reconsidering garnishing wages - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 11-21-2005, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, I've complained before about dss's biomom and child support. The last I talked about this, SO was getting the paperwork together to file to have her wages garnished.

Well, over the weekend, I did some math. (we know how much she works, and how much she makes. We don't ask, she has told us). Anyway, I did some math, and well, IF her checks get garnished, she's only gonna be taking home about $50 a month. Honestly, I think she'd just quit if that were to happen.

So, here's the dilemma. Do we file to garnish, and get what little they can give us before she quits? Or do we just accept what she gives us (we do anyway), and not 'complain' that she *decided* on her own to cut the child support..?

We do feel like she should be giving us more, and feel like we SHOULD go the route of garnishing, especially after this last fiasco with her deciding she should be giving less. But, if we do, there's a good chance she'll just quit her job...

What should we do?
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#2 of 24 Old 11-21-2005, 08:58 PM
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Just jumping in but I think if people have children they need to support them. It's also not up to the parent as to what is a proper amount to pay. Child support is not only to help feed and cloth the kids, but it's also to help shelter and enrich their lives. If she is to be paying a set amount then that's what she needs to pay and if she feels it's too high she can take it up with a judge. If you garnish and she quits, what will she do? Will she go on welfare? Will it make her life better or worse? I would rather look at what position she will be in either way and choose the most uncomfortable one for her. Why should she live a nice easy life while her children have to go without because she doesn't want to own up to her responsibility? You may not get any support if she goes on welfare, but is she responsible for back support for the months she has no income? She will have to get a job eventually and if you let her know right now that you are not going to let her take advantage of you then she won't try to pull this stuff again.
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#3 of 24 Old 11-21-2005, 09:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If we garnish and she quits she'll do what she's done the past 3+ years. Not work, and either not give us ANY money or give us $20 every other week... Apparantly since she lives with her boyfriend, they don't qualify for welfare, so that's not an option at all for her. She only works part time, and cannot work much more, because they cannot afford daycare, so she works around her bf's schedule. (which we understand since I'm in the same boat, and do the same)

It won't help EITHER of our families, and yes, I'm concerned for her family too, she has a 9 month old who needs to be fed too...

She will owe back support, which is a few thousand dollars, but I don't think we'll ever see, no matter what, honestly.

We don't want this to be us vs her. We want to be civil, we just want her to realize that she's just as repsonsible for her oldest son, as she is for her new baby. She just really seems to think that since we raise dss (and do so well, IMO), that she doesn't NEED to give the whole amount.

I'm really just looking for a civil and REALISTIC answer to this. If we garnish and she quits, she will give us LESS than what she gives us now. She doesn't give us the full amount, but it's more than when she's not working and her boyfriend gives her some to give us. To be hoenst, we need every penny we can get. Southern California isn't a cheap place to live

So, that's my dilemma. We pretty much go for ALL and TRY to get it, but risk getting next to nothing, and risk her getting angry. (we try to keep things civil and give her no reason to take anything out on dss) Or, we deal with what we get now, which is little, but better than nothing...
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#4 of 24 Old 11-21-2005, 09:38 PM
 
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They can't garnish more than 50% of her paycheck. So, even if you did have her checks garnished, then you won't be getting the full amount of support (but you'll be getting something). If child support is that much of her income, does it need to be reevaluated?

Also, if you start proceedings for garnishment, they'll take her tax return if she is still in arrears when tax time comes around. So, depending on her situation, if she quits her job now to avoid paying, well, when it's time to get her tax return, she'll be obligated.
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#5 of 24 Old 11-21-2005, 11:03 PM
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It sounds like you already know what to do.

Thank god I'm not in this type of situation. It's very nice of you to consider her 6month old child. It drives me crazy that men/women will continue to have children when they already fail to support the child/ren they already have. It's all well and good that her and her new partner want to start a family together, but it's sad that it is at the expense of her son.
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#6 of 24 Old 11-21-2005, 11:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilsishomemade
They can't garnish more than 50% of her paycheck. So, even if you did have her checks garnished, then you won't be getting the full amount of support (but you'll be getting something). If child support is that much of her income, does it need to be reevaluated?

Also, if you start proceedings for garnishment, they'll take her tax return if she is still in arrears when tax time comes around. So, depending on her situation, if she quits her job now to avoid paying, well, when it's time to get her tax return, she'll be obligated.
This is true- most states won't take more than 50% of after tax pay, some will take up to 60% of take home pay, but as far as I know, there isn't a state that will let the parent have only $50/mo. It's set by the courts, you don't get to decide. So, the only way she'll only take home $50 is if she's only making $110 or so before taxes. I think court ordered garnishments are the way to go, to protect both sides. If she's giving you money in cash, what's to keep you from saying you've got nothing over the past however long. Likewise, what's to keep her from withholding the money?

I've set up so many child support payments, I can't even count. I've talked to people disputing how much is taken out, how much they're getting, etc.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#7 of 24 Old 11-22-2005, 12:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Really? They only take 50%? I did not know that, but it's good to know, now I won't feel like I'm taking away from her baby if we do garnish... (which is a relief to me, no child deserves to go without!)

She doesn't make much, but our state sets child support by what you're capable of making and have made in the past, not just what you currently make. She's capable of making more, she just won't get a job where she can, if that makes sense.

Everytime SO has tried ganishing her checks before (even well paying jobs), she'd quit as soon as she found out.

Her take home is only about 450$ a month. not alot, but even half of that is more than twice what she gives us right now.

It's good to know though, that we won't be taking everything away from her baby too.
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#8 of 24 Old 11-22-2005, 12:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shelbean91
If she's giving you money in cash, what's to keep you from saying you've got nothing over the past however long. Likewise, what's to keep her from withholding the money?
I've also thought this too, and have tried to get SO to give her reciepts. He says he used to at first, but she wouldn't take them, so he wrote them anyway and kept them, but stopped after a while. I said he should start doing it again.

We've kept a written record of what she's given over the last year (when I moved in). I also think we should give her a copy of this when we do file to garnish, so she has what we have, and so that she can dispute any of it, if she has also kept a record, ya know?
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#9 of 24 Old 11-22-2005, 01:53 AM
 
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I wouldn't worry about keeping receipts of what you give her if she's not concerned about it. It's very generous that you're willing to do that for her, though.

I worked for a payroll processing company that does business in all 50 states (processing payroll for small businesses). I worked in AZ and our accounts were AZ, NV, and NM, so I didn't see too many other states, but most states (I set up about 10-20 different state cs garnishments) were either 50% or 60% of after tax pay (not after medical, 401k or any other deductions, just pay after taxes removed (FICA, federal, state).

If it's set up through the court, she can quit, but every time she gets a new job, it will eventually catch up with her. Some states, if you don't keep a job, you can be put in jail for non-payment, even if you don't have a job. (It happened to my uncle when he became unemployed- not for too long, but still.)

I'd probably try to go through the courts. Let her know you're doing it to protect her as well as yourself. You've got nothing to lose, right?

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#10 of 24 Old 11-22-2005, 02:07 AM
 
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Also, if you go through the courts, the state keeps track of it, and you don't have to. Child support will go to the state, then the state will issue you a check. So, even if she does quit and falls waaaay behind, you'll be entitled to part of her tax return, and when she does go back to work, it'll start back up. She really can't hide from it.

DH's ex is having his wages garnished (he was late on a payment, and she immediately filed a claim, it's not that he's behind). When he changes jobs, Texas knows where he is almost immediately. It's actually pretty convenient now that we've gotten over the resentment of her doing that to us, we don't have to worry about it, she's taken care of and there is proof that she's getting paid, so when we have to go back to court, she can't say we're not doing it, etc.
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#11 of 24 Old 11-22-2005, 09:17 AM
 
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I'm currently facing the same dilemma: I'd suggest that you give her a straight either/or. Either she sets up a bank transfer so that you know how much to expect, and when, or else you apply to have her wages garnished. Furthermore, I'd consider paying a solicitor to write the letter for you.
FWIW, the decision I made is that we would apply to the child support agency (our equivalent of garnishment), but would voluntarily meet more of the travel costs (the divorce was granted without any orders regarding the children, hence why access visits have been so messy: BUT it did state that maintenance would be paid in accordance with CSA, so technically I'm just sticking to the legal agreement.) We have had a substantial amount of flack over it already, though.

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#12 of 24 Old 11-22-2005, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone. In the past SO has filed himself before, and has once gotten her full tax refund. For a while she was also uneligible for Medicaid because of non-payment. But when she quit that job and he let things get unformal, it went back to normal.

This time, he is thinking about going through the DA rather than filing himself, pretty much for the same reasons everyone stated..lol They can keep better track of what she gives and what she doesn't, and it's just better in the long run for us if they have it all documented...

I have to go into the court next week (regarding my own ex-husband), so SO was going to do everything then as well.
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#13 of 24 Old 11-22-2005, 07:55 PM
 
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Why do you think she is she making less than she could be?

Do you think enforcing CS will lead to increased visitation? How do you feel about that?

How is your existing relationship with her (I mean you and your DH and her), do you value that? How do you think this relationship will be impacted by this action? What is more important in the long run for the child?

I think you should get what you are owed but in my experience in step life I have come to a place where I also stop and think about not just what is RIGHT but what works best...sometimes I find that doing what is wrong works better for everyone- especially the kids.
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#14 of 24 Old 11-22-2005, 08:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MommyMine
Why do you think she is she making less than she could be?

Do you think enforcing CS will lead to increased visitation? How do you feel about that?

How is your existing relationship with her (I mean you and your DH and her), do you value that? How do you think this relationship will be impacted by this action? What is more important in the long run for the child?

I think you should get what you are owed but in my experience in step life I have come to a place where I also stop and think about not just what is RIGHT but what works best...sometimes I find that doing what is wrong works better for everyone- especially the kids.

We KNOW she's making less than what she could be because she has a decent education, but instead works for minimum wage at where-ever. The COURTS also KNOW this, which is why her support is pretty much her entire paycheck right now. She's COURT ORDERED to pay what she's CAPABLE of, not what we 'want her to'... That is THEIR standard, and we trust the courts decision.

How would forcing the CS issue do anything to visitation?? WEEEEEE set up a schedule with her so she could see him more, rather so HE could see his mother more. WEEE know it's important, and hoenstly we wish SHE WOULD see him more, but she doesn't have time...

We have an OKAY relationship with her, other than the fact that we feel like she walks all over us regarding *deciding* herself that she should pay less child support, and regarding her TELLING us when she'll drop off DSS etc, and not trying to help accomodate our lives the way we try to help with hers.

We do think this IS what's best for the child involved. He deserves the child support, right? He deserves his mother being respsonsible for him, right? How is that NOT in his best interest?

I'm sorry MommyMine, but you were wrong about my situation in another thread, and quite honestly have only upset me here as well. I don't think you're understanding things I say, I'm sorry....
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#15 of 24 Old 11-22-2005, 08:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilsishomemade
They can't garnish more than 50% of her paycheck. So, even if you did have her checks garnished, then you won't be getting the full amount of support (but you'll be getting something). If child support is that much of her income, does it need to be reevaluated?

Also, if you start proceedings for garnishment, they'll take her tax return if she is still in arrears when tax time comes around. So, depending on her situation, if she quits her job now to avoid paying, well, when it's time to get her tax return, she'll be obligated.

True, True...

I would also like to add, though, that there is some compensation given to the paying parent if that parent provides health insurance coverage (not sure what $$ difference that makes ) also, that if she continues to have more children, and still makes the same money, that her required amount to pay can decrease- determined by the judge... (ie that her income would in effect be split by more children more evenly).

I gave up the child support battle. The state office figures out what she owes and they go after payment. What we get for dss is what we get, and what she has to pay, she has to pay. There is little argument over it. I think it is partly due to the fact though, that my dh was the payer for many years first.

Good luck
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#16 of 24 Old 11-22-2005, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We considered her having another child decreasing her chils support. We made a call to the DA over a year ago (while she was pregnant), and were told it would not in ANWAY affect what my dss is entitled to. She can have as many children as she wants, but her repsonsibility to my dss won't change because of that.

She is also court-ordered to pay half work-related childcare (but since I'm a SAHM, there are none, even when there was she didn't help though), help be eitther providing health insurance, or half of health care costs, which she doesn't. She's also court ordered to pay half of his school and after-school activities, which she, again, doesn't pay a single cent of.

Of ALLLLL the things she's court ordered to pay and help with, we really don't think simply asking for the full amount of child support, and NONE of those other things, is too much to ask for. We NEVER push the other stuff, NEVER mention it AT ALL. And 9.99999 times out of 10 we never complain to her about the amount of money she gives us. We take what she gives, and are grateful. We truly are, but sometimes, it gets to be too much for us, hoenstly

We were very understanding when she was pregnant and oculdn't work, and when she first had her baby. We really try to be kind people, and try our best to be civil or even better than simply civil...

We're just getting fed up and feeling a bit used and taken advatage of
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#17 of 24 Old 11-22-2005, 08:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MomBirthmomStepmom
We KNOW she's making less than what she could be because she has a decent education, but instead works for minimum wage at where-ever. The COURTS also KNOW this, which is why her support is pretty much her entire paycheck right now. She's COURT ORDERED to pay what she's CAPABLE of, not what we 'want her to'... That is THEIR standard, and we trust the courts decision.
I understand how the law works. I think I asked why do you think she is doing this. My advice would vary based on the reason. For example I have seen NCP who went into a depression and were frankly so depressed they were incapable of presenting themselves in a way to get a good job. I have also seen some who just choose to get a lesser job because it seemed more fun to work as a cocktail waitress. Other examples are former SAHM prior to divorce.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MomBirthmomStepmom
How would forcing the CS issue do anything to visitation?? WEEEEEE set up a schedule with her so she could see him more, rather so HE could see his mother more. WEEE know it's important, and hoenstly we wish SHE WOULD see him more, but she doesn't have time...
I think that this is important to consider because it is often a consequense of enforcing CS that a rather distant NCP will become more active in the child's life. I understand that legally they have no relationship but I think people feel more like "they bought it" and so they have more ownership. I see this time and time again (I think right now there is another post about this) I would expect that she will exersize more visitation if she is forced to pay CS- I often recomend seeking CS simply because I think more time with the NCP is better for the child- however if the NCP is destructive to the child it is worth considering when you ponder seeking payment of support.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MomBirthmomStepmom
We have an OKAY relationship with her, other than the fact that we feel like she walks all over us regarding *deciding* herself that she should pay less child support, and regarding her TELLING us when she'll drop off DSS etc, and not trying to help accomodate our lives the way we try to help with hers.
doesn't sound like a good relationship since you feel used- however consider that if she starts paying cs it could go from this to one of her being very involved as a parent and very questioning of your role specifically as a parent in her child's life...she could become an UBER parent....you know her best...could that happen? If you think it might you may try to not seek support but istead reframe your actions not as being taken advantage of but as you using her to keep her out of your life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MomBirthmomStepmom
We do think this IS what's best for the child involved. He deserves the child support, right? He deserves his mother being respsonsible for him, right? How is that NOT in his best interest?
He does deserve cs and he does deserve a mom who is responsible for him...I don't think you can make her become responsible and I am not sure you can even force her to pay cs (as you point out she may just quit her job)

I am sorry you feel I am so offensive. I was only asking questions....I am not sure how my questions were so offensive but feel free to ignore them.

I have been living in step for more years that I wish to admit. I started out full of ideals. I have learned that you can't make a person do what they should do. You can't keep control when you live in step. I try now to live in step like water...path of least resistance. ALWAYS choose the easy course that is best for the child.

I now allow several casual abuses to our parenting plan becuase it is easier on everyone if I do. Letting go has lead to a far better relationship between parents and that, in my situtation, is better for the child. BTW ask me if I think that I shouldn't have to allow that- HECK YEAH! but I have learned I can't make the ex be a better person then they are.
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#18 of 24 Old 11-23-2005, 03:11 AM
 
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I think if you guys go in and ask for it to be reviewed, they can better determine what she should pay. They may not go on what she used to make, or what she makes now, but maybe something in between, and then if she doesn't make enough for the full amout to be paid each week or biweekly, then what can't be paid out will go to arrears and keep adding up til tax season or she gets a better job. I know in MI they cannot take more than 40% of you income if you have a second family, (thats the part where they take in account for the other child). Its not that you s-son won't get what he deserves, but it jsut won't be in a timely manner..LOL.

I think if I were in your guys shoes, I would go for it. It might make things a little messy for a little while, but it will be better in the end for your s-son. You can't make her give the amount of physical/emotional time and love he deserves from his mommy, but atleast you can try for what he deserves in financial support from her. Sadly, thats better than nothing.
Stay strong mama, you both know you two have that lil guys best interest at heart, and thats what counts.
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#19 of 24 Old 11-23-2005, 03:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the replies. I'm just feeling very frustrated and over-whelmed over this.

I wish we made enough money that we didn't have to worry about a few bucks here and there, but honestly, every penny counts. The past few months we've been so close to not being able to pay rent it's not even funny. Our rent checks have bounced the past 3 months in a row, and now we need to pay with money orders only, and well, that just makes things harder.

I hate to sound so nit-picky, but we really need whatever we can get

I'm also going to the court to open a child support case against my DD's biodad, but he isn't working, hasn't for 3 years, and has no intention of working He lives with his mother and is chomping at the bit to terminate his parental rights.

I feel so sad and frustrated. It took FOUR people to make these two children, and yet only SO and I are stepping up and doing everything we can. We work our butts off, SO sometimes works 2 shifts a day for extra money, but it's so expensive to live here

I just want things to be nice and okay, but truth be told, we NEED the money more than I'd like to admit we do, ya know?

I know she probably feels the same way, so I guess I end up feeling guilty. We're not the only people in the world with money issues... It's just over-whelming right now...
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#20 of 24 Old 11-23-2005, 02:35 PM
 
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Money's tight here too- I know it's just so hard, especially with Christmas coming up. You're strong, you can do this

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#21 of 24 Old 12-03-2005, 04:31 PM
 
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This is sort of a radical departure from standard step advice but...

Your ex is eager to terminate his parental rights. His ex is clearly unwilling to support her first child. Might she be willing to terminate her rights if it meant she never had to pay again, and could focus her resources on her new baby?

If you got rid of both these people and moved somewhere where the COL was cheaper, in a few years you might look back and say "Wow, that was the best thing we ever did."

Four people did participate in the creation of your children. Realistically, they seem to have two decent parents. And two's enough, although more than two is fabulous when it works out.
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#22 of 24 Old 12-03-2005, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Smithie
Your ex is eager to terminate his parental rights. His ex is clearly unwilling to support her first child. Might she be willing to terminate her rights if it meant she never had to pay again, and could focus her resources on her new baby?
We've asked, and her attitude is NASTY about it, pretty much no way in hell will she do this, ever. Even if it meant a better living arrangement for her child, she doesn't care, she just wants to have a 'say' really...

SO, also will not (at this time at least) reconsider moving away. HIS entire family is here, and he's EXTREMELY attached to his mother... So, yeah, won't be happening, as much as I'd ADORE it to..lol (I live 3000 miles away from my family, childhood friends, and my DD's biodad) We live 5 minutes from my SO's mother, and even the mention of moving maybe 20 minutes away bugs him

He is saying though, that is because we rent, and why move away if everything we need is here? True, true. He says when we start looking for a house (in our 5 year plan...lol), we'll look further away, but still in this state etc *sighs*
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#23 of 24 Old 12-03-2005, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Should probably add, my DSS is *very* attached to his mother too, and while financially and to ease frustrations it MIGHT be easier to just cut his biomom out of our lives, it wouldn't be in HIS best interest... And of course, in the end, HE is what matters here, not our frustrations, not our issues with her... He needs her, and we know that, and try to harbor that...

It wouldn't be the 'best thing we ever did', concerning him... My DD is a different story, her biodad was abusive and wants nothing to do with her... DSS's biomom is different. She does try, I will give her that. Compared to my ex, she's a saint...lol
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#24 of 24 Old 12-03-2005, 04:51 PM
 
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Guess you are stuck with her, then. Good for you for putting dss first. If moving isn't an option, maybe someday she will be able to pull her weight a little more by providing after-school care for dss if you WOH when your biokid is older.

One of my divorced cousins said the trick was figuring out WHAT her ex was willing to do, then making that a major thing even if it was totaly unrelated to hat the court was "requiring" him to do. She said that it was often surprising what kind of burdens he was willing to shoulder, and she had to keep an open mind in order to discover what he'd do. Oh, and he definitely contributed more as the girls got older - when they were little, he insisted on having a "say" but all the parenting was done by his new wife.

But yeah, if you are stuck with her, garnish her wages and intercept her tax returns ad infinitum. I respect that she wants to SAH with her new baby, but you can't screw over the first kid to privilege the second kid.
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