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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
stbx and i have been working out the details of our divorce and plan to file soon. obviously i'm not asking for legal advice - just practical feedback. we're able to file jointly as long as we agree on things. here's where we're at so far:

joint legal custody

i have sole physical custody

he gets the boys for 24 hours every weekend (doesn't currently use all of this, but lately it's been close and i would love it if he actually did!)

we get the boys on our b'days, share the boys on their b'days

alternating holidays (not trying to shuttle them back and forth to both households on each holiday)

i get the real estate - there's no equity. i guess he gets out of the potential situation of having to cover his half of a short sale?

i get the debt - basically mine anyway.

i don't have to pay him half the value of my shares in my family business - the company's book value is zero/negative, but market value (if someone were to buy half my shares) would be something, i don't know what . . . but at least this way i don't even have to figure it out.

i get my car - worth peanuts, and he doesn't drive.

we will fill out the orders for support (basic, child care, medical) according to state guidelines, but i will not pursue enforcement at this time. this is probably the main thing i want feedback on, so here are all my thoughts on this:

he would be ordered to pay based on his potential to earn $1800 per month - and that's realistic, imo. he could earn that, and he could then cover his $796 support obligation. however, he doesn't earn that. his monthly gross is in the $1000-$1200 range. even if they only take 1/3 or something, he probably couldn't really live on that.

that being said, he is capable of earning enough to support his kids - he just doesn't want to. i kind of feel like, sure, i would love to have a "fun" job, but i need to stay where i am because i can't give up this salary - because i need to support my kids. why doesn't he also have that obligation? gah . . .

he had been a sahd for 5+ years. in a different state or with a different ex, i could be dealing with the possibility of paying spousal maintenance, or worse, losing custody (or even going 50-50). because of that, and because we're filing jointly rather than going through a court battle, i feel like i should be grateful that i'm getting what i really want (the kids . . . and a divorce!) and not try to enforce child support orders.

soon ds1 will be in kindergarten and my childcare costs will go down by about $500/month. then next fall, the ds2 will be in kindergarten. this means i don't really "need" support. otoh, of course there are things i would like to be able to do for my children that i can't afford, as well as saving for their future, etc. even without childcare, i think his basic support obligation is around $400/month. i could put that toward a lot of good for my children.

since the orders are there, if i needed to, i could request that the state enforce them (take it out of his paycheck). so i'm protected here. he's the one who is not - he's just taking my word for it that i won't enforce orders at this time.

one other weird thing not related to support. ex is writing for arts grants to try to cut back his work hours and focus on that. if he's able to make that happen, then he wants more time with the boys - like every other week. i started explaining how that doesn't really work once they're in school, and how they need a consistent routine (no offense - i know it works for some families, but i don't think it would be good for my kids). then i backed off of that. i just said, "you know, it would be great for them to spend more time with you, and i'm not going to stress about the logistics right now. let's just get this done according to how our lives are right now, and it can always be revisited in the future if our circumstances change." he was fine with that. of course, it was somewhat dishonest. it would be easy, for example, for me to get the support orders changed if he started earning more money and i started earning less, or something. but it would be a lot harder for him to get 50-50 after he agreed to 24 hours a week. i feel a little guilty about that, but i'm looking out for my kids here. okay, and myself. i admit it.

anyway, thoughts?
 

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I was very nice to ex about the options in the future to avoid a huge fight and get what i wanted RIGHTNOW. Now, i know it will be harder for him to change. He gets to see the kids more but i put the minimum in the agreement. Maybe its a bit dishonest but it worked out best for me and the kids. I was not goign to quibble over the future and what ifs - i just said "of course we can always ammend that" and smiled and nodded.
 

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Sorry but I just wanna know how the guy plans to live on $1000-$1200/month.

When he has the kids for the weekend he needs to house, feed them etc. Food for the kids is gonna come out of his budget, rent is going to come out of that budget, a bit of entertainment is going to come out of that budget, FOUR weekends a month... Hummmm

(idk how he would live on $1800/month and pay cs but thats just me)

What I did with my custody agreement (its a moot point now but) I got legal custody, Mr Wonderful got minimal visitation. DS was available whenever to see Mr. Wonderful. Child support WAS enforced as much as possible. I used the state agency. The state did a wage attachment so at times I did get DS's money.

I would do whats best for now and worry about later.. well... later. Also as kids get older they tend to voice their opinion about where they want to spend weekends and such. Its not such a big deal when they are 3 and 5 but when they are 8 and 10 or 10 and 12 they much rather spend time w. friends and activities etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post

Sorry but I just wanna know how the guy plans to live on $1000-$1200/month.

When he has the kids for the weekend he needs to house, feed them etc. Food for the kids is gonna come out of his budget, rent is going to come out of that budget, a bit of entertainment is going to come out of that budget, FOUR weekends a month... Hummmm
it's a little tangent but i'll explain - because i'm geeky with numbers and such.

rent $400

food $150

cigarettes $75

weed $120

soda $50

entertainment $30

cds $75

bus fare $10

electricity $20

cell $70

he shares an apartment with a (lovely) roommate, and i would be really surprised if rent was more than $700 but i rounded up to $800 just in case.

he doesn't eat a lot, works at a health food store, and feeds our kids about 10 meals a month (like, cereal for breakfast, mac & cheese, sandwiches) and his mom gives him food.

he could be spending more than that on cigarettes, but that's what he spent when we were together and he says he cut back.

weed, well he could go through a lot more than that, but . . . ?

soda, again, he could spend more here, but i didn't see the massive amounts of empty cans i used to see - i actually think he isn't drinking gallons of mt dew anymore

entertainment, what? he rents a $1 movie for the kids once a week. for himself, he plays music and goes to live music - i'm sure he doesn't pay to get in, but is spending a little money on drinks while out. he is pretty good at figuring out free things to do with the kids now that he lives downtown.

he buys a lot of music.

bus fare - he walks or rides his bike everywhere, or gets rides, but he probably occasionally needs to take the bus. certainly in winter.

guessing he splits electricity with his roommate. also guessing it's lower.

cell phone - he has a line on my mother's plan (i also used to) that he has not been paying for, but he will be getting his own phone. he could do it cheaper but probably won't.

as you can see, from my perspective, he actually could afford to pitch in for the kids, even on his current income. the man has almost no bills. oh! he also does maintenance work for his landlord and other work for cash. we're not counting that here toward his monthly takehome of about $1000. that probably goes straight to weed, beer, mushrooms, and cds/records.

eta: also, keep in mind this isn't a "plan" . . . we've been living apart for nearly a year. he bounced around a couple of different places but has been working this job since november and living in this apartment since march 1, so he is living off this already.
 

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And quite honestly... it isn't DD's problem how her ex is going to live on what is left after what he is responsible for paying in C/S. I'm sure what she is left with to live on after daycare costs, rent, etc. isn't more than what he will have.

Single moms have to be resourceful... so do the Dads. My ex has a room mate. He doesn't have to figure out to feed his kids everyday, or clothe them. He has about $1000/month left after he pays C/S to me and his first ex.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
oh, i'm sure zebra wasn't saying i should be concerned in the least about ex - only questioning his sanity. most adults have many more bills. student loans, life insurance, perhaps a car payment and insurance, gas, cable or dish, internet, a higher phone bill, debt . . . he doesn't. but as you can see, 1/3 of the budget i slapped together is utter BS. i certainly don't have that kind of money to blow having fun and/or self-medicating.
 

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honestly, if you can get by without the extra cs FOR NOW....I think the plan is solid. Getting him to agree to the larger amount AND the custody arrangement you want without a court battle is totally worth it! Hell, I've paid more in legal costs to protect my kids than xh ever paid in cs. Once you have that paperwork you can worry about enforcing it later if you want.

Don't feel guilty about making sure the paperwork protects you. That's what it's there for. The thing I really regret about my divorce is that I was so stubbornly determined not to be some vicious "go for the throat" bulldog about things. I was going to take the "higher ground" and make sure everything was truly fair and equitable, and his bad behavior shouldn't influence mine. What I SHOULD have done was to get absolutely everything I could on paper. Once it's on paper, I have the choice to be more generous than what the paperwork says whenever I want. With a divorce that's written "fairly" I never had the opportunity to be generous, and had to spend all my energy keeping everything balanced. It was an awful dynamic, and when he went into court claiming things weren't fair it put the kids in serious danger. You are clearly trying to be fair and respectful of your stbx, and I would recommend you learn from my mistakes. Say what you have to, to get as much as possible in your favor on paper. Once everything is signed and official, you will then have the right to make decisions for your children as you see fit. You will be able to decide how much visitation, cs, etc. You can be more generous than the order if it's good for the kids, and it will improve your relationship with your xh. You can stick to the order when you need to, with the same result as sticking to an order than doesn't meet your children's needs at other points of life. If he decides to go in and claim things aren't fair in the future, he's much less likely to get custody, and much more likely to just get the visitation you considered putting into the order originally, you know?
 
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