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OK, beed divorced for 11 months and have 50/50 custody.

XW (her idea for divorce) is being a real PITA when comes to expenses and child support.

Kids go to parochial school and latch key after school. Per the decree we split that on a 60% (me)/40%(xw) basis. There have been no problems here.

But, she is playing games with child support claiming that I still owe $ for things for the kids.

For instance, when school started back, she expected me to buck up for school clothes and supplies. Of course, I thought this was covered with the child support that I give her.

Last week, I emailed her about misc stuff. In that email I mentioned that the 8 YO did not have enought socks that he likes to wear. No bid deal, just a statement.

Well, she proceeded to call ALL of my voicemails (work, home and cell) and left an irrate message stating that she provides for the boys etc...and then says that if I want the boys to have socks when they are with me, that I need to buy them for them b/c it is not covered in child support whil they are with me.

Now, I don't know what she has been smokin', but I think she is dead wrong. In an effort cut nip this in the bud, is there a general list if what is and is not covered in child support that I can reference? I know it falls back to the decree, but it is vague.

Thanks...

<small>[ September 13, 2004, 08:37 AM: Message edited by: Footloose ]</small>

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Oh, did you open a can of worms. I don't know your time split, but more than likely, your X has them more.

I sent the following to my X, straight from the state website.
Child Support is intended to cover the child's share of expenses for housing, food, clothing, transportation, entertainment, unreimbursed health care and miscellaneous items while the children are in each parent’s care. .

The children incur school expenses and miscellaneous expenses while in each of our care and we are each responsible for these. School expenses will continue to grow as the kids have field trips and other expenses. The money you pay for child support only represents that the expenses listed above are greater for the other parent because they have more time with the children. You are presumed to provide “child support” based on your income and your time with the children.
Footloose,
This means that you are responsible for housing, food and clothing while the children are with you. Your X should not be paying for all of the kids clothes, so every school lunch after your overnights.

There are many everyday expenses that most mothers eat just to avoid asking the dad's, although these should also be split according to income. Did you contribute to the school supplies list this year? Or did you just assume your X would spend the $30-100 per child to get the supplies (depending on age). And what about field trips, plays, sports etc?

Your child support goes toward housing, utilities, clothing, food, toiletries, and the everyday costs of living. Not the extras.

So, you really need to consider how much you are truly "parenting" your children, if you are acting like your X should do all of your shopping and laundry for the kids clothes.

Get a reality check.

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For my state, click on the address below:
http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/csguide/ix-a.pdf

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</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Originally posted by Footloose:
<strong> is there a general list if what is and is not covered in child support that I can reference? </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Not that I know of. IMHO it far better to come to an understanding between you and the X while keeping in mind the guidelines of your state. I did a lot of research on this in my state and found only one defintion of what child support is actually used for. There was a state supreme court decision that said something like what Newly had said about food, clothing, etc. but went on to say that it also covers the payor's portion of any activity that a "normal" child would be involved in.

And Newly, for the record, for each there is an opposite. If I let her my X will literally bankrupt me. And quite the opposite, she owes me money for her portion of medical expenses that she refused to pay in '01, 02, & '03.

It's not a can of worms. We have to approach these issues with the understanding that not all people are like us or our X's. With a little care and compassion there us no reason for us to always be defensive to an issue because it happened to us.

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I think "Newly" has it stated pretty much correctly. In my case, my ex had to pay me $700 month for 2 children. In his eyes that covered everything! He paid no medical, dental insurance. He didn't pay the difference of what my insurance didn't cover. He never paid for any clothes they needed growing up. I had to send clothes to his house or they would have nothing to wear. I paid for both of their vehicles when they turned 16 ... I paid for every single field trip, school supplies, braces, outings with friends, church functions, their yearly baseball, football, and basketball associated fees. I bought their cleats, uniforms, prom tux rentals, tickets to anything they did assoicated. My ex felt that his measly $700 was a fortune! I kept up with all the cost I incurred and that $700 wasn't crud compared to what mom had to pay. There were several times (through his several girlfriends) that he didn't pay child support, just didn't care and didn't pay. One time, I garnished his paychecks. He hated that so much (embarassment) that it only happened once. Another time, I had to involve child support recovery. This from a man who at the time made over $70,000 a year. I never took him back to court to increase my support (and could have) because he wasn't worth the time, pain or effort that would incur. Now, 1 of our sons is in college and he hasn't paid one penny towards that as well. Son #2 of ours will be starting college next year as well and he wont help with that either. In his eyes, his support paid for all that. Basically, thats what I call a loser ... As a matter of fact, over a year ago, he quit paying support for our then 16 year old son who is now 17. My current husband told me to not even waste any more energy on him getting it. So I've just given up. My kids know who their financial, moral, and mental support came from and it wasn't dad. You should just be willing to do what you can for your kids. Always.

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Bill, I was writing from the female perspective because of my own experience.
I am always amazed at what my X fails to consider necessary for the kids - like pencils or school plays. I'm not extravagant, but I want to set an agreement in advance so when the huge expenses arise, I'm sharing expenses.
More importantly, I'm the one who has to explain to the kids, since X tell them mommy is supposed to pay for this. The courts are not clear on this. But parents need to understand their responsibility to their children, and not shirk their duties, in parenting time, school functions and the children's activities.

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I pay 100% of their insurance, (medical and dental) premiums. She is only responsible for the first $100 of out-of-pocket expenses per child. There is no co-pay that we have to pay!

She gets a script filled for one of them for $10 and asks for for $6 when I pick the boys up until I reminded her about the $100 per year.


*****

My child support is paid automatically.

My employer cuts her a check for 1/2 the monhtly amount every time I get paid. XW even b!tches about that! I get paid every other friday (26 times per year). If XW has not gotten her check in the mail by Tuesday, she calls HR at my company and complains. Then, there are 2 months when I get paid 3 times. The 3rd for those months, she does not get a check and whines about it!

XW asks for more money about every 2 months!

I paid her for my part of the school supplies etc. I didn't ask for receipts, she said this is it and I pay it. It is getting old!!

****************

The way I understand it, CS is computed based upon total income. It is a 60/40 split. I pay $750/month, therefore the total support expenses should be $1250 and she is responsible for $500. Is this not right?

She makes good money $50K/year for 9 months of work. She also teaches at a local college 1 night a week and gets extra pay for mentor college students. Sh also works for cash only during the holidays. So she actually makes alot more than $50K.

I am not shirking my responsibilities as a parent.

She is playing games, simple.

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Most of the people I do know that are divorced do require the ex spouse to provide "receipts" in order to be paid back for half the expenses. All you are required to do by law is what is stated in the divorce decree. Nothing more, nothing less. If you feel honestly that you are getting robbed, then you don't pay for what your not supposed to pay for. Its pretty simple. I think your kids will let you know if the needs are more. Does your divorce decree state that you pay half of the unpaid expenses ($6.00 of the $10.00 for prescriptions??) If not, don't pay it. If it does, you have to pay it.
Your divorce decree should explicitly state what you do and don't pay for.

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Ok, footloose, may I ask you to explain your position. From your comments on socks, I take it that you don't provide clothing for your children on your time. Is this an incorrect statement?
If not, then look at the webpage I sent and see what CS constitutes.

Each parent contributes toward CS, whether or not they cut a check. Each household has expenses which are provided for the kids. I pay for health insurance and expect the balance to be split - that's what the law is in my state (after the state deductible - which eats up 2 months of CS payments).

My comments were intended to get you to focus on the most important people - the children. They should not be deprived because the parents bicker about money. Children deserve to be involved in sports and activities, and both parents are responsible for making this happen - in monetary terms and in time spent watching and coaching and being involved with the kids.

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Footloose,

You sound a little like my exH--he pays $500/mo child support for two children and provides health insurance, and everytime an expense comes up for the kids, he pitches a FIT because "child support covers that."

Here's how I understand it in simple terms. Child support = Mom's income + Dad's income X 20%. That is the amount that all parent's contribute toward the normal basics of raising a child (like food, home, clothes). To use some "real life" numbers let's say mom makes $40,000/year (and lots of mom's don't make nearly that much) and dad makes $60,000 (and lots of dad's make more than that!); that would mean $40,000 + $60,000 X .20 = $20,000 for child support TOTAL. Then, that amount is split based on each parent's percentage of total income; thus dad is 60% and mom is 40% in my example. So dad contributes $12,000/yr. ($1000/mo.) and mom contributes $8,000/yr. ($667/mo.). Even if the custody split is 50/50, there is still child support paid to the mom. See how that works? And if one parent has them more time than the other, then THAT percentage is also factored into the equation, i.e., if mom has then 100% of the time in my above example, dad just pays $1000/mo period. If it's more 50/50 it might be that dad would pay $200/mo to mom PLUS THE $800/MO. WHILE THEY ARE AT HIS HOUSE!!!

Now, does that make more sense??? And that is usually for "the basics of life" like shelter, food, and clothing. The extra expenses and activities and things are supposed to be split evenly between the two parties, but the decision to be involved in those activities is also supposed to be shared. For example, if my son wants to be on the football team, there is the added expense of the school fee ($100) plus the physical exam ($60) plus cleats ($80) plus a bag for his pads ($40) plus uniform and helmet fee...you get the drift! But BOTH of the parents (mom and dad) should be involved in the decision to have son play in football--thus both parents are aware that costs will be coming up!

Finally, there are ALWAYS little fees that come up associated with kids: Lunch money, bus fee, field trips, money for the museum, props for the play, new reed for instrument, instrument rental, new socks and underwear, shoelaces, rec ctr. fee, fundraising candybars, scouting, etc. etc. the list goes on and on!!! People separate these little fees in different ways, and Footloose, I'm going to make a suggestion that may work for you better. My exH is the kind of guy who does not like to be asked for these little fees all the time--it bugs him. They come up and he doesn't know they're coming and then he has no cash in his wallet. Sooooo...we agreed that he would pay for three "steady" fees for the kids, and I would pay for the periodic fees that pop-up (I can deal with that a little better). He pays for monthly hot lunches and bus passes and cell phone minutes for each kid (about $100/mo. each kid) and then never has to hear about all those OTHER little fees. I pay for all those other little, "Mom! I need $5 today to turn in for the ...." fees. When I sat and added them up, I pay slightly more each month, but it's like $20 more maybe...and he doesn't have to endure the begging feeling, and I don't have to worry about hot lunches, buses, or cell phones!

As you negotiate with your exW about these additional little fees, remember that you're talking about YOUR children. Do you really intend to deprive your children of socks because you pay their mom child support?? I doubt it. But not every $5 fee needs to be split $2.50/$2.50 either. Open up to some OTHER possibilities that might effectively split the extra costs but also work with the tempraments of the two folks. Think outside the box a bit...like our agreement is non-traditional, but it works for us...the costs are basically split fairly and since I'm more easy-going, I get all the little "begging" for this fee and that fee.


CJ

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Footloose....Ahhhhhhh child support and what it includes and doesn't include my favorite subject....it is different for everyone - example - my case 2 children - $600 a month - and suppose to pay for 1/2 of all activities... Now as for Custody - I am primary but we have joint - but lets just say he has seen them 4 and 3 times all year and only 1 child had an overnight all year.. When child support was figured it was figured on (his) base salary only - never once bringing into play his overtime that has been at least 7,000 a year for like forever... Now I will be divorced two years on Saturday of this week - and it has been a constant - and I mean constant struggle to get extra money out of him... for activities - etc... But the constant bickering has had me in an uproar and constant state of whatever you want to call it for to long - that I have just given up - I give him copies of everything that I pay - and if he gives me half he gives me half - if he doesnt' then he doesn't that is up to him.. This year the girls wanted to go school shopping and I said ok I will buy you this much - then you will have to wait until Christmas - they told me they would ask their dad - fine I said - go right ahead they did and he bought them some stuff.... I get the I am all about the money stuff - etc..from my ex - I have just let it all go by the wayside - and now I get - it isn't that I don't want to pay its that I don't have it - well the simple truth is that I don't have it either... but these are your kids.. Now I don't know your wife and I don't know all of the particulars - but I will tell you it is not easy - dealing with the constant - I want this - I want that - and I cannot afford it response - stuff... So basically - what I am saying I guess is - Is it worth fighting your exwife over a pair of socks... ??? Do you think she is taking her child support and not using it to keep a roof over your kids head??? if she is doing ok and things are ok - then would it really kill you to buy a pair of socks??? she maybe be playing games but in the long run is playing the game more important that not having your son have his socks??? We must learn to pick our battles...

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I think there is fundamental problem with child support; it is, there is no guarantee that the recipient will indeed spend the money on the children. The payer must surrender money to someone that they probably detest and have no say whatsoever on how the funds are spent. For all the payer knows, the money could be being used to finance the affair that broke the marriage, or a new car, or those lovely Italian shoes.

I would like to say that most parents keep their kid’s best interests in mind, but sadly that isn’t always the case. I think that the payer of CS would be much more willing to contribute if he/she knew that the funds being provided were actually being spend on the kids. Maybe the courts should demand receipts?

When people are divorced they rarely trust the other person . . . if they did they probably would still be married. I don’t see how negotiating more money out of someone is going to work when there is no accountability that the initial monies were spent properly.


I also think that asking your ex for money for something they didn’t agree to is just dead wrong. If the non-custodial spouse never agreed to ballet lessons (or whatever) why would any reasonable person expect that he/she would be enthusiastic to pay half of it? One of the few advantages of divorce is that you are no longer a captive prisoner of you ex’s poor financial choices.

<small>[ September 13, 2004, 01:57 PM: Message edited by: Comfortably Numb ]</small>

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I don't think in most cases that mom's are using child support irresponsibly.... I know that for me it makes the difference between being on food stamps and medical aid or supporting ourselves as I've chosen to not work full time so I can be home for my children when they are not in school as I believe they need my time more than money. Italian shoes and expensive vacations are out of the question.

My ex said something interesting to me one day... I commented that I was going to buy some clothes for our son's birthday and he said "you'll have to be responsible for the clothes, I just can't with my bills". I was very surprised, as I assumed, and thought he did too, that child support would go for that.

I think, when you can get past using child support as a weapon or control that it's easier to divide up expenses fairly.

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I don't/can't trust her to do the right thing.

I know I sound cynical.

She has lied about so much stuff....

Now, in an effort to restore some type of credibility she always tells me why she can't go to their ballgames etc. Personally, I don't care b/c it is probably NOT the truth anyway, so why mention it?

Do you think spending $100/month for her hairdresser sounds a little high? Then she tells me to take the boys for a haircut b/c she does not like the barber shop....

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Footloose-

I am currently going through a change in custody. My XH is changing from 15% to 35% time with the kids and support is changing because of it. In WI where I live if the children are with one parent 75% or more that parent simply gets a lump sum. Once both parents have the kids 25% or more you have to go to a shared placement schedule. In this income and time are both factors. The thing is that in addition to this formula, variable costs are also expected to be split. This in its own can be a daunting task as there is no set set of variable costs to draw from and there is no right way to divide them.

Upon the suggestion of many good people I got in writing just what the variable costs were, everything from dance lessons to childcare to school supplies to birthday presents for classmates, etc. When I look at it it looks a bit extreme, kind of like child support payments for dummies, but I have heard the horror stories and I have to keep in mind that my XH has never paid any fees and although he promises to split everything right now, when the reality of the costs hits he may change his mind. I also had it written in our agreement that there is the presumption that with age the activities and fees associated with them will increase and that the kids shall be entitled to keep with their present level of involvement appropriate to the age they are.

I do not live an extravagent life. I never have and I never will. I have never tried to soak my XH for extra support even though his actions were probably deserving. I have always taken less than mandated up until now, but it still wasn't enough. However, raising kids is expensive and it is the little day to day things that seem to be worst of all because they are never ending and always sneaking up. I believe this is undoubtedly one of the worst experiences of coparenting. The key is finding a system that works for you and getting it in writing.

I also understand how hard it is to do this when you have only distrust for your X. Trust me, I totally relate there. Be honest, be fair, and keep your kids' best interests at the heart of all matters. Remember, what comes around goes around. It may not happen as quickly as we'd like, but it will happen. Good luck!

Take care and God bless!

K

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Footloose,

It would be nice if both parents would help to pay for extra costs but that doesn't always happen.

My ex is supposed to pay $603 monthly for 3 boys (ages 14, 12 and 7). He's also supposed to keep insurance on the boys. Now it would be nice if he just did that but he doesn't. I have to fight with him just to get a portion of the child support every month. And he has no insurance on the boys. My new H put them on his insurance as soon as we got married. My ex is supposed to pay half of any "not covered" medical expenses. That doesn't happen either. So, I don't bother asking for any of the extra stuff. I buy all of their clothes, shoes, school supplies..etc...I also pay ANY fees involved in extracurricular activities. And when you have 3 boys who play football and baseball, it gets a little expensive. I also pay for their lunches and any thing else that might come up. My ex won't even so much as buy them a candy bar! (It actually happened!)

But there are also custodial parents who will die thinking that they didn't get enough money. My H's ex wife is never satisfied. She gets $633 a month for 2 sons, my H has insurance on them, and we pay for half of any extra activities. And if she came to us and said they needed shoes and she didn't have the money for them, we'd buy them. But she still complains that she doesn't get enough and complains if her child support is sent to her by the child support office a day late (CS is automatically taken out of my H's pay and sent to her every 2 weeks)

Technically, you don't have to pay for the extras if there is no agreement to do so. But it would be nice if you helped with some of the extras. (And I'm not typing that in a sarcastic way). I would be grateful for any extra help my ex gave. Kids can be expensive!

Mitzi <img border="0" title="" alt="[Smile]" src="images/icons/smile.gif" />


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