Another S/O... thoughts on "second families" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 31 Old 05-19-2008, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This sort of came up in the S/O thread about where the money goes...

It seems some thought is the NCP doesn't have a "right" to have a second family and they need to do everything possible to still support their first household. I understand providing for the children, but half the household seemed odd to me... especially as there are so many different circumstances.

A lot of these thoughts I saw seem to come from the CP view point when their ex ran out on them... and I can totally see the feelings justified in that throught process. They didn't ask to be left.


But it does happen that sometimes the CP ran out on the NCP, yet we get lumped into the same negative view point of "oh, the NCP better not have a second family if it will at all take away from his first..."


In my situation DP's ex left him for another man. She had an affair behind his back for nearly a year. All he ever wanted was to have a happy family. Now he gets viewed at as being irresponsible for wanting to create a "second family." No... we are not taking away from DSD... and no we are not looking to lower C/S. Will living be tight? Yes... but I think in the end it will be worth it. Why should NCP's not have a right to a second family? We all deserve to be happy.

I just think overall generalizations about blended families should stop. We all come from totally different situations.

Anyway... just curious of the thoughts on this one, as I have seen it mentioned more than once here.

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#2 of 31 Old 05-19-2008, 01:41 PM
 
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My Dh's ex left him. I can't go into details as it is such an unusual situation she would recognise herself in the details. She left, no affair, but was just sick of living with him and wanted to spend, spend, spend. He made several appointments with therapists but she would never show up. Then he filed for divorce as it was obvious she wasn't coming home. Then all hell broke loose. He was suddenly the bad guy because he had done the actual filing. She and her family have been total terrors to him including breaking into his house after he filed. They have tried very hard to completely alienate son from him.

My Dh deserves a family. He wanted one so badly. He loved his step daughter and adored his son but was refused access to both when bio mom left. He has not had a conversation with his sd for over five years though he raised her for eleven years, going to brownies, helping her with homework, cooking her dinner, reading to her. He had not done anything wrong other than try to put a stop to spending on mom's part. His punishment for trying to budget and be responsible was to be removed from his family. His grief and depression were dehibilating.

I am his calm after the storm. He is now the grandpa of my eldest son's baby. He is the head of our home and a loving, kind one. He buys things for my daughter that her own dad won't supply and let my youngest son live here for several months when he was down on his luck. He rejoices in me. He stays firm with his ex but is kind when he needs to be, recently volunteering to pay for her family to attend Dss's school banquet. He talks to his own mom several times a week and fixes things for her whenever she needs it.

I agree that all the generalizations and assumptions should stop. There are great dads out there, and great moms too. I am a great mom. My kids have a stepmom who I appreciate cause she keeps my ex out of my hair and seems to be able to handle his "stuff." I am happy that he found someone. I am more happy that Dh and I found each other. I don't like being alone and not having a soft place to fall. He is happy to be building a new family with me.
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#3 of 31 Old 05-19-2008, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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*nods*

I have seen that very often and lived through it myself... that whoever does the actual filing is always the bad guy. DP's ex filed... but I am also divorced and I was the one that filed in my case. It didn't matter that ex abused me pyschologically and tried to keep me from my family... because I was the one that filed, many of our "mutual" friends sided with him, not caring to know the whole story and just saw that I left him. It's sad how quick people are to assume.


That is very sad that your DH raised his DSD for 11 years and can't see her now. I know I'd be devastated if I could not see DSD anymore.

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#4 of 31 Old 05-19-2008, 02:35 PM
 
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I agree with you. This is a blended family forum, where I assume the women posting are looking for ways to make things work better. Of course, everyone vents once in a while, so that doesn't bother me per se. But I did feel like the post about the CS money had a flavor of "man bashing" to it at times.

I don't think any of us here would say, "Hooray! Look that guy walked out on his wife and 3 kids! Good job!" I can sympathize with any woman whose partner cheats or who believes things are going along fine and gets blindsided when they guy leaves. But I'm not married to "that" guy. In fact, I doubt that most of us are married to "that" guy. And as a second wife myself, comments about having no right to have more kids or "He better pay!" feel antagonistic to me.
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#5 of 31 Old 05-19-2008, 02:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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KKJ you bring up a really valid and interesting point... I think us being on MDC should speak some of our character... I doubt any of us are entangled with "deadbeat" Dads... why would we be here caring if that was the case?

All Step-Moms I see posting here have very involved DP's that do anything to help their children.

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#6 of 31 Old 05-19-2008, 03:02 PM
 
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There is also the fact that some of our DSCs did not come from broken marriages, just relationships that ended. My DF writes a check every month, but it isn't to support a household that he ran out on. DSD's mom's "household" also consists of two other children that DF is not responsible. He did support them when he was a part of that household, but now that he is not, the obligation is no longer there. It isn't his fault that their fathers don't pay CS. So it isn't always as neat and clean as two parents, two kids, divorce.

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#7 of 31 Old 05-19-2008, 03:18 PM
 
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Good thread. I feel that a lot of posters had been writing from the viewpoint of the ex leaving them and the feelings of entitlement that have ensued have really discolored the main purpose and meaning behind this thread.

DH's ex had several affairs (all stemming from online) and she was the one who ended the marriage. DH just wanted a happy family; in the end, definitely not with her. We have a wonderful family unit that encompasses us two, my son and his three sons--that's OUR family. It may incense some posters who feel that the ex-wife is part of the family in some sort of convuluted way, but she's not. We are responsible for our own family units...and DH and I are very united in that we don't let others influence (say, Ex's family members) how are family lives, thrives and hopefully, eventually expands.

Our CS is paid fully and on time each and every month--the only issue I have with regards to how CS is spend is when the boys are wearing tattered, second-hand clothing each and every time we see them, when the amount of CS paid each month would make your hair curl.

Sorry...I digressed. Bad day.
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#8 of 31 Old 05-19-2008, 03:19 PM
 
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I like the distinction that pinksparkly made about households. That is a good way of understanding what the NCP has a responsibility for. He is responsible for Dss's well being, not his mom's household.

I was also the one who filed for divorce after decades of marriage. I was also painted as the "bad guy." though I left because of an abusive situation that had become intolerable. My ex's family will never forgive me for leaving him. In their neck of the woods, rule of thumb is taken quite literally.
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#9 of 31 Old 05-21-2008, 01:11 AM
 
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I've heard it said here that the NCP has the main obligation to the first family and that new children shouldn't effect the first ones, but it doesn't really make sense to me. If I have more kids, of course the first one is going to get less stuff. That is being part of a growing family. My first son isn't choosing it, it's just the way it is. Dss does get less now that we have a child and his mom had 2 more. We have more to share with. The courts here see it the same way as both parties obligations to dss were lowered slightly to account for the newer children. The NCP here also has 2 other kids from different fathers, neither of whom pay CS, so dh's obligation is to dss, not dss's mother's household.
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#10 of 31 Old 05-21-2008, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Flor... I was told that the reason our "logic" that there is less to go around with more children is WRONG because the CP from previous relationship didn't choose to have more children and the NCP should "learn to keep his zipper closed" and be responsible for the family he has. And if the "second wife" wants to have children then the responsibility falls to her because we should know and understand that our partner already has a previous commitment.

That was a lovely PM I got on here once.



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#11 of 31 Old 05-21-2008, 10:46 AM
 
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Flor... I was told that the reason our "logic" that there is less to go around with more children is WRONG because the CP from previous relationship didn't choose to have more children and the NCP should "learn to keep his zipper closed" and be responsible for the family he has. And if the "second wife" wants to have children then the responsibility falls to her because we should know and understand that our partner already has a previous commitment.

That was a lovely PM I got on here once.


Well . . . I can't see that anyone can argue that the choice to have more children is "wrong" unless the bio-parent is unable or unwilling to meet his or her responsibilities to the first child/children.
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#12 of 31 Old 05-21-2008, 12:43 PM
 
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Well . . . I can't see that anyone can argue that the choice to have more children is "wrong" unless the bio-parent is unable or unwilling to meet his or her responsibilities to the first child/children.
I absolutely agree. If someone does not live up to their parental respobsibilities with one child, they shouldn't worry about having another.

What I don't agree with is the assumption that my DP didn't need a house (which we couldn't afford for as long as he was paying a good chunk of CS), but had to make sure that his ex had a house (for his daughter's benefit, of course (?)). Why is it not considered "for his daughter's benefit" for us to be able to afford a place with a backyard and a third bedroom? From time to time someone says "my ex doesn't even have a bedroom for our kid, he/she sleeps in the living-room". I am not surprised. For 5-6 years after divorce DP could not afford a place with an extra bedroom, the first few years we co-slept on the floor on the weekends. I was a full-time student with three jobs, and he worked full time commuting 1.5hrs to his work; he faithfully paid CS. Only NOW that DSD moved in with us we start thinking of buying a house (her mom received CS for 12 years, and has not sent us a penny, boy did she complain when DP got layed off and paid smaller CS out of his unemployment benefits... and now guess who doens't even plan to pay CS... ).

I am more than happy to support DSD financially in every shape or form. She wants to take classes? Sure thing! We paid for snowboarding and music. She needs braces? Sure thing, we even will get her there for every appointment. I do not (did not) want to support her mom's household. It's too much, it's unreasonable, it's not fair. I understand the "no-fault divorce" premise, and why it's needed, but courts and papers don't take consideration human factor, and often it gets overlooked in the CS assignment and papers.

It it NOT fair for a father to be paying $700 CS if he wanted 50x50 custody and his wife left him for another man. Why can't he keep the house, and be assigned as a primary caregiver and his wife is the one to look for a job and send us a check, and see her daughter two days a week after she asked for a permission to pick her up? Ah, right... Because the courts said so...

It is NOT fair to demand for a father to make sure that his ex owns a house "for the child's benefit", and impose such a high CS that is makes impossible for him to provide the said house for a child on his side. We paid. We tried. We stayed involved by driving an hour one way when DSD's mom moved away. We came for the concerts and teacher conferences. "The other" family had no idea what it means to be the household with visitation rights and CS responsibilities until 3 months ago. All the things they complained about... There is no CS coming our way. There has been three visitations for about 20 hours total in the past three months, half of that time was spent by DSD babysitting her siblings. There has been very few phone calls. Their loss, right? DSD seems cheerful, and that all that matters in the big scheme of things.

The system is imperfect, and I have no suggestion for fixing it. All you can do is "play by the rules" whichever side you are on, and try to keep things light and positive for the kids. I am happy and complete in the situation we are in. I don't care that we slept on the floor on the weekends, I don't care that they got to keep thousands (unjustly, even if it is my own opinion that some will disagree with). I don't care that we still rent. I don't think it's fair, but I made my peace with "life is unfair", and "there are more important things to worry about". It all worked out for us at the end, there are lessons of patience, humility, and love to be learned from what we went through, and we are a stronger family unit at the end. DP now knows that I'm not "in it" for the money, we know we can reschedule things twenty times for DSD's benefit when her mom changes her mind. DSD knows that no-matter what, we are there for her. We know we can survive serious financial difficulties without too much complaining or arguing, just by being there for each other. We know that owning a house doesn't mean happiness, and that not having one doesn't mean unhappiness.

What I ask for every parent to consider is, don't judge until you walked in those shoes. I'm sure DSD's mom is biting her tounge for all the things she's ever said about DP over the years. As a non-custodial mom, she's not doing even 1/10th of what DP did...

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#13 of 31 Old 05-21-2008, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It it NOT fair for a father to be paying $700 CS if he wanted 50x50 custody and his wife left him for another man. Why can't he keep the house, and be assigned as a primary caregiver and his wife is the one to look for a job and send us a check, and see her daughter two days a week after she asked for a permission to pick her up? Ah, right... Because the courts said so...

So incredibly true!! Sounds like our stories are very similiar. After my DP's ex kicked him out of the house for the other guy... they ended up selling the house anyway and moving in with her Mom to live rent free...

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#14 of 31 Old 05-21-2008, 01:24 PM
 
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I am in shock that anyone would want to pm someone on this site to say a NCP needs to keep their zipper shut! Total shock. I think some on here are getting off on some kind of power trip or something. It's like they are punishing their child's future step family in advance...

What would happen if we just started ignoring negative posts? Only respond to those that are sincere or helpful. I don't mind negative stuff as long as it really makes me think but lately some stuff here is just mind boggling. I think it adds fuel to the fire to quote and try to argue a point that really doesn't need to be argued, such as there are good NCPs out there. We all know this, cause we live it, so why argue it? We could still read those posts for a laugh, but not respond. How long do you think it would take before that stuff would stop?

Lots of sad baggage out there in cyberspace but we don't need unpack it.
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#15 of 31 Old 05-21-2008, 01:43 PM
 
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I am in shock that anyone would want to pm someone on this site to say a NCP needs to keep their zipper shut! Total shock. I think some on here are getting off on some kind of power trip or something. It's like they are punishing their child's future step family in advance...

Lots of sad baggage out there in cyberspace but we don't need unpack it.
I feel like that describes the situation I am living with my DH's ex. No matter what he would do, how much CS he would pay it will never be enough. It's not about him not being a responsible parent or providing for their son. It's about his not having the right (in her mind) to be happy.

And DH did not "walk out" on their marriage. I don't want to be specific about details, but she came away from that union materially with far more than he did.

Since I'm new to this forum, I'll ask: Is it the intention that the single moms posting represent the CP side things? So that I as the SM understand how DH's ex might perceive a situation from her POV? If they have an ex who has moved into another relationship, they can offer how they dealt with it, managed their feelings and expectations, worked with the new partner. But if it's just to make a case that they as CPs have it harder than I do or that I better "know my place" as the SM, I can get that from living my day-to-day life with DH's ex in the picture.

I agree that it's probably a good idea not to engage in trying to explain the other side of the coin when there are cases where the person doesn't seem open to hearing it.
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#16 of 31 Old 05-21-2008, 02:54 PM
 
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I was also the one who filed for divorce after decades of marriage. I was also painted as the "bad guy." though I left because of an abusive situation that had become intolerable. My ex's family will never forgive me for leaving him. In their neck of the woods, rule of thumb is taken quite literally.
My Hubby could have written your post. That's his story in a nutshell. And he'll be paying for it directly and indirectly for the rest of his (or his Ex's) life.

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What would happen if we just started ignoring negative posts? Only respond to those that are sincere or helpful. I don't mind negative stuff as long as it really makes me think but lately some stuff here is just mind boggling. I think it adds fuel to the fire to quote and try to argue a point that really doesn't need to be argued, such as there are good NCPs out there. We all know this, cause we live it, so why argue it? We could still read those posts for a laugh, but not respond. How long do you think it would take before that stuff would stop?
There's been so much of that in this forum lately. It would save us alot of headaches, but it wouldn't stop, because there's always fuel to keep the fire going, even if we're not the ones providing the fuel.

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#17 of 31 Old 05-21-2008, 03:39 PM
 
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I have decided to practice what I preach and only respond to helpful critiques, advice. I do like to hear the "other side" but when it becomes borderline abusive, nope. So I am going to ignore and not take the bait, because I think that is the way it is being thrown out, like a glove at a duel.

I lived the life of a single mom so do understand a great deal about that. I also had a yucky first husband so understand that, too. I have been broke, depressed and all those other things that divorced women go through. However, I have never been bitter...I am glad the first husband is gone, I am glad he is remarried (takes stress off of me), and I am glad I am married to DH. He is awesome and a wonderful father and I take lessons from him every day in patience, humility and long term thinking. My life and my own children's lives would be poorer without him in it. And I don't mean in the money sense.

If I had one thing to do over, I would have lived with Dh before marriage so that I could better understand the problems he has with his ex and how time consuming and emotionally draining they are. It was a shock to me how much she is on the phone and emails with him and her screaming...
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#18 of 31 Old 05-21-2008, 04:15 PM
 
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I lived the life of a single mom so do understand a great deal about that. I also had a yucky first husband so understand that, too. I have been broke, depressed and all those other things that divorced women go through. However, I have never been bitter...I am glad the first husband is gone, I am glad he is remarried (takes stress off of me), and I am glad I am married to DH.
Ditto
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#19 of 31 Old 05-21-2008, 04:31 PM
 
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I like the distinction that pinksparkly made about households. That is a good way of understanding what the NCP has a responsibility for. He is responsible for Dss's well being, not his mom's household.
Yes, exactly.

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After my DP's ex kicked him out of the house for the other guy... they ended up selling the house anyway and moving in with her Mom to live rent free...

My husband's ex was cheating on him with her now husband for 3 years. They went to counseling throughout her seeing this other guy on and off. My husband's ex refused to continue counseling because she felt she had nothing to work on, it was all her husband's fault, and the counselor had suggested she could make some changes, too. So she quit counseling, left state with their child, and moved in with the guy with her parents, and their consent. There was no house involved, as my husband was in the military at the time. She also had a spending/money problem, as did he. however, she has filed bankruptcy, three years ago, has NO bills, lives with her parents on and off when rent is too much to handle, doesn't work cause nowhere will keep her more than a couple months (personality differences), her husband works full time, and she still fought for not having CS reduced when my husband was forced to change jobs, earning nearly half what he had. Luckily for us, the judge has been on this case for years, and knows both of them, and I was quite impressed when he said that my husband should not be paying so much CS that he cannot properly care for his other two children.

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#20 of 31 Old 05-21-2008, 04:37 PM
 
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Good for your judge. I am very impressed.
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#21 of 31 Old 05-21-2008, 04:46 PM
 
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I guess I fall into the camp of the bio father absolutely should not have had more children feeling.

He left, he refused to pay child support until the courts made him, he tried to use his position as a sgt in the local SO to get out of paying support. Eventually, he adopted his new wife's 4 children to reduce his child support obligation, and then paid for invitro for her to have another child. He cut the check for invitro at a time when he owed my household over 5K for ortho.

This man sees his son about once a month. He does not see his daughter anymore... her choice, too many heart breaks, let downs and disappointments. This man is not a father to his first two children (he raised two girls from 18 and 6 months till they were 10 and 12 (wife # 2), his is not a father to his first two bio children (wife # 3..me) what makes his current wife (# 4) think that he will not be doing the same to her?

My children were lucky in one sense... their bio is a cop, who wants to keep his job, so he does pay support. (1500 a month less since the adoption/birth of the other 5) And there do have a day to day daddy that loves them, and sacrifices his disposable income for their support.

Last year I was pretty bitter about the whole thing. Now I just thank my husband for being a better man, husband and father than my former spouse has ever been.
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#22 of 31 Old 05-21-2008, 04:48 PM
 
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Wow, your ex sounds horrible.
Like a guy who has a lot of power and is used to getting his way all the time.

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#23 of 31 Old 05-21-2008, 05:11 PM
 
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Since I'm new to this forum, I'll ask: Is it the intention that the single moms posting represent the CP side things? So that I as the SM understand how DH's ex might perceive a situation from her POV? If they have an ex who has moved into another relationship, they can offer how they dealt with it, managed their feelings and expectations, worked with the new partner. But if it's just to make a case that they as CPs have it harder than I do or that I better "know my place" as the SM, I can get that from living my day-to-day life with DH's ex in the picture.
What I've found as a biological mother in a four-parent family is that this forum gives me hope. It restores my faith that my sons stepmom is a basically good person and at some point, happy ever after is an option. Generally, this forum has been a positive force in my life, and I hope that as a CP, I've done the same service for those on the other side of the fence.

Fwiw, the birth of my ex's third son appears to have strengthened his commitment to his elder two. He's never going to be the parent to them that they deserve, but that's OK. They know how he is, and if they're happy with that then who am I to judge? Under UK laws, the birth of another child in the new household does decrease the amount of CS payable to all other children- the formula is something like 20% of the fathers income for one child, 25% for two, and 5% gets taken off for every child in his new household. I don't think it's fair (it's double the figure I think he should pay), but unfortunately I don't trust him enough to come to a voluntary arrangement leaving the government out of it all together.
There are things about the way he's living his life now (for instance, stepmum is a SAHM- one of the reasons we split was because he refused to work or claim benefits, therefore I was stuck with the task of providing for the family) that rankle deep with me, but generally I keep my mouth shut and don't say anything. It's none of my business, so I just watch tightlipped from a distance. I do wish he'd learn when to stop talking, though...

Boobybunny, I've been typing this post for the last two hours. You know I love you, right? I'm glad you're in a happier place about this.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#24 of 31 Old 05-21-2008, 06:10 PM
 
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There are responsible dads and moms, and there are nonresponsible ones. There are ones that try to live by their court orders and those that try to get out of them. I would never tell my ex's wife she shouldn't have children, though. Or that he shouldn't support them fairly/equally to the first family. Of course in our case, we are all too old to be talking pregancy again, but it would not be my business.
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#25 of 31 Old 05-21-2008, 07:26 PM
 
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I agree that the posts should remain positive.

I also think that it would be very helpful if we actually read all the words in each others' posts, and avoided reading extra ones in, before responding. I've noticed that frequently, when I'm in conversation here, I'm responding to people who're upset about things that I hadn't said.

I don't recall anyone on this forum saying that men have no right to happiness after divorce or to second families. Of course they do. What I did say was that I don't think men (or women) should start new families if they can't uphold their obligations to the children of the first marriage. What I don't do is say, "Well, it's not your fault you're poor; go on, you deserve happiness with a second family," because in the end someone else gets stuck with the bill. Sometimes the mother, sometimes the kids, sometimes the taxpayers; I'm guessing it's usually all three.

As for the house/apartment thing, I am sure there are CPs who really do want the house for themselves and may even use it as a form of revenge if it means the NCP has to live with parents or in a little apartment. However, even counting the time before I was married, I actually saw that happen only once. That was a very successful stockbroker (the woman) who took pleasure in screwing the guy out of everything she was able to. She really reduced him to rubble. Scary lady. But the rest, no, on the whole they go through quite a bit in order to keep the children in the house. When they lose it, it's a major defeat. In my case, no, I don't want a house, which is why I didn't own one at 34, when I married. It's too big for me, and anyone can see I suck at taking care of lawns. I do live here for my daughter. When she goes, unless there's some pressing tax reason not to, I expect I will too. (Back to somewhere with trees, too. I've had enough prairie to last me a lifetime. It's beautiful and all, but...I miss trees.)

Apart from the fact that mortgage-or-not isn't generally a consideration in how states determine c/s: I think it's reasonable for an NCP to provide first for the child's home, and live in an apt if he can't afford more after paying c/s, regardless of who filed or the reasons for divorce. Apart from the benefits of having the space, constancy in schools, etc., most child psychologists urge that after something as difficult as divorce, the parents strive to avoid making the child move. Most of the time, moving to an apt also means going down the ladder neighborhoodwise, and if you're not well-off to start with, that can mean the kids are growing up in a less safe neigborhood with poorer schools. Back before most people got their apt listings from craigslist, I used to get semi-desperate calls from single mothers in our town's bad neighborhood, because mine would be one of the few listings with an affordable rent outside that neighborhood.

I'd readily live in an apt and help pay the mortgage if I were the NCP, for the same reason that mothers from poorer countries go abroad to work and send most of their wages home. I imagine most of you would do the same for your children.

(sigh) Much as I hate to admit it, I'm starting to think the sociobiologists are right.
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#26 of 31 Old 05-22-2008, 03:56 PM
 
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I don't think I would live in an apartment to help pay the mortgage so that my ex spouse could have a nice house with my child. I would be more apt to try to get full custody so that the child could come and live in my house. These are fighting words, I'm sure, but I don't hold myself responsible for ex's choices.
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#27 of 31 Old 05-22-2008, 04:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What about in the case where the NCP did give up the home, but the CP chose to sell it and go live in an apartment in the worst school district anyway?

The CP doesn't always make the best housing decisions, even given the money and resources to do so.

So why should the child get a crummy living environment at both houses or one? The housing should be equal, provided by each parent, not one parent paying for the other... the NCP deserves to provide a nice home for the child just as much... especially in cases in equal or pretty near equal custody.

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#28 of 31 Old 05-22-2008, 04:41 PM
 
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Generally I just assume that when any relationship ends the standard of living for both parties is impacted. How significant the impact is depends on many things, but primarily whether you worked at all/PT/FT during the marriage. If you were a SAHM now faced with having to go out and try to support a child without that second household income, that is going to be tougher. But it can be done. As a man you are now paying 20%+ (add in daycare + medical + extracurriculars and it can be more like 35-40%) of your income out to CS, so there's less left to live on.

I don't think that either party should end up living in a hovel, but they both might need to downsize. Children can adapt. It isn't cruelty or child endangerment to grow up in an apartment or to share a BR. I live in a nice suburban community that has plenty of safe apartment/townhome options in good school districts. It can't be the only place like that in the USA.

And personally, the last place I would want to live is the former marital residence. Part of my mentally starting over would be creating a new space for myself and my kids.
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#29 of 31 Old 05-22-2008, 08:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkj323 View Post
Children can adapt.
I think it pays to be very careful about how that's applied. It seems to me it's thrown around quite liberally in divorce talk, but there tends to be a sort of amnesia about the number of major life stressors children are asked to adapt to serially. Divorce, a move, new school, loss of friends, loss of neighborhood, shared custody, parental romances, parental remarriages, new siblings, more divorce, loss of parent in daily life due to relocation. All this can happen over the span of a few years. A battery like that would overwhelm most adults, and yet we decide that 8-year-olds will adapt. I'd say it's better to put yourself out to make sure that the number of major stressors to adapt to is very small; after all, the kids are supposed to be busy growing up, not busy adjusting psychologically to major curves we throw them. Personally, I had only one of them while still at home -- my parents separated for a while -- but that one event was like a bomb in a lake, even though I thought the separation was a good idea and they both behaved well, as far as I could make out.

I think most of this conversation is probably unnecessary if we agree that each parent is responsible for 50% of the child's actual costs, which includes housing costs attributable solely to the child. That leaves each parent responsible for his or her own housing costs, plus half of the child's. (Works the same for insurance. Xh and I each pay our own, plus 50% of dd's.)

If the mom, assuming mom's CP, can't or won't come up with her half for the kid and moves to a cheaper place, then the dad can do one of two things.

1. He can suck it up for the sake of the kid, acknowledge the mom is benefitting, and do the necessary to keep the kid in a good place; or

2. He can stick to the 50% formula, which leaves him paying less because the mom's moved somewhere cheaper, and use the extra money to buy nicer housing for himself and the child's visits.

If there's significant income/earning ability disparity at the start, with the dad earning much more than the mom, I'd suggest some sort of rehabilative period so the kid doesn't end up losing his home just because mom stayed home with him, or supported dad through grad school with some menial/flexible job. And obviously you'd have to tweak it if there was disability anywhere in the picture.
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#30 of 31 Old 05-22-2008, 09:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
If the mom, assuming mom's CP, can't or won't come up with her half for the kid and moves to a cheaper place, then the dad can do one of two things.

1. He can suck it up for the sake of the kid, acknowledge the mom is benefitting, and do the necessary to keep the kid in a good place; or

2. He can stick to the 50% formula, which leaves him paying less because the mom's moved somewhere cheaper, and use the extra money to buy nicer housing for himself and the child's visits.
Or secret option number 3.

He can sue for full custody so that he knows that A) he can be sure his child/children will be in a residence he deems safe, healthy and secure and B) so he'll know that the money he makes will be going exclusively toward that end - without any filters or rearrangements. For the sake of the kid, of course.
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