do custodial parents have to help with the transportation during visitation? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 33 Old 06-19-2008, 09:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband's ex-wife won't help drive the boys at all. We live about 2 hours away from each other and she said it's OUR responsibility to pick up the boys and drive them home if we want to see them. We just can't afford the gas until I get a job and I have been looking.

We only see them 3-4 times a year but we do call to talk to them.

My question is does the custodial parent have to assist with driving during visitations? It's not in the divorce decree but I thought I remembered reading somewhere they have to drive within ten miles of where the divorce occurred. The divorce was filed in Illinois, if that helps. At the time the decree was written up they both lived about 10 minutes from each other and it didn't bother him to drive both ways but she moved an hour away shortly after the divorce was finalized and then because of my husband's job we moved an hour in the opposite direction. Now we need help with the transporting and she refuses and if we have arrangements where she is going to pick the boys up somewhere closer to where we live she calls the day of and says there's an emergency and we have to drive them all the way home. When we get there it really doesn't appear to be any type of emergency, so we're sure she just lied so she didn't have to come get them.
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#2 of 33 Old 06-19-2008, 10:40 PM
 
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Hm...the parenting plan usually will say who provides transportation. I don't think Illinois has a default, although I could be wrong. (I do know that if one parent voluntarily moves far away, transportation will more often fall to that parent.)

I suppose your husband could try to have the agreement amended to reflect transportation, especially in light of the craptastic economy and gas prices, and the two-hour distance, and the fact it seems his ex is not voluntarily sharing things (calling at the last minute to say she can't meet).

My SD's mom and my partner meet halfway. Occasionally, I'll meet SD's mom (if I'm out that way anyway for work, or if my partner has a can't-get-out-of-it conflict).

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#3 of 33 Old 06-20-2008, 12:11 AM
 
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DSD's mom never dropped her off or picked her up until DSD (now 15) moved in with us. We had quite a drive, anywhere from 50 mins to 2 hours. I didn't think it was fair (naturally), and the burden of gas and trasportation has been an issue, BUT! we always picked her up, every weekend. No matter how hard things were (and things were hard).

I don't think gas can be an excuse for seeing your child only 3-4 times a year (I apologize in advance if I sound judgemental on this issue). Sometimes you have to do what you have to do to be there for the child, and if sucking it up and driving 4 hours a weekend is what it takes to see the kid, that's what you should do. Gas has a price, the relationship with a child is priceless.

Of course, the custodial parent should be fair, and understanding, and what not. However, being the bigger person who does things even when they are not fair, and unreasonable, and pricey, is a necessity sometimes, when you have a child in a blended family situation.

*hugs* hope you can work things out.

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#4 of 33 Old 06-20-2008, 12:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DSD's mom never dropped her off or picked her up until DSD (now 15) moved in with us. We had quite a drive, anywhere from 50 mins to 2 hours. I didn't think it was fair (naturally), and the burden of gas and trasportation has been an issue, BUT! we always picked her up, every weekend. No matter how hard things were (and things were hard).

I don't think gas can be an excuse for seeing your child only 3-4 times a year (I apologize in advance if I sound judgemental on this issue). Sometimes you have to do what you have to do to be there for the child, and if sucking it up and driving 4 hours a weekend is what it takes to see the kid, that's what you should do. Gas has a price, the relationship with a child is priceless.

Of course, the custodial parent should be fair, and understanding, and what not. However, being the bigger person who does things even when they are not fair, and unreasonable, and pricey, is a necessity sometimes, when you have a child in a blended family situation.

*hugs* hope you can work things out.
No, we feel the same way and whenever possible we do drive out there. My husband works a lot though and it's just too difficult for me to watch all the kids (especially when his two are told by the mother they do not have to listen and respect me).

I watch them for a week at a time whenever their school schedule allows though and it's a tough week for me usually arguing constantly with the child just to get him to do a simple task.

We have always been suffering though and it's lots of times one of those, well do use the money for gas to pick up the boys or do we use it to buy food situations.
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#5 of 33 Old 06-20-2008, 01:59 AM
 
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In our situation, it isn't written in the custody agreement or anything (no divorce decree as they were never married).

However, we do most of the driving (across town, anywhere from 30-50 minutes depending on traffic etc). SD's mom has 2 younger kids (soon to be 3) and that can be a pain in carting back and forth. However, she has come to pick up SD (like on Xmas eve, etc)

We kind of play it by ear most of the time. However, we pick SD up on friday at school, and drop her off on tuesday at school, most of the time.
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#6 of 33 Old 06-20-2008, 03:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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In our situation, it isn't written in the custody agreement or anything (no divorce decree as they were never married).

However, we do most of the driving (across town, anywhere from 30-50 minutes depending on traffic etc). SD's mom has 2 younger kids (soon to be 3) and that can be a pain in carting back and forth. However, she has come to pick up SD (like on Xmas eve, etc)

We kind of play it by ear most of the time. However, we pick SD up on friday at school, and drop her off on tuesday at school, most of the time.
we all have children in this situation. Ours are actually slightly younger than her two. Seeing as the boyfriend never did come with when she dropped them off the few times there is no reason they can not stay with him and our kids stay with me.

A lawyer said we could take it to court but if she says she's not going to drive than it'd be up to the judge to decide if she should have to help in the driving or not.
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#7 of 33 Old 06-20-2008, 09:46 AM
 
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I don't know the different laws in different states, but I know several people in a split arrangement... and typically it is decreed that transportation be shared in some way.. often it is highly encouraged to pick a half-way point and each parent drives.

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#8 of 33 Old 06-20-2008, 10:06 AM
 
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I know this is easier said than done, but I think the solution is to move closer to the kids. Two hours away is too far to be from your children. 3 to 4 times a year is not parenting, it is having a niece or nephew over to visit. And your dh needs to be more involved with his kids lives, or else what's the point? 3 to 4 times is a minuscule amount of parenting.

Especially since ex-wife has taught the kids not to like you, that's even more reason to live closer to them. How can your husband counter-balance what she's doing when he sees them so rarely?

It's not surprising that they don't see you as an authority figure, and that's really not their fault. They have been taught by their mother (to them the wisest of all) that you are something of a villain. It's not like they have a lot of time to find out otherwise. And you're really not their parent anyway, so I can see how they don't take you seriously. Besides, they need to be with their father when they come to visit.

I would rent out your home if you own it (don't sell it) and live closer to the kids, even if it means downsizing. DH has a duty to his children, IMO, that's his job as a parent. I know the ex-wife was the one who moved away, but like another poster said, you have to be the bigger people.
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#9 of 33 Old 06-20-2008, 11:52 AM
 
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Usually there's something in the decree. If you pushed for it, it sounds like you'd have grounds for sharing transportation, but I'm not sue it would be worth the drama when you only live 2 hours away. We live 2000 miles away and we pay all the transportation (I'm not sure if we could change that but so far we haven't asked) and we see the kids almost monthly. (Yikes, that sounds expensive now that I write it out..) I would try not to get drawn into a power struggle on this one. Yes, she should help. No, she should not undermine your authority, and yes, I get how if she does undermine your authority then it makes it less enjoyable for you to be around the kids. I can see how you might make it less of a priority, given the situation. It's too bad their mom set up her own kids for failure in such a primary relationship. However, I'd just drive over there and try not think about it too much. Hopefully the relationship with the kids will improve if you see them more and your DH fully backs your presence and authority.

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#10 of 33 Old 06-20-2008, 01:10 PM
 
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We live in IL, and it is 40 miles each way between houses. I don't know if it is a default in IL, but my DH's attorney said that the courts would likely not make the mom (custodial) share the driving. The view is that she's the CP, so she probably has more general expenses relating to the child, so the NCP can cover the cost of gas.

I have heard of other situations where both parents share the driving by meeting 1/2 way or one does drop off the other does pick up. But both parties would have to agree for this to happen.
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#11 of 33 Old 06-20-2008, 02:02 PM
 
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I don't know if it varies state to state but when dh's ex moved 300 miles away we had the attitude of "she wants to see him, come get him." Our lawyer quickly set us straight. She said that barring extreme financial situation/disabiltiy, parents are expected to split transportation. Judges want to see both parents putting in the effort to maintain the child's relationships with both parents, and that not driving is dragging your feet and interfering with the relationship. I hadn't thought of it that way. I have heard of people being ordered to split transportation 50/50 or split according to the percentage of their income like 70/30. So, I don't think there is a particular law that says that parents split transportation, it is the kind of think you could go to mediation about and, at least here, a judge would likely order.
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#12 of 33 Old 06-20-2008, 05:58 PM
 
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DH's decree has it written for living within 100 miles of one another and living further than 100 miles. For living within less than that, he is supposed to pick her up. We never had major issues with DSD's to do either the dropping off or picking up when we lived 45mins away. Now, we typically do it all because we live 10mins away.

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#13 of 33 Old 06-20-2008, 06:54 PM
 
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if it's not written in the custody agreement it is usually up to the non-custodial parent to provide transportation ..
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#14 of 33 Old 06-20-2008, 07:11 PM
 
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if it's not written in the custody agreement it is usually up to the non-custodial parent to provide transportation ..
I don't think it's fair, and I wish we would learn as families to be courteous and fair to each other without a piece of paper telling us to be courteous and fair to each other, kwim? It's what little kids learn when they first start playing together "you have to take turns, otherwise it's not right".

My humble opinion...

Once again, I come from the side that did ALL the driving. Believe me, it adds up. At the same time, it had a side to it that non-driving parent will never know - it was GREAT bonding time, the time for serious talks, and silly jokes, and singing out loud. So I guess if you choose to, you can look at it not as a financial loss, but as a chance to rebuild the relationship with the kids.

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#15 of 33 Old 06-20-2008, 09:26 PM
 
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If the move is interfering with his ability to visit his kids as often as the visitation agreement allows for then he does have the right to go back to court and either reverse the move or ask that she drive the kids at least half way on each visitation day. Parents aren't suppossed to move the kids so far away that visitation isn't possible and if they do in many places they have to absorb the full cost of transporting the child unless the other parents gave permission.
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#16 of 33 Old 06-20-2008, 10:12 PM
 
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I know this is easier said than done, but I think the solution is to move closer to the kids. Two hours away is too far to be from your children. 3 to 4 times a year is not parenting, it is having a niece or nephew over to visit. And your dh needs to be more involved with his kids lives, or else what's the point? 3 to 4 times is a minuscule amount of parenting.
Two hours can be part of the same metro area, depending on where you're talking about. It can also mean the difference between having a job--or commuting two hours each way every day to a job--or not having a job at all.

My partner and his ex are 90 minutes apart. We still have SD weekends during the school year, weekdays during the summer (with flexibility for trips, spring break, etc.). He still makes it to parent-teacher conferences ; I've gone to functions out there, too, and we've managed to get SD to birthday parties. (It'll be more interesting as she gets older and has more sports/socializing/etc., but we'll manage.)

I don't think it's the two hours that's the problem. There's more here.

I would recommend the parties try to get into mediation, at least.

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#17 of 33 Old 06-21-2008, 02:51 PM
 
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Our visitation calls for only pick-ups and not drop offs. That means when DS has a visit with his dad, his dad picks him up. When it is time for him to come back with me, I pick him up.

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#18 of 33 Old 06-21-2008, 06:23 PM
 
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Our visitation calls for only pick-ups and not drop offs. That means when DS has a visit with his dad, his dad picks him up. When it is time for him to come back with me, I pick him up.
That's how we did it when we lived an hour away, when we lived 10 minutes away, and still do now that we are 3000 miles away.

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#19 of 33 Old 06-21-2008, 08:28 PM
 
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In our case, I refuse to go into the county where he had me falsely arrested, was pulled over numerous times for things like "insurance checks" or "saftey checks" and followed by other members of "his" department for no reason.

So my former spouse picks up and drops off.
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#20 of 33 Old 06-21-2008, 09:42 PM
 
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Besides, they need to be with their father when they come to visit.
This may be one reason why the mom is giving you a hard time about doing the driving. 4-8 hours is a lot of driving with two kids, and if they're not even going to see their dad while they're there, she may be asking what the point is.

I'm very big on my dd seeing her dad and pushed pretty hard to make it a daily thing -- even when we were separated and he was ill, he was over here for dinner and her bath & bedtime routine every night. But I'd likely pull back some if he took on so much more responsibility for other children and their mother that he had little time to see the kids and couldn't pay for gas to drive here. To me it would say that he really wasn't making the commitment to the children from the first marriage.

I understand that there are times when things are tough, but if in the best of times you're still only seeing the kids 3-4x/yr, a current hard time really can't be looked at as the reason for it.

You can see what the judge says, but it doesn't sound as though you have money to gamble that way. I'd just defer the whole thing till you got a job and it was possible for you guys to do more regular driving.
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#21 of 33 Old 06-22-2008, 02:47 PM
 
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And you're really not their parent anyway, so I can see how they don't take you seriously.
I missed this on the last pass-through...: I hope that your statement was just one of those things that comes out wrong on the Internet and not reflective of how you really feel. If it is, I hope your kids never have stepparents. Or non-parent caregivers of any sort.

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#22 of 33 Old 06-22-2008, 02:59 PM
 
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My ex originally pushed for 50% of travel costs, whilst at that point he was giving me sod all in child support- 20 GBP a month, sometimes 50, more often none. I was working part-time, ended up having to be a SAHM because I was calling in sick with Isaac's health so often, couldn't do it. Having him remain in our lives was literally costing us money, as the cost of transporting the boys part-way to see my ex was far more than the cost of child support, even every other month.

Whilst I'm sure no husband of an MDC mama would ever do this, it felt like my ex was saying to me "This is my power over you. If you want me to have a relationship with our kids, you are going to have to physically meet me half way and thus meet half the transport costs. I will manipulate the situation because I am more interested in what's right than what's best for my kids." I never got the sense of someone who would do whatever it took to have a strong relationship with his children : make of that what you will.

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#23 of 33 Old 06-22-2008, 06:24 PM
 
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The short answer?

No.

The long answer? Unfortunately also no.

DH and his ex have it written specifically in their parenting plan that the receiving parent is to responsible for providing transportation for the child.

The ex has only ever done so 3 times (over the span of 6 years) - only because she was asked to specifically and even still after about the third time she filed a restraining order against DH citing abuse because of some mosquito bites DSD had incurred while in our care that she claimed looked 'suspicious'. The restraining order put a halt to visitation long enough for the ex to contact DH's lawyer with an offer to drop it so long as DH agreed to meet her at a halfway point whenever she was responsible for providing transport (but never when he was).

So in all reality, depending on who you're dealing with...it may not even matter who is actually or legally responsible.
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#24 of 33 Old 06-22-2008, 06:25 PM
 
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I missed this on the last pass-through...: I hope that your statement was just one of those things that comes out wrong on the Internet and not reflective of how you really feel. If it is, I hope your kids never have stepparents. Or non-parent caregivers of any sort.
Yeah, that remark snagged me too. I tried to put it down to the fact that the op's stepkids only see her 3-4x/yr (briefly, I'm assuming), in which case she really isn't a parent to them -- she's their dad's wife and their half-sibs' mom. But it was an awfully bald way of putting it.
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#25 of 33 Old 06-22-2008, 06:27 PM
 
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The restraining order put a halt to visitation long enough for the ex to contact DH's lawyer with an offer to drop it so long as DH agreed to meet her at a halfway point whenever she was responsible for providing transport.
Oh ew. Wow.

What amazes me is that people can do this sort of thing naturally. It's not like you have to take classes, or anything.

Ew. I'm going to be thinking about that all day.
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#26 of 33 Old 06-22-2008, 07:47 PM
 
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I know this is easier said than done, but I think the solution is to move closer to the kids. Two hours away is too far to be from your children. 3 to 4 times a year is not parenting, it is having a niece or nephew over to visit. And your dh needs to be more involved with his kids lives, or else what's the point? 3 to 4 times is a minuscule amount of parenting.

Especially since ex-wife has taught the kids not to like you, that's even more reason to live closer to them. How can your husband counter-balance what she's doing when he sees them so rarely?

It's not surprising that they don't see you as an authority figure, and that's really not their fault. They have been taught by their mother (to them the wisest of all) that you are something of a villain. It's not like they have a lot of time to find out otherwise. And you're really not their parent anyway, so I can see how they don't take you seriously. Besides, they need to be with their father when they come to visit.

I would rent out your home if you own it (don't sell it) and live closer to the kids, even if it means downsizing. DH has a duty to his children, IMO, that's his job as a parent. I know the ex-wife was the one who moved away, but like another poster said, you have to be the bigger people.
Do you even have stepkids? Or kids, for that matter? Your comments were hardly useful.
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#27 of 33 Old 06-23-2008, 12:33 AM
 
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I know this is easier said than done, but I think the solution is to move closer to the kids. Two hours away is too far to be from your children. 3 to 4 times a year is not parenting, it is having a niece or nephew over to visit. And your dh needs to be more involved with his kids lives, or else what's the point? 3 to 4 times is a minuscule amount of parenting.


My son's father lives about 6 hours away, sees him about 4 - 5 times a year (plus most of summer) and is a GREAT parent. Sometimes distance can't be helped.. its up to both parents to make it work.
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#28 of 33 Old 06-23-2008, 10:10 AM
 
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That leads back onto my point though, doesn't it- which is that if you live at a considerable distance from your children, you need to be aware that your co-parent and possibly also your children are going to doubt your involvement. Equally, if you only live 2 hours away, they're going to wonder why they can count the frequency of your visits on the fingers of one hand.

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#29 of 33 Old 06-23-2008, 04:27 PM
 
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My husband's divorce decree never said anything about transportation because at the time they lived in the same city. My husband moved to a different town and the burden of doing all the driving was getting more than he could afford. So, he filed a request with the court that pick up/drop off be at a location in the middle of both residences. The judge ordered it be in a mutually agreed upon middle location. So they chose a location and it's worked out well.

They even agreed to change to change the time. It had been 3:30 pm friday because that way my husband would pick up his son when school was out and take him back 3 pm on sunday. His son has been homeschooled for over two years now and my husband has never been off work before 6 pm even on fridays and sundays since October 2004. So I was the one doing the driving, which became extremely inconvenient for me. I had to wake up myself and my babes at 5:30 am to drive my husband to work so I could have the vehicle. Then I'd drive out to get his son by leaving at 2:30pm, and then back home, unload everyone for the second time, then back out to my husband's work at 5:30 to pick up my husband from work, EVERY SINGLE FRIDAY AND SUNDAY. Extremely exhausting. And might I add, a 30 mile drive to the pick up, 30 miles back, and 8 miles to and from my husband's work from our home. We couldn't afford the gas (it's $4 a gallon here).

So, long story short, the time was changed to pick up on friday at 8 pm and drop off at 7:30 pm sunday. So my husband gets the same number of hours on the weekend, but this way HE can do the driving himself after work. Not to mention, the past few months he's actually been OFF work on sundays.

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~PurityLake~ is offline  
#30 of 33 Old 06-25-2008, 01:09 AM
 
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I know that in some states whichever parents move caused the increased distance is responsible for transportation (and the costs of transportation). XH & I were taking turns with the transportation, but he no longer has a license so I drive them as long as he gives me gas money so I can afford it.

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