child support adjustment - worth the disruption? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 02-27-2011, 06:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am stepmom to a teenager who lives with his mom.  The child support judgment was made about 6 years ago, when he was still in an expensive after school program and his mom wasn't making as much money as I believe she makes now.  Also before my husband & I had our 1st child.  I'm now pregnant with #2 (haven't told anyone yet).

 

I asked my husband to try to deal with this when DD1 was born and DSS stopped going to afterare, but he didn't really deal with it.  It was emotionally hard on everyone last time around (they'd had an informal arrangement up to that point and she took him to mediation we we got married) - but we're also looking down the barrel of another 4 years of daycare starting next fall and feeling a little daunted. DSS hasn't been in any aftercare for a few years, and DH has continued paying a higher amount, but DSS won't graduate from high school until 2014 (I'm assuming payments continue until then, not until the 18th birthday?)

 

I don't want to be a jerk, piss her off, make our stepson think we don't are about him or that he's less a part of the family, hurt DSS financially, but we also could really use the extra $300 hundred bucks a month I think the adjustment would be worth.

 

So, am I a total jerk for wanting to get this adjusted?  Will taking this back to mediation totally ruin our relationships?  Is it really worth $3000-$4000 dollars a year to get this dealt with?  These are the questions I'm asking myself.  Anyone been through this?

 

 

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#2 of 7 Old 02-28-2011, 08:35 AM
 
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We've gone through several life changes since a child support amount was agreed on, and I believe it would be financially favorable for us if it was revisited. Sometimes when we are feeling the pinch or tightening our belts, I think about that extra money and wish we could push for the adjustment to be made.

 

However, we know from experience that addressing child support is opening a can of worms, both in terms of the disruption to a co-parenting relationship that has finally found a little peace and in terms of what changes in circumstances might be counted/considered/adjusted for. Both my husband and his ex have been in the position of asking for a modification and having it more or less backfire-- it turned out there was also a change in circumstances at the other house that we didn't know about, or the particular child support person or judge felt something did or didn't warrant reconsideration while other things did, or that one person did or didn't require paperwork to support a claim.

 

So you might go in expecting your support to drop by $300/month and discover that there was a factor you didn't consider or that the child support tides have since turned and you end up paying more, or it doesn't change or you only end up reducing it by $50/mo and you now have to put up with a coparenting relationship that has gone south.

 

In the end, I ask myself if the current amount seems fair (or at least fair-ish) not based on the formula, but based on whether we can afford it, whether my step-daughter's needs are being met, and how her life style compares between the two houses. I KNOW that, for us, asking for an adjustment will set us back YEARS from the moderately positive co-parenting that we have worked so hard to achieve, and to me that has never been worth it, especially since I know there is a pretty equal chance a change would end up costing us more rather than less because of the "gray areas" in the system. Yes, I would love to have the extra money, but right now the peace is worth the price.


Parenting four little monkeys (11, 8, 6, and 4) with the love of my life. Making it up as I go.
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#3 of 7 Old 02-28-2011, 08:38 AM
 
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Oh, and all that said... I am just telling you my perspective on my own situation. I might feel a lot different if the amount was based clearly on an expense (like aftercare) that no longer exists, or if one parent's income had definitely improved significantly while the other's had gone down or stayed the same.   


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#4 of 7 Old 02-28-2011, 11:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dollyanna View Post

DSS hasn't been in any aftercare for a few years, and DH has continued paying a higher amount, but DSS won't graduate from high school until 2014 (I'm assuming payments continue until then, not until the 18th birthday?)

 

I don't want to be a jerk, piss her off, make our stepson think we don't are about him or that he's less a part of the family, hurt DSS financially, but we also could really use the extra $300 hundred bucks a month I think the adjustment would be worth.

 


One thing you should look into is whether, if your DSS goes to college, child support payments will continue until he graduates. A friend of mine began getting his child support from his father paid directly into his account at age 18, and received those payments until he was 24. This was in Oregon; I'm not sure how it works in your state. 

 

Assuming he only receives child support until age 18 (I doubt it ends when he graduates high school), then that's at least 3 more years of payments, so somewhere in the ballpark of $10,800. If you'll be paying until he graduate college, that's at least $25,200. That's a good chunk of money, *especially* if you're also going to be contributing half of university tuition and living costs.

 

This is all coming from my perspective as a parent who *receives* the support, not the one who pays! My ex and I have a fairly good relationship, but I worry about the day when we have child support readjusted. It really depends on how much you think the relationship you've built with DSS's mom would suffer from readjustment. If I may be a little cynical, I doubt it's slipped her mind that there was a reason why the child support used to be higher. It would certainly have been easier if she had suggested the readjustment, rather than waiting for you to make the first move.

 

Can your husband feel out the situation by talking to her about having it readjusted before you file? 

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#5 of 7 Old 02-28-2011, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your feedback. 

 

Aricha I definitely hear you on not wanting to ruin the relationship. I'm sure our having another kid may bring on some drama in itself...  our 1st child actually went over pretty well, but you never know. 

 

Soulcakes, I am shocked that in OR "child support" is paid to college kids!  DH would have a heart attack! I just checked & in our state it's until high school graduation.

 

If we do decide to go ahead with this I think it might be good for him to bring up the idea before he files an appeal, instead of it coming from out of the blue.

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#6 of 7 Old 02-28-2011, 05:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dollyanna View Post

Thanks for your feedback. 

 

Aricha I definitely hear you on not wanting to ruin the relationship. I'm sure our having another kid may bring on some drama in itself...  our 1st child actually went over pretty well, but you never know. 

 

Soulcakes, I am shocked that in OR "child support" is paid to college kids!  DH would have a heart attack! I just checked & in our state it's until high school graduation.

 

If we do decide to go ahead with this I think it might be good for him to bring up the idea before he files an appeal, instead of it coming from out of the blue.

 

I think its more common than you think - in my state cs goes up to age 21, or until college graduation.  I don't think it gets paid directly to the child though - I think it goes to the "custodial parent" to be used towards college expenses (I'm SO not 100% sure on that though - but I do know it goes to at least 21, unless they get married or are otherwise emancipated).
 

 

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#7 of 7 Old 03-01-2011, 07:33 PM
 
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In my state Ohio every three years either parent can request and get an automatic evaluation of child support. In does not happen through the courts the child support enforcement agency does it and when we did it we never went to court we just sent in the paperwork saying how much DH made and then DSS mom sent in the same and they sent us the amended order. I don't think that she even realized that we had requested the evaluation and after it was done she told us she was going to appeal it. I don't know if she ever appealed it but it did not change. Maybe a call to your local child support enforcement agency to see if they have something like this. It allowed us to make changes and did not affect our co-parenting relationship at all.


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Mom-type to DSS 10/12/03, Mom to DS 10/05/06 and DD 11/03/08.
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