Child support question from custodial mom (s/o from the afraid thread) - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 44 Old 05-06-2008, 08:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by nikag View Post
I get the concept of "if they were still together", but I think it should apply both ways.

If the parents were still together, when things like extra cirricular activites, parties, trips, etc. came up, there would no doubt be some conversation between mom and dad whether or not such things could/should be budgeted in based on household income and expenses. What I often see happening in split parenting situations is the custodial parent just expecting the non custodial parent to put up half of these expenses without taking the larger financial picture of both parents into consideration.
Yes.

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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#32 of 44 Old 05-06-2008, 09:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by nikag View Post
I get the concept of "if they were still together", but I think it should apply both ways.

If the parents were still together, when things like extra cirricular activites, parties, trips, etc. came up, there would no doubt be some conversation between mom and dad whether or not such things could/should be budgeted in based on household income and expenses. What I often see happening in split parenting situations is the custodial parent just expecting the non custodial parent to put up half of these expenses without taking the larger financial picture of both parents into consideration.

That is an awesome statement! I know with us DP's ex simply signed up DSD for dance classes and then demanded half of the expense. DP was never aksed what he thought about dance class. In their agreement there is not a break out of extra charges, the child support is to pay for things like this.

I found it remarkably interesting that she expected him to pay more money over a decision she made... If they were still together I'm sure she would have consulted him first, as most families do that.

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#33 of 44 Old 05-06-2008, 10:19 AM
 
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What I often see happening in split parenting situations is the custodial parent just expecting the non custodial parent to put up half of these expenses without taking the larger financial picture of both parents into consideration.
I tend to agree. I know that I don't keep track of every cent I spend on my kids in terms of co-pays, medicines, school supplies, school trips, sneakers, volleyballs, dance class, etc and give my DH the receipts expecting to be reimbursed for 1/2. The notion of each parent being responsible for "1/2 a child" is again something I get in theory, but not in practice.

Also, the "if they were together" adage needs to apply in both for better or for worse situations. Yes, the man's income could increase. And the stress of a new job leads to alcoholism/depression/abuse. Or there is an injury on the job and he is permanently disabled. Or it could be like my cousin's situation, where her DH died suddenly at age 37.

It seems like this concept is most commonly raised based on the notion of the man as the primary provider. I can only speak for myself, but (fortunately or unfortunately) I have never been in the situation where a partner's income made that much of a difference in my lifestyle. And I didn't ever make the decision to have a child based on the fact that some one was there to help with half of the costs.
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#34 of 44 Old 05-07-2008, 02:14 PM
 
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Something I thought of today with the governement stimulus checks going out...

Just somd food for thought to the argument "it would be this way if we were still together..."

Remember, the non-custodial parent has to provide all the same things as custodial... food, shelter, etc... and pays the child support and daycare costs... however! Only the custodial parent is allowed to claim the child on their taxes and put down the daycare expense. Non-custodial parents are not allowed to write off any of their child support, it is free money given to the custodial parent. So they are shortened thousands of dollars a year to their salary that the governement will never acknowledge, and just figure their income as is, instead of with the hefty $3,400 reduction for a child.


Also with these stimulus checks... they are issuing $300/per child. This obviously is also going to the custodial parent. And it is not neccessarily going to be spent on the child... it's to help offset the hard economy right now... like the non-custodial parent isn't feeling that too, considering they aren't allowed to ever claim their child expenses to begin with and the custodial parent can?


Just saying... if the parents were still together, none of this stuff would be an issue, but just some food for though when you think the non-custodial parent *might* be doing somewhat better with a raise... remember that they don't get that extra reduction, that raise may just be helping them get by.

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#35 of 44 Old 05-08-2008, 01:00 AM
 
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Only the custodial parent is allowed to claim the child on their taxes and put down the daycare expense. Non-custodial parents are not allowed to write off any of their child support, it is free money given to the custodial parent. So they are shortened thousands of dollars a year to their salary that the governement will never acknowledge, and just figure their income as is, instead of with the hefty $3,400 reduction for a child.

This doesn't have to be true! For any of you married to a non-custodial father, you might want to re-visit. My ex-h and I share two children. He claims the elder and I claim the younger. My DP has a child with his ex-w. She claims him in even years, he gets odd.

Kind of OT, I know, but this can be a lot of money and if child-related expenses are being pretty evenly divided, the tax relief should be evenly divided, too.

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#36 of 44 Old 05-08-2008, 01:04 AM
 
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Oh, forgot to say to the OP: just change your language a little and the answer should get clear. Don't say "I'm struggling financially." Say "I'm having some trouble meeting all of my DD's needs with the money I now have."

If you have a pretty good relationship with her dad, it's all different. My kids' dad and I have flexed CS many times over the 11 years since our divorce. We've always been able to just approach each other and try to work things out. So far, we've been successful, sometimes with the help of online CS calculators. If we hit a wall and couldn't reach an agreement, we'd go to CS mediation via the courts.

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#37 of 44 Old 05-08-2008, 08:52 AM
 
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Uptown, some states let you do that... others don't. DP's ex would have to agree to it, and she didn't. *shrugs*

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#38 of 44 Old 05-09-2008, 12:09 AM
 
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I understand why child support isn't a tax deduction. The custodial parent doesn't get to claim the money they spend on clothes, food, etc. and neither does the parent paying child support. It isn't supposed to be free money to an ex, it's expenses for a child.

But, anyway.

I'm wondering how far off what he pays now (400 a month) is from what the courts would mandate. Here, for a parent to pay less than the standard, both parents have to sign an agreement and agree that the child won't receive any government services. If you feel that the amount is less than the standard, and you need more, then ask for it. Just go by the law.

Dh is the custodial parent and we pay the NCP. I always felt it wasn't fair, but dh made a little more this year so I'm waiting for her to file for an increase. I try to not care. It is what it is. It's the law.
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#39 of 44 Old 05-09-2008, 12:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
Remember, the non-custodial parent has to provide all the same things as custodial... food, shelter, etc... and pays the child support and daycare costs... however! Only the custodial parent is allowed to claim the child on their taxes and put down the daycare expense. Non-custodial parents are not allowed to write off any of their child support, it is free money given to the custodial parent. So they are shortened thousands of dollars a year to their salary that the governement will never acknowledge, and just figure their income as is, instead of with the hefty $3,400 reduction for a child.
NCPs can claim the exemption and CTC if that's part of the decree; many parents alternate years. Also, the CP can sign over the exemption and CTC at will, year by year. I did, this year and last. I don't foresee doing it again, though, since what he pays, total, does not in fact cover half the cost of raising dd.

There's no reason for an NCP to write off c/s; it's part of the expense of raising a child. You won't get to write off the money you spend raising your child, either.
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#40 of 44 Old 05-09-2008, 08:29 AM
 
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I've never really agreed with the "if you were still together" arguments that go with child support... if they were still together, maybe he wouldn't have taken the management job because of the hours it required away from his family. If they were still together maybe he would have a teaching job... maybe he would be staying home with his daughter... maybe he would be in school getting his PhD... maybe they would both work part time to reduce their child care expenses... People make different choices after they break up than they make when they are together, and those choices are often based on the new circumstances... in my opinion, it's not fair to try to apply the new choices to the old situation... you have to look at the new situation as reality and make decisions according to what is really happening, not what might have happened if things were different.
Me, too. And I think alot of people also forget that, if they were still together, the noncustodial parent wouldn't be supporting two homes.

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(shrug) I have to say I've never understood why c/s had to be so complicated. It seems pretty plain to me: you make a kid; unless you have some alternate pre-divorce agreement in writing, you're responsible for half the costs, period.
That sounds good in theory, but I would like to point out... in my Husband's case, he's paying for 80% of the child. I know he can't be the only one.

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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#41 of 44 Old 05-09-2008, 10:06 AM
 
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I understand you can't write off clothes and food... but you do get the $3,400 reduction to offset the expenses for children, wether that be clothing, medical, whatever... you get that reduction... 9 times out of 10 the NCP does not get that.

Also keep in mind the NCP is supporting the child in BOTH HOMES. The CP gets help supporting her home with the child... the NCP has to provide the support there plus do all expenses without any help in their own home. Because regardless how many nights the NCP has the child, they still need to provide a room for the child, food when they are there, clothes, etc... all the same things that the CP does.

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#42 of 44 Old 05-09-2008, 11:09 AM
 
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That sounds good in theory, but I would like to point out... in my Husband's case, he's paying for 80% of the child. I know he can't be the only one.
Yup. dh is court ordered to pay for 100% of dss expenses even though we have him in this house over 75% of the time (the mom is bipolar and her doc says she can't work).
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#43 of 44 Old 05-11-2008, 03:53 PM
 
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Yup. dh is court ordered to pay for 100% of dss expenses even though we have him in this house over 75% of the time (the mom is bipolar and her doc says she can't work).
Yeah. What I'd said was:
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If the parents want to work out some alternate deal, fine, but if not, then half and half it should be, barring medically recognized income-limiting disability.
If xh loses his disability and can't pull it together, then obviously I'm going to be on the hook for more than half. I am now, for that matter. There's nothing you can do about involuntary problems that can't be insured against.

JSMa, if it's appropriate to share the tax credit/exemption, then this is something that the NCP's lawyer needs to negotiate in the decree. But keep in mind that in general, CPs have far higher child-related expenses than NCPs do, esp. if you look at it as percentage of income. I'm aware that there may be exceptions, esp. as you move more toward shared custody (and that's reflected in c/s in my state). If a CP has the child most of the time, though, the major cost isn't in food, or utilities, or what have you. It's in the impact on the freedom to work and go to school.

Starting in August, for instance, I'll need to make sure that dd gets dropped off at school and picked up on time, every day. The before/after-school care program has a 3-year waiting list, and there is no overflow program available. I know from unhappy experience that I can't rely on babysitters to show up when they say they will, so I can't hire someone to do drop-off/pick-up and bring dd to her after-school daycare. Dd's too young for me to hand her cab fare. So I'll have to go get her at 3 pm 4 days a week; 2 pm one day a week. How many professional-wage employers will let you leave for an hour mid-afternoon, every single day, to go ferry your kid from school to daycare? Not too many. (Can you imagine that in your buyer's job? The person would either have to be very low or very high on the totem pole.) The odds drop lower when you explain that no, you can't do flextime, because you have to bring the kid to school at 8:25 am, and you really can't get to work much before 9. There are also required classes I can't take, because they conflict either with drop-off or pickup times. I'll just have to wait on those till a spot opens in the before/after-care program or another alternative comes up. And obviously there are jobs that aren't even in the realm of possibility. I can't take a job that requires travel, or my presence in the evenings, or overtime, because I have no reliable childcare outside daycare hours.

Luckily, I can make a living working freelance, so I can work around the obstacles by finishing my work at night, after dd is in bed, unless she's sick. Not every CP can do that, though, and for those who can't, they may have to take lower-paid jobs or part-time work in order to manage the parenting job. So there is often a real financial cost to being the CP, one that the NCP doesn't feel to nearly the same extent. Obviously there are other painful costs. But if you're talking strictly about money -- and we are, when we talk about c/s and taxes -- the CP takes the harder hit. Also speaking strictly about the money, the NCP benefits from it; the NCP gets built-in, round-the-clock, reliable, high-quality childcare. That leaves a lot of freedom for work.
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#44 of 44 Old 05-12-2008, 01:21 PM
 
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My situation is just very different Mama41.

In our situation the "freedom" impacts ALL of us because we are responsible for pick-ups/drop-offs half of the week, just as her Mom. I have had to rearragne my schedule countless times. So has DP. We are conflicted with where we want to move because of how much we are going to have to juggle our schedules to keep being able to see DSD during the week if we move to the school district we prefer wich is 30 minutes away from where DSD lives...

Beleive me, involved NCP's feel the weight of that freedom also. Also... why can't your ex watch your DD? If his job allows it?

In our situation whichever parent is able to change their schedule to watch DSD if she is sick of daycare is closed that day or whatever, wether that parent be me, DSD's Mom's BF, her Mom or DP... it falls to any of us to help out.

My company shuts down the week between Christmas and New Year's... so does DSD's daycare... instead of DSD's Mom finding alternative care... I take DSD that week.


Also, just wanted to note... if your job is flexible on you leaving and having a flexible schedule that doesn't neccessarily mean you are either really high or really low on the totem pole... I have been blessed in the past several jobs to have a very flexible schedule. The company I work for now I can pretty much set the hours I work everyday as long as I get my 40 hours a week in. I'm somewhere in the middle of the ladder I guess.

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