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Author Topic: Child Support: Why is it a Foregone Conclusion?  (Read 2912 times)
andinthend
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« on: April 11, 2011, 09:34:15 PM »

Hi y'all, it's been a while since I posted, and I have never come to the money board. If I am remembered by anyone here maybe it is for the long initial message I posted going into my divorce...

Well, I'm sober now since August of 2009 and divorced legally since November 2010. My X was thinking about this divorce for a long time before it was announced, and told me about it and her affair early in 2010. I was asked to move out as a trial, but I knew it was permanent. She humored me by going to counseling but that quickly went to where the woodbine twineth... Same old story.

I began thinking about money early on. I went about 4 months into the separation and then tried to set up a fromal separation agreement that would force the X to begin to consider getting a job. I did not fuss about leaving her the house - her moms home too as well as our 7 year old sons. The separation plan was refused, so I pulled from savings an amount of money that was a gift from my mother that she had been spending, and re-routed my paycheck to my own account.

I then offered through my attorney a temporary child support plan that was also refused. I believe this was done on the X's attorney's advice  so that they could avoid any disadvantageous precedents being set. We continued to work on our parenting plan and support plans. In order to be sure I was not fought for 50% physical and legal custody as well as a waiver of maintainence, I agreed to a temporary monthly basic support payment of $340. This is based on my full time employement.

Our decree was eventually entered and the X has followed through with a re-fi on the property that cleared my name, and has paid my equity as agreed. I had been paying support based on our incomes for months before that was finalized. We also wrote the decree so that if we ever ran into any issues we could not agree to in our parenting plan, support issues or the final division of our junk, we could either of us request that the issue be brought to binding arbitration and the cost of that split 50/50. My X had 90 days to find a job, or show credible efforts on a job search.

We are now well past 90 days, and no job. However, my state allows potential income to be imputed, and the X stated in the decree she was able to work up to full time. Potential income can be imputed at 150% of federal minimum wage. If that were done, after plugging my income into the states calculator and factoring in my expenses for health and dental insurance for our son, that left me with an $11/month payment with percentages of 60/40 me to her for out of pocket medical and child care expenses.

I'm getting a lot of excuses as to why there is still no job. "I don't want to work just for child care money", "I don't have a degree", "the job market is just too tight", "I don't want our son in day care this summer", "I have been out of the job market for 10 years"... There's more. Well any way, I made her an offer. A 13 month step down plan that would gradually get her to the state suggested floor level of basic support and percentage obligations by April of 2012. I also offered her that as a lump sum with percentages to jump to the final level immediately. No go.

She feels she has a case that despite the fact that she has had almost 2 years to consider finding a job, she should have more time. Our basic support is based on her income of $300/month and percenatge responsibilities of 90/10 me to her. I guess I can't blame her - that's pretty sweet.

So now I have to put the wheels in motion to get arbitration set up. I have several good neutrals refered by my attorney, but she can and likely will strike them because they are my attorney's referrals. I might feel the same about hers. It's a long process. I have to send her a name and if she strikes it I have to send her another. It can be milked for a lot of stalling... And most of all, it saps my will.

If I was making 70K and she was making 35K I would owe her support and no questions asked. But I'm not even making 30K and she's still unemployed! Where is the fairness in that? I'm also still without a home of my own for me and my son - living with my mom. I have money saved for a down payment, but with the heavy child support obligation, I can't qualify for much of a loan. Banks are being careful these days. I want a home near my son because custody works best that way, but homes are pricey near there.

I don't want to waste good money that could build equity by renting. I work hard. I feel I have a certain right to chase my dreams for me and my son, and I feel that I should not have to carry the X while she leisurly searches for a job that satisfies all her preferences. I should mention, her mom is carrying her too.

I guess this brings me to the question in the title of my thread. Why is father to mother support such a foregone conclusion? I'm not the typical deadbeat non-custodial dad. I take my son every chance I get. I was not a violent husband. I got dragged into this against my will and could not stop it in a no-fault state. I made all the moves to try to do right by my son and I continue to do that. Why does the X feel she has to fight me on this? Our decree was built so we would adjust support payments. That was understood. Now we have this...

Thanks in advance for any responses!

 
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InDenial
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« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2011, 05:18:54 PM »

I guess this brings me to the question in the title of my thread. Why is father to mother support such a foregone conclusion?

Let me turn it around and ask you this: "Why is it a foregone conclusion that the mother will be the one to stay home and care for the child(ren) while the father continues his career?"

That, I believe, is the answer to your question.  In a case of 50/50 custody, child support will be from the parent with higher income to the parent with lower income. If one parent is out of the job market for several years in order to care for the children, it is highly likely that this same parent will have the lower income.

If you back up in time to 10 years ago and make a different decision about who will give up their career to watch the children, I believe you will have a different outcome with the child support now.

Good luck with the arbitration.


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andinthend
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Posts: 57


« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2011, 06:24:38 PM »

Thanks InD. You always make me think. When we knew our son was coming I did not have a career - actually I did, but I knew it was not going to pay the bills and give us health insurance. I was in school too. I dropped everything and hit the job market. Luckily, I found someting that I had been training/studying for, but like so many jobs it was sporadic. I had to kiss quite a few frogs before I finally landed at a company with the right amount of job experience behind me. That took 5 years. I was not making great money - I still don't - so many companies have taken advantage of the job desperation out there to put the fear of un-employement on their staff and keep wages low. But that's another forum...

I would have spoken to my X about getting back into the job market after our son turned 6 and went into all day school, but by that time the waters were troubled. I see your point... The mom is automatically tapped as the caregiver - the dad as the providor. I would have loved to stay home with our son, but my prospects for a job were better than hers. I have a BA and I had some technical training. My mom was putting the X through college too, but she stopped going. Now the fact that she has no degree is one of the things holding her back, and in light of what happened, Mom is no longer funding that.

For me, it was not a foregone conclusion that I would work outside the home and she inside it. We did what we had to do. We both worked hard. I was never the kind of husband who dissed the job of homemaker. We still work hard. I can only hope the X is putting as much work into her job search as I put into both my jobs. She is one health crisis for her mom away from being in serious trouble, and at that point even basic support payed at the level we are at is not going to make much difference if her mom gets sick.

I said "When we knew our son was coming..." Let me rephrase that for a moment. "When she knew the divorce was coming..." This is one of the things that still throws me. When I knew I was going to be a dad I stepped up and did what I had to do to be prepared. When the X knew she was going to be a single mom, I did not see and still do not see that same sense of "let's go". It's one thing to want to be single again, or to have an affair. The former is no longer about me and the latter never was. But it effects my son.

Personally, I think it's high time we see this idea of having and raising kids as fully the 50/50 proposition it has become in modern society. In my state there is legislation pending to address this idea. I am politically active. I always vote for the party that works FOR women's rights! My situation has got me trapped in outmoded ideals. I guess that's what bugs me. Yes I make more money, but I don't make a lot. And the X is not making anywhere near her potential. She's had plenty of time to deal with this, and now wants more. And even though our decree allows us to work this out on our own, she is stalling and forcing the issue into expensive arbitration. And the more I think and talk about it, the more the old ideal sneaks up and nibbles away at my resolve. That's the "sapping my will" part of this... It would be so much easier to just back away and let things stay the way they are. I feel like people look down their noses at me for seeing this issue the way I do - as if I did not want to support my own kid or something... I do support him. He's with me 45.1% of the time. More importantly to my way of thinking, I wanted to support him not only as a father but as a husband in an unbroken home. That got taken away from me.

I gotta stop. I could go on and on. The sense of injustice and injury just makes words flow on forever. I have accepted my part in the demise of the marriage. InD, your words and others words here at HEO helped me get there. It's just this continuing BS as I try to position myself to get into my own home for me and my son. To get to a new sense of normalcy that got blown out of the water by a divorce I did not want. I won't say a senseless divorce. The X had her reasons and like it or not I have to accept them. But this was what she wanted and she went ahead and did what she wanted for herself. And now, here's a great acronym: TANSTAAFL. Happy Googling!
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InDenial
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2011, 09:21:24 PM »

I totally agree she should get a job already and pay her share.
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Lostinthe60s
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« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2011, 08:14:30 PM »

Here is a different copy of your song.  My future Ex has 2 Masters degree's and refuses to work more than 24 hours a week.  Claim is it is to spend time with Son.  He is in school all day.  She spends her timeat the Beauty shop, with friends for lunch etc.  Yet she wants 80% of my take home pay. 
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InDenial
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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2011, 07:49:49 PM »

Is your son really in school ALL day?  Does his school really last more than 8 hours a day? 

I ask because one of my continuing concerns has been to find suitable childcare to allow me to actually work full-time.  In my experience, school lasts more like 6 hours a day.  Unless you have a very short commute to work, that means that without childcare one can work about 5 hours per day, or 25 hours per week.  That's about the amount you say your Ex is working.

80% of net pay is quite a lot, how did she get to that number?  In my state the child support for 1 child maxes out at 25% of net income. (Net means we can subtract taxes, FICA and mandatory union dues.) I assume that includes some alimony payment as well?
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livealittle
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« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2011, 02:35:04 AM »

I currently work about 32 hours a week and drop off and pick up my kids from school.....
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JohnnyPymn
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