Saturday, January 21, 2012

Alex has been living with us close to two months now. We are still adjusting to this change in our life. I have to get myself back in the thinking of taking care of two children's everyday needs and then some compared to mostly just one. Alex has been to the dentist twice since he has been with us. He goes again on Friday for more dental work. I think it's safe to say that after this Friday he will had been at the dentist more with me in the past month than his Dad took him in the past three years. I feel it's important to get things done asap because I am not sure what his insurance situation will be in the near future.
Right now my son has a friend over the the second night in a row. This isn't something we really have done is having sleepovers in our house. He had permission for one night and my husband felt put on the spot when he asked for him to stay another night.
I wish my son would take our adjustment phase into consideration when we have to ask over and over again to get something around the house done and not cause us extra stress but then again he is a teenager.

I been feeling very anxious the last week or so. I filed for custody and for child support for my two sons. I had agreed to give it a shot to keep it out of the court but all that had given me was motive to argue with my ex husband over money and responsibility and the same thing with current husband. I just figure I have enough stress that I just need things to be simple. I think my sons to get first shot at their Dad's check compared to him deciding if he can afford to support them. I hope that doesn't sound shallow. It's just that all their excuses and reasons for not paying we can say the same thing as in why we need him to pay.

I been more nervous since I learned on Friday they delivered the notice to my ex husband. So, he knows I am taking him to court and he hasn't called yelling. We are taking extra caution with making sure we bought the car away and also making sure that someone is home at all times because I wouldn't put it past his family to strike at us for making this move.

Wish me luck. We go to court on Jan 30th and one of the Mom's from my retreat has offered to go with me and take me. I will probably take her up on it because they don't know her car or where she lives. I wouldn't want to subject my best friend to coming to the court house on court day. She has enough to deal with cause her cat of ten years died last night and she is very sad.


Karen said...

I hope Im not getting too personal, but I would like to give a bit of advise as a mother of an adult bio son, and also someone who helped my husband pay child support while his son was being raised. It's not going to be the more popular advise, but it is IMO, good advise.
I hope you are going for something reasonable, not what the courts say you can get based on his paychecks. The courts ALWAYS over dip on the fathers. And that's what really makes them angry the most. I know, I know....many people will disagree with me, but I've been on both sides of this fence. With my bio son, I asked a reasonable amount of child support (some would say it was too low, at $120 a month...but guess what? I always got it, and he did not change jobs to work under the table which he very well could have done, being a mechanic). And when it came time to pay child support for my husband's bio son (they barely knew each other when she got pregnant, then moved him to the curb, so he never knew his bio son, but always paid child support), she always asked for, and usually got top dollar from the courts because they ended up living in different states and he was not bonded with his bio son. I can tell you, as his wife, with another child at home....IT WAS HARD paying that much child support. On any given year it was somewhere between $380 to $580 a month. Some months we did a lot of shuffling with bills and if my husband were the type to be angry, he would be vengeful!. Someone can say all day long that it takes a lot to raise a child, and it does...however, after taxes, ss tax, disability tax, etc....what the courts usually order ends up being a third of the take home pay. That makes it really difficult for any noncustodial parent to live and pay bills...and ultimately, if your ex or his family ARE the type to hold a grudge, you have to ask yourself ultimately, how much of a grudge can you live with? If you ask reasonable rates, you can know you are not ripping him off and you can justify it.
When I did take my ex back to court, after 14 years, and child support was reassessed, the court determined that child support was worth $650 a month, not the $120 I was receiving all those years....I felt that was too steep, and decided on my own to only raise it to $175 a month. I can now tell my adult son that him never coming around to visit my son had NOTHING to do with him being upset over child support being too high. And that makes my ex have to answer for his OWN doing.

birthmothertalks said...

Karen, you were not too personal. I blog about personal issues so your fine.
First, I am so sorry to hear that your husband has missed out on getting to know his son. I do not think it's any woman's right to keep the father out of the child's life unless there is a case of abuse. I kind of want to say if a woman doesn't want to share the child then the husband shouldn't have to pay support but all that could end up doing is hurting the child even more so. I don't know the extent of what your husband has done to enforce his legal right to his child.
Honestly, I wouldn't want to move far away from my ex because I wouldn't want to come between my children's relationship with their Dad. And I know I would lose my mind if I had to send my sons off for long visits.
Second, is that I think divorce does cause more of a financial strain on the broken family because instead of proving for one home it's two homes.

In my state the noncustodial parent support for two children is 28% of their income after they pay taxes, insurance ect. Shortly after my divorce and when I had both children with me it amounted to 300 per month. That would amount to ten dollars a day to house,clothe and feed them ect.

Just for info. When I had one child and he had one child neither one of us paid any child support because are income was pretty close to being the same.The judge had said if one of us made more than the other then child support would have been ordered for the parent who earned less money. Personally, I am not sure if I agree with this.

I know 28% coming off one parents income isn't easy but the reality is the person who is paying the support isn't providing the three meals a day and isn't telling their children that they have to wait on a hair cut or shoes They are not taking time off from work for school conferences, doctor's appointments, sick days ect.

I can't speak for all non custodial parents. Maybe, some are helping the children get to appointments and makes an effort to take care of some of the children's needs.

My children's father has been in their life and to his credit once child support was ordered it did come out of his check and he didn't jump jobs to avoid paying it. We do believe the paying support or not paying support was a motive for him wanting our oldest son to live with him. He sees my children every other weekend and doesn't make the effort to pay them any attention any other time. As a matter a fact, he left him at our house and refused to take him over the tv issue. He has been told all he ask to do is ask me if he wants extra times. He went as far as to pick up a birthday cake for himself and dropped my 11 year off at home before they celebrated his birthday and ate the cake without him.

Lastly, I think you were very generous with your child's father by not collecting more child support from him. I can't imagine being so generous if money was tight and I had a spouse paying out such a huge chuck of his income. When I mentioned your comment to my husband he wondered what did your current husband think of you not insisting on my money for child support.

My husband also feels that my ex should pay support because we has the parents being home for our sons are doing all the work. Not suggesting that we get paid for our services but the fact is that we have to limit the hours that we work to meet the needs of the children as they grow.

Karen said...

Just wanted to leave a bit more detail about our situation... I was not married to my husband when my ex was paying child support. I'm not sure what he would have said, although he is a fairly laid back guy. If I could do it over again, I probably would have asked for a little more than 120, because he bailed completely on my son when he was 5 years old. (left me stranded on a street corner, when I was 8 months pregnant because he didn't want to be married, and was afraid of being a father)....and IMO, he probably bailed on my son when my son was old enough to ask questions about that kind of stuff.

It's a very fine line between getting support and asking more than the bio father can emotionally handle, I think. If you ask too little, you cant meet the needs of the child. Too much, and you risk the father bailing on EVERYTHING. Hard to do these days, but they can do it. I just know that a lot of times, emotions come into play as much as money, and custodial parents sometimes (or step parents) want to get in the last word by strapping the noncustodial parent with a huge monthly bill..and the courts often not only accept that, but encourage it. Personally, I think 28% of his net income might be a bit much because most likely between you and your husband you probably arent putting out a net of 1/3 of your combined incomes toward the kids. I know your husband is not their "dad" but he did marry you knowing that you had kids, so it becomes a shared thing.
I too think that if women bid the father farewell, then child support should be null, but then that leaves it open for too many dead beats to just say, "she didnt let me come around..I aint paying!" and we both know that in many cases that is just not the truth.

I completely understand where your husband is coming from, but it's kind of odd too, that with adoption, we don't expect the bio parents to come forth and support our children. I don't think they should, but it does heed some thought that being able to support our families comes down to levels of expectations.

What it all boils down to is, what YOU are comfortable with. Not just in the dollar amount, but in really being able to tell your children later, that you were fair...with out any extraneous additions of ...but your step father was not legally responsible for you...but your dad didnt come to see you more than every other weekend....but you ate a lot when you were a teen.... None of that. To be very honest with you, it was hard when my son was growing up. I was married to someone else (also laid back about money, but an alcoholic and self employed-by the way, the two don't mix) so money was always tight. But, in the end, now that my son is 28 yrs old, and he reconnected with his bio father after all these years, his bio father told him all of the "but's" about ME. He even went so far as to tell my son that child support kept him from visiting. And I was able to hold my head up high and tell him the TRUTH. And he was able to throw all that garbage his father told him, into the trash can, because it was TRUE. And THAT was worth every penny I NEVER received.

birthmothertalks said...

Karen, I really don't think adoption and child support go in the same conversation about child support. When a child is placed for adoption the birthparetns have no legal right to that child and what the adoptive parents do with them. In divorce, in my case we share joint custody and that means my children's dad has a legal say in schooling, religion ect.

I do think that noncustodial parents get the short end of the stick when it comes to parenting because legally I can't drap my child out of the bed at their dad's house if they choose not to make children go to school.

You are right that when my current husband married me he accepted that I had children and he does help support them. I do have to disagree that we pay less than 1/3 of our take home pay to support them. I hope I am not giving out too much personal information here but that would be suggesting that personally we only spend 110 per child for the month. I have two children to support so if the court orders what he used to pay at 300 a month I don't think it's too much.

My current husband and I agree that if we were living off 100 grand a year and not what we do have that the child support wouldn't be such an issue.

If my husband hadn't moved away he would still have to support his children so I don't think he should get away without not doing it now.

Also my husband is remarried so it's a two way street she knew he had children from a previous marriage and even if my oldest son had stayed with them until he was of age. He would still end up owing support for my oldest son.

Leah said...

I think your ex should have to pay child support, and if that amount is 28% per your state, than that is what the rate should be.

When you think about it, supporting children is very expensive. There are the grocery costs, the clothes, the medical, the dental, and once in a while, the fun things that kids enjoy as well. These things cost money. And if your ex isn't paying these fees directly to your kids for these things, than he needs to pay you in the form of child support so you can properly provide for your children.

I respect Karen's opinion but I don't agree with her. You aren't asking too much. And that's just too bad if men aren't emotionally responsible enough to handle the support. Perhaps they should have thought about that before procreating?

My husband and I are married and even with both of our incomes, kids are expensive. AT LEAST $1,000 a month goes towards their food costs, diapers, clothes, entertainment, and doctor bills. I couldn't pay those on my own. And if God forbid my husband and I split, I think he would be obligated to pay his fair share. It's only right.

Karen said...

Well, I didn't mean to bring adoption into the argument as being "literal". And I sort of knew that it would be misunderstood when I mentioned it as an example. But my only real point in bringing adoption into the mix was, the situation itself is what drives the expectation. In other words, if it were a situation where your ex was missing, no expectation would be there. If he were dead, no expectation would be there. And if your husband were to adopt your children, again, no expectation would be there. It was sort of a lame example...but it was more about expectation vs what we can really live with or not, and we need to balance it out.
I know my point of view is not one that is normally accepted in society. But I also know that I've seen so many situations where Mama is living with her parents, and sticking it to the ex, and bragging about it at work. Or, simply vindictive, and then masking it with a whole lot of reasons that the noncustodial parent should pay more.
Keep in mind, that I am NO way, passing this kind of judgement on what you are doing...Just think this is an interesting topic, and one that not many people take this side on.
On a side note, you had asked about working out visitation with my stepson. My husband's bio son is now 19 yrs old, and so "visitation" is not really on the plate any more. Nor is child support nor medical coverage. We did try once to get him to visit, we almost purchased the plane tickets, and about a month before that, she had taken him back to court and she lost in court because she had lied about her income (she lives in a very small town, the same town as my husband's family members...and actually worked in the same hotel as his brother-ummm...yeah, busted) and because she lost in getting more money, she held it against my husband and said his bio son could not come out to visit. Sad, but much more sad for his bio son than my husband. My husband, unfortunately had never seen him before, so it was probably much more important for his teen bio son to finally meet his father, than it was for my husband to get him out here. Im just glad we had not actually purchased the plane ticket by then, because it would have been a waste of money, she had no intentions of working with us on that.
At this point, I've seen my husband's bio son's profile on FB, and he is hanging with a really bad crowd. He usually has a profile picture of himself with a girl in very explicitly sexual positions. I would not want him to visit because of the vulnerability of our 7 year old daughter. We don't know him, and it would be like inviting a party boy off the streets into our home. At some point, however, I would support my husband meeting him in the town my husbands family lives. But it will probably be a while before we make it back there again, as my husbands parents are both deceased, and there's not too much of a reason to spend thousands of dollars for our family to go back there any time soon.

I'm just glad that we are no longer being taken to court every other year, and the anticipation that goes along with it. As I mentioned earlier, my husband is very laid back, and almost always let her set up a situation that was difficult for us financially. There were many times the child support came out of MY paychecks, especially when he was on disability for a while. The anxiety of always going back to court was usually high...and she knew it. I can now breathe, and it frees us up to help his bio son when we have money or when we feel a desire to, instead of every other week, whether if we could afford it or not.

Karen said...

In many cases, the noncustodial parent carries dental and medical for the child. And once any parent signs up for "family" dental and medical, it does not matter if it's for 1 child or 10 children, the cost for dental and medical is the exact same as it would be without the child in the house.
Also, just a side note, you say, if the noncustodial parent is not paying the custodial parent for things, or taking on other payments aside from child support, they should pay the 28%. But, are you aware that the noncustodial parent can pay anything and everything toward the child without it being court ordered, and the court does not take any of that into account...he would still have to pay 28%. So, as the devil's advocate (hehe maybe literally), perhaps more noncustodial parents WOULD put out more than the court expects, in their own merit, if it actually counted in the eyes of the court. But it doesn' I can understand why a noncustodial parent would say, "Forget it! I have NO reason to do anything else!!!!"
Also, something that really concerns me, is that the parent paying child support does not get any kind of tax break for the money put out, and they should! The IRS should reward noncustodial parents for paying child support....even if it were only a 50% tax break off the money paid toward child support, assuming they pay the full 12 months as required. Or something...anything. Instead, the government concentrates on punishing a noncustodial parent for not paying. I can understand that, but my husband was on disability for 6 months once, and when he was late with ONE payment, the Child support division placed a hold on his license, and treated him like a deadbeat. It was the ONLY time he has been late. CS is no joke. The government is no joke, when it comes to child support. And they SHOULD be stern about it, but they should also give some kind of incentive to those who are NOT deadbeats...something...a small bone...something. I think the way the courts and the government treats noncustodial parents sometimes CAUSES noncustodial parents to be bitter, and to do as little as necessary. People are not motivated by way of force and punishment. I'd bet that if there was some kind of tax break for child support at the end of the tax year, MANY noncustodial parents would put in a lot more effort. Not that that's a perfect world, parents would just be parents regardless, but when the family is split and emotions are high, it would just help a bit if they felt they were appreciated for their efforts...know what I mean?

birthmothertalks said...

Thanks Leah for your thoughts on this subject.
Karen, I think the 28% or whatever it is per state is to protect the noncustodial parent from receiving things like a gas card in form of support. I won't say who tried that. You are right should they buy something extra for the child it isn't counted and viewed as child support payments for the children. I can see how in some ways the non custodial parent could think that they are getting the short end of the stick but the parents who are raising the children primary should be able to choose how the money is spent. My ex and I have/had different ideas on what my kids should be given. If my ex thought that his 28% should go for expensive Nikes and video games for the child I might have a hard time making ends meet to feed them for the week or drive them to their doctors appointments.
I know divorce and child support can be a very sticky situation and probably leaves a lot of people bitter. My ex told me he didn't want "ME" to have the tv. He forgot that the tv was given to our son and it's in his son's room.

I tried to give my son's father time to pay on his own and I didn't file in court until six weeks after the time when my oldest son started staying with me. He has proven that he isn't going to follow thru on what he says so it needs to come out of his check.

Some women may smooch off a Mom or something and get the Dad for child support but that's not me. I have my own home and I try my very best to provide the needs of my children.

When Alex was living with his Dad it was very hard on me to see that his needs were not always being taken care of and for me not to have the means to provide for him without taking away from the needs of his brother.