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#1 of 23 Old 02-26-2010, 12:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, we've been trying to sort out money on our end. DH lost his job at the end of last year, and still pays fairly high CS (it's near the state cap, even). We also need to sort out this absurd business of having the kids have to travel attended, which doubles the cost of travel for us, and at $2000-$2500 a trip we don't see them as much as we'd like. So, we looked into matters.

It turns out, to file to modify anything (or everything), is about $3000 in legal fees, plus DH would have to fly out to testify (which costs more money). Now, if we really get CS substantially lowered while he's out of a job, then this could be worth it, depending on how long it takes for him to find a new job, but it's a risk. You see, there is no formula, so they could just battle it out in court. The lawyer thinks he can keep my income out of this. Honestly, I think I'd divorce my husband before I'd allow my money to be inspected and coopted by her. As it is, he advises we file taxes separately (which of course, costs a couple grand in tax penalties to do).

Of course, we don't get to know her income or even ask, as the state the kids live in doesn't think it matters. Lawyer thinks he can get travel agreements sorted out better, so that would be a big plus. But he says this is the time to file, and usually he tells us not to, so I suppose he has some credibility in the matter.

Seems pricey to me.

I mean, seriously, how can a person with no job pay $3000 just to lower CS, which may or may not even happen, and by an unknown amount? Why is there no formula? Why are there no rules? Has no parent ever moved out of state and had to fly the kids out to visit? Why no standards?

Lawyer did say our new baby will lower CS obligation. Are you sitting down? Having another child to support will lower his obligation a whopping 10%. As in 10% of the monthly CS, not 10% of his income. So it would take a while to make back $3000 in legal fees to get that part done, which I guess is why he said do it all at once. But they won't consider the baby as a factor until she's born (as in, they can't just say, if/when child is born this summer support changes to...) So we may want to file later, but he says the CS mod only goes back to the date we have her served, so we need to file soon.

This stuff is so annoying.

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#2 of 23 Old 02-26-2010, 01:17 PM
 
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I'm surprised that they will ower CS becuase you and your DH are having a child. What state is that law in?
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#3 of 23 Old 02-26-2010, 02:07 PM
 
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And, yes, the laws are written to keep lawyers in business--many legislators are lawyers, and the people who review the legislation are lawyers.

Your state seems to operate completely opposite of mine...my husband's existing CS obligation will not change one iota due to the baby. It's simply not a factor. Similarly, his obligation didn't increase when he married me, and his obligation wouldn't decrease if his ex-wife remarried someone with good income. (Her income does count because they have shared placement--if they didn't, only the payer's income would count. They're entitled to inspect the other's tax forms every year but they usually don't.) My income is completely untouchable--even if I was a millionaire who brought a paid-off mansion into the marriage (for the record, I am not and I didn't), the only thing the court could do would be to order a greater percentage of my *husband's* income to be paid in CS than the law normally allows (on the basis that he wouldn't have the normal expenses payers generally do and would thus have more disposable income).

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#4 of 23 Old 02-26-2010, 02:18 PM
 
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I'm surprised that they will ower CS becuase you and your DH are having a child. What state is that law in?
Why is that a surprise? In an intact family, if the income does not change, but the number of children increases, there will be less funds available to support each child. Why would that be any different in a split/blended family? AFAIK, you're entitled to a support modification at any time should the number of children you're obligated to support increase, regardless of what state you live in. It's simple math.

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#5 of 23 Old 02-26-2010, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The thing that struck me the most was that my income is somehow more relevant to CS than the children's mother's income. We never get to ask hers, but I have to jump through hoops to try and protect mine. Seems odd to me.

But like in proto's state, the mother getting married wouldn't change a thing. Her spouse would not be asked his income, just as she is not.

The good news in the whole thing is hopefully our arrangement will improve, albeit after some stress and legal fees. As it is, she acts like every phone call or visit is a favor she's doing us, even though we pay every cent.

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#6 of 23 Old 02-26-2010, 04:13 PM
 
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Why is that a surprise? In an intact family, if the income does not change, but the number of children increases, there will be less funds available to support each child. Why would that be any different in a split/blended family? AFAIK, you're entitled to a support modification at any time should the number of children you're obligated to support increase, regardless of what state you live in. It's simple math.
Because in an intact family, both parents choose to increase their family size. In the case of a split family where one parent chooses to have more children, ONLY that parent makes the decision. The law (in many states) will not penalize the other parent for that choice. The new partner entered the relationship knowing that the parent had a previous familial obligation.
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#7 of 23 Old 02-26-2010, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Because in an intact family, both parents choose to increase their family size. In the case of a split family where one parent chooses to have more children, ONLY that parent makes the decision. The law (in many states) will not penalize the other parent for that choice. The new partner entered the relationship knowing that the parent had a previous familial obligation.
The logic some would use is that CS is for the children, not the parents, and no children decide to be born into an intact family or otherwise, so all children are equal. Since they are all equal, they deserve equal support, hence the modification to allow such support.

Since this logic can go both ways (I see your point too), it does vary by state. Ours happens to make a modification, albeit a small one.

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#8 of 23 Old 02-26-2010, 05:35 PM
 
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Because in an intact family, both parents choose to increase their family size. In the case of a split family where one parent chooses to have more children, ONLY that parent makes the decision. The law (in many states) will not penalize the other parent for that choice. The new partner entered the relationship knowing that the parent had a previous familial obligation.
This is true. That's why (you'd hope) NCPs choose judiciously to have more children. In a perfect world, if they remarry and choose to have more children, they'll wait until they can do so without needing to modify support of the original child(ren). Of course, I'd venture to guess that the majority of the time this doesn't happen.

And you're right, the new partner does enter the relationship knowing the NCP already has children that are owed support. Unfortunately not all of them care about that original family.

Sorry for the hijack, OP.

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#9 of 23 Old 02-26-2010, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Right. So, somehow I thought I was writing about how frustrating it is that my DH, who quite literally has paid thousands of dollars per month in child support and visitation (not even counting all the health insurance and medical), who has never missed a payment for 5 years, who even sends her extra money when she asks, and who even kept paying his full rate for three months after being laid off, hoping it would be short-term, now has to fork over $3000 just to ask that it maybe get modified, since his income is now, you know, $0.

And I thought it a bit odd that I would possibly be expected to support these children I have no legal rights to, when their mother, who makes a quite fine income and has no child care expenses (so just the normal stuff, and trust me, with DH's check each month, she doesn't have to spend a nickel on her kids, or even on her own mortgage), would somehow get to keep her income private while I fight to keep mine private.

But, I see, what is most shocking here is that some state somewhere thinks that the older children can make do on 90% of what they had been getting, on the assumption that my child may deserve some support from her father too -- you know, 10% of what they get.

Yes, very shocking.

Sometimes I forget how selfish and entitled people get when they receive unearned income on a regular basis.

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#10 of 23 Old 02-26-2010, 08:39 PM
 
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While I actually do understand your frustration on many levels violet_, (especially re: your income being taken into consideration - that's ridiculous) I take great offense to your statement -

'Sometimes I forget how selfish and entitled people get when they receive unearned income on a regular basis.'

That 'unearned income' goes to the CP's children, not to pad any vacation expenses, I can certainly vouch for that.

It seems that this forum mainly exists for the wives/mothers of newly formed blended families, but there are those of us who are CP's of new blended families as well, and statements as the above really hurt.

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#11 of 23 Old 02-26-2010, 09:19 PM
 
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Right. So, somehow I thought I was writing about how frustrating it is that my DH, who quite literally has paid thousands of dollars per month in child support and visitation (not even counting all the health insurance and medical), who has never missed a payment for 5 years, who even sends her extra money when she asks, and who even kept paying his full rate for three months after being laid off, hoping it would be short-term, now has to fork over $3000 just to ask that it maybe get modified, since his income is now, you know, $0.

And I thought it a bit odd that I would possibly be expected to support these children I have no legal rights to, when their mother, who makes a quite fine income and has no child care expenses (so just the normal stuff, and trust me, with DH's check each month, she doesn't have to spend a nickel on her kids, or even on her own mortgage), would somehow get to keep her income private while I fight to keep mine private.

But, I see, what is most shocking here is that some state somewhere thinks that the older children can make do on 90% of what they had been getting, on the assumption that my child may deserve some support from her father too -- you know, 10% of what they get.

Yes, very shocking.

Sometimes I forget how selfish and entitled people get when they receive unearned income on a regular basis.
Of course it's frustrating to deal with such inequity: From what you've described, the ex-wife is free to make whatever post-divorce choices she wishes (to work or not to work, to marry a wealthy man, to have subsequent children...) and it is considered none of your husband's business. Whereas if he moves forward with his personal life, his child support obligations may increase if his household income goes up due to his new wife working, yet those obligations may NOT be reduced if he suffers a loss in income. Plus, the court scarcely recognizes his obligation to support children from this same new wife who can be required to support his prior children with her own income. Certainly, that sounds convoluted and wrong!

#1- Are you quite sure about all of this? You've read the laws yourself and aren't relying on the interpretation of a lawyer with a vested interest in having you believe that it's all so up-in-the-air and precarious that you need his (expensive) help?

#2- In the last decade, my state's family law has been largely revamped and I'm sure it was due to lawsuits from people complaining that the previous standards for both custody and child support were unreasonable. If people like your husband don't stand up and make these arguments, nothing changes. (I know, I know - like you have nothing else to do, right?)

#3- If the child support guidelines you're dealing with are clear and straightforward, have you considered going pro se and saving the $3,000? You'd still have the cost of your husband flying out to the jurisdiction his kids live in, for court. But he should be able to petition that the hearing be scheduled at a time he would be out there anyway. (Even if he doesn't go there to visit, evidently he has to fly out there periodically to pick up his kids and fly back with them? If he stayed there for a day, to attend the hearing, at least he wouldn't be buying additional airfare just to go to court.) It is a tightrope, I realize. On one hand, you're risking that the ex will have some hotshot attorney who might steamroll your husband. On the other hand, it's effective to be able to say to the court, "Look, I'm not spending money on attorneys while claiming I can't afford child support. I'm experiencing genuine financial difficulties and not just trying to weasel out of my responsibilities. So, be fair." You probably do want to have an attorney for subjective things like contested custody. But if there are consistent standards for child support calculations in that jurisdiction, there may not be much wiggle-room in the outcome. Here, it's usually a straightforward calculation: income, the kids' expenses, percentages... plug everything in and see what number you get.

#4- Don't be so hard on the responders who seem to question you. Despite your current frustration, I'm sure you can sympathize with the fact that there are women out there whose exes don't care about supporting their kids. There are non-custodial parents who either underreport their incomes or choose not to earn what they're capable of earning while their kids are still minors, just to reduce how much support they pay. There are also irresponsible men who carelessly impregnate woman after woman, serially reducing the significance of their financial contribution toward each individual kid. Some of the same laws that are unfair to your responsible husband CAN reign in these other types of fathers and discourage women from wanting to have babies with them. There's a wide range of experiences out there. Furthermore, child support is not the same as a government handout, like you allude. I'd be angry in your position, too, but that statement wasn't fair.

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#12 of 23 Old 02-26-2010, 09:38 PM
 
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?

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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#13 of 23 Old 02-27-2010, 12:39 AM
 
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In a perfect world, if they remarry and choose to have more children, they'll wait until they can do so without needing to modify support of the original child(ren). Of course, I'd venture to guess that the majority of the time this doesn't happen.
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And you're right, the new partner does enter the relationship knowing the NCP already has children that are owed support. Unfortunately not all of them care about that original family.
(Not intending to respond to you personally, yours is just a pretty good summary of what is often said re: parents who remarry and have children, and the new wife.)

Subsequent wives often enter the picture when lives and child support obligations have been determined based on one set of life circumstances, but there is really no way to predict how those circumstances might change. One could, for example, enter the picture when dad and mom share custody equally and no one pays child support. Based on that, dad and step-mom decide to have more children. While step-mom is pregnant with her 2nd child, the mom loses her job, the court allows her to move away with the child in pursuit of another job that pays less, and the child support laws take travel expenses into consideration only minimally. Mom's new job doesn't offer health insurance, so dad is required to add his son to his employer's health plan.

So step-mom came into the picture with a perfectly clear understanding that her new husband had a child from another marriage that he was obligated to support, and she was very supportive of that. They made a responsible decision to have more children, which would not effect his ability to support the child from his first marriage. Then, suddenly, without a single change or decision on their part, they find themselves having to pay a few hundred dollars of child support, a couple hundred dollars for health insurance, and a few hundred dollars of travel expenses each month.

Yes, second wives absolutely should consider the fact that their husband has an obligation to the child(ren) from his first marriage when deciding whether to marry that particular person. But there is NO WAY to predict what your future holds. Life just doesn't work that way. To me, it's like telling a first wife "well, you signed the divorce papers. You should have known that your ex was going to get remarried to someone who would hate your child, and that he was going to get in an accident and go on disability and not have to pay child support. You should have considered that before you got divorced, and you made that decision, so stop complaining."

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#14 of 23 Old 02-27-2010, 02:23 AM
 
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Violet - I totally agree and understand where you are coming from. Personally I am not offended and totally agree with your statement "Sometimes I forget how selfish and entitled people get when they receive unearned income on a regular basis" because I have been dealing with someone like that for the past 10 years. I know this is a tough thing to be going through. In our state, CS can't be lowered just because the payer had another child. However, the new child can be factored in if there is a reason for change in support - like change in income. I'm not sure of your state laws but it sounds like you will have to spend $3,000 twice if you file now and when your little one arrives.

We spent $3,000 in attorney fees to work out an agreement for a child support increase. DH's ex filed when he was working out of the country, her paperwork was requesting an increase of 150%. First of all, he was already paying twice the guideline amounts because that's what she asked him for and he said yes. A judge didn't decide the amount, she requested it and he agreed to it. Actually she wanted three times the guideline amount but DH couldn't afford that. For the increase request, she made up some crazy figure that she thought DH was making. I felt very violated to have to turn over our check book register and tax returns so they could examine our finances, W2's should have been enough. It's not really her or her attorney's business how our income is spent. My income or investments aren't any of their business either. They weren't happy with the amount of income DH earned the prior year, so they requested two more years of tax returns because "that would be a fair way to determine his income". Well guess what, that still wasn't the magic number she was looking for so they decided what he had made so far that year was what his income should be based on. Well he had had some overtime and a one time bonus so his projected income was around $25,000 more than he actually makes, it still wasn't the number she wanted but that's what she wanted and again he agreed without having a judge decide. Of course the lawyer told us we could go back to court in 6 months to show he really wasn't making that extra $25,000, but we just couldn't afford another $3,000 in legal fees.

Now I know he had a child when I married him. I knew he was paying twice the guideline amounts. I knew I wanted to have a child so I paid for DH to further his education so he could increase his income to still take care of DSS but also take care of me and our future children. I had no idea that she would benefit from my investment in DH. Not only did she benefit but she took away from my child because when the new CS amount was calculated, there was only an 8% reduction for my child. That's not an 8% reduction of DSS's original CS that was already twice the guideline amounts. That's an 8%reduction of the 83% increase she would have received if I hadn't had a child, but since we now had DD she received a 75% increase in an amount that was already twice the guidelines. Of course the court didn't care that DH had been paying twice the guideline amounts, the court didn't care that DH furthered his education so he could earn enough money to continue to support DSS while starting a new life and family. By the way DH didn't want the divorce from his ex, she wanted the divorce because she wasn't happy with the amount of money he was earning.

She put us through all this while her daughter (not DH's daughter) was living with us. We footed the bill for her daughter to go to college, we bought her a car, we paid for her day to day expenses, we paid her health insurance, and our utility expenses went up while DH's ex's expenses went down. So ladies there are people in this world who act "selfish and entitled". Of course when the CS increase was calculated, DH ex's daughter was considered because she wasn't our dependant.

So not only are the laws written to keep lawyers in business, it seems they are also written to prevent men for equally providing for any future children. In most cases, a man would have to increase his income in order to start a new family, but the first family has a right to a portion of the extra money he is earning to care for the new family. So we can't pay our bills and DSS's CS unless my husband works a lot of ovetime each month. And since overtime isn't always available, my personal savings has been almost depleted.

Of course DSS deserves to be supported, DH has never been late on or missed a payment, but my DC deserve to be supported too. Even though I thought I had figured out a way to do both, it didn't work out that way. DSS's CS was increased with the money I thought would be going to care for my DC.

Violet, I know how you feel and hope modifications to the CS and travel arrangements can be made.
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#15 of 23 Old 02-27-2010, 11:57 AM
 
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Yes, second wives absolutely should consider the fact that their husband has an obligation to the child(ren) from his first marriage when deciding whether to marry that particular person. But there is NO WAY to predict what your future holds. Life just doesn't work that way. To me, it's like telling a first wife "well, you signed the divorce papers. You should have known that your ex was going to get remarried to someone who would hate your child, and that he was going to get in an accident and go on disability and not have to pay child support. You should have considered that before you got divorced, and you made that decision, so stop complaining."
I agree with you. And FWIW, I AM that second wife who went on to have other children with a man who I knew full well had children to support from his first marriage. Circumstances changed, jobs were lost, and we were hurting for a long time trying desperately to maintain the CS to his first children while providing for our subsequent child(ren). It sucks, and it's far from a perfect system, but as a PP mentioned, there are a LOT of men who just don't give a crap about any of their children and want so badly to screw over their ex-wives that they'll do ridiculous things to avoid paying CS.





Violet - I'm so sorry for the situation y'all find yourselves in. There should be, legally speaking, some kind of grace for fathers who are obviously doing everything in their power to maintain the status quo, but for reasons outside of their control are unable to do so. Especially in this economy! For crying out loud, every fifth person is out of work, it seems.

We're in a similar situation, minus the travel expenses. We were, thankfully, able to move to the same town as my husband's XW so that we would be near the kids, but again, we got REALLY lucky.

For the first 5 years, DH was paying close to twice the legal limit for his income. He made it work by working 3 jobs at times, and we were surviving. We chose to have a child knowing that we would be fine on just my income for our household, and then that child was born premature and that income went out the window. Fast forward to now, and his income has finally reached a point where it is able to support both households. We also cover all medical expenses, have the kids on our insurance, and cover all activity fees. They will spend the summer with us, but we'll keep paying her the same amount of support even though she'll have no expenses for them for the summer (daycare, meals, etc).

In our case, CS DOES fund her "fun" stuff. She has a Wii, a new computer, a new car, and takes multiple vacations every year. Her Christmas budget this year was, according to her, "December's CS payment." So even though her income is such that CS actually is superfluous, and we're now supporting (soon) 5 children on an income designed for 2.

Trust me, I feel you. It's monumentally frustrating, and yes, people CAN get selfish when money is involved.

I'm sorry. :

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#16 of 23 Old 02-27-2010, 01:45 PM
 
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Actually, more often than not the new spouse's income does NOT get taken into account when calculating CS. If someone's is? Then they absolutely need to speak with an attorney ASAP.

There's a lot to respond to and I have to get out the door shortly, so I'm just going to pick one thing to address for now:

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Her Christmas budget this year was, according to her, "December's CS payment."
Well... so is mine. Actually, since my ex makes a point to send the December check as close to Christmas as he can get away with, I usually make it the November check. But here's the thing. I make <$20k year. My ex makes mid-six figures. CS is based on what he made when we divorced 10 years ago, and he was not making that income. That's fine. I scrimp and save, juggle bills, etc., all year so that i *can* set aside that one month of CS for Christmas gifts. Wow. How evil of me.
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#17 of 23 Old 02-27-2010, 03:21 PM
 
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In our case, CS DOES fund her "fun" stuff. She has a Wii, a new computer, a new car, and takes multiple vacations every year. Her Christmas budget this year was, according to her, "December's CS payment."
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Well... so is mine. Actually, since my ex makes a point to send the December check as close to Christmas as he can get away with, I usually make it the November check. But here's the thing. I make <$20k year. My ex makes mid-six figures. CS is based on what he made when we divorced 10 years ago, and he was not making that income. That's fine. I scrimp and save, juggle bills, etc., all year so that i *can* set aside that one month of CS for Christmas gifts. Wow. How evil of me.
This thread has touched on the fact that a 1st wife might resent a reduction in the CS she's come to expect and might jump to the conclusion: "My jerk ex-husband chose to have more kids with that woman he married and now he wants to spend his money on them and do less for us!" (and a Court might see things her way)... When in reality, the poor guy may simply have financial/job-related suffering that would have affected the 1st wife's financial comfort, even if she were still married to him. Such self-centered reactions on the part of a 1st wife are human nature. Not the noblest example of it, but natural nonetheless.

By the same token, it's human nature that the parties who sacrifice to pay that CS would jump to the conclusion that every time the ex-wife spends money on a luxury, that money came out of a CS check.

My ex and I split up when our twins were only 2. (We weren't married.) He has a high-paying job, so his CS rate gave me the option of working and having a very comfortable life OR living very frugally on the CS alone. Particularly in light of the twins' health/developmental issues, I decided to stay home full-time until they were in school and even afterward, I only worked during their school hours and not in the summers. My favorite aunt has a condo on the beach and, until I got married, I'd take the twins and stay with her for a month every summer. Food cost the same as it did at home. The only expense of playing on the beach all day was sunscreen. And the cost of driving there and back was more than offset by our utility bills back home being zero for the month! Yet my ex did complain that he paid "such a fortune" in CS that he footed the bill for my month-long vacations while he couldn't afford to quit his job and "follow his dreams", had he wanted to. I'm not complaining, mind you, but the reality of the twins' and my lifestyle was genuinely very different from my ex's understandable perception of it.

All perceptions aside, if the CP owns nice things or takes nice vacations, that doesn't mean it's right to say CS helped pay for those things rather than helping with the kid's portion of household utilities, the food he eats, the clothes he wears, his tickets to the movies, his music lessons, his school tuition and a portion of the mortgage on the house where he lives. If the CS rate the NCP is paying is unfair, that is the problem, NOT the fact that the CP found a way to give the kids a Wii for Christmas, or take them on vacations.

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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#18 of 23 Old 02-27-2010, 04:02 PM
 
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Jeannine, that's an excellent point.

I think, in most cases, if you're receiving CS it doesn't seem like nearly enough ($X00/month is supposed to cover 50% of my kid's needs?!!?! what planet is he on?! And he has a Wii and went to Mexico for Spring Break so it's not like he can't afford more!), and if you're paying CS it seems like far too much (It's not like my kid doesn't have a bedroom, food, clothes, and activities over here that I have to pay for and the formula doesn't consider that at all! And they got a Wii and went to Mexico for Spring Break with my money!).

My stepdaughter's mother is underemployed, makes about $22K/yr. Child support is not a huge amount of money because they have shared custody and my husband has been a full-time student for the last few years (income's been imputed), just graduated and is trying to look for a job. She often asks if we can pay for things because she's short this month (the entire field trip fee versus just our half, new winter boots, etc.) and we usually do because $20 to us isn't as big a deal as it is to her. This may or may not change when our baby comes, but we at least have a floor to work with (CS won't change and might go up if my husband gets a good job, even if said job goes primarily to pay for child care and health insurance.)

I *know* it grates on her to hear about something fun that we do over here that costs money...and I know it was hard for her to hear we bought a 4-bedroom house (in a city she does not feel is safe enough for her daughter, but she also knows she doesn't get a say), because she's struggling and it's not like she's partnered with someone who can help.

I also know, when get requests for extra money in the same breath we hear "I called out from work last week and took the hit because I needed a break so I went to the spa and had takeout sushi" we cringe. Truth is--we don't know whether she was really on the verge of a breakdown (in which case such a break, including the added expense of the spa and sushi, is justified and will help her and her daughter in the long run) or just didn't feel like going to work (in which case, well, we all have days like that, but we don't want to be subsidizing that for someone else, but what are you going to do?). But it's hard to hear.

Operating without full information--and, let's be realistic, we'll never have full information from the other part--is hard, regardless of what side you're on.

ProtoLawyer (the now-actual lawyer, this isn't legal advice,  please don't take legal advice from some anonymous yahoo on the Internet)
Spouse (the political geek) * Stepdaughter (the artist) * and introducing...the Baby (um, he's a baby? He likes shiny things).
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#19 of 23 Old 02-27-2010, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Ceinwen View Post
While I actually do understand your frustration on many levels violet_, (especially re: your income being taken into consideration - that's ridiculous) I take great offense to your statement -

'Sometimes I forget how selfish and entitled people get when they receive unearned income on a regular basis.'

That 'unearned income' goes to the CP's children, not to pad any vacation expenses, I can certainly vouch for that.

It seems that this forum mainly exists for the wives/mothers of newly formed blended families, but there are those of us who are CP's of new blended families as well, and statements as the above really hurt.
Ceinwen: apologies for any offense, though truly I wasn't talking about people who are simply sharing parenting costs via child support. I was talking about people who get far more than they need, and begin to feel entitled to it. In our case, there is simply no way to spend what we send on kid costs in a month, unless you have exorbitant child care costs, but in her case there are no child care costs, so I tend to view (most of) hers as unearned income.

And, as we discussed previously, the amount of CS was based, not on the needs of the children, but on the income of my DH. I'm not saying that's a bad plan, but I am saying it works two ways. If his income was high and that meant more play money for his ex, fine. But when it's zero let's not pretend that the kids will have to do without if he has support lowered. That money was not based on needs. I don't get a guaranteed income in life regardless of circumstances, and my DH doesn't get a guaranteed income in life regardless of circumstances, and no family that I know of gets this, so why should the stepkids' mother get a guaranteed income in life regardless of circumstances? And anyway their mother's salary is plenty to sustain them comfortably all by herself. I'm not saying that means he doesn't owe anything, but I am saying that having support lowered while he looks for a job is reasonable and will cause no negative effect on the kids whatsoever.

Conversely, keeping it maxed out does hurt the kids, because we can't afford to have them visit anymore. We tried to get them out here this spring, but their mother refuses to let them fly unattended, and we couldn't swing the full 4 tickets instead of two. So, we have to go to court. And frankly, changing the travel rules will help us far more than adjusting the child support, and will have no negative effect on the kids or any parent. But, because she is difficult, we have to take her to court to accomplish this. Hence my fussing.

In fact, I wasn't even fussing about child support. It is a necessary evil, and all laws have unintended consequences, so I understand that even though we pay way more than would be considered reasonable by any objective standard, these laws are meant to bust and punish the deadbeats you hear about constantly over on the single parenting forum, and the formulas they use will not always produce a just result. I get it. That's life.

I was fussing, not about CS, which we have paid consistently, but about the process of changing it, and how legal fees are high, standard formulas are nearly non-existent for our situation (so we have no idea what to expect), and how I have to work and pay extra to exclude my income from consideration.

Then, people jumped in to tell me that my child, unlike her siblings, does not deserve support from my DH, and that my stepchildren's mother is not getting pure play money from us. Well, she is getting lots of play money from us, and my kid does deserve support, but that's not really my point anyway.

But, since people want to fuss about the court daring to presume my child to have any right whatsoever to her father's support, I'll bite.
When a CP decides to have more children, she (I'll presume a 'she' in my example) just does it. No one asks whether it's fair to the older siblings to have her support spread around, and she doesn't have to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees for the right to do so. Also, her husband would not have to defend in court his right to care for their child nor his right to not send play money to her ex. And the next year, the older sibling might not get that Wii for his birthday, but no one would think to complain to the CP about it.

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#20 of 23 Old 02-28-2010, 04:17 PM
 
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Occasionally, the Step-Dad's income is computed as a factor. My step-dad made 2x what my Dad did, and when they computed child support while I was a teen, his income was most definitely included. I know that's rare, but it does happen occasionally. My step-moms income was never included though, and no changes were made when my brothers and sisters were born.

Where we are now, they wouldn't include step parent income, just the parents, and all siblings are considered. So, my ex's child support would actually increase each time I had another child, which is somewhat weird. We're not at a point where we see a need to go back for modification though, the amount my kids recieve seems to be enough to allow me to meet their needs for now and probably for a few years yet.
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#21 of 23 Old 03-05-2010, 12:43 PM
 
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Why is that a surprise? In an intact family, if the income does not change, but the number of children increases, there will be less funds available to support each child. Why would that be any different in a split/blended family? AFAIK, you're entitled to a support modification at any time should the number of children you're obligated to support increase, regardless of what state you live in. It's simple math.

It's a surprise becuase where I am from that does not happen (Ontario)

Unless you claim undue hardship.......which can be difficult.
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#22 of 23 Old 04-08-2010, 02:10 AM
 
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But, I see, what is most shocking here is that some state somewhere thinks that the older children can make do on 90% of what they had been getting, on the assumption that my child may deserve some support from her father too -- you know, 10% of what they get.
This is flawed math at best.

Let's plug in some real numbers, just for example. If your DH's CS is based on $5K/mo net, in our state, he would pay 25% of that in CS for two kids. That's $1250/mo. If, like you're saying, CS is lowered by 10% if he has another child, that would mean he'd pay $1000/mo in CS.

The important part here is his new child wouldn't be "making do" on 10% of the CS amount. If he nets $5K and pays $1K in CS with the new baby, that leaves 80% of his net income to go towards supporting the new baby. The two children from his previous relationship have to "make do" on 20% of his net income while the new baby has access to 80% of his net income.



Quote:
Sometimes I forget how selfish and entitled people get when they receive unearned income on a regular basis.
Yeah, those greedy kids from his previous relationship! They ought to *do* something to earn that child support!! What's the new baby going to do to earn her much larger portion of his net income?

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Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
I was talking about people who get far more than they need, and begin to feel entitled to it.
I'd feel my children were entitled to whatever percentage of income the state guidelines set forth. It's much simpler if you stick with basic math. One child is 20% of net income, two is 25%, etc. That's how it works in Texas, and the basic math only changes if the NCP has more than $7500/mo in net resources. And yes, the children are "entitled" to it.

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And, as we discussed previously, the amount of CS was based, not on the needs of the children, but on the income of my DH.
As it should be. If the NCP nets $1000/mo, it shouldn't matter if the children's proven needs are $1500/mo. The NCP doesn't have to give up every penny they earn, still leaving a "deficit" of $500/mo. The NCP would owe a percentage of net income just like the NCP who nets $7500/mo. How would one go about deciding what the "needs of the children" are, exactly?

Quote:
That money was not based on needs. I don't get a guaranteed income in life regardless of circumstances, and my DH doesn't get a guaranteed income in life regardless of circumstances, and no family that I know of gets this, so why should the stepkids' mother get a guaranteed income in life regardless of circumstances?
She doesn't. If it's not in your DH's bank account, it's not in his bank account. I have no doubt that if this is truly the case, that your DH simply has no resources left to pay CS with, his support order will be lowered. It's not like he's the only NCP on the planet who has lost a job and can't pay CS. It happens.

Quote:
And anyway their mother's salary is plenty to sustain them comfortably all by herself. I'm not saying that means he doesn't owe anything, but I am saying that having support lowered while he looks for a job is reasonable and will cause no negative effect on the kids whatsoever.
Not sure how you could possibly know this for sure unless you are privy to the ex-wife's finances.

Quote:
Conversely, keeping it maxed out does hurt the kids, because we can't afford to have them visit anymore.
And this absolutely needs to be brought to the attention of the court. As does the fact that your DH is unemployed.

Quote:
but their mother refuses to let them fly unattended, and we couldn't swing the full 4 tickets instead of two.
How old are the children in question? Unattended travel is typically covered in initial divorce paperwork here, and if not, it's covered when one parent chooses to move far enough away that travel becomes an issue. I wouldn't want my children flying unattended even on a direct flight until they were... heck, I don't know how old. I'd want them even older if a lay over was involved, but I'm still not sure of exact ages. Again, this is an issue that courts deal with every day, so I'm sure they have some guidelines.



Quote:
Then, people jumped in to tell me that my child, unlike her siblings, does not deserve support from my DH,
Who said your child doesn't deserve support from your DH?

Quote:
But, since people want to fuss about the court daring to presume my child to have any right whatsoever to her father's support, I'll bite.
Again, who said anything of the sort? Your new baby will have access to a much larger percentage of your DH's income than his other children do.
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#23 of 23 Old 04-08-2010, 09:14 AM
 
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The important part here is his new child wouldn't be "making do" on 10% of the CS amount. If he nets $5K and pays $1K in CS with the new baby, that leaves 80% of his net income to go towards supporting the new baby. The two children from his previous relationship have to "make do" on 20% of his net income while the new baby has access to 80% of his net income.

<snip>

Again, who said anything of the sort? Your new baby will have access to a much larger percentage of your DH's income than his other children do.
Also, even if you restrict what the new baby has access to to be only the 20% mandated by the state, that's still $800/mo - almost as much as the other two kids get, together.

BOTH parents should be contributing to the child's needs. Apparently, his ex works as well, and also provides financially for the children. Your income should NOT be included in the calculation.
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