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Main Forums => Child Support Issues => Topic started by: Wi-Mom on Oct 21, 2004, 10:46:15 AM

Title: What do you think of this letter?
Post by: Wi-Mom on Oct 21, 2004, 10:46:15 AM
I have written a letter to my ex.. because I really want to express my gratitude for the fact that for four years now he has worked steadily, and really sacrificed to support his kids. I know that through the grapevine I've heard some grumbling about it.. but he's never directed any anger toward me directly. I am worried that the letter sounds like I'm setting him up for something.. and I'm just wondering if I can get anyone else's opinion on it.. and whether you think it's a bad idea to send it to him. I sure would like to say something.. I really am greatful but it's such a touchy subject. Here's the letter.....

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

I just wanted to send you a note to thank you for the years you have faithfully provided for our children. I know it isn't easy for either of us, and I kon't know if I've ever taken the time to simply let you know how much I respect you for working as hard as you do. I want you to know that every time I get a check in the mail I am overwhelmed with gratitude and a feeling of accountability that the money you provide is well spent. I never forgot that pastor who said that when you spend someone else's money you are spending their "essence" energy they will never get back again. When I take the money and put it in our joint account I might get a little cash ($5-$10) for each of the kids and give it to them with a smile. They ask what it is for and I say, "Because your father works very hard to support you, there was a little extra there today because he'd worked some overtime, and I believe he would like you to do something fun with it." I don't know if they ever tell you about that, and I don't know if they tell you that I often ask them to spend it by treating you at Dairy Queen or something fun.

I have remained accountable if only to myself and my own conscience for every dime of that money, and honestly, I consult you in my mind on every purchase, that you would approve of how this money you've provided was spent. I truly look forward to when the kids are 18 and you no longer have this financial obligation. You've earned it. I pray there is no resentment on your part and I can say that I've never felt any. Sometimes people never get the opportunity to tell someone how thankful they are and after over four years this note is long overdue. Thanks again for everything.

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

Ok.. does this sound sincere? Is there anything in it that doesn't? Is this a bad idea? Thanks in advance for your advice!


Title: RE: What do you think of this letter?
Post by: kitten on Oct 21, 2004, 11:02:58 AM
>I have written a letter to my ex.. because I really want to
>express my gratitude for the fact that for four years now he
>has worked steadily, and really sacrificed to support his
>kids. I know that through the grapevine I've heard some
>grumbling about it.. but he's never directed any anger toward
>me directly. I am worried that the letter sounds like I'm
>setting him up for something.. and I'm just wondering if I can
>get anyone else's opinion on it.. and whether you think it's a
>bad idea to send it to him. I sure would like to say
>something.. I really am greatful but it's such a touchy
>subject. Here's the letter.....
>
>*********************************************************
>
>I just wanted to send you a note to thank you for the years
>you have faithfully provided for our children. I know it isn't
>easy for either of us, and I kon't know if I've ever taken the
>time to simply let you know how much I respect you for working
>as hard as you do. >
>I have remained accountable if only to myself and my own
>conscience for every dime of that money, and honestly, I
>consult you in my mind on every purchase, that you would
>approve of how this money you've provided was spent. I pray there is
>no resentment on your part and I can say that I've never felt
>any. Sometimes people never get the opportunity to tell
>someone how thankful they are and after over four years this
>note is long overdue. Thanks again for everything.
>
>*********************************************************
>
>Ok.. does this sound sincere? Is there anything in it that
>doesn't? Is this a bad idea? Thanks in advance for your
>advice!

Excellent letter, but my opinion is that less is more.  I deleted a couple of parts that may make him suspicious.  Just saying that if it was me, I would leave it at this.  
Title: I think it is wonderful.
Post by: cathy on Oct 21, 2004, 02:17:29 PM
What a great thing for you to think about doing.  We hear so much about "deadbeats".   It is great to hear someone acknowledge with appreciation when someone steps up to the plate.

Title: RE: Are you serious???
Post by: Sunshine1 on Oct 21, 2004, 07:51:25 PM
"I truly look forward to when the kids are 18 and you no longer have this financial obligation. You've earned it. "

Why don't you drop the child support obligation?  I would simply just tell him thank you and you appreciate it. Not that you consult in your head with him over every purchase...geez do you really think he is going to appreciate that??  I'm not even on a giving end of CS and I think it is a bad idea.  Most fathers are getting totally screwed in CS payments.

Just my 2 cents take it or leave it.
Title: But she isn't addressing "most fathers"
Post by: cathy on Oct 22, 2004, 12:19:10 AM
She is addressing her ex.  And I don't understand the jump to "drop the child support obligation".   Just because she is saying that she will be happy for him when he is done doesn't mean that the child support should be dropped.  I'll be happy when my car is paid off - but that doesn't mean I'm not obligated to finish making the payments!

My husband paid child support to his ex.  For 3 kids, he paid $1390.  He never missed a month and it was always on time.  I can tell you, it certainly would have been nice to hear the sentiment express in this letter rather than the "you don't pay enough child support.  That doesn't even cover half of their expenses" - which is what we heard.

Title: RE: Are you serious???
Post by: Wi-Mom on Oct 22, 2004, 05:25:04 AM
You know what? I honestly do consider his approval before I spend any of that money. Every single time.

I don't drop the child support because I need it. I do look forward to when we don't have that between us. I was just putting my thoughts down. If it sounds dumb I'll take it out.

Thanks for your input.
Title: RE: What do you think of this letter?
Post by: Wi-Mom on Oct 22, 2004, 05:34:45 AM
Thanks Kitten, I actually like your changes. I'd still like to keep the quote from that pastor because I believe he'd be very touched that I remembered it. I think I'll change the "someone else's money" part of it because he actually said, "Your husbands money" and at the time he was my husband.

But I do agree with you.. less is more. Thanks!

Title: RE: Are you serious???
Post by: reagantrooper on Oct 22, 2004, 06:55:34 AM
How much of his money does the court make him send you each month and for how many kids?

How much does it cost to care for the kids per month?

You sound like your attitude is good provided you are sincere are not yanking his chain.

Why not switch to a volitary expenced based formula between the two of you so that you dont "profit" one red cent from his "child support"?
Title: RE: Are you serious???
Post by: Wi-Mom on Oct 22, 2004, 07:39:34 AM
So what you're saying is that really there is no way to thank him sincerely without putting my money where my mouth is and do something to reduce what he's paying? Short of that this might just make him suspicious? This is the feedback I'm looking for because I sincerely just wanted to acknowledge greatfully the fact that he works hard for his kids.

 
Title: RE: Are you serious???
Post by: reagantrooper on Oct 22, 2004, 09:51:10 AM
Not that this is you or  the way you think!

But

If my X called me or wrote me a letter saying what you want to say I would postivly tell her to stick it up her Azz and F off. But thats just the nature of our relationship or lack there of.

If he feels that the Child Support that he is sending you is unfair to him I think he may have the same feeling. I applaude you and the way you think with regards to this issue provided you truly believe what you are saying.

FYI I KNOW that the money I am forced to send to another household provides support to my X, her 2 "other" kids, her dogs, her unemployed BF. Its not rocket science to do the math in my case. So I am paying her, she makes a profit off the back of me, our Daughter, my family.

What I pay is far from MY Childs support. I am forced into servitude by our goverment while my X and hers sit back and wait for that tax free check to come every other week. Then at the end of the year they claim my Daughter as a "dependant" when I should be able to claim them all as my dependants.

ITs just obsence this is why we need an expensed based CS formula with some sort of accountabilty.

"end of rant"

Will you provide answers to the questions I asked you in my other potst? How many kids? How much money do you get from him? ETC ETC

I wish you luck!!!!!!!!
Title: RE: Are you serious???
Post by: Wi-Mom on Oct 22, 2004, 10:55:33 AM
Well, I can say that my relationship with my ex is definately not the same as yours and I am absolutely aware that your case is definately more normal.

The reason I know is that my new husband (I just got married on Sept 4th) has almost the identical scenario as you! His wife is constantly going to WI child support to see if she can screw him out of any more money (that she divides among her four children two of which are not his) and just got a big $2000 check because they magically came up with some arrears that he owed..and even she admitted to him that it wasn't true but wouldn't send back the money. So most of the time I'm feeling like you do because that money we had to pay her came from me. She already gets everything he has pretty much. If she sent him a letter like this I would tell her the same thing you would!

My ex and I have 3 children, and the state of Wisconsin garnishes 29% of his wages. These are the only kids who live with us and every dime of that child support goes into a joint account with my ex. He has full access to that account and any time he wanted to he could get a printout of every dime that was spent. This was my choice to do this. I only spend that money on our children and nothing else. Every other trip to the grocery store comes from that account too.. but food is a covered expense. There is always plenty of money in there but I must say that during school registration it was emptied. Almost $200/kid! I do find that I have to contribute a good deal of my own money to their care so I really can't give you a breakdown of what exactly it costs each month for the kids.

I have told my DH that if my ex and I were still married our kids would be rich! So I'm trying to spend more on the kids then on myself and DH.. they should benefit as if there were no divorce. They eat better and are clothed better then I am for sure!!

Once I was telling my ex about some father's rights issues my DH and I were looking into and my ex said to me, "I have no concern for these issues because you take excellent care of our children."

When we went to the attorney to draw up the details of the divorce he requested that his wages be garnished because he didn't want to have to deal with making sure his payments were on time. He preferred what we had set up. I used to give him back any extra over-time money, but he got a new job and I honestly don't know how much he makes without overtime. His checks are different every time. I guess I could try to find out.. but he sure doesn't seem concerned about it at all. Also, our divorce does indicate that he should cover half of all Dr co-pays and I have never asked him for a dime of it. I pay those all myself. I think I'm being fair.. and I believe he has no complaints about the way he's being treated.

It's all so complicated now! He just got married too (that was weird.. 20 days after me and to a girl he'd only been dating one month!)... and his new wife has kids and receives child support from her ex. So here we are.. I'm paying and receiving and so is my ex! Perhaps we're all even Steven in the end!
Title: RE: What do you think of this letter?
Post by: POC on Oct 23, 2004, 06:58:47 AM
No, I don't think you should send the letter to your ex.

Sincerity is not the issue. I believe you are very sincere in what you are saying. The problem is the realities of what the letter is about.

1) Child support does not provide for children. It is a court order for one parent to pay money to another, whom they had a child(ren) with. The income shares guideline you use in NC is based upon marginal tobacco and alcohol consumption of parents before and after having kids. It is intended to restore those levels to what they were before the kids were borne. It has nothing to do with direct expenditures for the benefit of children.

2) Your gratitude for receiving the money probably is of little consequence to him. I am sure he would rather be able to buy things for the kids directly, so that the kids can see him doing this. Even if he would rather you be able to buy and pay for necessary items, I am sure he would rather just give you the money, rather than be forced by court order how much to spend on his kids.

3) Saying that "your father works very hard to support you" gives the connotation that it is not a responsibility of mothers to do the same. Surely, you would want your children to believe that when they grow up that both they and their spouse will share the financial responsibility for your grandchildren, regardless of whether their spouse chooses to stay with them, or not.  

4) No, they don't probably ever tell their dad about money that he gave them when they were with you. Like other kids, they ask for money from which ever parent they happen to be with at that time.

5) Accountability in one's own head is an oxymoron. The most basic of premises to accounting is that one person has another person look over their work. It is o/k to justify things. But, don't confuse justification with accountability. If you want accountability, get his approval before making expenditures on your kids. If that doesn't work for you, be satisfied with your justifications.

6) If you want to lessen any possible resentment, ask him what can you do starting today that might possibly make things better in the future?

7) If you want to write a letter, ask him after 4 years, what can we do to make things better for our kids without involving a bunch of attorneys? Let him know that you believe boht you and he can make better decisions about what is best for your kids than some person dressed in a black robe, that doesn't even know your kids.

You don't have to dwell on the past. Just move forward. Treat him how you would want to be treated.
Title: I agree
Post by: joni on Oct 23, 2004, 09:51:37 AM

As well intended and sincere as your letter may be, I find it patronizing.  I agree with POC, it's totally unnecessary.

I think you putting the CS money in a joint account with your Ex speaks volumes for your accountability and sincerity with the money.  It's obvious to anyone that you do this out of respect for your Ex.  If you really want to send a message to him, like POC said, get his approval before you make the expenditures for your kids.

It's best to let sleeping dogs lie.  Remember, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Title: RE: I agree
Post by: KAT on Oct 23, 2004, 11:34:14 AM
If you REALLY want him to know how much you respect him, give up *custody*. Instead make it 50/50 joint *parenting*. You support the children with your own dime when they are with you & Daddy does the same. Who ever makes the most, carries the insurance.

It's not that I don't understand what your intentions are, I do but I just don't think there is anyway you can go about thanking him for court ordered child support without sounding patronizing. You gave it a very good try, it is an excellant letter......however under the circumstances this isn't a battle you can win with a letter.....

KAT
Title: RE: Thank you..and Amen Sista!! eom
Post by: Sunshine1 on Oct 23, 2004, 11:44:04 AM
.
Title: Disagree/Differing opinions
Post by: cathy on Oct 23, 2004, 12:32:51 PM

>1) Child support does not provide for children. It is a court
>order for one parent to pay money to another, whom they had a
>child(ren) with. The income shares guideline you use in NC is
>based upon marginal tobacco and alcohol consumption of parents
>before and after having kids. It is intended to restore those
>levels to what they were before the kids were borne. It has
>nothing to do with direct expenditures for the benefit of
>children.

The basic premise for child support is to help support the child.  Of course, there are LOTS of cases where this doesn't happen.  It is also hard to provide money that exclusively supports the child - or at least make a direct correlation.  And yeah - it sucks.  My husband paid $1390/month that obviously did not go to supporting the kids.  But that is the fault of the mother.  Yes, the courts could put in places better safeguards to ensure that happens - but ultimately, it is the responsibility of the parent receiving child support to make sure it goes towards supporting the children.

I live in NC, but I have no idea what you are refering with your statements. "Marginal tabacco and alcolhol consumption"???  Please.  Yes, NC uses income shares - which I personally think makes more sense than some.  My understanding is that the idea behind it is to look at the combined income of both parents.  Based on this amount, they come up with a percentage of that total that typically would be spent toward a child.  Then that amount that would be spent on a child is divided between the 2 parents, in the same percentage as their salary contributes to the total combined salaries.  Sure, it isn't perfect - but it makes more sense than a set percentage of a salary.

>2) Your gratitude for receiving the money probably is of
>little consequence to him. I am sure he would rather be able
>to buy things for the kids directly, so that the kids can see
>him doing this. Even if he would rather you be able to buy and
>pay for necessary items, I am sure he would rather just give
>you the money, rather than be forced by court order how much
>to spend on his kids.

I think you are making a lot of assumptions here.  I think most people appreciate an acknowledgement when they are doing something "good" or something they are suppose to.  I don't think the gratitude expressed is for the money as it is so much for the fact that her ex is not playing games and is willing to help support his children without hassles and games.

And as you do acknowlege, he may actually not like shopping and buying and might rather provide the money.  And so far as being forced by court order - - well, sometimes that is just part of the standard deal.  Typically,child support is addressed in a court order.

>3) Saying that "your father works very hard to support you"
>gives the connotation that it is not a responsibility of
>mothers to do the same. Surely, you would want your children
>to believe that when they grow up that both they and their
>spouse will share the financial responsibility for your
>grandchildren, regardless of whether their spouse chooses to
>stay with them, or not.  

I think it is great that she tells the kids that their father works hard to support them.  Perhaps she does tell the kids that it is both her and their father's responsibility to support them.  Maybe she feels the kids understand that she has an obligation to support them simply because they see her supporting them.  You know, it seems like if the person getting child support never acknowledges that the other parent provides support, they are wrong....and now, if they do acknowledge it, they are wrong.

>4) No, they don't probably ever tell their dad about money
>that he gave them when they were with you. Like other kids,
>they ask for money from which ever parent they happen to be
>with at that time.

Not sure what your point is with this.  Yes, that is true that kids typically ask for money from whoever is there.  But it sounds like the mother here is at least telling them sometimes that the money she gives them is from their father - - -   Chances are, since they are mostly with their mother, she ends up giving them money more often than the father does.  So it is nice that they realize their father is providing some of that money - not just their mom.

>5) Accountability in one's own head is an oxymoron. The most
>basic of premises to accounting is that one person has another
>person look over their work. It is o/k to justify things. But,
>don't confuse justification with accountability. If you want
>accountability, get his approval before making expenditures on
>your kids. If that doesn't work for you, be satisfied with
>your justifications.

Interesting twist on "accountability".  Getting approval before buying something isn't being accountable.  And I do think you can be accountable in one's head.  She is accountable to HERSELF and to her obvious belief that child support should be used for the children.  

Now don't get me wrong, I personally think it would be good to have some form of accountability to the parent paying the child support.  But that isn't the case - so at least she is holding herself accountable for doing the right thing.

>6) If you want to lessen any possible resentment, ask him what
>can you do starting today that might possibly make things
>better in the future?

Good idea.  Not sure how that relates to expressing appreciation and acknowledging the part he has played in financially supporting his children.

>7) If you want to write a letter, ask him after 4 years, what
>can we do to make things better for our kids without involving
>a bunch of attorneys? Let him know that you believe boht you
>and he can make better decisions about what is best for your
>kids than some person dressed in a black robe, that doesn't
>even know your kids.

Again - not sure how this really relates....and it seems to make a LOT of assumptions.

Title: RE: Disagree/Differing opinions
Post by: jilly on Oct 23, 2004, 12:55:43 PM
I live in NC too. I wouldn't mind the income shares model so much if they would look at the NET instead of the GROSS.  The Courts really need to look at what is actually being brought home after taxes and do the calculations from there.
Title: Understand
Post by: cathy on Oct 23, 2004, 02:45:39 PM
But thinking about the specifics - that would be kinda hard.  How do you determine NET?  The amount of tax withhold?  Well that depends on how many dependents you claim.  Your taxable income on your 1040?  Well, that depends on your deductions and tax breaks.

So I'm not sure how you could fairly determine "NET".
Title: RE: Disagree/Differing opinions
Post by: POC on Oct 23, 2004, 05:09:18 PM
Before I respond to the rest, do you believe that if child support guidelines were to be based upon parental tobacco and alcohol consumption that children's best interests would be the primary concern of said guidelines?
Title: If I understand what you are saying.....
Post by: cathy on Oct 23, 2004, 05:15:16 PM
of course not.  That is absurd.

So what?  Are you know going to tell me that somehow NC's child support guidelines are based on the amount of tobacco and alcohol one or both of the parents consumed??

Andyes, I have seen these self-promoting quips and quotes - taken out of context to try to muddy the waters.  Not only that, but it seems they only tell a small part of the story.  How about the numbers times the guidelines have been altered, changed and updated?

Although I don't particular care for this lawyer, her site offers a more detailed explanation than the "sound bite" of alcohol and tobacco consumption:

http://www.benderlaw.com/child_support_guidelines.html

Title: RE: If I understand what you are saying.....
Post by: POC on Oct 23, 2004, 06:16:40 PM
I am glad that you agree that basing child support guidelines upon parental tobacco and alcohol consumption is aburd. It saves me from responding to the rest of your earlier post.

Current Income Shares Definition of Child Costs

"For intact families — ones with an additional child and ones with no additional child — the difference in expenditures between the two families is the child cost when both families consume equal dollar levels of adult clothing, alcohol and tobacco. Child costs are defined by comparing changes in consumption of adult clothing, alcohol, and tobacco.

This definition is dependent on the assumption that having children does not change adult preferences for alcohol, tobacco, and adult clothing. However, common sense tells us that after having children, there is social pressure to reduce alcohol and tobacco consumption. This leads to overestimating child costs, similar to the problem with the Espenshade-Engel definition."


The above is from the website of former Atlanta Federal Reserve economist, Mark Rogers. He is the foremost expert on child costs analysis. The following is the link to the page of his website, in which the above quote is contained:

http://www.guidelineeconomics.com/fightcase/incomeshares.htm
Title: Again - - -
Post by: cathy on Oct 23, 2004, 06:47:11 PM
Sound bites....and  rather silly ones at that, without much substance.  Foremost expert on child costs analysis?  Hmmmm, maybe according to his own site trying to hawk his products and services?

Each state implements the model differently.  In NC, the model is examined and revised at least every 4 years.  It has been modified, updated and changed numerous times.

To simply state that income shares is based on alcohol and tobacco comsumption is just inaccurate.

And- - it is really rather off the topic of the original post.  I still say - REGARDLESS of how child support is determined - this woman's intent and letter and attitude toward child support is to be commended.

I read the post to my husband, who for many years paid WELL beyond the state guidelines in NC.  He was stunned that an ex would acknowledge their former husband's contributions, both to the former husband and to the children.  He said he couldn't imagine his ex every doing that - and how nice it would have been rather than hear her bitch and moan that she didn't get enough child support and that the child support didn't even cover half the children's expenses.  And it certainly would have been nice to see evidence that the money WAS spent on the children - but of course it wasn't.
Title: RE: Again - - -
Post by: POC on Oct 23, 2004, 07:11:29 PM
Regardless of what modifications are made, if the premise is to restore a standard of living via parental tobacco and alcohol consumption, it really doesn't matter how you try to modify it from that point. Rogers' sources were certainly much more substantive than what you provided.

Reviews have been an absolute sham. Those advising the various states are paid anywhere from 35% - 45% of what they collect. It's not very hard to figure out that if they arbitrarily increase CS guideline award levels that they correspondingly increase the profits to their CS collection companies. States are happy to oblige these companies, because federal welfare is tied to collections. If CS award levels were set appropriately they would lose welfare revenue. Just speak to former CA Governor Gray Davis if you do not believe that either.

Fact is that income shares CS guideliens are based upon parental tobacco and alcohol consumption. The only thing possibly deceiving about that is that it also includes expenditures for clothing for parents too. Bottom line is that the CS guidelines in NC place more emphasis on the lable of the parent than it does upon the needs of NC's children.
Title: RE: I agree
Post by: MYSONSDAD on Oct 23, 2004, 08:40:33 PM
Wonderful!

Best way to acknowledge a good NCP is to offer Shared. If it were you, would that not be what you would want?

Children require financial, spirtual, emotional, educational, medical, you get the idea. FROM BOTH PARENTS.

Good letter, but bottom line, it is an insult. Most NCP's would appreciate a fair shake at being a parent and becoming more involved.
Not a letter...  
Title: Well put...[nm]
Post by: MYSONSDAD on Oct 23, 2004, 08:50:42 PM

"Children learn what they live"
Title: RE: Understand
Post by: jilly on Oct 24, 2004, 05:16:29 AM
NET is the bottom line...what is the amount of your paycheck AFTER your employer takes out for State/Federal taxes and medical insurance. If your a salaried employee all the Court has to do is look at the frequency of your pay (bi-weekly, bi monthly, etc.), total up your actual take home pay for the month and then do the math to see what your child support obligation would be.
As you know, what they do now is look at the amount of your paycheck BEFORE taxes or any other deductions. To me, that is an unrealistic approach to determining the amount of child support to be paid because that is not the amount you actually take home.  So, they are basing child support obligations on a "fictitious" amount. The Court is supposed to look at your disposable income and go from there. So, let's say that before taxes my paystub shows that I GROSSED $2,000 but, after taxes and other deductions are taken out the NET amount is only $800.  To me, the $800 is my disposable income. That's what I've got left to pay bills, buy groceries, clothing, put gas in my car, etc.
Of course, is someone is paid hourly their take home pay is going to vary if they work any overtime so they would have to average it out somehow.
All of this, of course, is regardless of alcohol or tobacco consumption! LOL
Title: Bet that can be manipulated.
Post by: cathy on Oct 24, 2004, 05:45:21 AM
I can set the number of dependents to anything I want, and that affects the amount of tax taken out.  And benefits - at least where I work, there are options as to what you can select.  You can opt out all together and they will give you a credit each month, you can select a plan that is free, or one that costs.  Again, manipulated the amount of NET.

Also, where I work, we have a 401K plan and that many is taken out PRE-TAX.  There is also a stock purchase plan, life insurance plan, etc etc etc.  All of which effect what your NET pay is.

Just looking at one of my paystubs - the GROSS is around $3600, the NET is around $600!  The NET on the stub is only after ALL deductions - including money I have direct deposited into a separate account.

So the theory behind what you are saying is great.  The implementation just might be impossible.

Maybe they took the NET vs GROSS into account when determining what  the percentage of the total should be?  I have read several things commenting about particular factors taken into account and varies cases that have affected the calculation, but I have never found a complete listing of all the factors taken into account in determing the child support amount.
Title: RE: Disagree/Differing opinions
Post by: Wi-Mom on Oct 24, 2004, 06:00:47 AM
Yes, my ex really prefers to leave the purchases for the children up to me. There have been occasions when I've given him the checkbook and he's taken them out to get them some clothes for a wedding he planned to take them to. I truely believe that he prefers things the way they are. He honestly doesn't spend a dime on them except for making them dinner when they come to his house for a visit. Collecting half the school money, half their clothing expenses, and other general expenses would honestly be a pain in the rear end for both of us. He trusts me.. and because he trusts me.. I make myself accountable for the child support in the fact that I know that anytime he wants to he can take a look in the check register and find out exactly what I'm spending that money on... so no.. accountability in my head is not an oxymoron when I know that I might have to explain my spending at anytime.

Interestingly enough, my kids never ask him for money EVER and I believe that is because they understand that all the money from both him and myself comes from me. They do see me go off to work every single day so they fully understand that I support them as well. What they don't see is the checks that come in and the account kept for their well being by myself and funded by their father. I want them to know that what they get comes from both of us. They are great kids and ask for very little for themselves anyway. I am always amazed. My youngest son has had a growth spurt and has only one pair of pant that fits him. Yesterday I told him I'd like to take him out for some pants and he insisted that he's fine!! I dragged him to the store and got him three more pairs of pants and some underwear. When I asked him if there was anything else he needed he said NO! and asked me to stop. Silly kids.

One thing I do know is that whatever we've done in raising the kids about money is a good thing. They always bring us change back! Can you imagine?

I didn't understand the NC tobacco thing either. I live in WI so it really doesn't apply to me anyway.
Title: Well I'm glad someone thinks that was well put... :)
Post by: cathy on Oct 24, 2004, 06:02:36 AM
Because it certainly made no sense!

"Those advising .... get 35-45% of what they collect".  What exactly does this mean?  Are you saying that any outside sources that advise the Conference of Chief District Judges received 35-45% of ????.  Yes, I'm sure that if the counsel hired outside consultants, they were paid a fee.  But what exactly are you talking about?

Your opinion may be that Rogers sources are more substantive, but I disagree.  Obviously, any source he quotes is going to support his position.  He is not a neutral party.

The site I quoted was just  one that picked at random, but it is not slanted toward prompting a particular agenda.  It also quoted more recent, actual cases that had affected the calculations.

Again, I would really love to see information on all the factors considered and how these were modified thru the years.  I certainly am not going to blindly accept sound bites put forth by a website with an obvious agenda, promoting their services for their own profit.  And of course, the information would have to be specific to NC, because each state implements the model differently.

Understand, I am not saying the income shares model is perfect by any means - just that it is better than some.  It at least makes an attempt at putting some logic and reason behind the determination of the child support amount.

I don't know of any foolproof method of fairly calculating child support.  I am interested in what method you consider to be the best.  How would you like to see child support determined?
Title: Wait a minute...............
Post by: cathy on Oct 24, 2004, 06:17:49 AM
Perhaps her ex doesn't WANT 50/50.  And perhaps that truly wouldn't be in the best interest of the children.

And yes, I do believe that 50/50 custody is wonderful and should probably be the case for the majority of situations.  However, it is the solution in every case.  Not every person that contributes to the biological creation of a child is capable of being a parent, but they still should support the child financially.  

Right now, my husband has custody of his 2 daughters.  Their mother is supposed to be paying child support (so far, she has paid 2 out of 5 months since the order has been in place).  The girls refuse to visit their mother or even talk to her.  They have not seen her in over a year and a half.  So, this is at least one case where 50/50 wouldn't work.

(More background info on our situation:  The girls are now 15 and 13.  About 4 1/2 - 5 years ago, the oldest told her mother that the stepfather was touching her inappropriately.  Mommie dearest made him leave the house, during which time she convince her daughter that it was just a misundertanding.  She then let the scumbag come back and made her daughter apologize to him.  About 2 years ago, the girls finally told us what was happening.  Despite the fact that the sheriff's detectives, CPS, the therapist, the CME interviewer, the district attorney ALL believed the girls, their mother did not.  She continues to believe her husband and thinks the girls are liars.  She even told the youngest girl on her last visit that it really wasn't that she didn't believe them, but that she had to stay with her husband because she had no where else to go.  She then began to blame the girls for the fact that her youngest daughter with the scumbag molester wasn't allowed to live with her at the time (I can only assume because she was still with scum bag molester).)

Title: Bottom Line...
Post by: MYSONSDAD on Oct 24, 2004, 10:03:33 AM
Many here would be more then willing to continue paying CS. What we want is equal access and equal say in decision making in our children's lives. That for me, is the bottom line.

I personally think that when the BM has the child, she pays, when the BF has the child, he pays. Both parents need to take responsibility, not putting all financial responsibilty on just one parent.

Many, not all,  CP's stay at home and collect. Not willing to work or keep the NCP involved in the child's life.

CS is nothing more then revenue for the State. Of course there are also many cases where one of the parents just don't care and walk away. But when you have a case where BOTH parents want equal, then this should be shared responsibilty right on down the line.

Another issue is the 'deadbeat'. This is targeted at NCP's who don't pay support. How about the CP's who deny access of the children to the NCP'S?

If it were me, I would just casually mention how glad you are that you BOTH can work together in being parents. Offer him a chance to express what he would like. More time with the children or more access to school events. Open the door for better communication.

So much conflict could be avoided if BOTH parents walked into court on Equal ground. Shared parenting from the start, until proven otherwise.
Title: Question
Post by: cathy on Oct 24, 2004, 10:21:26 AM
You statement:

"CS is nothing more then revenue for the State."

I don't understand.  Can you explain how you see this as true?  THANKS!
Title: RE: Question
Post by: MYSONSDAD on Oct 24, 2004, 10:25:48 AM
States receive a percentage on CS collected.

"Children learn what they live"
Title: Which states?
Post by: cathy on Oct 24, 2004, 10:56:02 AM
I don't know of this happening in NC.  My husband has been on the paying end and now on the receiving end.   The state doesn't get anything - in fact, it costs them to enforce and administer the collection/distribution of the child support.
Title: RE: Which states?
Post by: joni on Oct 24, 2004, 12:59:21 PM

State agencies received "matching" funds from the Feds for all of the child support that they process.
Title: RE: Which states?
Post by: cathy on Oct 24, 2004, 03:01:26 PM
Yes - but aren't the "matching funds" an amount to cover the expense involved in the collection process?  I wouldn't think the state was making a profit from this.

And for that matter, my husband paid directly to his ex for years.  Actually a rather funny story I think.  He would log on and transfer the money directly to her account that he had set up where he banked.  He had "deposit-only" access - couldn't even check the balance.  So EVERY month on the FIRST of the month, regardless of what day of the week it was - she had the cash in hand.

Well - somehow she got it in her head that that way was "controlling".  She went to court and asked that it be done thru the court system.  No big deal as far as my husband was concerned.  It was a little less convenient because we had to write a check and mail it in - but whoopie.

Ok - so we mailed the payment in by the first of the month.  It had to go thru the mail system, reach the child support agency, be posted, a check cut to her and mailed to her.  Needless to say, she didn't have the money in hand on the first.  At the best, she had a check around the 15th of the month!

So she called and complained and wanted my husband to go back to paying her directly!  They went to court and the judge looked at my husband and said "And why would you want to do this?  You would have no record and would have to be VERY careful".  So, in the end, it was left as it was - being paid thru the court.
Title: RE: Which states?
Post by: POC on Oct 24, 2004, 05:26:37 PM
Obviously you are unaware that former CA Governor, Gray Davis' justification for vetoing paternity fraud legislation was that CA would lose $40 Million per year in federal welfare money. Sadly, he was correct in his calculations. That's right, he was justifying fraudulent CS orders, so that CA could bilk the federal government out of more welfare money. The more each and every state (including NC) collects in CS, the more they get in welfare money. Whether those orders are fraudulent or equitable has no bearing on the percentage.

The millions in grants you speak of to states is separate and apart from welfare money that is tied to how much the state collects in CS.
Title: RE: Well I'm glad someone thinks that was well put... :)
Post by: POC on Oct 24, 2004, 05:30:21 PM
Since you asked, my formula is as follows:

1.   Use USDA data on the costs of raising children, except marginal (not per capita) housing costs, and base the level on the parents’ average income, not their combined income. Basic Child Costs Per Month (In this example, we will assume that amount is $1,000)
2.   Determine which costs are fixed and which are variable costs. Regardless of how much time a child spends with their parent, fixed costs do not decrease. Examples are rent/mortgage, bed, dresser, car seat. Variable costs increase in or decrease depending on how much time a child spends with each parent. Based on USDA data percentages are derived for both fixed and variable costs. For arguments sake, we will assume that fixed costs are 30% and variable costs are 70%. (Fixed costs $300, variable costs $700)
3.   Prorate NRP’s fixed costs by multiplying percentage of time with the NRP by two. For example, if the child spends 40% of his/her time with the NRP, then the prorated portion of fixed costs would be 80% of what ever the fixed costs are. Therefore, the prorated portion of fixed costs would be 24% (.30 x .80). Or, $1,000 x .24 = $240
4.   Multiply amount in line 1 by percentage in line 3 and add that amount to the amount in line 1 to arrive at the total amount needed to provide for the child. In this example it would be the amount in line 1 x 1.24. ($1,000 x 1.24 = $1,240).This equitably accounts for the reality that it costs more to provide for the child at one home than it does at two homes. But, at the same time, it accounts for the fact that the child benefits from the fixed items at the primary home for longer periods of time than he/she is able to at the NRP home. Child support monies are proportioned accordingly.
5.   NRP’s total costs are percentage of time at NRP’s home multiplied by (variable costs) in line 2, plus prorated portion in line 3 multiplied by line 1. In this example, ($700 x .40 + $1,000 x .24) = $280 + $240 = $520 (NRP’s Basic Costs)
6.   Primary Parent’s (PP) total costs are percentage of time at the PP home multiplied by (variable costs) in line 2, plus the full 30% of fixed costs of line 1. In this example, ($700 x .60 + $1,000 x .30) = $420 + $300 = $720 (PP Basic Costs)
7.   *    Combining the final figures of lines 5 and 6 totals up to the total amount of basic needs for the child, as described in line 4.
8.   Add actual payments made by NRP for medical and child care to line 5. (NRP’s Total Costs)
9.   Add actual payments made by PP for medical and child care to line 6. (PP’s Total Costs)
10.   Subtract what ever tax benefits (income tax deduction, child tax credit or deduction for day care) the NRP receives (annual benefit of deductions /12) from line 5. NRP’s Net Costs
11.   Subtract what ever tax benefits (income tax deduction, child tax credit or deduction for day care) the PP receives (annual benefit of deductions /12) from line 6. PP’s Net Costs
12.   Calculate NRP’s net monthly income, minus a self-support reserve of ($982 poverty level income) for amount of available income to support the child.
13.   Calculate PP’s net monthly income, minus a self-support reserve of ($982 poverty level income) for amount of available income to support the child.
14.   Divide figure in line 12 by line 12 plus line 13 to arrive at NRP’s available income percentage.
15.   Divide figure in line 13 by line 12 plus line 13 to arrive at PP’s available income percentage.
16.   Multiply line 14 by line 11 to arrive at NRP’s share of PP’s Costs.
17.   Multiply line 15 by line 10 to arrive at PP’s share of NRP’s Costs.
18.   If line 16 is greater than line 17, then the difference is the presumptive child support award that the NRP would pay to the PP. If line 17 is greater than line 16, then the difference is the presumptive child support award that the PP would pay to the NRP.


Any mathematical formula worth its salt can be tested for validity at any point of the spectrum for validity. The above formula seamlessly proportions an equitable amount of money for children’s reasonable needs (as defined by the USDA) across the time sharing and income distributions that are reality in today’s society. In situations where stay-at-home-moms earned no income before and after a divorce, the father would still provide for 100% of the financial needs of the child. In situations where there is equal parental incomes and 50/50 time sharing, there would be no child support award, except to equitably account for actual differences of one parent paying more for day care and medical than the other, or because of tax benefit implications. When a child spends 100% of his/her time at one household and none at the other, all of the money to support the child is proportioned to provide for the child’s needs at said home. All of this is accomplished with the same mathematical formula. The sheer presence of a deviation formula is an admission of a flawed basic child support guideline formula. Children deserve not to have the money that is intended to meet their needs so misproportioned. Every step in my formula more equitably provides for the needs of children than do current guidelines.
Title: Just a clarification
Post by: cathy on Oct 24, 2004, 05:36:49 PM
I wasn't speaking of grant money.  And you are right - I do not live in California and do not follow what happens there.   I am speaking about NC - the state I live in.
Title: Just a couple of questions off the top of my head...
Post by: cathy on Oct 24, 2004, 05:51:35 PM
Have a tad of a headache, so may not have caught everything - - -but here are a few questions that hit me right off the top of my head....

How do you guard against someone making themselves "cash poor" to avoid their fair share of child support?  Fix cost - - -ok I got buy myself a big ass house, pour all my savings/investment money/etc into.  Now instead of a tax shelter, I have a "child support" shelter.

How do you calculate "NET PAY"?  I can manipulate my NET very easily.  How about pre-tax dollars for 401K plans, stock purchase, etc?  Do you add that back in and tax it as at the prevailing rate?  What if it changes the tax bracket?  If I claim 5 dependents, the taxes withheld is much different than if I claim no dependents.

Also - as you state....If one parent (hey, maybe it was dad rather than mom) stayed home with the kids and had no income, you think it is fair to place the financial burden completely on the other parent?  If they are divorced, obviously this "stay at home parent" is going to have to have income from somewhere for the "fixed" costs.  Why would they get a free ride?

I also disagree with your assertion that the presence of a deviation formulat is an admission of a flawed basic child support guideline formula.  What is is an admission of it that the whole concept of child support is very complex and every situation is vastly different - so it impossible to have a "one size fits all" approach.  The best one can do is a "one size fits most", and provide some mechanism for dealing with the extremes.
Title: RE: Just a couple of questions off the top of my head...
Post by: POC on Oct 24, 2004, 06:35:40 PM
1) Please clarify what you are asking about regarding "cash poor" - Sorry, I just don't want to respond to something that is not what you meant.

2) Fixed costs are a percentage to be determined by the Legislature. In my example, I used 40% as an example. That becomes the rebuttable presumption for fixed costs. If you can prove to a judge why a "big ass house" is in the best interests of your child, so be it. Of course, doing so would mean that it would probably be in the child's best interests to allocate that type of money at the other home too. I'd be happy to clarify this further if you would like. But, I think it is kind of self-explanatory.

3) Calculating net pay is for legislative determination too. Your questions about manipulating net incomes are well taken. Personally, I could see justification for disallowing a self reserve to be taken if one were to deduct pension plans. But, now you're getting more anal than even I am.

4) I am unclear about your question regarding "stay at home parents". If they are earning money, then that money would be considered. Hence, the parents would share the financial burden proportionate to their incomes as shown in the formula; thereby there would be no "free ride". However, if the STAH parent continued to do so in the same manner as in the marriage, then the parents would continue to share the financial burden in the same proportionate way.

5) The definition of a mathematically valid formula is that it can be tested for validity at any point of the spectrum. If you want to argue the point, take it up with Pythagoras, Einstein, Newton, or your nearest middle school Algebra teacher. But, when the basic formula can't even be applied to the simplest points to check for validity it shows how perverse the formula is.

I hope you feel better. Take care of that headache.
Title: RE: Just a clarification
Post by: POC on Oct 24, 2004, 06:45:45 PM
I understand how you might not be up on CA, since you are from NC. So, reading about Bobby Sherill would be good for you. Bobby was arrested in Fayettville less than 24 hours after returning home from being held captive in Iraq. His crime was that he failed to pay child support while he was held captive those four months.

http://host63.ipowerweb.com/~gachilds/files/Deadbeat%20Dads.pdf

You hardly have to cross the country to see how screwed up the current system is. Children deserve much better. Children deserve to be allowed meaningful time with each of their parents. Chldren also deserve to have their basic needs provided for at each of their homes.
Title: Maybe the wrong link?
Post by: cathy on Oct 24, 2004, 07:07:09 PM
I didn't see anything about Bobby Sherill on that page.  And I never said the system WASN'T screwed up......but there has to be some system I'm sure you would agree.  And unfortunately, as with any system that large, you are going to have screw ups.  I can only hope that this one was corrected quickly.  But again, I will say that I still think income shares model makes a lot more sense than some of the other methods.  Never sais it was perfect - I doubt a perfect system will ever exist - but it is better than some.

Also, this has strayed FAR beyond the original intent of the post starting this thread.  It has at least stayed pretty much on the topic of child support though.  But now you are throwing in "meaningful time".  While that is important, it is a separate topic.  

Actually though - I am interested.  Do you think there is should be some relationship between "visitation" and child support - other than the obvious one where the amount of time spent with each parent is taken into account in calculating child support.

And yes, 50/50 would be ideal - - but it just won't work for every situation.  Hell, for that matter, the ideal would be no need for divorce.  I've always thought birth control was ass backwards.  You should have to get a pill in order to BECOME pregnant, not to prevent it.

Title: RE: Just a couple of questions off the top of my head...
Post by: cathy on Oct 24, 2004, 07:19:18 PM
I hope we aren't taking up too much space on the board.  I am enjoying this discussion and do consider many of your points valid.  

I think the confusion on the first 2 points was my assumption that the fixed costs would be related to actual costs.  When you say "percentage", are you referring to a percentage of salary, or a percentage of the fixed costs?  And again, we are somewhat back in the same boat as to determining what that percentage should be.   Who is to dictate what a "big ass house" is, what a reasonable cost for a house is, what percentage of your salary is reasonable to spend toward a house (or other fixed costs)?

In both 2 and 3, you say it is for legislative determination.   I'm not sure exactly what group you would be referring to, and why they would do any better a job that the judicial branch did.

For number 4, you seem to be saying that if there was a STAH parent before the divorce, they should have the option to remain a STAH parent and the total financial responsibility fall to the other parent.  I just don't buy that and I don't see it as being fair.  The decision to be a STAH parent during the marriage is a mutual decision - it shouldn't resort to a unilateral decision after the divorce,

Number 5 I would have to go back and read the posts - and it is bedtime!

But that should be enough to continue our discussion!  Thanks
Title: RE: Maybe the wrong link?
Post by: POC on Oct 24, 2004, 07:34:49 PM
I believe his article was on like the 2nd or 3rd page in that link.

I believe "visitation" is something that was intended for jails and hospitals. Unless a parent is in one of those, I don't believe children should have visitation.

I am a very practical person. Therefore, I would never say that things ought to always be 182/183 one year and 183/182 the next. But, equal parenting time should be the point from which all arrangements are started from, unless of course, parental wrong-doing is apparent to a judge that he/she determines that spending time with that parent would be detrimental to the child.

No, I don't think there should be a relationship between CS and "time sharing", other than the formula for determining the amount of support. I have heard the argument that support should be withheld by the court until a parent makes their child accessible to the other. But, personally, I believe that those parents should just be put in jail for contempt of court. If judges were swift to do so, more kids would get to see their parents.

As far as the original post, we haven't even gotten past the first issue. It should be apparent that sending the letter would not be helpful.
Title: RE: Just a couple of questions off the top of my head...
Post by: POC on Oct 24, 2004, 07:56:25 PM
The USDA does an annual survey of costs associated with raising children. Interestingly, pond scum sucking leaches (let me know if you think I mince words too much) such as Robert Williams and Policy Stuides, Inc. prefer to base CS on other factors, such as tobacco and alcohol consumption. These companies collect anywhere from 30% - 40% of how much they collect, sometimes more. In FL, one company was paid over $2.2 Million to collect $5,867 in child support. It's a good gig if you can get it.

Sorry, back to fixed costs. The percentage (determined by the legislature) is of the amount of money in the USDA tables. If you go back and apply the formula again you will probably see it. The reason I say it should be left up to the legislature is because there are some items that are a judgement/values call, such as clothing. Obviously, a kid needs a coat in the winter, regardless of which home he/she happens to be at. But, some of those items can move between homes. So, the legislature needs to provide the courts some direction as to their intent of those type items (courts are not authorized to legislate). Equally as imortant, this shows the court how applying the guideliens in a particular case may or may not be inappropriate. This Due Process requirement in federal statute is absent in current guidelines.

As you know, federal statutes require each state to update and revise their guidelines at least every 4 years. But, those statutes also require that the guidelines have a rebuttable presumption. But, there is nothing to rebutt, because the guidelines do not say what they are intended for. Example, if a parent had to drive 300 miles each way to see his kid, there is nothing in the guidelines to rebutt to show that the guidelines did not already take this circumstance into account. Any deviation a judge made from current guidelines to account for the extraordinary travel would be arbitrary. Who is to say whether the guidelines account for 15 miles per week or 350? The USDA gives an amount for travel, and each parent would be able to show if that amount was not appropriate for their particular case - Again as is required by federal statute.
Title: I could not agree more...
Post by: MYSONSDAD on Oct 24, 2004, 08:06:36 PM
You wrote exactly how I feel about visitation and support issues. Well explained. Sometimes my brain is mush...

I think that if both parnets walked into a Family Court on equal ground, there would be a lot less conflict. Which I feel, is better for the children.

"Children learn what they live"
Title: I'll look again
Post by: cathy on Oct 25, 2004, 03:35:08 AM
at the site.

And I'm in agreement with most of what you said in this post.  I'm not fond of the term "visitation" either, which is why I put it in quotes.  But it does at least convey the meaning, albeit with negative connotations.

But I still very much disagree that sending the letter would not be helpful.  As in all things, it depends on the situation.  I have to trust that this woman knows her situation and her ex better than we do.  I also know that if my husband's ex had ever sent such a letter, it would have been amazingly welcome.  
Title: I agree as well.....
Post by: cathy on Oct 25, 2004, 03:46:29 AM
And again, I don't like the term "visitation".

Initially, I thought - "yeah, that would be good.  For both parents to start out on equal ground".

Then I began to think - but things are never equal.  Parents are individuals and differ.  No two sides, situations or people are equal.  The amount of time each parent has spent with the child, the amount of time they are willing to spend with the child, their parenting skills, their income, etc etc etc  - none of these things are equal.  And perhaps some of them should not be considered, but some of them should.

Now - perhaps starting off equal and going from there.....but isn't that what we are SUPPOSE to have now?  I thought that at least most states claim that they don't show preference to either gender - except maybe for small children with the "Tender Years" crap.  

So, I guess in an ideal world, this would work.  But in an ideal world, we wouldn't need it.  Realism bites!

I wish I had the answers - but I'm not even sure of all the questions.  But I know that whatever system is in place, there will always be flaws - and their will always be people that disagree with parts of it and think it is unfair.
Title: Love it!
Post by: cathy on Oct 25, 2004, 03:55:47 AM
"Pond scum sucking leaches"!!  

Interesting information - and I'm looking forward to digesting it a bit more, maybe doing a little research.  Unfortunately, it is Monday and back to work.  Typically I would do both this and my job, but I've been out of the office and need to catch up.

Thank you again for this discussion - definitely food for thought and I have learn new things!

The key I think maybe as you say - some items are judgement/value calls.  I think that sums up things nicely as to why there will never be a method that is agreed by all as being good, fair, and/or equitable.

Just tossing this out - haven't really thought it thru - - - but how does this work when the parents live far apart?  Any adjustments for that winter coat that may not be needed at one parent's house, but i at the others?  Any adjustment for the different cost of living in the different towns?  Etc etc etc (like I said - tossing without thinking thru - so be gentle! )   :-)
Title: RE: Love it!
Post by: POC on Oct 25, 2004, 05:36:59 AM
Your questions are valid. That is why it is imperative that the guidelines say what and how they are presumed to proportion money between the parents to meet the needs of the child. If a parent lived in Fargo, ND it would seem obvious that more money would need to be allocated towads witner clothing than where I live in SWFL. But, if distance were an issue, travel would become more important. Regardless of the situation though, the absence of a rebuttable presumption leaves the courts helpless but to order arbitrary decisions in all cases.
Title: RE: I'll look again
Post by: Wi-Mom on Oct 25, 2004, 11:08:38 AM
I am completely out of my league here, and all of you have thought very well about all of this.

Everyone's reaction has been so very interesting.. but I keep feeling that child support needs and expenses is so subjective I don't know how it could possibly be determined "fairly." There are things we all agree child support should cover:

Food
Clothing
School fees/field trips, etc


There are some things that are necessary, but subjective to others as far as what CS should cover:

% of rent/mortgage
% of heat/water/utilities
% of phone bill

Dr expenses should be divided between both parents, so that's in a category of it's own. (including glasses, dental, etc)


Then what about the other things that are not necessities but are part of childhood?

Birthday parties: - given (cake, pizza, soda.. etc) (In my case Dad attends but does not pay a dime even for his own pizza.)
Birthday gifts for your child's friend's parties: (Your kid gets invited they need to bring a gift!)
Toys (They have NO toys at their father's house)
Computer software for extra learning at home/Internet etc -  (Their father won't pay for anything of the sort his house or mine)
Tutoring (I'm paying the $4600.00 Sylvan Learning Center bill myself  because I elected to send our youngest son for professional help because he was failing every single class. It was not required.. but I believed we had no other recourse)
Drum lessons (Or piano, ballet, whatever your child is interested in)
Scouting fees (boy scouts/girl scouts)
Class trips to Washington DC (I paid the $300 fee myself for each of our kids because it was optional. If the kids hadn't gone.. they would have been the ONLY kids not to go.. but it wasn't required so I got to pay it.)
Class rings ($75 - $350)  - Yearbooks ($50)
School photos/SENIOR photos!
Homecoming/Prom dress/hair, expenses.
8th Grade Graduation/1st Communion/Baptism family events/parties.

I'm listing all the extra things that I pay for myself and HONESTLY I don't even ask my ex to help. He knows the expenses are there, even attends the birthday parties and eats the cake and food but doesn't offer anything for them financially. School photo's he helps himself. I'm not complaining.. but I am just curious which of these items would you all put into what category? Covered under child support or not? Who should pay for them? Am I missing anything in any of the categories? I think this is one thing that never gets truely defined or nailed down and I'm wondering what your thoughts are?






Title: The REAL bottom line
Post by: catherine on Oct 25, 2004, 11:30:16 AM
Send it.  It might not be appreciated, but he will remember it one day.

What a bunch of grumpy guss' here!  When people are sooo adament that CS is alimony in disguise they are in denial that it costs $ to raise a child and IMO, these complainers are the people who give FRG a bad name.  Sure they want 50/50 custody, but many do not want 50/50 and to say, sure offer him half the time with the child sounds all nice but is unrealistic.  Some parents have even fought to have 50/50 and then still let the other parent hold the burden of parenting with giving them no money.  Not ALL father's enjoy going clothes shopping with their kids and things like that!
Title: EXCUSE ME?????
Post by: MYSONSDAD on Oct 25, 2004, 12:07:30 PM


Another issue is the 'deadbeat'. This is targeted at NCP's who don't pay support. How about the CP's who deny access of the children to the NCP'S?

If it were me, I would just casually mention how glad you are that you BOTH can work together in being parents. Offer him a chance to express what he would like. More time with the children or more access to school events. Open the door for better communication.>

WHAT PART OF THIS DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?

You apparently have some major issues, get help!

And I will give you a clue, CS is nothing more then a form of maintence.

If you can not make an educated post, don't bother...

"Children learn what they live"
Title: why, did you fart?
Post by: catherine on Oct 25, 2004, 12:17:57 PM
My post was under the original poster, WIMom.  Don't know whose "quote" that is in your post to me.  Was I talking to you?

I've been on both sides just like cathy dearie - CP and NCP paying.    We aren't discussing CP's that deny visitation or anything else.  We aren't discussing CP's that spend the money on themselves and not the children.  We aren't talking OUTRAGEOUS CS amounts.

My husband PROUDLY paid his CS, and didn't bitch about it.  We knew she wasn't spending it on the kids but DH still didn't bitch about it as it was his DUTY to provide for his children.

Now that the tables are turned, she DOESN'T WANT 50/50 custody and doesn't want to pay CS either.  I, the stepmother, have been paying way more than my fair share for these children.  Now PB has a CS order and quit her job not 6 weeks later.  It's for $360 a month for two kids.  Please tell me how that is a form of maintenance?

If you can't make an "educated guess" don't bother yourself.
Title: Tickled pink
Post by: Davy on Oct 25, 2004, 12:53:25 PM
Uhmmm ... almost ALL fathers I've encountered would be "tickled pink" if they knew they could have the government automatically label them as the sole custodian to their children along with a huge financial reward/award and then encourage the father to resist allowing a relationship with the other parent.

BTW, many fathers can take candy from a baby and somehow the baby knows better to cry about it.
Title: YOUR SUBJECT LINE 'REAL BOTTOM LINE...'
Post by: MYSONSDAD on Oct 25, 2004, 12:58:38 PM


Again, you asume too much. Your remarks were made in general to all of us here. The original question was in regard to sending a letter to her ex.

Until you are a father denied of time spent with your children, YOU DO NOT HAVE A CLUE. Some of us put the children before the money.



Well some of us do or we would not be here...

P.S. Not all CS is spent on the kids




"Children learn what they live"
Title: really?
Post by: catherine on Oct 25, 2004, 01:04:33 PM
I know a lot of Fathers that would want to be sole custodian but I don't know many that would want to treat the other parent the same way they were treated as an NCP.  
Title: I know it isn't! DH's ex couldn't make ends meet with over 1000 a month
Post by: catherine on Oct 25, 2004, 01:12:04 PM
And yup, my DH was denied time spent with his kids.  It wasn't me directly, but believe me I felt the pain just as much as him.  That's why he fought it - asked for 50/50 and she ended up giving him custody.  I do have a clue!  DH did pay support though and didn't complain.  We both went above and beyond the CS award too and bought them back to school clothes and supplies and stuff.

In this case, I think it's nice that a CP wants to show the NCP that his money is appreciated.  I agree with your post that she should offer/encourage more time, but is that really the issue?  Look, like it or not, some Dads and Moms don't want to spend time with their kids.

I used the REAL bottom line because the thread was hijacked with the conspiracy theories of CS money and people telling her to offer more time instead of thanking him for the money.
Title: RE: I know it isn't! DH's ex couldn't make ends meet with over 1000 a month
Post by: MYSONSDAD on Oct 25, 2004, 01:18:42 PM
< hijacked with the conspiracy theories of CS money and people telling her to offer more time instead of thanking him for the money.>

THIS INFORMATION WAS BASED ON FACTS.

"Children learn what they live"
Title: Don't twist ... just read and comprehend
Post by: Davy on Oct 25, 2004, 01:30:21 PM
I don't know ANY father that would treat a mother indignantly because they have a heart and are NOT encouraged by government to do so.
Title: RE: really?
Post by: MYSONSDAD on Oct 25, 2004, 01:30:28 PM
I would like to stay and argue some more, but I have to go to work to pay my CS...

Fathers are shown to be more understanding and cooperative to the NCP, probably because they have 'been there' more often. And while we are on the subject, What about the NCP moms who don't pay support?

Let's not make this a gender issue.

Title: RE: Don't twist ... just read and comprehend
Post by: MYSONSDAD on Oct 25, 2004, 01:33:24 PM
"Don't twist ... just read and comprehend"

I don't think she understands this...


"Children learn what they live"
Title: twist what?
Post by: catherine on Oct 25, 2004, 01:40:38 PM

OHHH, you are making it a gender thing?  I think it's more of a NCP/CP thing.  I honestly don't know what you think I'm twisting.  Your comment comes out of the blue and has nothing to do with my post.  
Title: More time isn't an issue
Post by: Wi-Mom on Oct 25, 2004, 01:41:26 PM
My ex lives a mile away. The kids can ride their bikes over to his house any time they want and they do. Still, they sleep pretty much here at home.. he sends them back in the evening cuz he just doesn't have a lot of room over there right now. (he moved in with his new wife and all her kids and mom... etc)

My biggest "issue" with him is that if the kids didn't go over there on their own he wouldn't even notice. He wouldn't come and get them.. he just simply wouldn't see them. Normally, over the last four years I would make an excuse to the kids, and then go to him and sternly ask him to stop ignoring his kids. He's always sorry and remorseful and for a few weeks starts paying attention to them. It is a rare occasion that he takes them for a walk or a bike ride or to the movies.. and it makes me sad.

This time, my youngest son who absolutely worships his Dad is getting tired of being ignored so he's not been there since Tuesday and he's waiting for so much as a phone call from him saying, "where are ya?" For a kid who rides over there for a couple of hours pretty much every night... that's been a long time.. and sure enough not a phone call from Dad yet!

As I've stated before, he has no interest in taking them shopping or worrying about signing them up for school or even making sure they do their homework for that matter. On the rare occasion that he does want to take them out for clothes for a wedding.. I HAND him the checkbook and he pays for their clothes from the child support he pays ME. Nothing from his own funds. He only EVER buys them toys, or things on birthdays and christmas.. THAT's IT! The rest he leaves up to me. So honestly, I think the child support is fair in OUR CASE. I think.

Now, I do see him going to work every day.. and he's in his mid fortys. I'm watching him age and continuing to do a very physical job. He looks tired. I'm seeing his hands begin to turn and his knuckles start to show signs of rhumetoid arthritis (too tired to spell it right) and though I've talked to him about it.. he isn't seeking medical attention. It must be difficult for him.. and yet he always goes to work..and he always looks tired.. and I'd just like to remind him that I appreciate his efforts. He's not perfect.. but I can appreciate the good things and I'd like to.
Title: Have you read anything that I've written?
Post by: catherine on Oct 25, 2004, 01:45:08 PM
We are dealing with an NCP mother who quit her job once the garnishment was in effect and was found to be $4000 in arrears at this point.

I'd like some data for this opinion: "Fathers are shown to be more understanding and cooperative to the NCP, probably because they have 'been there' more often."  I might agree with you to a degree, but I honestly think that there are alot of jerks our there, male and female.
Title: Because of an opinion
Post by: catherine on Oct 25, 2004, 01:46:35 PM
I have about another poster and you jumped to her defense - This is why you are hounding me?
Title: MSD..you are so right
Post by: Davy on Oct 25, 2004, 02:23:06 PM
She appears to be so "government issued" that it's probably not fair for either of us to try to explain it to her.
Title: I don't know what the "norm" is,
Post by: cathy on Oct 25, 2004, 03:39:22 PM
but I don't know that I would say almost ALL fathers I've encountered.  Sure there are some, and there are others that would prefer the mother be the primary custodian.

I know woman who have voluntarily agreed to the father having primary custody because the father was the better person.  I know a father that has sole custody because the mother didn't pick the kid up from daycare when the kid was 6 months old - and hasn't been seen since.

I know fathers who would go nuts and have no clue what to do with primary custody.  I know fathers that financially supported the family while the mother stayed home and was the primary caregiver, and as a result, feels that the mother is better capable of being primary caregiver.

There are many shades and flavors - and I don't think we should paint ALL fathers with the same paintbrush and we shouldn't paing ALL mothers with the same paintbrush.

And I truly hope your comment was made "tongue-in-cheek".  I would hate to think most of the fathers you know would want to be encouraged to resist allowing a relationship with the other parent.  I truly hope that NO parent would be tickled pink by this - but instead would WANT to encourage a relationship with the other parent.
Title: I'm confused.
Post by: cathy on Oct 25, 2004, 03:49:45 PM
First you say "almost ALL fathers I've encountered would be tickled pink .... and then encourage the father to resist allowing a relationship with the other parent."

Then you say you don't know ANY father that would treat a mother indignantly.

I hope that the first post was a "mistype" and you didn't mean that fathers would be happy about being encouraged to not allow a relationship with the other parent.

I also would hope that you didn't know ANY mothers that would treat a father indignantly.

Realistically, I think we all typically know fathers who are shits and mothers who are shits.  Neither gender has cornered the market on being a bad parent - and neither has cornered the market on being a good parent.
Title: I understand
Post by: cathy on Oct 25, 2004, 04:02:19 PM
My husband is somewhat fortunate that he was never totally and strictly denied visitation.  He had to put up with a LOT of stupid shit.  He agreed to let his ex and the kids move to Florida (we are in NC) because her family was there and he felt that it would be good for the kids to be around their extended family, and his ex would be more stable with the help of her family.  Of course, they agreed to a "visitation" schedule - which she immedicatly renegged on when she got there.  That is just the tip of the iceberg....

But I digress.  I think most of us on these boards are here because of divorces in our lives that aren't "friendly".  I think we all have had heartaches, frustrations and pain related to the event surrounding custody issues.

But every situation is different.  Not all men make good fathers and not all women make good mothers.  Even when BOTH parents are capable and willing, sometimes circumstances don't allow for 50/50.

The original poster seemed to want to express her thanks to her ex for providing for his children.  She wanted to commend him.  I didn't get the impression that she denied him visitation or tried to alienate the children from their father.  In fact, I got the impression that she tried to make sure that their father WAS an important part of their life and did provide for them even when he wasn't there.  

I would think that any father would want the mother of his children to acknowledge his contributions to the support of his kids.
Title: Yes you are confused
Post by: Davy on Oct 25, 2004, 04:13:02 PM
For heaven sake, this is so simple.  Reread the post and the entire sentence and not what you want it to say in order to bash males or to place yourself in a oneupmanship position.
Title: RE: I don't know what the
Post by: Davy on Oct 25, 2004, 04:18:19 PM
... think !!!!
Title: After I have made the effort....
Post by: cathy on Oct 25, 2004, 04:28:48 PM
to post a reasonable response in a polite tone, I'm not sure you want to know what I'm thinking right now!  :-)

If you feel I am missing something, or if you do not agree with the points in my post - please point them out and we can have a discussion.
Title: Perhaps YOU should re-read
Post by: cathy on Oct 25, 2004, 04:34:38 PM
I am simply pointing out what you posted.

And bashing males?  Me??? Where? When?  Sorry - didn't happen.  If you read my posts, the majority attempt to point out that no 2 situations are the same - the parties involved are individuals.  MEN are not this way of that way.  WOMEN are not this way are that way.  If you are accusing ME of male bashing - you are WAYYYYYYY off base.

I think you are too busy "female" bashing to have a reasonable, rationale discussion.  Believe it or not - there really are fathers out there that are assholes too!  Just like there are mothers out there that should be shot!

Male bash?  Ha!  That is funny!  If you only knew what a pathetic, psycho I have had to deal with -  a FEMALE, the MOTHER of my husband's children.  If I were going to bash anyone, it would be her!
Title: NO DAVY, YOUR RIGHT!
Post by: MYSONSDAD on Oct 26, 2004, 12:18:02 AM
Every since these two started posting, one simple remark turns into a major issue. OVER WHAT? IF THEY DON'T LIKE THE RESPONSES, GO SOMEWHERE ELSE.

Gender has very seldom been an issue here at Sparc. Once in a while, we get someone who tries to pull it in, but for the most part there have not been too many problems. And I am tried of all this twisting and manipulation. Starting to sound like my PBFH.

If everyone would try to read the entire post, keep in mind that all of us have different views. I think so much has been misread and misinterpreted.

I am moving on, these two can battle it out on their own. I have had enough arguing.

My question is, if they have so much time to post, who's watching the kids?

"Children learn what they live"
Title: Try a google search on Fatherhood...
Post by: MYSONSDAD on Oct 26, 2004, 12:20:41 AM

"Children learn what they live"
Title: RE: I don't understand
Post by: MYSONSDAD on Oct 26, 2004, 12:31:11 AM


WHERE THE HELL DID THIS COME FROM? No one said she denied visitation! No one said anything about alienation!

This letter would be patronizing and an insult.

A simple comment about how much she appreciates his being a good father, in no way, slaps him in the face.

MY WORDS, READ CAREFULLY, DON'T LOSE TRACK....

I SAID 'BUILD BETTER COMMUNICATION' OFFER MORE TIME, not a damned thing about shared. MORE ACCESS TO SCHOOL EVENTS.

You are putting words in my mounth, and I don't like it...

I do think if this father is so wonderful to earn a letter, then he should have shared. My hats off to daddy!

"Children learn what they live"
Title: How am I putting words in your mouth????
Post by: cathy on Oct 26, 2004, 04:04:39 AM
Please, show me specifically where I attributed anything to you.  I don't like being attacked for something I didn't do.

Now, you did post:

"Until you are a father denied of time spent with your children, YOU DO NOT HAVE A CLUE. Some of us put the children before the money."

So where exactly did THAT come from?

I have already said - my husband paid child support.  I read him the letter and he certainly wouldn't have found it patronizing or insulting.  So sorry, you don't speak for all fathers.  

So maybe instead of BEING rude and patronizing yourself - you should take your own advice and "READ CAREFULLY, DON'T LOSE TRACK"....
Title: Amusing to say the least.....
Post by: cathy on Oct 26, 2004, 04:11:09 AM
I assume I am one of "those two".  Amazingly, you could take your own advice as well "IF THEY DON'T LIKE THE RESPONSES, GO SOMEWHERE ELSE."

You see, it isn't a matter of whether I "like" the responses or not.  I am honestly trying to present another view perhaps, to understand the position of the poster, and to clarify what they may be saying.  Perhaps even offer them some insight they didn't have previously.

A LOT of times, I am actually looking for further insight, hoping to gain a different perspective.  For the most part, I think my post are polite - until I start getting rude, abusive responses.  

So far as your question - who is watching the kids?  I have 2 stepchildren that are in school.  When they are home, my husband and I are watching them - as much as a 13 and 15 year need to be watched.

Title: buddy
Post by: catherine on Oct 26, 2004, 06:22:36 AM
You haven't read anything I've written, it's quite obvious.  
Title: Then just drop him a simple note...
Post by: MYSONSDAD on Oct 26, 2004, 09:42:15 AM
Keep it simple:



Title: RE: What do you think of this letter?
Post by: kitten on Oct 26, 2004, 03:22:27 PM
Good luck with this, I hope he takes it as the sincere Thank You it is!
;)

Isn't it bizarre to get to a place where you do actually appreciate your ex?  (Even though you still can't stand the sight of him) LOL!
Title: RE: I don't know what the
Post by: kitten on Oct 26, 2004, 03:52:40 PM
"I know fathers that financially supported the family while the mother stayed home and was the primary caregiver, and as a result, feels that the mother is better capable of being primary caregiver."

Cathy- I'm not trying to start an argument, I just want to point out that I know a wonderful, caring, understanding, sensitive father who is now most likely going to lose his children because he supported his family financially.  He did what was right and she and the court system is using that to extract him, but not his money from his childrens lives.  
The fathers just can't win, damned if you do and damned if you don't.  I think it's great that she wants to acknowledge his help and show appreciation.  I think these two show an excellent example of co-parenting.

Title: RE: What do you think of this letter?
Post by: Wi-Mom on Oct 27, 2004, 05:10:27 AM
You know.. my DH's ex is so horrible that I'm constantly telling DH that my ex is so lucky to have me for an ex, and I'm so lucky to have him!

Sometimes DH will hang up the phone after talking to his ex  and says, "He is the luckiest man in the world to have you for an ex!"

Bottom line is that both of us could have made our divorce pre and post very ugly if we wanted to. But we both kept saying that we needed to minimize the consequences for the kids. We keep everything the same except we just don't live together anymore.

You think I want him at my house at 7:00am EVERY Christmas morning? But every holiday season I tell him.. "Our daughter will be 18 in Feb 2004. These could be the last years we have to spend Christmas with her.. who knows? Lets make these last Christmases the best one's they've ever had! And so we get creative, and put all the crap between us behind us.. and boy they've been a blast." We've done the same for Thanksgiving and Easter cuz we love our children.

I'm wondering now that he's just gotten married last month if his new wife is going to put the kabosh on Christmas for him. I have no idea what her traditions are with her kids.
Title: No argument here!
Post by: cathy on Oct 27, 2004, 08:06:36 AM
I know fathers in that same boat.  I know there are both fathers and mothers that have been screwed, in both child support and visitation.

It sucks regardless of your sex.  Trust me - I am not saying that the system is fair or right.  We have been extremely lucky in our dealings with the court. (Just to clarify, I am stepmom - no biological kids.  My husband now has custody of his 2 daughters.)

I was going to say that we have been fortunate and my husband has "won" - but that isn't quite right.  It is hard to say anyone "won" when the kids have had to go thru what they have.  But the court system did work for us - we now have custody AND the mother has been ordered to pay child support.  

In the long run, I truly think in our case, it is the children who have finally "won"!