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#1 of 32 Old 12-15-2007, 01:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you spend the same amount on Christmas gifts for your DSC and DC? I am struggling with this one. Each month, I have to dip into my personal savings to buy things that my DD needs. After paying child support for DSS and our bills, there isn't anything left. Sometimes I feel like my DC goes without, while DSS's mom is getting plenty to take care of her child. Thankfully, I saved money when I worked and can take care of DD needs.

I am not resentful of DSS at all, but sometimes I get so frustrated because DSS is being taken care of financially better by DH than DD is. Once the usual Christmas shopping is done for DSS, there will be little left for DD so I will have to dip into my personal savings again, and am not really feeling bad about spending more on DD than DSS.

If I am lucky, DD only gets about 1/5 of the amount spent on her needs that DSS gets in child support. So I don't feel bad about splurging at Christmas especially since the money is coming from my savings. I don't want DSS to feel bad, and I really don't think he will realize that more is spent on DD, because her gifts are fewer high quality items than lots of inexpensive items. Also, the way I look at it is that DSS gets his basic needs met 5X more than DD does and really more than that because we also provide for him when he is with us.

So I am wondering how other stepmoms handle buying Christmas gifts? Also I am wondering if anyone else feels that their DC goes without while DSC's mom is getting plenty to take care of her child? If so, how to you deal with it?
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#2 of 32 Old 12-15-2007, 03:48 AM
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Oh this is a tough one, really, really tough.

See, I see where you're coming from and I sympathize with your situation, and I understand what you are saying...I also don't envy you.

BUT--I come from a blended family where the rule is always equal treatment for all the children, regardless of external stuff. I am close to many other blended families who follow that same rule.

It isn't your DSS's fault that your DH has to pay CS, nor is it DSS's fault that his mother spends that money in whatever manner she does.

I'm not a step-mother, so I won't presume to "know" how you feel, but I was raised by my step-mom...and I am a mom of two big kids (10 & 14) from a previous relationship, and my husband and I have a 6 mos old daughter together. As it stands, he and I have agreed that all of the kids will have the same X amount of dollars spent on the for Christmas...or less...but no one will have more than the limit spent on them. I know it's a different situation, but I'm just giving an example of the equality of the Christmas gifts.

I understand why you are frustrated...and I don't know what to tell you, really...I just worry that you are feeling resentful of money being spent on CS and it ends up "punishing" (sort of, not really, can't think of a better word) the little boy...

I hope you can work it out to something you're all happy with. What does your DH think about the situation?
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#3 of 32 Old 12-15-2007, 09:01 AM
 
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Since we all open presents at the same time, we make sure son and step-daughter (the youngest isn't old enough to know better yet) all have about the same number of presents to open. We make sure it is the same number of "big" presents and about the same number of "little" presents. We don't keep track on the amount we spend on each child, we just make sure it "looks fair" from their perspective. We also try to make sure that they will each have something that is exciting that they will really engage in and play with that morning. Basically, we try to look at it from their perspective. When they are older they might understand the idea that if they get the "big" present they wanted they might not get the same number of gifts as a sibling, but that understanding won't come for a while.

I know as a step-mom it is easy to feel like you are sacrificing yourself and your children for the sake of a step-child. Child support can be especially hard because some of the hours your husband is working is going to support someone else. I guess my best advice is to try to find peace with child support... try to find a perspective that works for you. Feeling resentful all the time sucks, and it starts a slippery slope of negative feelings toward your situation... I always think I have to either change it or change my perspective... if you can't change the child support situation, you can only change your perspective on it.

Hopefully something in there was helpful...

I've been thinking more about your post and have come back to add more:
First, about how you are handling Christmas this year... I don't know how old your kids are, but if they are relatively young, if your daughter is getting fewer gifts, and assuming your step-son is not getting stuff that is clearly "junk" (in his eyes), then I don't think there's a big issue with the way things stand this Christmas. But, I think it can become an issue later as they become more aware of cost and quality. And I think there is a bigger issue that might cause emotional harm to both you and your step-son furthing down the road.

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#4 of 32 Old 12-15-2007, 11:16 AM
 
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I don't envy your situation. I think probably the key would be that they feel equal, as they may not be aware of cost yet.

But to offer another perspective, my mother always taught us that fair does not always mean equal, and we had a specific edict as children that if she ever saw us counting gifts or trying to compare like that, she'd return all of it to the store. She made a big deal about being able to give us what we needed from her perpspective. Of course, my mom loves Christmas and Christmas shopping and bought us tons of stuff anyway, but that was a lesson we got too.

In your case, since you feel your child is the one being shortchanged, you could give her some of the things at another time maybe, so Christmas feels equal? I think it might hurt the stepkid if they figure out there's a difference on the big day. And even though stepkid gets presents from another parent and your child doesn't, that might be hard for a child to understand.

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#5 of 32 Old 12-15-2007, 11:58 AM
 
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Personally, I wish there were a way that people could divorce the constant dollar sign thinking from the holiday season.

I've seen these kinds of posts a lot around the boards lately. It's depressing to read about so many people who are putting price tags on their relationships.

Your time is priceless. Give your time.

Stuff is stuff and you can't take any of it with you when you die.

I know you're probably in a situation where you kind of have to give gifts because there is a history with your relationships and a precedent set that that's simply what is done. I'd say if you absolutely MUST give stuff, I guess at the very least try to make it as equal as possible so that you don't have to hurt anyone's feelings. But it's so hard when you're talking about STUFF, because inevitably someone's feelings always get hurt.

Crap, I don't know what you should do. Just can't help but think how ridiculous it is that people have to be in situations like this in the first place.

Good luck!!!!!
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#6 of 32 Old 12-15-2007, 07:30 PM
 
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Um. Child support is the amount the court feels is fair for the parent to provide the CHILD with: food, clothing, heat, electricity, a roof over their head, a washer, a dryer, gas to get them where they need to go when they're not with the CS paying parent. It is for toothbrushes and shoes and art supplies and TOILET PAPER. It is NOT about christmas gifts. It is NOT about the mother going out with it and spending it on toys for herself.

SO. Does your husband not provide your family with those things, as well? Did you not know, when you married your husband, that he had a child? Were you not PROUD of the fact that your husband is RESPONSIBLE enough and LOVING enough to actually SUPPORT his child in this manner?

I am NOT meaning to come across cranky...but I was a child whose father remarried. His wife resented every single penny that went to our care. My mother was so careful with our money and so hardworking...but at the end of the year, the gifts were sooooooo numerous for her children and soooooo few for us...because all she ever saw was the day to day maintenance money going out for our care. We did not choose the divorce. We did not choose his new partner, her children, or their remarriage. She KNEW about us and that he supported us when they got married. I am really, truely, sorry that you resent the money that your husband so responsibly sends to his child for their day to day care, if this is the case.

I am puzzled, though, why some step-parents feel that that day to day toilet paper money should be considered a GIFT?...it is what that parent COMMITTED TO when they made and birthed and cared for that baby and now child. It has nothing to do with gifts. Honestly, I am NOT being obtuse...I want to understand this.

When Christmas comes up, a very young child won't notice. But I can tell you that my step siblings ALSO felt the unfairness of their gifts vs our gifts and would often attempt to share some of their stash with us, which caused their mother more consternation, because she lovingly chose those gifts for THEM! Please consider getting a "our children's gift" kitty together during the year, and then splitting it EQUALLY between the kids. It WILL be noticed as the years go on, by all children involved, if it is NOT done equally. It is neither fair nor kind to put EITHER child in that position.

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#7 of 32 Old 12-15-2007, 07:50 PM
 
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Um. Child support is the amount the court feels is fair for the parent to provide the CHILD with: food, clothing, heat, electricity, a roof over their head, a washer, a dryer, gas to get them where they need to go when they're not with the CS paying parent. It is for toothbrushes and shoes and art supplies and TOILET PAPER. It is NOT about christmas gifts. It is NOT about the mother going out with it and spending it on toys for herself.

SO. Does your husband not provide your family with those things, as well? Did you not know, when you married your husband, that he had a child? Were you not PROUD of the fact that your husband is RESPONSIBLE enough and LOVING enough to actually SUPPORT his child in this manner?

I am NOT meaning to come across cranky...but I was a child whose father remarried. His wife resented every single penny that went to our care. My mother was so careful with our money and so hardworking...but at the end of the year, the gifts were sooooooo numerous for her children and soooooo few for us...because all she ever saw was the day to day maintenance money going out for our care. We did not choose the divorce. We did not choose his new partner, her children, or their remarriage. She KNEW about us and that he supported us when they got married. I am really, truely, sorry that you resent the money that your husband so responsibly sends to his child for their day to day care, if this is the case.

I am puzzled, though, why some step-parents feel that that day to day toilet paper money should be considered a GIFT?...it is what that parent COMMITTED TO when they made and birthed and cared for that baby and now child. It has nothing to do with gifts. Honestly, I am NOT being obtuse...I want to understand this.

When Christmas comes up, a very young child won't notice. But I can tell you that my step siblings ALSO felt the unfairness of their gifts vs our gifts and would often attempt to share some of their stash with us, which caused their mother more consternation, because she lovingly chose those gifts for THEM! Please consider getting a "our children's gift" kitty together during the year, and then splitting it EQUALLY between the kids. It WILL be noticed as the years go on, by all children involved, if it is NOT done equally. It is neither fair nor kind to put EITHER child in that position.

This is the best post on the subject that I have ever seen.
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#8 of 32 Old 12-15-2007, 07:56 PM
 
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The whole thought of Christmas JUST being about gifts has always bugged me!

I grew up with "money" I never realized just how much we had until I became an adult..
My parents made sure to instill in us that Christmas has so much more meaning and I am trying to instill that in our children ... We let them make lists but they know that the lists are "ideas" for gifts and not to expect that exact gift...

Gifts are given to our children throughout the year , for good behavior or just because.
In our family Christmas WILL NOT become a HUGE gimme gimme more type of holiday, and we refuse to go broke or into debt for this holiday.

Each child receives one "big" gift (we don't spend over $50)
and the a few ($10 or less) others under the tree ,
We try not to make it look as if the tree threw up more gifts for one child and not the others.
I believe this year we have spend maybe $150 total on all 3 children .
and each child is getting 5 gifts a piece !!
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#9 of 32 Old 12-15-2007, 07:59 PM
 
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OP, I totally sympathize with you and feel very much the same way you do.
I don't like the fact that just because one child came first, they deserve more.
The first child gets exactly 20% of daddy's income toward their care, but subsequent children are not given 20%.
It's an unfair bias toward the first-born.

Regarding Christmas gifts:
My step son gets TONS of gifts for Christmas, from his mom and step dad, his grandparents on his mom's side and his dad's side and my parents, too, who he sees as also his grandparents, as well as from his uncles, aunt and cousins.

My daughters get something from her grandparents, and us if we have any money.
Last year we were able to buy a couple games for step son and a toy for each girl and that was it.

ETA:
This year we're not buying anyone anything. We are atheists and only celebrated because step son expected us to.
My girls are still young enough to not notice the change and we don't normally celebrate Christmas, so I don't want to start a tradition I don't believe in.

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#10 of 32 Old 12-15-2007, 08:17 PM
 
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OP, I totally sympathize with you and feel very much the same way you do.
I don't like the fact that just because one child came first, they deserve more.
The first child gets exactly 20% of daddy's income toward their care, but subsequent children are not given 20%.
It's an unfair bias toward the first-born.
Really? Honestly, again, I'm not being obtuse...where is the other 80% of the income going then? Not to heat, gasoline, shoes, toothpaste, and toilet paper at YOUR house? It is NOT because the child came FIRST that they deserve MORE. It because the child CAME that the child deserves to be CARED for by it's parent. 20% of the income is NOT 80% of the income. Seems to me that the child at home with the father is getting a larger "share" of the resources. But maybe I'm not seeing the entire picture?...

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#11 of 32 Old 12-15-2007, 08:28 PM
 
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Really? Honestly, again, I'm not being obtuse...where is the other 80% of the income going then? Not to heat, gasoline, shoes, toothpaste, and toilet paper at YOUR house? It is NOT because the child came FIRST that they deserve MORE. It because the child CAME that the child deserves to be CARED for by it's parent. 20% of the income is NOT 80% of the income. Seems to me that the child at home with the father is getting a larger "share" of the resources. But maybe I'm not seeing the entire picture?...
In some families who have more than two children, the children are getting less than 20% of the income.

For example, if a man remarries, and has four children, 20% income goes to his first child, which leaves 80%.
If 20% goes to each of the other four children, that leave 0 for him and his wife.
Or if you calculate the parents first (because who can care for kids if they've starved to death themselves), that takes 40% just for the parents, leaving 50% of his income for his other four children, so each get just over 10% of his income for everything.

Or if they have more than four children, maybe 6 like some mommas here.
So, still 20% to first child.
Then who gets the 80%? say 20% goes to his house alone, for housing 6 children, himself and his wife.

I don't know, maybe some people think those who have divorced don't deserve to have more children.

ETA:

Maybe some people think that even though a person has more children, the first child still gets 20%, instead of an equal percent as the other children.
Or maybe some people believe only the rich deserve to have children.

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#12 of 32 Old 12-15-2007, 09:12 PM
 
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Exactly! The family with the father gets 80% of his resources. How he spends that 80% is up to him. But the child who is receiving child support still deserves to be supported. If the father wants to have more kids, that is really GREAT! What an wonderful thing for the child receiving support to have that family waiting for them when they visit their father. However, if the father decides to have more children, that is up to him...knowing that the child he ALREADY HAS COMMITTED TO CARING FOR already exists, and takes 20% of his income to support. This occurs with full knowledge beforehand, does it not? The child who already exists does not ASK for the parents to remarry and take on NEW responsibilities and should not be PUNISHED because of decisions their father makes. It still takes money to put a roof over the existing child's head, buy the existing child toilet paper, and shoes and food, and etc., whether or not the child's father decides to move on with his life. This does not mean that, when the child's father decides to father new children, the cost of toilet paper for the existing child goes down. Or that, because this existing child now has new siblings, they deserve fewer christmas gifts. Just that their father knowingly added to his financial responsibilities.

I can not make anybody feel as if an existing child should receive an equal amount of anything from their parent when younger siblings (or just other or step siblings) enter the picture. I would hope that you would, however, take into consideration that this is a financial RESPONSIBILITY that both the father and the father's new partner knew GOING IN that they would continue to have. The CHILDREN should not suffer because of choices the parents make...and in this case, the children would suffer in more than one way when a parent in their life made the choice to favor with gifts a "living with them full time" child over a CS'd child.

AND. Thats all I'll say.

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#13 of 32 Old 12-16-2007, 12:55 AM
 
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Mothers still have a financial obligation to their children when mom and dad split. It goes both ways. Women should emotionally prepare themselves for the probability of providing for their children 100% before they have children. It's just plain responsible to do so. We all know that nothing lasts forever in terms of relationships, and no one can foresee the future. It is my opinion that part of being a responsible mother is preparing for the worst.

Most of what I hear on the subject of child support makes me kind of ill. If my husband and I ever split up, I am certain that I will focus all of my time and energy on being a mom (in all aspects including providing what is needed financially), and not so much on taking dad to task for his shortcomings - financial or otherwise. I can't make him take responsibility, but I can choose to be responsible. It sucks, but that's the way it is.

Children inevitably suffer for or benefit from the choices both parents make. It's a fact of life. It's not always fair, but then life isn't always.

I think it's really sad for children put in the middle of financial battles. But if you're going to succumb to a life of constant financial bickering, I say at least keep it out of your children's Christmas celebration.
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#14 of 32 Old 12-16-2007, 01:18 AM
 
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Maybe I look at it differently because DSD lives with us half the time. It feels as if she lives here all of the time, so when it came to doing the Christmas budget, the kids both have an approximately equal share. Well, okay, DSD has a little larger share because her stepmom likes to buy girly clothes (DSD is a very feminine little girl) and has a problem stopping. And then Pinksparklybarefoot's mom took the rest of her Gymboree list and cleaned out the store. So DSD will not be lacking in the Christmas gift department.

Also, DS is so little that DSD will open all of his presents anyway, so I bought him a few necessities and a few toys to wrap up, but it isn't like he will really know what is going on yet.

DSD's sister often spends holidays with us, and she usually gets quite a few presents from us as well. This year, she will be visiting her late father's family out of state, so we are giving her mostly money for the trip, but she is still an important part of our Christmas planning. Today I just opened a big box my mom sent for her because she would be joining us for our holiday celebration at my parent's house. DSD's sister is going through a little goth phase (it is so cute), and my mom went to Hot Topic and bought her a bunch of clothing/accessories there (She said that the sales staff were all very nice, but they sure did have a lot things on their face pierced ).

Santa is bringing both DSD and DS a tiny wooden kitchen. DS won't be able to really play with it yet, but he will someday, and I like the idea of DSD and DS sharing toys like siblings do. Plus, it is an expensive item, I know she wants one and he will be oblivious to the Santa ritual. So it works out perfectly. If DSD's sister were here, she would receive gifts from Santa as well.

Bottom line around our house is that both kids are kids and get equalish treatment (I'm sure it will be more equal once DS gets older), and if DSD's sister is around, we try to include her as much as we can without completely breaking the bank.

We have been trying so hard to keep Christmas simple, but DSD is just so fun to buy for. The kids get toys on Christmas and their birthdays with few exceptions, so this is my one time of year to have fun. I also adore Christmas, so that probably makes my present-giving habit all the worse.

Until reading this board, it never occurred to me to relate Christmas presents and CS in any way. I buy DSD (and DS) Christmas presents because it makes them excited, it makes me feel good, and it is a fun, festive tradition for us. We do pay CS, and if DSD's mom buys Christmas presents with it, fine, and if she buys food with it, fine. That is her choice. DSD's mom's Christmas traditions are probably different than ours, and I honestly don't care that much about what she does. I just know how we want our Christmas to be, and I focus on that.

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#15 of 32 Old 12-16-2007, 03:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your relpies. First I want to say that I am not relating Christmas gifts to child support. We spend the same amount on DSS that we have been spending since I met DH. I am not trying to reduce in anyway what gets spent on DSS. Also I should mention that DSS is a teenager and DD is a toddler.

aricha - Your post was very helpful.

courtenay_e - My dad also remarried and my stepmom resented every penny he ever spent on my brother and I so I can relate to how you felt. I have tried very hard not to treat my DSS that way. When I first met DH, I thought he was so wonderful because of how well he did take care of his son! I don't resent the CS that my DH responsibly sends, and do not consider day to day toilet paper money a gift. However, IMO the court is not always fair in determining CS. In our state, CS is based soley on income, We pay a lot in CS, we provide over 65% of DSS care. Overtime is a big factor and my DH is paying CS based on more money than he actually makes because overtime is not a consistant thing but the court looks at a section of time and decides that you will continue to make the same amount of overtime. I know what CS is for and DSS mom is also responsibile for contributing to those things. The court does not take into consideration that we also provide those things when DSS is in our care. DH did not want a divorce from DSS mom, but since she did he shouldn't be penalized for starting a new life. So not only does he need to make enough money to support his first child, he needs to make enough to support a new family, then the ex-wife gets to take him back to court for an increase in CS because he has to make more money to support the new family. So she is also entitled to a portion of the money he is making to take care of the new family. I am not resentful of paying CS, but I do think the way our state calculates it can be unfair. Again, I am not relating CS to Christmas gifts, I just wanted to explain how it is in our state.

Purity Lake - Thank you, I think you truely understand where I am coming from. IMO the first child does get more. When DSS's mom wanted an increase in CS after we had DD, we got a $50 credit for DD. I guess the court thinks that's all we need to take care of her each month. I am not atheist, but I like your idea of not buying anyone anything. I think there will be some big changes around here next year!

I honestly don't have an issue with paying CS. Of course DSS deserves to be taken care of and he is taken care of well. At the same time, my DD deserves to be taken care of just as well, but our state doesn't see it that way. I really should have divided my questions into 2 separate posts.

I want both children to enjoy Christmas and don't want to cause harm to either one. Maybe I will tell DH that whatever is in the budget for Christmas gifts will be split equally between the 2 children and I will no longer spend my personal savings to supplement DD's Christmas. As a result, DSS will get a reduction in his usual amount but maybe that is the best solution.

Again Mamas, thank you for all of your thoughts and insights. It always helps to see things from other perspectives.
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#16 of 32 Old 12-16-2007, 06:03 AM
 
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We spend the same on all the kids.
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#17 of 32 Old 12-16-2007, 09:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by courtenay_e View Post
Exactly! The family with the father gets 80% of his resources. How he spends that 80% is up to him. But the child who is receiving child support still deserves to be supported. If the father wants to have more kids, that is really GREAT! What an wonderful thing for the child receiving support to have that family waiting for them when they visit their father. However, if the father decides to have more children, that is up to him...knowing that the child he ALREADY HAS COMMITTED TO CARING FOR already exists, and takes 20% of his income to support. This occurs with full knowledge beforehand, does it not? The child who already exists does not ASK for the parents to remarry and take on NEW responsibilities and should not be PUNISHED because of decisions their father makes. It still takes money to put a roof over the existing child's head, buy the existing child toilet paper, and shoes and food, and etc., whether or not the child's father decides to move on with his life. This does not mean that, when the child's father decides to father new children, the cost of toilet paper for the existing child goes down. Or that, because this existing child now has new siblings, they deserve fewer christmas gifts. Just that their father knowingly added to his financial responsibilities.
I can not make anybody feel as if an existing child should receive an equal amount of anything from their parent when younger siblings (or just other or step siblings) enter the picture. I would hope that you would, however, take into consideration that this is a financial RESPONSIBILITY that both the father and the father's new partner knew GOING IN that they would continue to have. The CHILDREN should not suffer because of choices the parents make...and in this case, the children would suffer in more than one way when a parent in their life made the choice to favor with gifts a "living with them full time" child over a CS'd child.
AND. Thats all I'll say.


Bolding mine.

I agree.

A woman who cannot handle the issue of CS and realize that the man has children, therefore a responsibility to those children, even if that means she might not be able to be a SAHM, should not marry that man. Money only goes so far.

**I know that the OP does not feel that way, but I have known women who did feel that way.**
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#18 of 32 Old 12-16-2007, 12:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JL'smom View Post
I want both children to enjoy Christmas and don't want to cause harm to either one. Maybe I will tell DH that whatever is in the budget for Christmas gifts will be split equally between the 2 children and I will no longer spend my personal savings to supplement DD's Christmas. As a result, DSS will get a reduction in his usual amount but maybe that is the best solution.

Again Mamas, thank you for all of your thoughts and insights. It always helps to see things from other perspectives.

We have recently considerably shrunk our Christmas budget. I believe this is the third year... We have gone to three gifts per child. We figure that we'd like to make this about CHRISTMAS, not gifts...and tie the gifts to the nativity with the gifts of the three kings to the child. SO. We ask the children for short lists, they know they'll only get three each, and we try to make the gifts kind of equal in cost. They're too young to "get" that something costs more than something else right now, but we still try to be fair. However, this makes our Christmas MUCH more relaxed. We do what my mother did...we look at traditions that we appreciate, and do things to enjoy the holiday as a family: go to the hanging of the greens at church, string popcorn and cranberries for the tree, bake cookies, adopt a family and gather food/gifts/clothes for them from our stores and those of our friends and family, drive around the neighborhoods near-by with hot chocolate and popcorn, and look at the lights.

My mom is one of 13 kids...they grew up VERY modestly, but the first thing they did every week, when they baked bread, was to bring the first two loaves down the street to the family who had none. So, when we were growing up, though we got gifts from the giving tree, we volunteered at soup kitchens, we brought canned goods and christmas trees to those who had none...we went to the hanging of the greens at church (it was a HUGE deal at our church...potluck meal, lots of singing and lots of people)...it was about the time spent with friends and family, not about the stuff we got under the tree...and I guess it's a good thing, as there was very little there!

Frankly, if he's a teen-ager, I'd start doing stuff for the poor, and tell him that you're spending less because you are on a budget and need to make sure that things are equal, but that you'd like to examine the traditions that he appreciates most, and make a strong effort to make the holidays about that, more than about stuff.

Would that work with this child?

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#19 of 32 Old 12-16-2007, 01:31 PM
 
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We try to not neccesarily spend the same ammount on my son and my stepdaughter, but to make it look "even", meaning same amount of big presents and same ammount of little presents, at least for when they're opening presents together. Every year, my stepdaughter's schedule alternates, so we're either picking her up or dropping her off at 10 am on Christmas morning, so we try to make sure we have a few extra presents for our son for when she's not with us, because, even though our son is older, it's still hard on him when his Christmas is over, but he knows his sister has a whole new livingroom full of presents to open at her other house or when she comes to our house from her Mother's house and she's talking about everything she's already opened, which usually turnes out to be literally 5 times as much as either of them get at our house.

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#20 of 32 Old 12-16-2007, 02:28 PM
 
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I think there is a big difference between spending the same amount and having fair and equitable distribution... If the kids are of different ages, but they both ask for a bike, well, the little girls bike could be $40, and the boys bike could be $60, you know?

We put all of our Christmas money in one "pile" (not literally, since it's still in the bank) and discuss what was each kids top request, and then work towards fair and equitable distribution. If, following my earlier example, the bike was the #1 request, then we'd do that and add an equal/similar number of smaller presents to make it appear equitable, even though the dollar amount differed. For us, it isn't about the dollar amount spent, but ensuring that each child has gifts that they will absolutely love. It'd be too hard to assign accurate dollar amounts anyway, when a number of our gifts are homemade, or even purchased in "like new" condition for a fraction of the price.

But we don't factor C.S spent or recieved at all - Christmas isn't about what you spend, it's about the joy you as the giver recieved in giving the gift, and the joy the child/person has in the gift.
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#21 of 32 Old 12-16-2007, 02:31 PM
 
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We spend the same amount on SS10 and BS8. If the pot is smaller one year, they both get less. We spend the least on BS2. Partly because his gifts are less expensive and take up more space. It actually looks like more for the little one under the tree.

I am really trying to cut back on xmas because it has been out of hand in previous years. This year we are getting one big family gift. Each child is then getting 5 small gifts.
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#22 of 32 Old 12-16-2007, 11:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by courtenay_e View Post
We have recently considerably shrunk our Christmas budget. I believe this is the third year... We have gone to three gifts per child. We figure that we'd like to make this about CHRISTMAS, not gifts...and tie the gifts to the nativity with the gifts of the three kings to the child. SO. We ask the children for short lists, they know they'll only get three each, and we try to make the gifts kind of equal in cost. They're too young to "get" that something costs more than something else right now, but we still try to be fair. However, this makes our Christmas MUCH more relaxed. We do what my mother did...we look at traditions that we appreciate, and do things to enjoy the holiday as a family: go to the hanging of the greens at church, string popcorn and cranberries for the tree, bake cookies, adopt a family and gather food/gifts/clothes for them from our stores and those of our friends and family, drive around the neighborhoods near-by with hot chocolate and popcorn, and look at the lights.

My mom is one of 13 kids...they grew up VERY modestly, but the first thing they did every week, when they baked bread, was to bring the first two loaves down the street to the family who had none. So, when we were growing up, though we got gifts from the giving tree, we volunteered at soup kitchens, we brought canned goods and christmas trees to those who had none...we went to the hanging of the greens at church (it was a HUGE deal at our church...potluck meal, lots of singing and lots of people)...it was about the time spent with friends and family, not about the stuff we got under the tree...and I guess it's a good thing, as there was very little there!

Frankly, if he's a teen-ager, I'd start doing stuff for the poor, and tell him that you're spending less because you are on a budget and need to make sure that things are equal, but that you'd like to examine the traditions that he appreciates most, and make a strong effort to make the holidays about that, more than about stuff.

Would that work with this child?
I think this would work! I like your ideas of 3 gifts per child, doing things for the poor, and focusing on family traditions. It seems that the true meaning of Christmas is often forgotten and so much focus is on gift giving. We are going to start some new traditions!
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#23 of 32 Old 12-17-2007, 12:39 AM
 
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*great big grin* the smiley isn't working for some reason.

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#24 of 32 Old 12-17-2007, 06:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by courtenay_e View Post
The child who already exists does not ASK for the parents to remarry and take on NEW responsibilities and should not be PUNISHED because of decisions their father makes.
This does not mean that, when the child's father decides to father new children, the cost of toilet paper for the existing child goes down.
First of all, this is just a hypothetical discussion on my part.

But I would like to respond to your post.
Children don't ask for their parents to have more than one child.
That's really completely irrelevant.
If a couple decide to have 6 children, is their first child receiving 20% of the family income alone, while the other 5 children get less? No. At least I would hope not.
I say the system is completely skewed in favor of the oldest child, no other reason than that they were born first. That is completely unfair. The first child then is spoiled with luxury and a sense of entitlement and the subsequent children are cheated because their toilet paper costs the same, too. Yet no changes are made no matter how many children there are in total.

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#25 of 32 Old 12-17-2007, 06:57 AM
 
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[quote=nikag;10022285]Mothers still have a financial obligation to their children when mom and dad split. It goes both ways. Women should emotionally prepare themselves for the probability of providing for their children 100% before they have children. It's just plain responsible to do so. We all know that nothing lasts forever in terms of relationships, and no one can foresee the future. It is my opinion that part of being a responsible mother is preparing for the worst.

Most of what I hear on the subject of child support makes me kind of ill. If my husband and I ever split up, I am certain that I will focus all of my time and energy on being a mom (in all aspects including providing what is needed financially), and not so much on taking dad to task for his shortcomings - financial or otherwise. I can't make him take responsibility, but I can choose to be responsible. It sucks, but that's the way it is.

Children inevitably suffer for or benefit from the choices both parents make. It's a fact of life. It's not always fair, but then life isn't always.

I think it's really sad for children put in the middle of financial battles. But if you're going to succumb to a life of constant financial bickering, I say at least keep it out of your children's Christmas celebration.[/quote


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#26 of 32 Old 12-17-2007, 07:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by JL'smom;10023203I
IMO the court is not always fair in determining CS.
In our state, CS is based soley on income.
We pay a lot in CS, we provide over 65% of DSS care.
Overtime is a big factor and my DH is paying CS based on more money than he actually makes because overtime is not a consistent thing but the court looks at a section of time and decides that you will continue to make the same amount of overtime.
I know what CS is for and DSS mom is also responsible for contributing to those things.
The court does not take into consideration that we also provide those things when DSS is in our care.
DH did not want a divorce from DSS mom, but since she did he shouldn't be penalized for starting a new life.
So not only does he need to make enough money to support his first child, he needs to make enough to support a new family, then the ex-wife gets to take him back to court for an increase in CS because he has to make more money to support the new family.
So she is also entitled to a portion of the money he is making to take care of the new family.
I am not resentful of paying CS, but I do think the way our state calculates it can be unfair. Again, I am not relating CS to Christmas gifts, I just wanted to explain how it is in our state.

Purity Lake - Thank you, I think you truly understand where I am coming from.
IMO the first child does get more.
When DSS's mom wanted an increase in CS after we had DD, we got a $50 credit for DD.
I guess the court thinks that's all we need to take care of her each month. I am not atheist, but I like your idea of not buying anyone anything.
I think there will be some big changes around here next year!

I honestly don't have an issue with paying CS.
Of course DSS deserves to be taken care of and he is taken care of well. At the same time, my DD deserves to be taken care of just as well, but our state doesn't see it that way.
I really should have divided my questions into 2 separate posts.
I agree completely with your post.
This state is the same way, regarding temporarily higher wages due to overtime and the assumption that wage will continue, when in fact it doesn't.

There is no such credit for subsequent children at all in Alaska.
The courts pretty much don't care about any children other than the first.

My husband hadn't wanted to leave his first marriage, either.
He was in the military, his wife and he had some trouble, they went to counseling, then only he went because she didn't like the counselor telling her some effort had to come from her, too.
She started having an affair instead and kicked her husband out.
Then she'd come back to him, apologize, and then cheat with the same guy again.
She then filed for divorce and married her boyfriend 30 days after the divorce was finalized. They are still married.
She in no way supports her son because she can't hold a job longer than 2 months before getting fired and completely depends on her current husband to fund her lifestyle, she filed bankruptcy to avoid her financial responsibilities and doesn't do a whole lot of anything.
She is allowed to move on with her life after divorce, and will in no way be penalized due to having divorced.
Whereas, my husband, who also remarried to someone who didn't have other children, who wanted children, he is seen as making his bed and having to lie in it, even though it was her who cheated, it was her who left him, and it is her who doesn't support her own son and never has.

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#27 of 32 Old 12-17-2007, 12:25 PM
 
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On Christmas morning, when they're opening presents, they really don't care nor do they understand anything except so & so has a bigger pile! We spent the same amount on each child however, I can understand where you're coming from. My step children's mom remarried someone very wealthly and for a short time they were lavished with 'stuff'. After a couple of years, the marriage ended and then she didn't give them anything for Christmas...not because she didn't have it, but because (as per my son) she didn't think they 'needed' anything. However, during their 'rich time' they had double the amount then their step-siblings and flaunted it too but there wasn't much I could do....then. Financially, things have gotten a lot easier for and their step siblings have grown up and moved away so I've been able to spoil my kids when I want to. And as an earlier poster said, the children that live here have/had a Dad all the time, one that loves them, one that drops whatever he's doing to pick up, drive, cook for, help with homework, etc. Priceless. Years down the road, that's what they'll remember, not how much they got for Christmas 2007.
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#28 of 32 Old 12-17-2007, 02:23 PM
 
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for years I spent the same amount on all 3 kids. Now I dont my SD has 3 Christmas's my kids have 1. Now we open gifs twice once before mySD comes and then we do it again while she is here.
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#29 of 32 Old 12-17-2007, 02:55 PM
 
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courtenay_e Thank you for posting such eloquent writings.


It still amazes me to this day that so many second families resent the money being sent to support the other children. It is for toothpaste, and toilet paper, the roof over the head, the transportation, the health care, the food in the belly, all the things that the ncp is already providing. All some second (and third and fourth ect) spouses see is X amount of dollars no longer being in their budget, when in reality, the money was never in their budget to begin with. Do you really think we are so much better off now, than when we were married/living with the father of our children? The children of divorce are often already being short changed in life, it pains me to think that this would be another case in point.
I suggest to the OP and others that think it is okay to do this to your step children, please rethink it. Please, the child is innocent, how would you feel to be in this horrible situation as a child? How would YOU want to be treated? Then go from there, a place of love and understanding, peace and generosity.
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#30 of 32 Old 12-17-2007, 04:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by boobybunny View Post
courtenay_e Thank you for posting such eloquent writings.


It still amazes me to this day that so many second families resent the money being sent to support the other children. It is for toothpaste, and toilet paper, the roof over the head, the transportation, the health care, the food in the belly, all the things that the ncp is already providing. All some second (and third and fourth ect) spouses see is X amount of dollars no longer being in their budget, when in reality, the money was never in their budget to begin with. Do you really think we are so much better off now, than when we were married/living with the father of our children? The children of divorce are often already being short changed in life, it pains me to think that this would be another case in point.
I suggest to the OP and others that think it is okay to do this to your step children, please rethink it. Please, the child is innocent, how would you feel to be in this horrible situation as a child? How would YOU want to be treated? Then go from there, a place of love and understanding, peace and generosity.
???

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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