I'm philosophically confused about child support - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-28-2006, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In general, I believe in cs. It especially seems clear when one parent cares for the child that the other parent should pay. Our situation is confusing to me, however. Could you all chime in and clarify for me?

We used to have full custody of ds when his mom lived far away. Now she lives here and has him 10 nights per month. Nobody has every paid child support. We paid for all clothes, medical expenses, insurance, school needs, etc. Of course she pays her rent and feeds him, but has never paid for clothes or other things. She does not work. We have a feeling she has applied for child support. I know she will probably get some, but I am unclear as to why.

It is confusing to me because we have him most of the time. Is child support only based on income of parents? Obviously since she doesn't work, dh makes more money. If she had a job, would he pay less cs? If she made more than him, would she pay him? I guess I'm confused about how her income plays into this. If she choses not to work (and she has no record of working) then we pay cs? That is the part that seems weird to me. I feel like if you need help paying for dss, get a job first. Can someone share the "laws" postition on this and help me understand?
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Old 10-28-2006, 09:27 PM
 
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Hello from Florida, I'm not sure how the laws will apply there, but here there is shared custody, however there is a primary residence. we are the primary and she is obligated to pay cs. it does not matter that she does not work, but her income is considered lowest on the scale. then for each overnight she has they subtract a $ amount. you need to seek legal council. it is very important, she may be able to get away with it. good luck.
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Old 10-28-2006, 09:36 PM
 
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each state is different. What is the source of income for the mom? I would think most states have an equation that tries to factor in time spent with each parent and income ( or potential income) of parents. So while you might still end up paying cs if your Dh's income is way more than her potential income. I think the fact that you have the dc for 66% of the time and she 33% would decrease cs. Though she could be going to court for more time and by defalt more $.
cs should cover clothes and school needs, etc. but I guess if you end up in court everything is up for debate. Medical can go lots of ways depending on what is available to each parent.

mom to 14yr dd and 4yr dd
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Old 10-28-2006, 09:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She lives with her boyfriend, that is her income. My confusion is really how her income plays into this. As I understand it, she will get cs because she makes less money than us. I'm not sure what her potential income is because as long as I've known her (6 years) she hasn't worked. I don't think she'll seek more time.
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Old 10-28-2006, 10:15 PM
 
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If you have primary custody and have the child most of the time, I would think that it would actually be her paying CS to your dh. However, I don't know what state you're in and what the laws are there.

Her CS payment to your dh would take into account how many days she has the child each month/year, how much is spent for travel to spend time, what her income is, etc.

Good luck!
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Old 10-28-2006, 10:30 PM
 
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Usually CS is dependent on who has promary custody of the child(ren) on paper. So, if you have primary custody (andcan prove it) chances are that she will owe support to you. If the child lives with you w/o a custody order, I'd recommend that you speak w/someone about your options.

Once the order is established (who pays whom) there is usually a formula used to determine the amount. Not having an income does NOT excuse a parent from paying CS. In my state at least, the order is based on potential income.

I'd recommend that you check with an atty or other professional who deals w/CS issues frequently. In my state at least CS and be retroactive for a certain period of time and that can create a *huge* debt immediately for someone. I'm not sure in your case who has custody on paper of the child, that does come into play in CS decisions. I have heard of families having full physical custody of the child(ren) and still paying CS to the other parent who had paper custody. It's not fair and it hurts the child in the long run.

Good Luck!
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Old 10-28-2006, 10:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We will talk to our lawyer. I just have a hunch that cs is in the works. We are in California. When we had full custody and she lived far away, I asked our lawyer about getting cs from the mom. She told us not to open that can of worms because even though she saw dss one day a month or less at that point, she could tecnically, get child support for that one day a month she had him because she had no income ( of course it would be like 20 dollars and wouldn't be worth her time to persue). I hope I was misunderstanding her. I did a couple of free california calculators based on incomes and percentage of time and they all said dh would pay her around 150 a month because of their incomes. Our state does use potential income, but I'm not sure how that works if you never work (ie. she didn't quite a high paying job). There is acutally no current legal agreement. The last agreement (which nobody's lawyer can agree on whether it is still legal) is from when dss was 3 (he's 11). It just says dh has full physical custody and the matter will be reopened in one year. . . .we've had a rather pleasant last few years with her so haven't done much.

I thought I would get blasted with "of course you should pay" and I was kinda interested to hear that side of it.
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Old 10-29-2006, 12:25 AM
 
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I've never heard of the custodial parent having to pay CS to the non-custodial parent. Odd.

FWIW, I googled California CS laws, and came across the site for the California Dept of CS Services.

One excerpt:
How is the amount of child support determined?

Child support is determined using guidelines established by California law. Child support guidelines are based on each parent's monthly income and the amount of time the child is cared for by each parent.

For the purpose of deciding child support, the court will consider income from all sources, whether or not it is reported or taxed under federal law. The income can be in the form of money, property, or services and includes:

* Wages from a job
* Tips
* Commissions
* Bonuses
* Self-employment earnings
* Unemployment benefits
* Disability and workers' compensation
* Interest
* Dividends
* Rental income
* Social Security or pensions
* Any payments or credits due or becoming due, regardless of the source, including lottery and prize winnings.

The court will deduct certain payments from each parent's gross monthly income to determine the net disposable income. Payments that may be deducted includes taxes, mandatory union dues, mandatory retirement contributions, health premiums, child or spousal support actually being paid, and costs of raising children from another relationship. The court will use the net disposable income of each parent, and the percent of time each parent spends with a child to set the child support amount.

Here's the website for you:
http://www.childsup.cahwnet.gov/faq.asp

Good luck!

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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Old 10-29-2006, 01:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That site was interesting, though the language was odd. All about finding the "fathers" and the "fathers" paying. Also, interesting with the custodial/non-custodial language. Is she truely non-custodial if she has him 10 days a month? I was thinking they had joint custody with a 66/33 split. It doesn't mention anything about joint custody on the website. I guess my "philosophical problem" with this is I don't FEEL we should have to pay, even though I support cs in general.

As far as a custodial parent paying a non-custodial parent, yes it seems odd, but what if the split was closer to 51%/49% or something. We have him a lot more than she, but I wonder about people who geniunely have a more equitable split, who pays whom?
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Old 10-29-2006, 01:49 AM
 
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Joint custody, where I live, refers to decision making. Then there is physical custody, which refers to where the child lives. I'm in Canada, but I think the same language is used in the US.

Also, where I live, if you have your child more than 60% of the time, the other parent pays support. If it is more 50/50, both parents' income is considered and the parent who makes more pays support.

I hope it is the same where you live. It does seem ridiculous to pay support to the other parent when you have your child more than she does. Good luck!!
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Old 10-29-2006, 01:53 AM
 
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I know that if my ex were to have a 63/33 split with custody of our two... he would have to pay me something like 300 a month.

BUT he makes over 100K a year, and I am not working.

as it is,... he should be paying over 1600 a month and is trying to get away with paying 800.00
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Old 10-29-2006, 01:17 AM
 
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My understanding is that child support is supposed to make the child's standard of living more similar in both homes. It also depends on who has what income and how much time is spent in each home.

My state does this wacky thing where first spousal support is determined and then that support is counted as that person's income, then child support is determined based on that.
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Old 10-29-2006, 01:46 AM
 
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I don't work and in determing child support, the court found that I could work if I wanted to and "allocated income" based on what I could make if I chose to take a job. That number was used in determining child support. We have a 66/33 split, so the time split in our situations is the same. If she goes for child support she's not too smart becuase it seems obvious that SHE'D be the one having to pay.
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Old 10-29-2006, 01:48 AM
 
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In Texas, custodial parent's income is a non-issue. The only thing that matters is the non-custodial parent's income. The kids live with us, and their dad pays a certain percentage of his income to the kids. The percentage is set by the number of children, with the max being 33%.

We make *A LOT* more than xh does, but he's still obligated to pay support.

Cami, wife to a guy and mom to some kids. Expecting someone new in Februrary!â¢â¢â¢â¢5â¢â¢â¢â¢10â¢â¢â¢â¢15â¢â¢â¢â¢20â¢â¢â¢25â¢â¢â¢â¢30â¢â¢â¢â¢35â¢â¢â¢â¢40
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Old 10-29-2006, 10:56 AM
 
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This all gets so confusing!!

And yes, the canadian poster who talked about joint custody/physical is correct. In WV, where DH and his ex divorced, there is no such thing as joint physical custody, as one parent maintains physical custody and the other is allowed visitation. All decisions made for the children, however, are supposed to involve both parents, which is where the "joint" part comes in. Not sure about Cali.

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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Old 10-29-2006, 02:58 PM
 
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Different country, but:
over here, it's calculated that an absent parent pays up to 25% of their income. This figure is reduced by 1/7 for each 52 days in one year that they have the child: so if someone would normally pay 70 a week but their kids lived with them two nights a week, then that person would only pay 50.
As things stand, I'm unclear how she would qualify for child support. I'd strongly suggest you consult a lawyer on this one, though, just to be on the safe side.
Good luck, and I really hope you're wrong. I really admire the way you and your dh are handling your relationship with her, and I hope she lives up, not down, to your expectations.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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Old 10-29-2006, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sehbub View Post
This all gets so confusing!!

And yes, the canadian poster who talked about joint custody/physical is correct. In WV, where DH and his ex divorced, there is no such thing as joint physical custody, as one parent maintains physical custody and the other is allowed visitation. All decisions made for the children, however, are supposed to involve both parents, which is where the "joint" part comes in. Not sure about Cali.
The last court document says, father has full physical custody and parents have joint legal custody, but then she did have some visitation listed there too. Some maybe our state doesn't have joint physical custody, though I really thought they did. I read someone that the term "vistation" was insulting and both parents have custody, just different amounts. I used this general calculator:

http://www.west.net/~ivguy/testcalc.html

While it is VERY general, it does calculate percentage of time and incomes of both parents and it showed "father pays mother 150" or something. I also read somewhere on there that the cost of health insurance is subtracted from that and I pay 100 dollars a month for that. Somewhere it said that non-custodial parents are always responsible for health insurance. Anyone have experience here? I pay the health insurance. It's kinda non-sensical, she has a state-aid insurance and dss wouldn't qualify I'm sure because of his dad's income. . .

Anyway, I hope I'm wrong about this. She asked for his birth certificate. She told dh it was to apply for a new apartment (?) and told me if was for her health insurance. Usually she calls to chat with me about once a week and she hasn't lately.

I hope it's nothing. We've actually had a really smooth relationship lately. We've actually been visiting each others houses and taking dss places TOGETHER.
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Old 10-29-2006, 08:22 PM
 
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is there any chance she could be planning to try to sue for custody? that would be what i'd worry about. suing for child support probably wouldnt get her very far because in most places its the non-custodial parent that pays support.
hope all works out for you...
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Old 10-30-2006, 12:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flor View Post
Somewhere it said that non-custodial parents are always responsible for health insurance. Anyone have experience here? I pay the health insurance. It's kinda non-sensical, she has a state-aid insurance and dss wouldn't qualify I'm sure because of his dad's income. . .
In my case, when we were deciding who carried dd on their insurance, it was determined that the parent with the most comprehensive coverage at the most reasonible cost is responsible. The parent who covers the child is given credits for the amount the coverage costs. DD also is covered under medicaid. Her eligibility for that is not income dependant in our case, but I believe that if it is a child's primary insurance, only the custodial parent's income is used to determine eligibility (CS counts as income in this case).

I have heard of a NCP receiving CS. It is to make the child's quality of life more equal in the NCPs home. The NCP may have to maintain a larger residence, in a better neighborhood, ect... even if the child does not live with them. I've only seen this happen when the differences in parent's income is huge and the NCP spends a large amount of parenting time with the child, though.
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Old 10-30-2006, 01:37 AM
 
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I agree...I dont think she can get cs if she isnt the primary custodial parent. We have my dsd for over 1/3 of the year. We have to have her for 7 straight NIGHTS to have any affect on the amount dh pays for cs and then its 1/2 of one weeks cs that is taken off of the total (so if we have her for 14 nights, he wont have to pay for one week before the end of cs at 18 years of age). Its very confusing to me.

Anyway, dh still pays the same to biomom whether she is with us or not. Its automatically garnished from his check every week. We provide everything for her when she is here. Because dh is not the custodial parent, he cannot get anything for the time we have her unless it is more than 7 straight nights.

I would definitely get in touch with a lawyer so you know everything you can know and you are ready for whatever bio mom is or potentially could do.
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