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#1 of 24 Old 03-04-2009, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm in the process of trying to get my child support order reviewed and adjusted. In the paperwork the CS office sent me, they say that I need to bring three of my pay stubs and three of my spouse's pay stubs.

Why is my spouse's income being considered? I always thought that child support is based on the parents' income.

I'm also a bit worried because DH does a lot of under-the-table work, so his pay stubs aren't exactly a good representation of what he makes. Since the Dept. of CS and the Dept. of Taxation are closely linked, I'm concerned that trouble might be stirred up for both my DH and his employer.
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#2 of 24 Old 03-04-2009, 06:26 PM
 
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Where do you live? I can pull the guidelines for you (although I can't give you legal advice).

Most states do not count stepparents' income at all--but some do, while others count it as sort of an informal mitigating factor...if, say, I have a paid-off house and bring in $120,000 a year (I don't) while my husband brings in $12,000 a year, his CS obligation per the formula would only be $170 a month. But a judge might look and say, hey, this guy's wife is supporting him, he has no housing expenses, he's got more disposable income, out of fairness he should contribute more. But in no case (at least in WI) could my income actually be tapped for CS--my husband could end up paying more for CS, but only out of his income. The judge couldn't order $2,000 in CS, since even though the household makes $11,000 the CS payer only makes $1,000.

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#3 of 24 Old 03-04-2009, 06:37 PM
 
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Oh, and some states do request verification of household income, from whatever source--not so they can change CS based on that income (either the payer or recipient's partner), but so they can see what your expenses look like relative to that income.

Again, here in WI, the financial disclosure sheets include household income--even if a member of the household is a nonmarital partner, adult child, etc. But CS won't take these people's income into account at all, except to contextualize things like rent/mortgage. ($1,500 rent seems a lot more manageable split between three adults than it does paid by a single mom.)

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#4 of 24 Old 03-04-2009, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
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I see what you're saying.

However, when I did my expenses worksheet, I filled out everything based on only my income and my expenses. DH and I live as roommates, financially. So, even though our rent is $1300/mo, I put down that I pay $650.

I hope that doesn't screw things up.
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#5 of 24 Old 03-04-2009, 07:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
I'm in the process of trying to get my child support order reviewed and adjusted. In the paperwork the CS office sent me, they say that I need to bring three of my pay stubs and three of my spouse's pay stubs.

Why is my spouse's income being considered? I always thought that child support is based on the parents' income.

I'm also a bit worried because DH does a lot of under-the-table work, so his pay stubs aren't exactly a good representation of what he makes. Since the Dept. of CS and the Dept. of Taxation are closely linked, I'm concerned that trouble might be stirred up for both my DH and his employer.
If you are married then his income is your income. I don't agree with it, but that is how it is in most states.


For example if you were able to be a stay at home parent because of your spouses income, why should your children from a previous marraige suffer because of it? Either it goes by an 'adjusted' income of what you WOULD be able to make if you are choosing to not work, or it goes by the income of the household. You can call anonymously and ask the departments questions like this too to get the answers for your actual location though.

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#6 of 24 Old 03-04-2009, 07:34 PM
 
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As for cutting your expenses in half, if they are asking for your household income I would put down household expenses.

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#7 of 24 Old 03-04-2009, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
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If you are married then his income is your income. I don't agree with it, but that is how it is in most states.
So, does that mean that my ex's current wife's income will also be taken into account when figuring how much he has to pay each month? Doubtful.

Quote:
For example if you were able to be a stay at home parent because of your spouses income, why should your children from a previous marraige suffer because of it? Either it goes by an 'adjusted' income of what you WOULD be able to make if you are choosing to not work, or it goes by the income of the household. You can call anonymously and ask the departments questions like this too to get the answers for your actual location though.
I'm sorry, but the way this is worded is making it difficult for me to understand your meaning. If my spouse made loads of money and I could stay home, why would my kids be suffering?

As for calling the departments....state offices here are notorious for not answering the phones. I've tried calling on three different occasions and it just rings forever. Same thing with the DMV and the city planner's office. Or, you leave a voicemail message and never get a call in return.
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#8 of 24 Old 03-04-2009, 09:40 PM
 
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In my state, the CP's household income is taken into account while only the income of the NCP alone is taken into the calculation.

So a step's income is only considered if they live with the CP. It isn't an even division in the calculation, though. The state does see some- a lot actually!- of the custodial stepparent's as their own personal money. It is considered that they are sharing a portion of the household income.
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#9 of 24 Old 03-04-2009, 10:58 PM
 
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Here, the step parent's income is not considered at all. I am a SAHM and my "income" for the purposes of child support was attributed to me based on what I could make, they never even asked about DH's income.
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#10 of 24 Old 03-04-2009, 11:17 PM - Thread Starter
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I spent some time looking up the statutes for my state, as well as the "guidelines" set forth by the RI family courts, and have found absolutely no reference to remarriage or step-parents at all.
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#11 of 24 Old 03-04-2009, 11:40 PM
 
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Hm...

RI's guidelines refer to " (2) The financial resources of the custodial parent; . . . (5) The financial resources and needs of the non-custodial parent" as being considerations for child support. A remarriage can affect financial resources.

(Domestic Relations law 15-9-1.)


I'm just speculating here, as I'm not an attorney yet and not familiar with RI law or how it's interpreted. But that's how I'm seeing it.

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#12 of 24 Old 03-05-2009, 01:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
So, does that mean that my ex's current wife's income will also be taken into account when figuring how much he has to pay each month? Doubtful.



I'm sorry, but the way this is worded is making it difficult for me to understand your meaning. If my spouse made loads of money and I could stay home, why would my kids be suffering?

As for calling the departments....state offices here are notorious for not answering the phones. I've tried calling on three different occasions and it just rings forever. Same thing with the DMV and the city planner's office. Or, you leave a voicemail message and never get a call in return.

Part 1: Depends on if they are married

Part 2: Children suffering comment was general description. The suffering would happen if you were not the custodial parent and the courts decided since you didnt have an active income your children would get zero money or minimum money, even though your hypothetical spouse was bringing in a 6 figure income which allowed you, the hypothetical you, to stay home and essentially be a hypothetical dead beat parent for not having to pay for your hypothetical non custodial children.

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#13 of 24 Old 03-05-2009, 01:21 PM
 
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Part 2: Children suffering comment was general description. The suffering would happen if you were not the custodial parent and the courts decided since you didnt have an active income your children would get zero money or minimum money, even though your hypothetical spouse was bringing in a 6 figure income which allowed you, the hypothetical you, to stay home and essentially be a hypothetical dead beat parent for not having to pay for your hypothetical non custodial children.

This is what we're going through right now with DH's ex, and my DH has sole custody. She had stayed at home with her new baby for the last three years and has just petitioned to have her CS reduced to 0$, because that's what she earns. They will likely impute, or attribute income to her, because I don't think that she's the first non-custodial parent to attempt that loop-hole! This also started when she realized she had to pay 50% of braces in addition to her CS payments. Lots of expense in teenagers.

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#14 of 24 Old 03-05-2009, 03:14 PM
 
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In Fla, they impute income to SAHMs etc. but only use the parent's income. So, DH's income isn't figured in at all, but they do impute what I made before leaving my job to SAH. And thats to the benefit of DS since it acutally increased the CS amount his bio father has to pay b/c it increases his overall expected standard of living. Unfortunately, each state is independent on child support guidelines so you're going to have to find someone in RI to know for sure
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#15 of 24 Old 03-05-2009, 03:59 PM
 
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Because in come cases you have a sahp living in a 500,000. home married to someone that can and does spend a lot of money on the step kids. Providing a better financial "things" home than working parent. The sahp makes no income but still could provide more than the money they "earn".

I have a friend that has custody of his kids. His ex lives in the 500,000 home and was having to pay minium because she didn't have a job. The kids were refusing to go over. When they did go over they started taking bus home. His just finally got a judge to listen. She tried to say they should live with him because she has all these things for them. She would be the better home because of this.......but she doesn't want to pay child support because she doesn't work. If you make $0 how are you providing better (in this situation). Judge told her to get a job and figured out what her potential income is. Since she now has her master's she nor her new husband isn't happy. She also owes a lot of back money because she had like $50 a month that she wasn't paying for years.
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#16 of 24 Old 03-06-2009, 03:45 PM
 
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I'm in NJ and this was about 10 years ago but when my DH was paying child support for his son he and his ex were doing it without lawyers at first. He paid 1/2 of tuition (about $10,000 per year and we didn't have any say in the school that was chosen), 1/2 of all extra activities, doctor bills, and the total came out to about $800 a month depending on the bills for the month. When a custody fight ensued and they HAD to go to court, we had to submit our financials. Now, we were married at the time and I have 3 children from my previous marriage. His son was living with his mom at the time and she was remarried at that time. After the judge went thru everything, he declared my husband only had to pay $78 per week for his son. That included everything. He said it was based partly on the fact that my DH was living with a family with three other children now and he needed to contribute to that family too. His ex was LIVID. When asked about the tuition, he said she chose the expensive school and did not consider the impact it was going to have on my DH (who really coudn't afford it at the time). We offered my DSS the same type of private education but it was in our area and was less money but that would have meant he would have to live with us. Her plan to entice him with the fancy school actually backfired. Needless to say this only add a lot of fuel to the ever burning fire called blending our little family....
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#17 of 24 Old 03-06-2009, 03:59 PM
 
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In my case, they didn't consider my current husbands income because if they did my c/s would go up (because if they put in his income, they would take away the assumed/possible income they put for me).

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#18 of 24 Old 03-06-2009, 07:16 PM
 
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Some places want it just for extra information so they feel like they are getting the "big picture"... They may not always use it, or they may just use it to figure the tax status of both parents (so they know what tax bracket you are in and how many exepmtions you have to accurately figure your "take home" pay.) Not everything they ask for necessarily goes into the calculation of your income, it may just help them to make sure they are making exceptions to the rules when they are warrented.

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#19 of 24 Old 03-06-2009, 08:53 PM
 
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Now, we were married at the time and I have 3 children from my previous marriage. His son was living with his mom at the time and she was remarried at that time. After the judge went thru everything, he declared my husband only had to pay $78 per week for his son. That included everything. He said it was based partly on the fact that my DH was living with a family with three other children now and he needed to contribute to that family too.
Yeah, I would have been livid, too. $78/wk is ridiculous in NJ and the state guidelines say that only BIO children are considered when calculating CS.

I would have appealed that decision and would have won. The court can go outside of the guidelines but only for a really good reason with balance to both sides. Step children are not a good reason and those step children should be supported by their own BIO parents. BTDT.
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#20 of 24 Old 03-06-2009, 09:18 PM - Thread Starter
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I agree with Sunflowers.

Seeing as stepparents have virtually no legal rights to their stepchildren, they also should not have any legal obligation to support their stepchildren.

However, I live in a high-cost area, and I get $125 per week, per child. I can totally see it being only $78 per week, ten years ago.

It's in our divorce agreement that all out-of-pocket medical, dental, and extra-curricular expenses will be split 50/50, though....that's on top of the regular payments. I don't make crazy decisions like enrolling my kids in expensive schools and expecting him to go along with it. I ask him if he's willing to chip in for such-and-such. It's not often I ask for extra money....mostly because I'm so broke right now that I can't even afford my half of activities for the kids.
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#21 of 24 Old 03-07-2009, 12:52 PM
 
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I think you will find that almost every state had different guidelines.

Here they only use the parents income, BUT they "impute" income to the parent at 40 hours of the higest wage they have EVER made. They imputed me at full time work, when I have been a SAHM for years. Working would cost way more in daycare than I could earn, but they give that zero consideration.
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#22 of 24 Old 03-15-2009, 10:46 PM
 
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Duuude, child support is so complicated.

Here, as far as I know it's "household" income. Meaning, if mom and dad are split from each other and living with new partners, the new partner's income counts, regardless of marital status. Also, household size counts- if that new partner has kids, that means something, too.

Which I understand, in a way- if you got yourself a SugaMamaDaddy, why do you get to say, "Oh, I have no income," just because you aren't married?

Still, though... super complicated.

In the case of DSS's other parents (mom and stepdad), they make more money than we do. But they live in a higher COL area. All things being equal, they probably have a higher net income than we do, but only because DSS's mom works and I SAH. But we have more kids- one part time, one full time, and one on the way, vs. just DSS for them. There are just so many variables, it's impossible to compute.

When we (and I mean all four of DSS's parents) were trying to get CS through friend of the court, we were given pamphlets that just said, "These are hard issues". Gee, thanks, that really clears it up.

Thank God, everyone concerned is reasonable. We decided to keep it out of court, and negotiated our own thing- we pay for DSS's braces, college (fully funded! yay!) including books and car and room and board, any remaining medical expenses after insurance, as well as smaller incidentals like school clothes and activities and so forth. And if they need money, all they have to do is ask.

Not that this is here or there for your situation OP, but it's so hard to figure it out that you probably won't be know until you go before the judge. I'm sorry, 'cause that sucks.

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#23 of 24 Old 03-15-2009, 11:34 PM
 
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Hmm....In our state, or at least with our CSE office, my new spouses income was NOT included in the calculations. But. They did use a 40 hour a week calculation on me, as if I were working that or not; which i'm not, automatically. That is fine with me really. But I disagree with the new spouses income being included. Just MHO.

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#24 of 24 Old 03-23-2009, 09:52 PM
 
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In Calif. I (stepmom) do have to give my income and expenses as part of the household, but they only use dh's income to calculate CS. They just want the big picture. We write down all household expenses (full rent, etc.) and list both of our incomes.
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