The numbers don't lie... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 01-22-2009, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was blown away by the difference in money for our kids per year. We spend over 4x's the amount per year on my step kids than our own kids. I think court calculations are inflated a little. : IDK, this system is just crazy at times to me.
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#2 of 26 Old 01-22-2009, 10:32 AM
 
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I was blown away by the difference in money for our kids per year. We spend over 4x's the amount per year on my step kids than our own kids. I think court calculations are inflated a little. : IDK, this system is just crazy at times to me.
4x as much sounds about accurate, or maybe even a little low, for what we spend on my stepdaughter, as opposed to what we spend on my son. And unfortunately, when money gets a little tight, cutting back, even a little bit, is not an option with my stepdaughter, so my son is the one who goes without.

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#3 of 26 Old 01-22-2009, 10:32 AM
 
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A lot goes into the monetary cost of a child. Right now, DSD costs us more than DS (Not so much due to CS but due to expenses - she is here over half time).

But I would attribute this difference more to age than to anything else. DS is a toddler. He doesn't eat as much, doesn't have school expenses, his clothes are less expensive, he hasn't participated in as many activities over the course of the year, if we do an activity as a family, he often doesn't get charged admission, he doesn't get invited to birthday parties yet, does not get an allowance.

When the new baby arrives, he or she will be less expensive than DS currently is because they will only need breastmilk and we have a lot of baby things left from DS.

So if you dsc are older, they just might cost more. Not that this is always the case, but it can be a factor.

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#4 of 26 Old 01-22-2009, 03:35 PM
 
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I was blown away by the difference in money for our kids per year. We spend over 4x's the amount per year on my step kids than our own kids. I think court calculations are inflated a little. : IDK, this system is just crazy at times to me.
I agree with this. It seems that my childern get a lot less then my step daughter and we are always sruggling to stretch every penny.
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#5 of 26 Old 01-22-2009, 04:14 PM
 
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Decided to delete.
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#6 of 26 Old 01-22-2009, 04:19 PM
 
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I am a custodial parent. I can tell you for sure that the "costs" of child support and the like are only a fraction of what it costs to raise a child. Our older children's father makes more than 100K a year, in a low COL area. He pays about 1200 a month in CS, sounds like alot doesn't it? It is not enough to support half of their expenses.

When they are gone for even a week out of the month, our electric bill is nearly half. Our food budget is slashed, the fuel budget drops dramatically.

Tutoring... 120 a month. (both older kids are in an Spannish immersion program)
Basketball.... 100 a month... year round drill coaching, league fees, shoes, uniforms... this does not include travel expenses for travel team
Soccer .... 100 a month... year round drill coaching, league fees, uniforms, Travel not included.
PT... 100 a month Oldest boy has laxed ligaments, PT will hopefully reduce the chances of major knee surgery.
Meds for oldest...119 a month.. insurance reimburses only 24 bucks.

Those are the just the activities...

Childcare................800 a month. (I am in school part time)
Food budget.........6-900 a month depending on how much the garden grows
when they are gone, the budget drops to about 2-300.
clothing............... 150 a month (averaged out over the year)
Entertainment.........50-300 (including birthday gifts for friends winter ski, wakeboarding in summer)


I know that their father is putting nothing away for college. In the last six years my husband and I have added 12 thousand to our son's college account and 25 thousand for our daughter. Our youngest son only has 5K in his account, but he is only 4 years old, he has never not once gone without.


All of these numbers were judged as reasonable by the judge in our case. My ex husband tried to say that I had " mercedes benz activities on a pinto's budget" The judge replied to his attorney... "at a 120 thousand a year, these activites are on the low end of what is expected."

My husband and I do not make all that much in terms of money, infact last year, our income was half of my former spouse's. We have had some wise investments, we sacrifice interms of housing, and drive paid off fuel effecient cars. Our area of splurge is in our choices of activities.
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#7 of 26 Old 01-22-2009, 05:01 PM
 
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I was blown away by the difference in money for our kids per year. We spend over 4x's the amount per year on my step kids than our own kids. I think court calculations are inflated a little. : IDK, this system is just crazy at times to me.
How did you calculate this?

Dad to DD 9/2008
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#8 of 26 Old 01-22-2009, 06:20 PM
 
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I am a custodial parent. I can tell you for sure that the "costs" of child support and the like are only a fraction of what it costs to raise a child. ....

I know that their father is putting nothing away for college. In the last six years my husband and I have added 12 thousand to our son's college account and 25 thousand for our daughter. Our youngest son only has 5K in his account, but he is only 4 years old, he has never not once gone without.
Check your divorce documents AND your state's laws carefully. In many states, the divorce documents often say the issue of post-secondary support is "reserved" (to be decided later) and the state's laws say that if the child goes to college after high school, (1) the NCP owes child support until the child finishes college AND (2) the NCP owes a portion of college expenses, often in the same porportion as the parents split medical costs etc. So whether your kids' dad is saving for college or not, he may owe most of the cost.

As to whether child support pays even half of what it really costs to raise children - . Let's just say that as a CP (a solo parent), with many split-custody friends as well, I'm completely siding with you here.

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#9 of 26 Old 01-22-2009, 06:29 PM
 
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Check your divorce documents AND your state's laws carefully. In many states, the divorce documents often say the issue of post-secondary support is "reserved" (to be decided later) and the state's laws say that if the child goes to college after high school, (1) the NCP owes child support until the child finishes college AND (2) the NCP owes a portion of college expenses, often in the same porportion as the parents split medical costs etc. So whether your kids' dad is saving for college or not, he may owe most of the cost.

As to the whether child support pays even half of what it really costs to raise children - . Let's just say that as a CP (a solo parent), with many split-custody friends as well, I'm completely siding with you here.
I could only hope... he is court ordered to pay 81% of medical expenses. Our daughter has said for over five years now that she is going to medical school. We have been saving as much as we can to help her fulfill her goals.
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#10 of 26 Old 01-22-2009, 06:32 PM
 
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I could only hope... he is court ordered to pay 81% of medical expenses. Our daughter has said for over five years now that she is going to medical school. We have been saving as much as we can to help her fulfill her goals.
Google "YOURSTATE 'post-secondary support' " - good luck!

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#11 of 26 Old 01-22-2009, 08:41 PM
 
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I wonder if this couldn't go both ways? I know my expenses for the kids that live full time with me are very minimal, but the son my ex and I share, his expenses are exorbitant. I know I am fortunate to recieve child support, but when nearly 1/2 that child support has to be put by for travel expenses to and from his fathers house, it makes it a challenge.

Plus, factor in that I have to buy him "new" clothes, because his father previously complained that with the "massive" amounts of child support he paid, I shouldn't be thrift store shopping for him - this is a child that RUINS 2 pairs of jeans per month, to the point where the school will not let him wear them, the athletic shoes he goes through every 2 months, replacing anything left behind at his fathers (since they are too cheap to send them back!), activities, and even silly stuff like the $25+ I spent out of my own pocket to ensure that my son had a decent gift from his father this Christmas, because we wouldn't want his precious father to look bad in his eyes... well, it really adds up. That's not even factoring in savings for a car or college for him, and we already know his father isn't planning to help with those things at all. That's one more thing I have to put by every month - effectively bringing massive child support to just about nothing.

Kids can be so expensive, but they certainly are worth every penny, aren't they?

I'm going to add: I think it's great that this board exists, because it would certainly NOT be good if any of our children - bio, step, blended, whatever - heard us "complaining" about how expensive they were! I remember overhearing a snippet of a conversation between my SM and Dad complaining about how much I had cost them one summer, and it was very hurtful, and it built a huge wall between my SM and I that still exists to this day.
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#12 of 26 Old 01-23-2009, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I didn't post this to make it a side issue or debate. I just thought it was very interesting and wanted to share my shock when actually doing the numbers. All cases are different and in mine these are the facts.

I used all the calculations that we spend for the kids.... food, clothes, shoes, medical, dental, eye, travel, activities, and so on.

I started this adventure in ways to figure out how to cut costs even more and stretch our money further. This was a detailed project of mine for all our expenses including something as simple as soap for a year budget wise.

Both my husband and I are from divorced families and know the consequences of talking about or arguing in front of the kids. We don't do that. My best friend is a single mom and her story is completely different than mine, so I can see both sides and know first hand how so many different factors go into every case. I was thinking something different when I was talking about the court system.

I love all of my kids and am not complaining about them at all. I can see how somebody could possibly interpret that though. Sorry to confuse anyone.
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#13 of 26 Old 01-23-2009, 10:06 AM
 
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I understand completely with what you are saying. It is amazing to me how these things get calculated and then others get nothing like they should or rephrase need.
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#14 of 26 Old 01-23-2009, 10:38 AM
 
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Both my DP and I have 50/50 splits with our respective X's, and pay no, nor receive any child support.
To be frank, I think that is fair in our case.
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#15 of 26 Old 01-23-2009, 12:35 PM
 
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I used all the calculations that we spend for the kids.... food, clothes, shoes, medical, dental, eye, travel, activities, and so on.
Did you include a % of the mortgage, and of utilities?

For instance, a child living in the home full-time will of course "create" more house and utilities spending than a child only visiting EOW. In fact, house spending is probably the child's greatest expense in the household.

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#16 of 26 Old 01-23-2009, 12:45 PM
 
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Whoa, you calculated every expense for a year, down to soap??? Where do you find the time?!? (No, seriously. I'm not saying I couldn't find more time, but since each member of my family uses a different soap/shampoo for various reasons, it'd be insane to try, not to mention everything else! I couldn't even tell you what we spent on Christmas, other than to say we didn't go into debt, and used only "regular" funds, nothing out of savings or anything, which means it couldn't be *that* much, definitely less than years prior, and w/ more kids too!)

p.s. - I agree w/ Seasons on the house spending, but also, from the medical aspect, I know I can claim loads of medical stuff (on my taxes) for my eldest that I don't send off to his father for the 50/50 reimbursement (not sure if it'd be eligible stuff, but either way, seems ridiculous to nickel and dime over anything that cheap, I think I've paid the last few rx and dental stuffs out of pocket anyway)... new humidifier, for one, but also countless bottles of meds he used over the winter. He won't use much in the way of my herbal stuff, but I had to buy tylenol, motrin, pepto bismol, mucinex, etc, plus Vit C, Zinc, multi-vitamins, and a bottle of eucalyptus essential oil to scent the humidifier for him. I don't want to add it all up, it'd be crazy! Now, I'm going to step away before I get flamed for admitting to the use of all those meds this Winter, but I will add that we had it bad for about 2 months, with one sickness after another, it was crazy. Those reciepts I do have!
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#17 of 26 Old 01-23-2009, 12:52 PM
 
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Did you include a % of the mortgage, and of utilities?

For instance, a child living in the home full-time will of course "create" more house and utilities spending than a child only visiting EOW. In fact, house spending is probably the child's greatest expense in the household.
This is what I was wondering as well. If the NCP lives in a house that's larger than they would need without their EOW kid, you have to factor that cost into the NCP side of the equation as well.

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#18 of 26 Old 01-23-2009, 04:22 PM
 
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This is what I was wondering as well. If the NCP lives in a house that's larger than they would need without their EOW kid, you have to factor that cost into the NCP side of the equation as well.
Exactly. When we lived in an apartment, we had to have an extra bedroom for the kids. I guess we didn't HAVE to (no one was forcing us), but still that was an extra $250-300 a month that we wouldn't have to spend under normal circumstances. And even now in a house, there is one bedroom that gets used 2-3 weekends a month.
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#19 of 26 Old 01-24-2009, 03:02 AM
 
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For instance, a child living in the home full-time will of course "create" more house and utilities spending than a child only visiting EOW. In fact, house spending is probably the child's greatest expense in the household.
I don't really agree with this. We don't keep the house any warmer when my step-daughter is here vs. when she is not. We have the same number of bedrooms we would have whether she was here every day or every other weekend. The increase in water due to laundry and bathing is absolutely unnoticeable. We don't turn on any more lights in the playroom when there are three children playing in there vs two. Honestly, the cost of feeding one extra person is not even that much different when she is here. And perhaps when you add up the speed at which we go through soap, shampoo, toilet paper, etc and multiply it over her lifetime, it might end up looking like a decent amount, but on a monthly (or even yearly) basis it is pretty negligible.

She is here for long stretches (months) at a time, and gone for months at a time, so we have a pretty good idea of the difference between when she is here and when she is not.

I'm not saying that children don't cost anything, but I think an accurate assessment of the actual cost of any individual child would depend a lot on each family's individual circumstances, not an across-the-board formula.

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#20 of 26 Old 01-24-2009, 01:18 PM
 
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I don't really agree with this. We don't keep the house any warmer when my step-daughter is here vs. when she is not. We have the same number of bedrooms we would have whether she was here every day or every other weekend. The increase in water due to laundry and bathing is absolutely unnoticeable. We don't turn on any more lights in the playroom when there are three children playing in there vs two. Honestly, the cost of feeding one extra person is not even that much different when she is here. And perhaps when you add up the speed at which we go through soap, shampoo, toilet paper, etc and multiply it over her lifetime, it might end up looking like a decent amount, but on a monthly (or even yearly) basis it is pretty negligible.

She is here for long stretches (months) at a time, and gone for months at a time, so we have a pretty good idea of the difference between when she is here and when she is not.

I'm not saying that children don't cost anything, but I think an accurate assessment of the actual cost of any individual child would depend a lot on each family's individual circumstances, not an across-the-board formula.
ITA... The costs come out the same for us whether DSD is here more often vs our normal EOW. She plays with us, so lights and such are on the same... water isn't noticed... even when she accidentally left it running the bathroom for hours the water bill really wasn't affected like I thought it would be. We have to have a bedroom for her wether we had her full time or EOW, so we have the extra housing costs as well. I've never really understood the housing/utility equation... both parties are affected by this.

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#21 of 26 Old 01-24-2009, 02:26 PM
 
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I don't know. I know that my costs went up a lot after dd came. I did have to have an extra room for her (where her father did not since she sleeps with her SS the 2 times a month she stays there). I put out a substantial amount in things like diapers and other things she needs (different than a typical kid since she has some special needs) which I provide her dad with as well. I did have to keep the house warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer when she was tiny. So dd's basic costs regarding food and housing are significantly different with me being the custodial parent. I assume he'd have a significant difference in those costs if she lived there.

I also have to factor in things like her personal appointment schedule which causes me to work very odd hours so she can get to therapy and doctors. My income, potential for advancement and senority (including raises and contribution to 401K) are all affected by dd's schedule. If ex and I lived and raised dd together, I would not be behind the 8ball all of the time regarding my own income and retirement since we'd be a team. So that should be factored as well.

And I have to add in the wear and tear on our car. I put a minimum of 200 mi per week just shuttling dd around for her own things. That's in addition to the things we do as a family. So figure gas, tolls, and wear on the car for those 800mi per month.

I also have to use a lot more electricity during the day since dd and I are home then. The heat has to be on warmer (I would turn the heat down to 60 during the day if we were not home) and the air has to be cooler in the summer. If not for dd, I would be working those hours.

So while the incidentals like soap and shampoo are negligable, the housing costs I incur are not... not by a long shot.

I am sure other families may do all of what I described better and more efficiently, it is what is in my household.
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#22 of 26 Old 01-24-2009, 02:35 PM
 
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My income, potential for advancement and senority (including raises and contribution to 401K) are all affected by dd's schedule. If ex and I lived and raised dd together, I would not be behind the 8ball all of the time regarding my own income and retirement since we'd be a team. So that should be factored as well.
Excellent post. Definitely true for my family, too. My dd is not SN, but she gets strep throat, has dental appts, is impacted by school closures due to weather - 6 days last month - etc., which I alone must take as vacation. And as in any client-focused profession, mine has suffered - literally, financially - because I cannot be as available to clients as can my colleagues who have wives.

My dd's NCP (he's actually never met her, whew!) does not have these costs.

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#23 of 26 Old 01-24-2009, 02:49 PM
 
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I put out a substantial amount in things like diapers and other things she needs (different than a typical kid since she has some special needs) which I provide her dad with as well.
Bolded is mine. I think those are the key words there. In my family, we pay for everything my stepdaughter needs at our house and "half" (okay, technically it's 80%) of what she needs at her Mother's house. She's with us approxamately 30-40% of the time, but we still need to provide her with everything she needs at our house, plus the child support, plus the alimony (completely different post there!), plus everything that get "lost" at her Mother's house. (Example, about 25% of her clothing gets "lost" at her Mother's house each month and we have to go buy her new clothes.) In our situation, we provide for her here and most the time, for her at her Mother's house. If her Mother provided for us like you provide for your daughter at her Dad's house, we wouldn't have the same problems we have, or at least not as much, know what I mean?

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#24 of 26 Old 01-24-2009, 03:11 PM
 
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Harley, while I do provide her dad with these things, they do not always use them. I would have no problem if they did (that's why I send them) but they tend to have dd's own basic needs covered at their house (diapers, basic personal hygiene items). I do provide all of the clothing (and any meds, specialty foods, therapy items, ect) which they use. Thankfully, we do not have issues regarding the passing of clothes back and forth. I've read enough of these boards to know that can be a huge point of contention.
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#25 of 26 Old 01-25-2009, 12:16 AM
 
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Like I said, it's case by case. The difference between being single and having one child is a big difference, while the difference between having two children and three is much less. The difference between having a child with no special needs and one who has therapies, specialists, medication, etc would be two totally different scenarios. In our own case, it would be MUCH cheaper for us to have my step-daughter living here full time than to share custody and pay child support. It would be much MORE expensive for my husband's ex to pay child support and have the parenting schedule reversed. That's just the way it is in our situation, and I recognize that may not be the case for others.

While it may be a fact that if you are going to have sex with someone you are making a choice to potentially have a child with someone, I doubt many people think "if I have sex with this person, I am committing to spending the state mandated amount of child support every month if things don't work out between us." I didn't go into either of my marriages intending to split up. When my husband and I decided to have children, we thought about whether WE could afford it, the changes WE would need to make to OUR life... but neither of us calculated what we would be paying in child support and our estimated income and expenses of maintaining two separate households should we some day split up... And frankly, if that was one of the calculations I thought to make at the time, I shouldn't have been having children with him in the first place. And I am pretty sure I would not believe a woman who told me that before they had sex with someone, they thought about how much THEY would have to pay in child support if they had a baby, split up with the father, and the father got custody...

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#26 of 26 Old 01-25-2009, 12:20 AM
 
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Financially it's inefficient to live between two households. This is something retired people who follow the warm weather through 2 homes quickly realize. Even with careful planning it is much more expensive to travel between and live in two homes. This doesn't necessarily account for 4X an expense but I'm sure it does for some of it.
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