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What do you think of this letter?

Started by Wi-Mom, Oct 21, 2004, 09:46:15 AM

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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:



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.


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.



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...  


"Children learn what they live"


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


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.


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.


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?


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).)