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#1 of 39 Old 09-06-2006, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My ex has just emailed me to tell me that the CSA have got in touch with him: he's calculated that his payments will be around 120 GBP per month, which will mean he doesn't have money left to see the boys (90 GBP per month, but he sees them two monthly.) He's asked me to accept an independent arrangement, like the (highly unsatisfactory) one we have now, which has never really pleased me.
Please, mamas, send me some wise words and fairly quickly. Do I
a) tell him no: he should find a way of doing both- and therefore, take the risk that my boys lose contact with their father?
b) keep the status quo (I receive 50 GBP, take the boys half-way?)
c) find a subtle variation on status quo (like me getting more money and driving the boys, him doing all the transport, etc.)
d) Dunno what d should be: probably d for doormat.
To put things in perspective, right now our family is on less money than ever before: for the first time ever we're skint enough that we qualify for free prescriptions. That extra 70 quid a month could do a lot for my guys.
As you know, I hate his guts, and I'm kind of offended that he's asking. So if you can't offer a solution to my dilemma, just calming words and chill pills would be good.
Please, someone, write this email for me.
(The original text is available to the curious, btw. If you think it'll inform your decision, please lmk.)

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#2 of 39 Old 09-06-2006, 10:29 AM
 
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Wow, that's a tough one. Setting aside your hatred of him, in your heart of hearts to you think your ex is just threatening to reduce visits to keep more money in his pocket or do you think he's being sincere that higher child support will make it impossible for him to visit regularly? How far apart are the two of you that visitation is so expensive?

Even though I'm on the other side of the equation (I'm the step parent and DH pays a state-determined amount of CS) I tend to think that the sliding scales from the state tend to be relatively fair but tough to swallow. (Of course there are always exceptions to that rule). Unless your ex is facing financial ruin, I'd say stick with the CSA mandated amount--less hassle in the long run.

My inclination is to keep the higher payments but encourage your sons to have regular contact with dad via phone, e-mail, etc. You can continue to meet him halfway for visits, and just accept that they will be less frequent.

FWIW, DH actually asked the state to put his CS payments at the top of the sliding scale so there wouldn't be as much quibbling about amounts from year to year and discussions with his ex could focus on visitation, etc. We try to write and call regularly and visit DSD a few times a year when we have time off for vacation. It takes about two days of driving each way to visit for an afternoon. But I still get a little hurt when her grandparents and mother regularly go on extended cross country trips but aren't willing to meet us halfway to make visitation more often. I try to be grateful for the time that they do give us with DSD.
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#3 of 39 Old 09-06-2006, 02:47 PM
 
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What does Isaac deserve? Does he deserve to have a bit more money to do the things he loves?

I am sending you calm and peaceful thoughts.

You are an amazingly fair and just woman. You fight for your children's best interest and you will know what is best for you and your family. You no longer need be concerned about what is best for the boy's bio dad. Do what is best for your boys.

hugs from across the pond
Amy
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#4 of 39 Old 09-06-2006, 03:46 PM
 
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I just had to make a decision like that. I finally had to do what I felt was right for my family. It's never an easy decision. {{{HUGS}}}

I know every situation is different, but we decided to take the amount offered. The bio-dad said he wouldnt' have $$ left to see DS. I just quietly let him know that if he 'recalculated' his monthly expenses, he probably could. We know he spends a lot of $$ on junk food, video games, etc. Well, 3 months later, he's making the payments and still sees DS.

I wish you luck and lots of strength. Hope things get easier soon.
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#5 of 39 Old 09-06-2006, 03:58 PM
 
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oops, double post
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#6 of 39 Old 09-06-2006, 03:59 PM
 
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Hugs to you sweetie!

It sounds like you guys could use the money, you said so yourself. Whats more important: food on your table or visits with a near deadbeat? It sounds like he's just making excuses to get out of CS. What a jerk. PLease excuse my anger here, I just can't stand greedy people.
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#7 of 39 Old 09-06-2006, 03:59 PM
 
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What would you do??

My guess is that you would crawl naked across glass for a day and a half just to kiss your child goodnight.

Not threaten to never see your child again because you can't aford it.

I had a dead beat like that in my life once. Hopeful your ex doesn't end up a dead beat like mine did but you know in the end it all works out.

Whatever you do approach it with love and you can never go wrong. I know that sounds really stupid and not good advice but I'm serious...if you are at peace then everything will be O.K.

Just say to ex.."look, I really need that money to provide for our child. I wish you could keep the money but you can't. We can work on a way that you can still be able to see ds."

chicken3.gifbelly.gifwow...i'm gonna have another one!!!
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#8 of 39 Old 09-06-2006, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thankyou, ladies The reassurance means a lot.

Are there any stepmoms out there who can give me an input? Please?

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#9 of 39 Old 09-07-2006, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Shameless bump, with an update: he suggests that 80 is affordable and reasonable. The decision, ultimately, has been taken out of my hands, as his offer is far too low for me to reasonably accept it.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#10 of 39 Old 09-07-2006, 04:37 PM
 
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I'm a stepmom to two amazing little girls, and DH and I have rearranged our life (as we should!!!) to make sure that we are able to provide everything they need, and many of the things they want, within reason. The CS is fairly high for us (we only make about $2300/month, and CS is set at $1000/month) and our rent is $975, so we're struggling, but doing everything we can.

As a stepmom, I can tell you that it's hard as hell, but more than worth it. Those girls are my entire life, and bio mom or not, I would die for them tomorrow. We are lucky in that their biomom accepts me as an extra parent in their life, and is not defensive in the least, nor does she get angry when she hears the girls call me "mommy."

When people ask me how many children I have, I tell them I have three, with no hesitation.

Our children, biological/step/adopted whatever, deserve everything we can give them. I'm sorry your ex is giving you such a hard time, and I hope you can come to some kind of arrangement that enables everyone to get what they need.

mama

Sarah - Mama to Vic (1/19/00), Syd (4/06/02) Sam (4/20/06-born at 30wk2d), JackJack (2/14/07) and Charlie (4/30/10)
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#11 of 39 Old 09-07-2006, 04:52 PM
 
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Sehbub you're a better woman than I. I am a stepmom as well and what the state wants my DH to pay is absurd and honestly he's not paying it because it would mean my dd would NOT have a sahp and she would not have the quality of life that she deserves and my dsc are not suffering in the least without this little bit of money.

As for the OP if you know that your ex TRUELY can not afford to pay this amount why don't you try to work out something that you both are comfortable with. I'm sorry but I'm a firm believer that both parents need to be prepared to be the SOLE provider for each and every child they have. If they can not do that then they should reconsider the # of children they have.
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#12 of 39 Old 09-07-2006, 07:07 PM
 
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I'm a stepmom. We find the cost of access challenging - more so when the children were too young to fly on their own, as it cost us about $3000 a time. Now we're on stabler financial ground and they can fly unaccompanied, which makes a difference. When the cost was really high, we went into debt for it, just as we went into debt to get access. They're our kids, so ruling out seeing them because of cost was not an option if we could possibly swing it, even via credit cards.

From what you say, it sounds like you are getting 50 GBP a month, you take them halfway, and access costs 100 GBP a month. Doesn't that mean you're spending the 50 GBP their dad gives to support them on taking them to see their dad?? That's really going above and beyond. It sounds like he's whining to me.
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#13 of 39 Old 09-07-2006, 08:53 PM
 
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we are longdistance...we have been in a position where we really couldn't afford visitation. We put it on cc. Obviously this couldn't have continued forever...But I think you would know...I mean it can be scary to get the new number and you feel you can't do it but you find a way to tighten. I have done a lot to tighten.

On the other hand as a skid myself I think seeing dad is more important than soccer lessons...so it really depends on where you are. If you think he can afford not just meds for himself but say drinks with dinner out...and you can't afford meds. well meds comes first...but if you think he really can't afford meds either and so really, honestly can't afford travel...I would say you both try hard to make it work for the kid.

Now mind you our travel requires planes so it really is harder to eek out in a pinch...gas...I think we could do-even on our worst days.
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#14 of 39 Old 09-08-2006, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OK, thanks for the input.
The back history, for those new to the saga, is that we've been split 4 years, and in that time I have received 755 GBP from him. There's never been a point, regardless of his new relationship, where he's made an effort to contribute 10% of his income, let alone the 20% that the CSA figures are based upon, and he has only been physically seeing his sons since January of this year: the point where the current (unsatisfactory) arrangement is in place.
In the end, I have told him that I don't feel comfortable accepting his assessment of his financial situation and so would prefer to stick to the terms of the divorce agreement (something we've never yet done, because he's always been unemployed until last autumn.) If there comes a point where he asks me - nicely- to take the boys part-way to him, I think I'll probably (possibly?) take each visit as it comes, but not on the need for the correct amount of maintenance to be paid via CSA.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#15 of 39 Old 09-08-2006, 01:40 PM
 
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I find all the comments (by step mothers, especially) regarding how expensive child support and visitation, et cetera are to be very interesting for a couple of reasons.

1. Did the step-mums not realize that their DPs had children for whom they were (and will continue to be until the age of maturity) responsible for?

2. The father is 50% responsible for the creation of the children, shouldn't he be 50% responsible for supporting them?

3. The parent who retains custody of the children is on call 24/7/365. Is it really too much to ask that the non-custodial parent cough up a reasonable amount of child support?

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#16 of 39 Old 09-08-2006, 01:55 PM
 
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with all due respect, kathirynne, you may want to start your own thread about your questions and concerns about the motivations and mindsets of stepmoms prior to marriage.

flapjack asked for input from the perspective from stepmoms to help her see the other side of the equation. All those who responded seem to be very frank about the love they have for stepkids while acknowledging the financial strain at times. None seem to challenge the idea that reasonable childsupport is unwarranted.

Your questions come across to me as sarcastic and critical and not in the spirit of the stepmoms who offered their honest opinions to help out a fellow mom. Perhaps I've misunderstood your tone or intent and if I have, I apologize.
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#17 of 39 Old 09-08-2006, 02:12 PM
 
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My first question was inspired (mostly) by the following post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by MeganW
...I am a stepmom...and what the state wants my DH to pay is absurd and honestly he's not paying it because it would mean my dd would NOT have a sahp and she would not have the quality of life that she deserves and my dsc are not suffering in the least without this little bit of money....
The point is not whether the children are "suffering in the least without this little bit of money". It is a matter of parental responsibility. And as far as "the quality of life that [the poster's daughter] deserves" - wow, just wow.

Only my first question is directed at stepmothers. The other two are directed toward any father who is unwilling to help support his children.

(I thought the original post was asking for advice - not just for step mother's perspectives. My apologies.)

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#18 of 39 Old 09-08-2006, 02:25 PM
 
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Thanks for the clarification.

I apparently skimmed over that post because I had a similar reaction to it as you did. Reading it, I defintely see why you posted what you did.

FWIW, I think your three questions are still valid ones and would be happy to participate in a discussion about them.
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#19 of 39 Old 09-08-2006, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I missed Megan W's post too The sentiments are familiar though.

Kathirynne, I am looking for advice: specifically, I'm looking for reassurance. This man has a long track history of pulling my chain, and he's been trying to manipulate me a little (more than a little) on this one. Whilst I shouldn't be losing sleep over this, I am, so any other perspectives are helpful.
MeganW, thankyou for your input. I don't agree with your sentiments- I am entirely happy to be solely responsible for my children in the event of their other parents demise, but because he doesn't feel like it? Nah, I'm not as nice as your dsc's mother- but nonetheless, thanks for sharing them.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#20 of 39 Old 09-08-2006, 03:33 PM
 
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I say, let the CSA come after your was-band for the amount that they have set.

If he really wants to see the children, he'll find a way. As a pp said, you would probably "crawl naked across glass for a day and a half just to kiss your child goodnight". He'll sort it out, or he won't, but that is on him, and you need his child support to provide for your children, regardless.

I can definately relate, though. My was-band pays a pittance and complains about it.

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#21 of 39 Old 09-08-2006, 05:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathirynne
I find all the comments (by step mothers, especially) regarding how expensive child support and visitation, et cetera are to be very interesting for a couple of reasons.

1. Did the step-mums not realize that their DPs had children for whom they were (and will continue to be until the age of maturity) responsible for?

2. The father is 50% responsible for the creation of the children, shouldn't he be 50% responsible for supporting them?

3. The parent who retains custody of the children is on call 24/7/365. Is it really too much to ask that the non-custodial parent cough up a reasonable amount of child support?
)In my case the cost of visitation and the cost of child support went up considerably after we were wed so I would say I was not informed. Should I have known? well honestly I think most mothers (step or otherwise) discover once they are mothers (step or otherwise) a lot of things that perhaps they SHOULD have known before.

2) I disagree that either parent is 50% responsible for supporting. In fact that is not how child support is calculated. CS is most often calculated by taking mom's gross salary and dad's gross salary and using that to decide what the child's "income" is and then backing out what percentage of that income comes from mom and dad and then applying that percentage to the costs. In our case the mom is a sahm which I am totally supportive of but that means that in the calculation my dh is responsible for more than 80% of the child's expenses. Dh also has kids with me and I too am a sahm....so wow. he has quite a burden doesn't he? Thankfully he is up for it! But cs laws are really not about 50% support. If they were they would use gov. figures on what it costs to raise a child and each person would pay half that cost- no matter what their income.

3)I think that paying cs is reasonable and I have no issue with paying it (though I may have issues with the way our legal system figures cs but that isn niether here or there). But I think that the complaint from the custodial parent about having more time-hey we would take more time if they would give it so what do you want? Just like the cs equation it isn't fair. CP gets more time (and that is worth more than money) so we both have a sucky deal. Divorce sucks. PERIOD.
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#22 of 39 Old 09-08-2006, 08:37 PM
 
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Quote:
I don't agree with your sentiments- I am entirely happy to be solely responsible for my children in the event of their other parents demise, but because he doesn't feel like it?
But, changing your expectations can make your life much easier to live. Dh and I are in the "expect nothing" camp. His ex wasnt paying, wasnt visiting for the longest time. My ex, while he was paying as little as possible, wasnt visiting on a regular basis either. It gave us alot of stress. It wasnt fair! Why should he back out on a weekend b/c he has a dinner party? Why should we be eating ramen noodles while she buys a boat? But then it hit us - we tuck them in at nite. We see the smiles when they ace a test. We know their favourite everything! Like MommyMine said, divorce sucks and its a sucky deal all the way around. Always. But if you lower your expectations - we decided to expect nothing from them - it realllllly helps. It takes away all the anger and frustration. So when we did get a cheque from his ex it was "Woo Hoo" instead of, "only this much?!"

We starting forcing ourselves to think that if they were dead, we'd be on our own anyway, so lets get into that mindset. Any visits and cs were just a bonus!

I hope that makes sense. Its what helped us soooo much. We're no longer bitter (okay, so not nearly as bitter ) But the anger and feeling of unfairness doesnt consume us and keep us up at nite anymore.

All the best to you....
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#23 of 39 Old 09-08-2006, 08:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shenjall
But, changing your expectations can make your life much easier to live. Dh and I are in the "expect nothing" camp. His ex wasnt paying, wasnt visiting for the longest time. My ex, while he was paying as little as possible, wasnt visiting on a regular basis either. It gave us alot of stress. It wasnt fair! Why should he back out on a weekend b/c he has a dinner party? Why should we be eating ramen noodles while she buys a boat? But then it hit us - we tuck them in at nite. We see the smiles when they ace a test. We know their favourite everything! Like MommyMine said, divorce sucks and its a sucky deal all the way around. Always. But if you lower your expectations - we decided to expect nothing from them - it realllllly helps. It takes away all the anger and frustration. So when we did get a cheque from his ex it was "Woo Hoo" instead of, "only this much?!"

We starting forcing ourselves to think that if they were dead, we'd be on our own anyway, so lets get into that mindset. Any visits and cs were just a bonus!

I hope that makes sense. Its what helped us soooo much. We're no longer bitter (okay, so not nearly as bitter ) But the anger and feeling of unfairness doesnt consume us and keep us up at nite anymore.

All the best to you....
I have to agree 100% on taking on the mindset of "Expect nothing". The anger doesn't consume you.

I would put myself in my children's shoes. Would you rather see your dad twice a month and do whithout? I think visit balance would help? At least once a month. My son's bio-dad didn't want to visit and can see how important physically seeing your parent is.
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#24 of 39 Old 09-09-2006, 05:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry- wasn't clear. The access visits are once every TWO months: and this arrangement has been in place only since January 2006, after the 50 GBP month/ me drive them halfway deal was in place. In 2004 and 2005, he saw them for 4 days: two of which were during "their" (no boys allowed) holiday at a caravan park 15 miles down the road from them.
I think I'm close to the point of "expect nothing." Right now, I feel like I'm doing the right thing: I'm using the existing systems to get what my children deserve and to improve their quality of life, and I've also (and this is a big thing for me), other than spilling my guts about it on a public forum, conducted myself with grace and dignity. If he chooses to become unemployed again, or manages to find a way out of this, then I'm going to be able to let it go this time.
I think for me, the important thing is that I tried. I won't be standing in the way of him seeing his children at all, but I'm not going to try and solve his problems for him. If he asks me a specific question, he'll get a specific answer depending on the circumstances at the time. They will be spending Christmas with him and the whole side of the family regardless, as their great-grandparents are taking everyone away to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.
Thanks, ladies. You've made a horrible few days bearable.

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#25 of 39 Old 09-09-2006, 12:02 PM
 
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stupid question warning: what does GBP stand for?

I'm glad you're deciding to let it go. Its the best you can do for you and your children. And you have done everything you could! You've been accomodating financially - which teaches your kids a valuable lesson: family is more important than money. You're a great mum doing the best you can for your kids!

If the kids only see him every 2 months, would you be willing to set up an email or something for them to help them contact their dad? Try and look at it not as helping him out, but as its helping your kids to be happy by encouraging contact with their dad. Does that make sense?

I hope you feel better. Its rough, I know.
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#26 of 39 Old 09-09-2006, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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GBP = Great British Pounds.
Despite its geographical location, the only currency my computer types in is dollars. Go figure.
Both boys have their own email addresses already, btw (though they currently go through my outlook express, so I can run a spam filter.) They're just very very bad at writing letters.

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#27 of 39 Old 09-09-2006, 03:59 PM
 
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I am a step mom to be. My fiance pays $1400/month for two children. There is no exception. When he gets paid he sets aside a certain amount of money to see his daughter (she is an hour from us)(He doesn't have the expense of seeing his son as the son is a junior in college in Chicago.). My fiance gets paid every two weeks (unless he works at his part time job~ which he does more often than not) I am not understanding why if his visits are once every two months how he can't manange to save some money to visit with his children? I mean we have bills too.. Rent, insurance, etc.. but my fiance sees his daughter every week.
I would use the current exsisting system and what they say. If he chooses not to see his children that is on him. Sorry if I seem so bitter but I can't stand men who do this to their children. They think they are getting back at the mom but it is really the children that end up hurt.

Big Hugs to you!
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#28 of 39 Old 09-09-2006, 04:07 PM
 
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Ah, thank you. I figured the "P" was for pounds, but the GP part was throwing me for some reason. Don't tell my mum, she'll kill me for not knowing (she's from northern ireland..)

Well, rest easy in the knowledge that you've done all that you can do. You've set up email so they can contact, tried to be easy going regarding cs, what else can you do?

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#29 of 39 Old 09-09-2006, 04:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MeganW
Sehbub you're a better woman than I. I am a stepmom as well and what the state wants my DH to pay is absurd and honestly he's not paying it because it would mean my dd would NOT have a sahp and she would not have the quality of life that she deserves and my dsc are not suffering in the least without this little bit of money.

As for the OP if you know that your ex TRUELY can not afford to pay this amount why don't you try to work out something that you both are comfortable with. I'm sorry but I'm a firm believer that both parents need to be prepared to be the SOLE provider for each and every child they have. If they can not do that then they should reconsider the # of children they have.
Yes, sometimes the man gets the shaft in court. I know a man who had to live in his car once because his child support was so high.

He could get into serious trouble over non-payment.

You married a man with responsibilities. He should honor them. How would you feel if you were the ex and he didn't help support the children he helped to create? I am not trying to be mean toward you. But, I just don't understand.


ETA: Add a sentence.
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#30 of 39 Old 09-09-2006, 04:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeganW
Sehbub you're a better woman than I. I am a stepmom as well and what the state wants my DH to pay is absurd and honestly he's not paying it because it would mean my dd would NOT have a sahp and she would not have the quality of life that she deserves and my dsc are not suffering in the least without this little bit of money.

As for the OP if you know that your ex TRUELY can not afford to pay this amount why don't you try to work out something that you both are comfortable with. I'm sorry but I'm a firm believer that both parents need to be prepared to be the SOLE provider for each and every child they have. If they can not do that then they should reconsider the # of children they have.
Wow that is pretty rough. That is a shame that your DH is not paying for his children. It isn't just the responsibility of one parent. My fiance pays $1400 a month for two child supports AND I still am a SAHM and I homeschool. We have a high rent almost $1000/mth plus regular bills. All paid on a Paramedic salary. My fiance has a full time job and a part time job (his choice~plus he can do shifts at the Boston Garden during Hockey games and see them for free) He provides for his two children and my two children (which neither one is his).
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