Trying to handle a revision of child support with my exhusband and new husband - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 09-08-2011, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I say new husband...we have been married 4 years, so not too new. :) 

 

DH1 and I married young, had DD1, married 5 years and divorced without much event.  We were both students with little income or assets to split.  We agreed I would have DD full time and he had every other weekend and a night a week.  But we moved into the same apartment complex at the time, so she ran back and forth, his work and school schedule allowed him to be child care for her so I could work some without her being in daycare, etc.  We did not get attorneys when we got divorced as we just each took a car, a couch, a tv, a bed, did the child support form at the courthouse saying he would pay $280/month and we agreed and that was it. 

 

Time went on, he went back to school after a layoff and therefore could not help with DDs childcare.  I got a great job and worked up to making $60k a year, while he was a student again making $35k.  So while I kind of knew I could get more, I let it go. Note, I hated my job, would have loved to go back to school myself, but was being a mom while he did his thing to get ahead and get a job he loved.

 

I remarried a great guy.  He remarried a great gal.  My current husband is a realtor and sold them their first home a couple miles from our home.  Everyone is on good terms.  I don't hesitate to call her DSM for things, and vice versa.  My current DH thinks he is a schlep, but is perfectly cordial and nice.  Things have been very smooth.  She is not there often, as he kind of ignore her when she is.  I do ask him for money now and then and he always pays it.  He is paying half her braces.  He picks up maybe an extra $1000 a year.  He never says no.  But does often do the..."right, like a kid needs theater to turn out ok"  or "$50 for choir uniform???She can sing at home for free" kind of stuff.  We have very different child raising ideas, thus our divorce.

 

So current situation: DD is 12 yrs old and is EXPENSIVE.  DH and I went on to have 2 kiddos, that have special needs, and my work went from full time, to part time consulting, to now about 2-3 hours a week (maybe $500/month income).  Ex-DH and his wife after planning on starting  family next year and she is planning on quitting work to be a SAHM.  I never went back and changed things because, well....we, as a family, made a lot more than them.  My husband does well and we are blessed.  We also save like hell and ex husband is a spender.  We are frugal and able to invest what we save, he is not. 

 

I had a realization this week that 1) DD costs a TON and Ex DH is no way paying half.  2) I am barely working and my DH, while he makes a lot of money, also is working 70 hours a week to do so.  So he is working 30 hours of overtime, essentially, so that Ex DH and buy a new truck and take off to play softball and bowl 4 nights a week.  I realized I was not being fair to my current DH, who is wonderful and does not complain.

 

I have avoided this for a few reasons: 1) I enjoy having a zen relationship with ExDH and his wife, because it makes my DDs quality of life in that regard, free of conflict and easy, and there is value there for me.  and 2) (hate admitting this aloud) but I feel very guilty for leaving ExDH.  He is a simple guy. Would have lived perfectly happily forever going to work and coming home to us.  I devastated him.  In his eyes I walked out and traded up.  He was nowhere near the father or husband my daughter and I needed.  But the guilt has kept me from going back for more money.  I think....will this make them unable for his wife to stay home with their future kids.  Then I realize, not my problem.  Why am I hurting my current family to help his?  Why am I making DH work more to pay for DD, and he does so lovingly, while ExDH just hangs out. 

 

THen I looked at the numbers and talked to the court.  His share would go up from $280/month to $750, PLUS half her medical expenses.  He is going to crap.

 

Sorry this is so long, but I am now scared that he will rage about this, attorneys will get involved, and the stable extended family that my VERY aware 12 yr old has will be shot to hell.  Do we negotiate to a lesser number to keep the peace?  I want to be fair to the right people, but I also do not want to start a Jerry Springer family set up when both her families have lived in eternal bliss for the last 8 years.  I feel a bit weak as I have an incredible backbone in every area of life, but I feel a little floppy on this and don't know why.  Really I feel like I am kicking ExDH in the balls after walking out, even though we are well down the road.

 

Advice, thoughts? Other than "pull my head out of my butt"? :)

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#2 of 11 Old 09-10-2011, 06:21 AM
 
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I can certainly agree he should pay more of her expenses so I would sit down and have a serious talk with him and see what he says. Word it in a way so it does not seem like you are critizing him but rather it is a fat of life- she is his dd and it takes $$$ to raise her. Most ppl know the teen years cost more then the childhood years.

But honestly at the end of it all especially for dd's sake I would value peace over $$$.

Good luck.

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#3 of 11 Old 09-10-2011, 06:36 AM
 
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I think you should go after the child support.  You say he's a good guy - can he keep his mouth shut about whats going on between you and him for the sake of your DD?  Child support is not a long drawn out process - you CAN have an attorney represent you, but its not necessary.  It's a simple income calculation, and a judge isn't going to listen to his excuses.  If he really IS a nice guy, he won't get angry, he'll find a way to deal with it without hurting the relationship between the families.  I would also be prepared to answer questions from your DD, try to anticipate things she might ask, and come up with neutral ways to answer and be ready for it. 

 

Good luck!

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#4 of 11 Old 09-10-2011, 08:10 AM
 
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I would certainly try to work it out with him directly. Especially once divorced couples get further and further down the road, the choices people have made for two separate families become hard to separate from the money that was available to them at the time. Would you be working if you other two children did not have special needs? Would your husband be working 70 hours a week if you hadn't decided to have additional children? Would your ex be able to afford his current mortgage if he had a significantly higher child support payment? Would he have gone back to school when he did, increasing his current earning ability? Who knows the answers to all these questions... Each choice we make, each circumstance, plays into the decision making for the next one, and there is no way to really know what has effected anything else. So all the history about how your family and his family got to where it is today isn't nearly as important as where everyone is right now... the current reality, not the what-ifs, is the place to start from, I think. That isn't to say people won't need to make different choices based on the new amount, I just mean that how each of you got where you are shouldn't figure into the financial reality now. 

 

To my mind, the child support system is intended to be the most fair to the most people, but that doesn't make it the most fair for every situation every time. I would talk to your ex, let him know that (a) you clearly are both in different places financially than you were when child support was set, and (b) you feel like your daughter is getting more expensive the older she gets (her clothes cost more, she eats more, she needs more stuff for school and personal use, etc) and that you feel like you need to take another look at child support so that this increase is more fairly divided. If you have an amicable relationship, and you come at it with an approach of wanting to solve the problem in a way that is fair to both of you, I bet you can come up with a number between $280 and $750 that seems relatively reasonable to both of you.


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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#5 of 11 Old 09-11-2011, 02:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aricha View Post

I would certainly try to work it out with him directly. Especially once divorced couples get further and further down the road, the choices people have made for two separate families become hard to separate from the money that was available to them at the time. Would you be working if you other two children did not have special needs? Would your husband be working 70 hours a week if you hadn't decided to have additional children? Would your ex be able to afford his current mortgage if he had a significantly higher child support payment? Would he have gone back to school when he did, increasing his current earning ability? Who knows the answers to all these questions... Each choice we make, each circumstance, plays into the decision making for the next one, and there is no way to really know what has effected anything else. So all the history about how your family and his family got to where it is today isn't nearly as important as where everyone is right now... the current reality, not the what-ifs, is the place to start from, I think. That isn't to say people won't need to make different choices based on the new amount, I just mean that how each of you got where you are shouldn't figure into the financial reality now. 

 

To my mind, the child support system is intended to be the most fair to the most people, but that doesn't make it the most fair for every situation every time. I would talk to your ex, let him know that (a) you clearly are both in different places financially than you were when child support was set, and (b) you feel like your daughter is getting more expensive the older she gets (her clothes cost more, she eats more, she needs more stuff for school and personal use, etc) and that you feel like you need to take another look at child support so that this increase is more fairly divided. If you have an amicable relationship, and you come at it with an approach of wanting to solve the problem in a way that is fair to both of you, I bet you can come up with a number between $280 and $750 that seems relatively reasonable to both of you.



I think my problem with this is that a person's child should be among their first concerns.  As a person makes more money, and their children get older and more expensive, they should be stepping up to the plate.  I guess I just think that when a person is making more money, their first thought should be to make sure they are contributing more to their children, since thats what custodial parents are required to do just by the nature of being the custodial parent.  The financial burden should be shared.

 

I don't have a problem with parents working out an amount different than what the court calculations say the amount should be, but only when its an amount that will actually work for the child.

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#6 of 11 Old 09-12-2011, 01:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

I think my problem with this is that a person's child should be among their first concerns.  As a person makes more money, and their children get older and more expensive, they should be stepping up to the plate. 


Absolutely, one's children should all be a primary consideration any time we make choices about our lives. And we absolutely should make sure we can provide adequately for the children we already have before we decide to have more children to provide for. I guess what I'm saying is that it is hard to retroactively untangle the decisions we made based on the information we had in the past and figure out with any certainty where we would be today if we'd had different information or made a different choice at another point in our lives. For non-blended families the circumstances that have effected your path might be less complex, but when you have two families who are very much intertwined but making decisions independently of one another, it is a lot harder to untangle who made what decisions why, whether or not they might have made different decisions in different circumstances, and what the impact of one family's decision was on the other family's future decisions.

 

In our situation, my husband and his ex decided on an amount that seemed fair to them at the moment they made the decision. We have very different life circumstances and we have made our decisions over the past few years (who is working, where we live, whether and where subsequent children go to preschool, whether someone is staying home or working 80+ hours a week, etc) based on our own financial picture at the time, which includes the current child support amount. I assume my husband's ex and her husband have done the same. In that time, there have been more children born, career decisions made, degrees earned, parents staying home and going back to work, etc. Each time we made those decisions based on a known amount of child support, not a presumption of everyone's future decisions.

 

My husband and his ex have handled additional expenses on a case-by-case basis, but neither of them have indicated that they think the other person needs to regularly start contributing more or offered to contribute more themselves. Unless one parent tells the other "hey, the amount isn't working anymore because things are costing more now," or "our finances have changed significantly and we need to revisit our agreement," the other parent may not automatically realize the expenses have changed or the financial situation is different. This could be especially true if the other parent doesn't have other children-- it would be easy not to realize what the day-to-day costs are for raising a child if you aren't having to do it yourself. 

 

For us, this arrangement is what works because it allows each of us to plan our own lives and be less entwined with the other family's financial decisions. But because we chose to be so independent of one another, if something needs to change, one of us is going to have to bring it up. And when that happens, I think, at least for us, that means looking at where we are *right now* rather than where we could be had we made different choices at one point or another... Because, honestly, if we want to look at what "could have been," both parties are going to have to be open to the other person telling them what choices they could have made differently, and I'm pretty sure the OP (or anyone else sharing custody with an ex) doesn't want their child support amount based on her ex's opinion on what she should have done with her life so that she could be working full-time right now.

 

Just like custody, if people can work it out without the intervention of a judge or a formula, I think they should. All our situations are unique, and I personally think a "one size fits all" approach doesn't actually fit everyone all that well. 


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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#7 of 11 Old 09-14-2011, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for the thoughts and different perspectives.  My plan is, after talking to the court, to do something like....

Sit down with him, outside of courts and attorneys, and go over a few numbers....1) The total of the court's child support worksheet with my current income (part time consulting since home with kids) and his income, as well as the fact he only has one child (vs the bracket they use for multiple children, which would be used is he and current wife had a child)....2) The total if I was to go back to work (so he can't say...I didnt make you have 100 babies and stay home after you remarried) + his income, etc...3) Both my income scenarios, and him on the multi child bracket, since he and new wife are trying for a child together.

 

What my goal is, is to let him see that the number is nearly the same if I am working or not, due to the jump in income bracket (so he does not think I am trying to put one over on him)....and I am going to also offer that we go off of the multi child bracket, since likely that will be his scenario in a year or two. 

 

From that number, my hope is we can find a middle ground.  I am optimistic, that while he may be pissed, he will know it is the right thing.

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#8 of 11 Old 09-15-2011, 01:38 PM
 
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That sounds like a really reasonable plan, and that it has the best chance of you guys working out what is fair for your particular situation. I hope it goes well for you! 


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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#9 of 11 Old 09-15-2011, 04:29 PM
 
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That does sound like a good plan.  You might also want to bring some information for him, so that he can see that your dd is getting more expensive as she gets older.  Things like how much her activities cost, clothing costs, school supplies, cell phone if she has one, etc.  That might help him see that you aren't just asking for more money just cause, but b/c your dd does need the extra financial support.

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#10 of 11 Old 09-19-2011, 08:37 AM
 
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Your plan seems reasonable. I was going to say that the courts here would probably calculate your income as more than $500 a month since you have made more in the past and are "choosing" to work less. They usually calculate using either full time min. wage, or they can choose to calculate what you could make if you were working full time based on your education and past work history. Sounds like you thought of that. 

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#11 of 11 Old 09-19-2011, 08:49 AM
 
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One question - does Dad have input in what activities the child is involved in? He might be more amenable to helping with those expenses if he's given some choice/input. I know I'd be rather peeved if my ex made a unilateral decision and expected me to pay for it.

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