes me wonder if the mediator who looked over our stuff just assumed we would split costs in a friendly way, not realizing that he has no intention of doing so, and that I can't talk to him about money because it turns into mind games immediately.

 

Well, thank you!  I have a lot to mull over.

Here, each parent is expected to pay for the activities in which they choose to enroll the children - even private school.

 

Of course, it's ideal if both parents care about what activities the kids want to do and can work it out between themselves, as to who can best afford to foot the bill.  But many times, the whole reason people are divorced is because they can't communicate.  If mediation has been successful for you guys before, it might be worth trying again.  Your ex might want to appear more reasonable and cooperative, in front of the mediator, than he is with you, so you might get him to agree to pay for some things, by discussing how important a sport or activity is to your child - or how critical a camp is, for staying competitive in the sport.  And if he also uses a chiropractor, you might be able to get that considered an out-of-pocket medical expense (which should be shared), although it's not conventional medicine.

 

I wouldn't spend too much time focusing on the income/spending disparity.  It's too frustrating.  There's not a direct, simple correlation in child support calculators, where each parent is expected to spend the same percentage of their disposable income on the child.  If you're existing on the poverty line, you might spend half your income trying to do as much as you could, for your child.  If you make $100,000/year, you'd be able to do more for your kids with a smaller percentage of your income.  If you're a multi-millionaire you might be able to provide pretty lavishly for your kids, on only a tiny percentage of your income.  The calculators are a bit more complicated than that.

 

You asked if anyone gets more than minimum support?  I do.  My ex is wealthy and has gotten rather exponentially wealthier since we split up.  (I haven't.)  We weren't married and both wanted to avoid court, so we drafted an agreement that we've followed pretty well, for 16 years.  He offered a monthly amount of support and I honestly have no idea if it's a bit more - or drastically less - than I could have gotten from him, in court.  But it was enough to give me the option of staying home with the kids, if I was careful about my spending.  They were two.  I wanted to be home with them.  I didn't want to spend money on attorneys and wind up spiteful and hating each other - either because I felt I got scr--ed in court, or because he resented how much money he was forced to pay me.  He had offered what he felt he could afford, an amount that made him feel he'd be providing well for his kids, and it worked for my purposes.  I accepted.  Years later, when he moved out of his big house into a mansion, it occurred to him that I'd never asked for an increase, so he offered a pretty substantial one.  I accepted.  It let me put our kids in private school, without having to ask him to pay tuition.

 

That's the thing:  he makes so much money - and so much more than I do - that it's kind of ridiculous that I ever pay for anything, for our kids.  It would be no sacrifice at all, for him to pay the child support he pays and their tuition, and buy their uniforms and pay their sports fees, etc., etc.  And if I specifically asked him to do all the extras, he probably would.  But he'd also resent the idea that I'm always asking him for more money and he'd feel superior; and he'd forget and be late and I'd be the one left to deal with the consequences.  And it's just not worth it.  I like being broken up so I don't have to deal with the headache-y parts of his personality (or our personalities combined).  I'm sure it's the same, for you.

 

I say, take all the reasonable steps to get appropriate child support.  If you know he's had a big income increase, make the effort to get support adjusted.  If you think mediation over some of the extras would help, do it.  But beyond that, suck it up.  Assess the funds you have available and decide what you can afford for your kids, based on that.  Feel good about yourself for managing your money - even if you can't give your kids everything.  Feel good about yourself for not letting your ex create extra stress in your life, because you choose not to fight with him over money when you don't have to.  Feel good about not letting yourself get mired in jealousy that his financial life is easier than yours.  Feel good knowing that in the end, your kids see that you are the parent whose life revolves around them, who will sacrifice for them, who consistently puts them first.  They really do know, even though they may not be mature enough to thank you until they're in their 30's.  Being the mom you are really is its own reward - and something it sounds like your ex is missing out on, whether or not he knows it.


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