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#61 of 69 Old 01-30-2010, 02:20 PM
 
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All of this, by the way, is why I think it's crazy that the cost of raising children (aka the next generation of workers) into adulthood is put on individual families rather than societally subsidized/shared. Quality daycare should be available and free; parents who want to stay home should be paid the amount used to subsidize daycare (and there should be paid parental leave for the first year); "extracurriculars" should be socially available; there should be a real social safety net that insures those who lose their jobs or have a lower income can still put real food on the table and have a place to live and clothes for their kids. The system benefits by pitting custodial and non-custodial parents and moms and dads against each other while putting the majority of working pple in an unsustainable situation. Just worth remembering when we start apportioning blame.

That being said, I know we have to live in the system we've got. My advice to the OP would be to see if the dad could take more custodial time. Seems like he's gotten his life together and has a great wife and you have a great relationship. If he does have more children, you'd want your daughter to have a relationship with them. The dad having more time does 2 things: 1) it is a financial relief - I know this b/c my daughter went from 1 week (maybe) at her dad's to 3 nights during the week and my expenses dropped more than I would have thought; 2) it builds the relationship so dad doesn't see cs as an obligation to you but actually wants to chip in and help with his daughter's expenses as a parent - for ex., much harder to tell a daughter that college doesn't matter if you're with her studying a couple nights a week and seeing how smart and driven she is; much easier to pay for braces when you see regularly how much she needs them and you're the one taking her to half her orthodontist appointments. It sounds like he could be more a part of your daughter's life.

Also, I hear you on guilt about your dh working harder to hold up his half. My partner makes twice what I make and my ex makes next to nothing. The reality is that my partner has been paying most of my daughter's expenses for the last 3 years (before that I was the primary breadwinner). I do sometimes feel very guilty about that. But at a certain point we just have to accept that we are a team and a partnership and that my daughter's needs are a priority for "our" family just as much as paying off his previous debts or his student loan payments are.
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#62 of 69 Old 02-01-2010, 02:14 PM
 
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Wow, this is a lot of posts, lol. I got my info from my OP wayyyy back, so thank you. Given that DH1 and I have a good working friendship and thus far (including the actual divorce, custody, etc) have not had so much as a major argument, I think we can work out something in between. I do believe that I will take the short end of the stick because it will be easier and I seems to be the precident I have set.

I am going to try and comment on a few things, although I am really tired and overwhelmed with thoughts on this thread. I agree with both "sides". I have had more real life experience with fathers or non-custodials, getting completely reemed. Lack of better example...my current DH was married before. They have no children together, but she brought a teenaged son into the marriage, so my DH was a step-dad. Bio-dad signed off rights at birth. His first wife came into the marriage with $30k in debt and a $10/hr job. DH works in real estate and during that time the market was going crazy here. He was making probably $120k/yr or something crazy. He paid off her debt. He bought some investment property with cash he had saved before the marriage. The step-son was college bound bright kid and DH offered to pay for his college. (In addition to the fact that he was supporting him, helped him by a car, etc). 2 years into the marriage, step-son is a sr in high school and lands a drug habit. DW1 cheats and wants a divorce. She hires a bad-ass attorney (that he had to pay for). She got half of everything, including the investment property, etc. THEN she got the courts to mandate that he pay a lump sum for step son's college education because DH agreed when married that he would. This kid was living on the streets, getting arrested, shooting up, etc. And they rules that he had to do it. Now not the same, but I think sometimes...man, if they had had kids together, she would have spent the rest of her life sucking every penny she could while she spent $100/wk on hair highlights. Ironically, she also got a house free and clear in the divorce, took out a mortgage on it later, had it foreclosed and declared bankrupcy within 3 years.

So back to my current situation. The one item I go back to it what is fair to first and second families (sorry for the terminology, I am really not sure what the PC term is there). I understand all the step-mom's side on ex-wives being able to manipulate the system to suck everything from the "second" family. This is assuming that that parent is the non-custodial. In our situation, DH2 and I are about to have our second child together, then DD1 from marriage 1. So let's say DH1 and his new wife have a couple kids. She decides to stay home and money is tight. I ask for more $ somewhere in there...not out of greed, but because I am truly not getting close to a fair amount. So let's say I only ask him to chip in another little bit, not nearly what he should be paying. Let's say that DD1 needs braces in 5 years and he and new wife have 2 kids and she wants to stay home and I ask for more money (note: he sure could have been saving that $300/month that he should have been paying for DD1 for the last 5 years) to help with that. New wife is pissed. He says no, that he is just paying what is court mandated or whatever the agreement is. They just cant tighten the belt straps anymore. Not fair to new wife and kids. Whatever it is.

IT IS ALWAYS, at the end of the day, MY LIABILITY. So my options are to tell DD1 that she does not get braces as we cannot afford it. Or tell her that second family children on both sides are taking priority now since their families are intact and if she wants braces she will need to start eating canned tuna and ground round even though her second family siblings are getting organic farm raised meat, because we have to offset her cost of braces.

I mean, DH1 and new wife get to make the call to put their 2nd family kids first, but as the custodial parent with all the kids in the same house, I cannot do that. I cant tell her...oh, DH2 and I saved for your sister's college education and your dad and new wife saved for their kids, but your dad didnt want to chip in because he didnt see the value in college, and since his second family never had to take a hit for that, then DH2 and I decided we shouldnt either. Sorry bout that kiddo. DH1 will always have that luxury as the non-custodial. DH2 and I will always have to make it equal.

NOTE: I make this argument as someone that gets less than half what is reasonable, and will probably ask for another $100-$150/month from DH1, off the court record for NO OTHER REASON than to not piss off new wife and make things difficult. I will eat the difference. My "second family" will forever make the adjustments to give all kids equal opportunties and DH1 will never have to compensate.

Not sure if that makes sense, but deep down inside, that is the emotional side for me. Again, more times than not I see the non-custodial parent get raked over the coals. Knowing our situation is not that way, and never will be, the feelings I laid above are really where my sticking point is. My current DH works 60hr/week away from his kids, so I can SAH because that is what he wants for his kids. Therefore, because he supports this second family and wants that for his kids, he is picking up the slack that allows DH1 to work 40hrs/week and drive a new pickup truck, and give his new wife a fantastic life. My DH is essentially subsidizing his lifestyle, which right now, at it is 9:09pm and DH2 is still at the office, I feel pretty bad that I haven't asked DH1 to fill a bit more of his obligation. My youngest didnt get to see her dad tonight before bed, because he was working harder so DH1 doesn't have to.
Stories like these make me understand prenumptuial agreements. I have heard men and women both loosing a lot without it.
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#63 of 69 Old 02-01-2010, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post
Stories like these make me understand prenumptuial agreements. I have heard men and women both loosing a lot without it.
DH2 and I had a prenup. We both felt like we had something to lose, and based on our first marriages, with good reason. It was a hard process to plan your divorce prior to marriage, but we both were really scared. We have gone back and modified that prenup over and over, the longer we are married. Right now, there is not much that does not criss cross, but that was one thing that was important to us. It seems a little silly now that we are immersed in a really healthy marriage, but at the time, no one could have drug either of down the isle without.
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#64 of 69 Old 02-01-2010, 04:35 PM
 
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I hear the step-moms on here saying that sometimes support is unfair, and while I guess that can be true... It is true that if it isn't forced sometimes it doesn't happen. I am on the verge of filing for support for my DD. She is 11 and she isn't getting cheaper to raise. I have asked her dad to pay for 1/2 of her braces and for half of her violin lessons (not much considering that we (DH and I) provide medical insurace, medical visits, her home, all of her food, all of her clothing, wants, etc.)

He is going to be paying for almost half of her braces, minus 400, but refuses to come up with his half of violin. I'm sorry, but when I pay for everything, $75 a month isn't asking much. It sucks to be in the position where you are having to ask for money. It makes me feel like a bill collector and I think that if I just let the state deal with it, then maybe he will see that I was being reasonable in the first place...

It is hard to be in the position of wanting your child to have his/her needs met, wanting them to have a positive relationship with the other parent, etc.

OP, if you have to file with the state to get your child's needs met, I understand.

Mommy to Kait 1/1999 and expecting another awesome small person with my amazing husband joy.gif
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#65 of 69 Old 02-06-2010, 12:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
He may not neccessarily be taking home $5,000/month... taxes, 401K contributions, health care contribtions, etc.

But regardless, I guess I just don't really look at it as a "oh non-custodial makes this much money, I should be entitled to X" as much as a "realistically how much does this child need for normal everyday expenses"

I'm not a fan of the entitlement clause that is part of so many states systems, because in the end it screws the second family. As I said, I know this turns into a hot topic, and I likely should have kept my mouth shut... but I think our perspective should be heard sometimes too.

I live in a state where the custodial parent can keep taking the non-custodial back through the system again and again for any kind of raise to their salary. They look at it as the child is entitled to more money because their parent is now making more money.

No one looks at nor cares if parent is trying to make more money just to start living after CS. I know this isn't neccessarily the case here... but well, in some similiar ways it is.

For instance, OP said she knows her ex and his fiance are planning on TTC soon. What if fiance is planning on being a SAHM? Then all of a sudden another $300/month needs to come out of budget. We have no idea what other financial obligations this family has... what may look good on paper, may not be.

My DH looks like he can easily afford the $600/month that he is paying... but in reality it leaves him with not much to live on. Thankfully he married me and I have an income so he actually gets to have a roof over his head...

I digress... my DH is looking to finish his degree in engineering where he can earn more and hopefully give me my dream of being a SAHM.

But I'm not going to hold my breath for my dream to ever happen... because I know well enough how my states system works and if ex wants to take DH back to get more money when he gets a better paying job, she can get it... leaving me no choice but to continue to work just so my family has a roof over it's head.

Just some perspective from the other side...
Chiming in here as well:

At least in Ohio, we have a table set in our Revised Code that sets out what each combined income level's amount of support per child should be. I am not going to go pull the table, so I am just throwing out numbers here...

If combined income is $75,000, then the total amount of that combined that should be used to support the child is $15,000 a year. There are several factors taken into consideration when then determining each parents portion of said support, including but not limited to:
1) # of other biological children of each parent living with them;
2) amount of support they pay for other children (ie if there is an already existing support order for another child)
3) Cost of health insurance to cover the minor child(ren) of this support order
4) Cost of uniforms/dues and mandatory education related expenses for work (ie some professions have to take continuing education units every year or two).
5) Taxes paid by each parent for local/city income taxes
6) Extra ordinary travel expenses involved with visitation
7) Extra ordinary medical needs/expenses of the child(ren) of the order
8) Costs of child care.

So, one parent, even though they make a bit less could still end up having to provide more of that $15,000 a year support of the child than the other parent who makes more; or it could be less.

When we have children, we take on the burden of providing for those children, even when it might make our lives more difficult. So, if you have a child and have to pay for its support, but to do so you have to cut out other expenses, that is not the fault of the child. One parent should not have to shoulder the entire burden just because paying a child support order would put an burden on the other parent.

My best friend gets $1,400.00 a month in child support for one child. Why, her x makes $138,000+ a year, but covers absolutely nothing for the child. She makes $32,000 a year but covers medical, dental, optical insurance; school uniforms; child care costs; and everything else for the child. Her only x only gets travel expenses since he moved over an hour away.
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#66 of 69 Old 02-06-2010, 06:15 PM
 
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Yes, income is clearer than needs. I agree that it's usually the best way. But when there is no income there are still needs, and I recognize that when income goes to zero, support does not. That's all I meant. I mean, if we went only by income, then his child support would be zero right now, which probably isn't the right number either. There is no perfect formula. It sounds like yours is a lot easier to adjust than our is, though. Also, ours makes no allowance for parenting time. When DH had them 50% of the time, he paid the same amount.

As far as financial priority, I suppose we'll have to disagree. I would find it unconscionable to assign a priority to one child over another, in finances or anything else. Do you financially favor your oldest child? If so, then I'll at least grant that you are consistent.
Throwing this out....

How much of your income goes to your children (ie how much do your children eat in food for a month money wise; how much for gas to transport them back and forth; how much for their extra activities; how much do you spend in a month on their clothes; how much do you spend a month to do laundry for them; how much of your utility bills covers what your children use; how much of your mortgage/rent covers the amount of space/area your children occupy...)?

If you make combined $50,000 (spouse makes $40,000 a year of it, and you make $10,000 a year of it) a year, and you on average spend $10,000 a year per child, then if your DH has a child by another person, it is reasonable to expect that he would have to pay his fair share of the money to support that child as well. So, if the combined income of both parents (assuming the combined income is the same for simplicity sake), he has 80% of it, then it is not unreasonable to expect him to pay $8,000 a year to help support that child. And that the other parent, making only 20% of the combined income to pay $2,000 a year.

Even in cases of poverty, a parent is generally required to pay at least $50 a month to help support that child. It goes nowhere near being enough generally

It is not fair for a child who would have lived in a house where the income would have been $50,000 a year between the two parents to not get the same advantages the child would have enjoyed had the parents not separated. Child Support is to support the child, not the custodial parent.

A perfect example here - my SIL has been divorced for about 12 years now. She has never gone back to have her CS raised, even though she is financially struggling. She actually does not even use the child support, it is put into a special savings account for the child. Furthermore, her x is paying the full amount of private education tuition, and they take turns with transporting the child back and forth for visitation (about 1 hour drive each way).

Child support computation sheets take a lot of factors into consideration....they take into consideration how may other children you have (you are given a credit for the Federal Tax amount for each child who is living with you who is your bio child not of the marriage); the parent who pays for child care gets a credit for that in the computation sheet; the parent who pays for health insurance also gets a credit for that; if you have uniform costs for work you get a credit for that; if you have union dues or educational requirements for work you get a credit for that.

It will not take into consideration that you purchased a house to live in, that is more than you can reasonably afford on your income. Because in all honestly, you can move and get a smaller house payment. If you have credit card debt, it is not the fault of the child(ren) involved...you don't have to have a cell phone or internet access, or cable TV to live....those are the "nice" things in life that everyone wants.
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#67 of 69 Old 02-06-2010, 07:30 PM
 
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And yes, when DH and I were on the rocky slopes and I was looking into what I'd get in CS, it was pretty disturbing how much less I'd receive compared to his first child, as first support order are never adjusted because the exact verbiage is "first families first." Let me tell you the warm tingles that gives me as a "second wife."
Not all States are like this.

Each "family" unit - first, second, third, etc...are going to be treated differently.

Why - because each "family" unit is going to have their own combined income, and most likely no two combined incomes will be the same.

There is more to having kids than the cost of clothing and food...every single thing you pay for includes a cost for your children, even your mortgage/rent. Without your children you could be in a smaller house/apartment...you could live with a smaller car...for me at least, I wouldn't be spending as much a month in gas as I do.
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#68 of 69 Old 02-06-2010, 07:41 PM
 
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And exactly as the above post says... say DD wants to take dance class like her sister does in a couple years... right now there is zero extra dollars to pay for it. If DH were to pick up a part time job to help bring more income into our house so DD has some options at extracurriculars like her sister... well, we may well not see that money and DD is still out of luck with less options than her sister.
What about the "first" child who cannot participate in those activities because even with the child support money her mom receives, her mom cannot afford those, but yet her bio father pays for her step sibling (yes step mothers bio daughter from another marriage) and 1/2 sibling get to enjoy all those privs. Why, because even though he is a DR and she is a lowly lab tech at a university, he and his new wife enjoy a high life style of luxury and begrudge every cent of the $1,400 a month they pay in support, when their income (and only dad works) is $150,000 a year. Oh, and better yet, bio dad and step mom wont allow the child to participate in any activities on their time, but force her to go to her 1/2 siblings and step siblings activities (dance competitions, ice skating competitions, synchro skating competitions, softball games, gymnastics, etc).

There are always two sides to the coin.
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#69 of 69 Old 02-06-2010, 08:06 PM
 
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Don't have time to read all the previous posts, so sorry if this is a repeat.

Since the ripe old age of 5, my step-son (the object of an intense custody battle) has been saying something very wise: (I'm paraphrasing.) "I don't want anybody to ask me what I want to happen. I don't want to feel like I made the choice. I just want the judge to decide." I think you should give yourself the same peace. It is in the best interest of the child that both parents pay an appropriate amount of support. Lawmakers have created child support guidelines and standards specifically so the amount won't be determined by the feelings of the parents: the resentment of the payor, or the guilt or discomfort of the payee who's asking an ex for more. Be honest on your financial declaration and let the system do its job - i.e., decide what's fair for your ex to pay.

This doesn't necessarily mean going back to court! If your attorney proposes something reasonable and in keeping with local guidelines, your ex's attorney will probably advise him to agree or to negotiate with you in writing, rather than spending money on a hearing. In my experience, the confrontational aspect of hearings and all the stress involved in preparing for them is what makes "going back to court" so onerous. Having professionals help you negotiate awkward subjects with your ex by exchanging letters isn't the end of the world.

You seem to wish you could get the same result you'd get in court, by simply reasoning with your ex. That's unrealistic. He has already expressed to you his position and you have expressed it to us: what he's giving is plenty and anything "extra" is unnecessary generosity. His position may be wrong, but it's understandable! Naturally, child support seems monumental to the person who works to earn the money but must send it away to their ex. Of course, the person who uses that support to buy diapers, food and school supplies has a more realistic sense of whether the amount is monumental or inadequate. Your ex would be a very unusual non-custodial parent, if you were able to reason him away from his own perspective and into yours, on this issue.

But if he is ordered (or pressured by his attorney to agree) to pay a higher amount, then he will realize that the new amount is what other men in his situation pay and the old amount was less. He may still resent it, but other, objective people will have decided what's fair. He can't blame the amount on you being unreasonable or ungrateful for what he used to pay.

It speaks well for you that you're concerned whether your choice to stay home with a subsequent child means it unfair for his C/S rate to go up. However, I think you'll find that such things are factored into the C/S calculation. Ask your attorney. I know here, neither parent has the option of claiming zero income. A non-working parent is still credited with the ability to make at least a minimum-wage contribution toward their child's upkeep. And if you have a degree and have earned beyond minimum wage in the past, that would likely be taken into consideration. Heck, I hear that in some states (is it NY?) your new husband's income would be a factor. Additionally, I assume that your stay-at-home status eliminates the cost of childcare, which would otherwise increase the amount your ex would owe.

One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:    or... twin sons:(HS seniors) ... step-son:  (a sophomore) ... our little man:   (a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  our
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