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Author Topic: Where to begin...  (Read 3897 times)

PeeDeeThree

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Where to begin...
« on: Jan 15, 2015, 10:07:27 AM »
My ex and I have been separated for 1 1/2 years. Our divorce was final as of this week. We have a Parenting Agreement in place that lists her with primary custody in a joint custody arrangement. She has our 2 kids (17 and 12) 226 days to my 139. She has been nothing but disruptive since the Agreement was signed, and I have a stack of minor violations to the agreement, though nothing egregious enough to go in front of the judge.
I left her with everything...house, contents, etc. On paper, she owes me child support, though I have never pursued it.

Now, the bombshell. I found out 2 weeks ago that my 17 year old daughter is pregnant by her 20 year old boyfriend, who my ex moved into the house a year ago against my protestations. My daughter hid it from us both until she was 7 months pregnant, and is convinced that she is going to have the baby and start a wonderful life with her boyfriend. She is 17, so logic is no longer a part of her life, especially coming from her parents.

My questions...
1. Is this a big enough deal to go to court and wrestle custody of my son from her, or do the courts still radically favor the mother?
2. My daughter isn't covered by insurance, since it's an underage pregnancy. Does that put me on the hook for the medical bills, is her mother liable as primary custodial parent, or are my daughter and her boyfriend stuck with the responsibility to pay the bills?


Waylon

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Re: Where to begin...
« Reply #1 on: Jan 15, 2015, 10:44:56 AM »
My questions...
1. Is this a big enough deal to go to court and wrestle custody of my son from her, or do the courts still radically favor the mother?
2. My daughter isn't covered by insurance, since it's an underage pregnancy. Does that put me on the hook for the medical bills, is her mother liable as primary custodial parent, or are my daughter and her boyfriend stuck with the responsibility to pay the bills?

1) It's probably not worth going to court over this. The courts still favor the mother, but that probably wouldn't be a factor in this case. You'd have to show that this somehow puts your son at serious risk and it's unlikely that you could actually do that to the court's satisfaction. Have a look at "Defining Substantial Change In Circumstances" for more on this. This search for "change custody" might also show some articles with useful information.

2) You might be held responsible for the medical expenses but it's hard to say what the court would do, especially with medical expenses like this. If they try and stick you with the bills then I think it might be worth fighting it in court. If I had to guess I'd say they would probably try and make you pay for some or all of them.

3) In my opinion not pursuing child support is a mistake; it sets a precedent that would be hard to overcome should you decide you need to do so later. If she owes you child support then she should be paying it. If you owed her child support would she let it slide?
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tigger

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Re: Where to begin...
« Reply #2 on: Jan 15, 2015, 11:16:12 AM »
Your daughter could apply (and likely obtain) insurance through the state to cover the costs of the pregnancy and delivery.  If the father/boyfriend hasn't mentioned marriage by now, he likely won't.  How could she have hidden it for so long?  I can see 4, maybe 5 months but 7? Has she been to the doctor at all?
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ocean

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Re: Where to begin...
« Reply #3 on: Jan 15, 2015, 11:53:20 AM »
1. New baby can be covered under state/fed plan. The state will go after boyfriend and your daughter to help pay for the medical for child. Her visits to gyno should be under her insurance.

2. Go to child support office in your state and they will help you fill out paperwork for failure to pay child support. They will file the papers for you if you bring them your court order and they will collect for you. Does BM (your ex) have a job to garnish wages? The only issue that could arise is the child support order changed, and since she has more time, may get child support to her? So the reason you get child support over her will come into issue..

3. When does child support end in your state? 18? When does daughter turn 18?

4. My vote is not enough to change custody of son at this point. Still just 12. As he gets a little older and says he wants to live with you, then you have a better chance.

PeeDeeThree

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Re: Where to begin...
« Reply #4 on: Jan 15, 2015, 11:58:24 AM »
The reason I didn't pursue child support was because the amount was negligible, and maintaining direct contact with the mother was not worth it. She made exorbitant demands for support throughout the divorce, and simply blocking those was a huge victory. For the last 4 years of marriage, she made roughly twice what I made, and I concentrated on maintaining the home. In addition, because of stipulations I agreed to in the Parenting Agreement to keep the children in my life, she still makes twice my current income.

As for my daughter hiding the pregnancy, she's a small girl, and always has worn bulky clothing. She also has a part-time job, so I would only see her for an hour or two a week. Even so, I started noticing some changes, and she came clean when I asked her. She went to the doctor 3 weeks ago for the first time (30 weeks) and was given a clean bill of health. A sonogram was done, and everything looks right with the child. She is now stringently following the doctor's orders.

They are currently looking for a place of their own. They have discussed marriage, but would need parental consent. (I would give it) She has been told by DSS that she needs to live on her own to qualify for any Pregnancy Medicaid or other programs available to young mothers. I have gotten her in touch with a crisis pregnancy center to help guide her through the options available. I figure that even if she refuses to listen to me, she may still get some good advice.


ocean

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Re: Where to begin...
« Reply #5 on: Jan 15, 2015, 12:20:29 PM »
Call DSS yourself and ask those questions...ask when baby is born, can baby go under any state or medicaid plan? She may have to pay for it with your ex's income as they may ask for household income...not sure.

What state are you in?

PeeDeeThree

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Re: Where to begin...
« Reply #6 on: Jan 15, 2015, 01:05:47 PM »
North Carolina....I'm going to DSS tomorrow.

tigger

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Re: Where to begin...
« Reply #7 on: Jan 16, 2015, 10:47:41 AM »
Hogwash.  My son and girlfriend are in NC and she qualified (while living with her still married parents) for medicaid (or whatever it was).  Granted the parents didn't have medical but it didn't take much for her to qualify.  If she's near Wake Forest, NC have her contact 1st Choice.  They will walk her through EVERYTHING.  The emotional, physical, financial, practical aspects of the pregnancy.  They will offer support for her, her boyfriend and the baby.  My son's girlfriend was able to keep her pregnancy a secret from everyone (except her parents and me) for about 5 months.  I knew about two weeks after she did.  I saw it in her face when she wouldn't look at me.

It's good that she came clean.  Most likely was very scared but now that it's out in the open you can enjoy the impending arrival of the grandchild while helping her navigate this new season in her life.  In NC you only need the consent of one parent to marry.

And while this may not be the ideal situation, congratulations on becoming a granddad!
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