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new guy

Started by 3girlsinsc, Nov 14, 2013, 10:12:24 PM

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Hey everyone, I'm new here. I live in North Carolina about 4 hours away from my three daughters in South Carolina.  I visit them often ( at least 2 or three times a month ), as I'm typing this it makes me ill that I have allowed myself to believe that is often...although I'm sure some of you dads would be envious.  Anyhow, I'm struggling with a lot of things to consider.  Wanting to move closer, but have a good job which keeps me able to visit, insure them, buy them things they want/need.  Their mother doesn't work and hasn't for 3 years.  She relies on my child support and state assistance while living with her parents.  My job pays pretty good but opportunities closer to my girls are a lot more sparse.  I'd love to save money and perhaps go into business for myself, but find I'm living paycheck to paycheck after i spend money to travel to see the girls.  I often find myself helping my ex from time to time as well.  My girls range in age from 3 to 7.  I know I'm not even close to experiencing their financial needs and I worry about the next few years....trying to stay optimistic.    Please give me some ideas. thx


Do you have court orders for visitation and child support now? Is there a reason you are only going to them and they are not coming up to you? The kids need a place to sleep and food by you for visitation, not their own room. A bed, pull out couch will work.

If mom moved away from you, then you should be credited for travel expenses to see them or mom should be making the trip to you or half way point for visitation.

Look at the school calendar, see when they can come to you. Almost every month has a long vacation. Instead of two trips, they can come for a week when they have winter break, spring break, xmas (splitting the actual holiday but then come to you for a few days, thanksgiving break usually 4-5 days every other year, summer- most with you).

It is up to you what extras you do for ex or the kids.


Thanks for replying.  I do have child support laid out by the court.  The details of visitation were not thoroughly examined during our divorce hearing, we did both agree that the girls would live with their mother and not be separated from one another.  Since she hadn't worked for awhile and I still had my job her moving in with her parents and keeping the kids made since while I worked.   Neither of us hired an attorney which sounds crazy, I know.  I've done my best to simply provide for them but it's getting to the point where I'm now starting to see that I'm allowing myself to get the short end of the stick.  I haven't pushed the mom to spend gas money to meet half way because I feel it is just taking $ away from what the girls might need.  I think my greatest concern has been the girls impression and perspective of the new situation.  I am glad they didn't leave the school they started, they live with mom, nana and grandad.  They see me often and, for the most part, they don't encounter us (my ex and I) argue in any way.  I'm just now starting to see how I've allowed the situation to cripple me financially, which, in the long run might do more harm than I imagined.  Some balance of financial responsibility would be nice, but she does take good care of our girls as a mother. 


Oh, I forgot, How exactly would I be 'credited for travel expenses'?


There's no magic formula for that.

First see IF your state's codes allow for a deviation from child support guidelines for transportation expenses.  Yep, start looking for and finding your state's law.

Then you start formulating a position -- gas, hotel, food, etc...

or use the IRS's mileage calculations

or well, you don't do this, but airline tickets.

but there is no magical formula.


Thanks, up until now I've felt sort of stuck.  I think that working within the parameters of the state law in order to afford myself a little leeway will work better than trying to convince my ex that the situation is a little unfair. 
     I saw that there are forums within each state.  I'm going to try to post a few messages there, I'll talk with you all later. :)


Which state has jurisdiction?  NC or SC?
The wonderful thing about tiggers is I'm the only one!


South Carolina.  We were married, and all the girls were born, in Charleston.  We separated and she moved to Sumter with the girls.  That was about 2.5 to 3 hours away (from Charleston).  I moved to North Carolina to be closer to my mom, about 6 months later she filed for divorce, we had been officially separated for a full year.  Is there anything you know about NC or SC that might be helpful?


IMHO -- ok -- the state sections here are dead zones.


So you both moved -- IMHO again -- you could ask the court for a "long distance plan" as opposed to a close distance plan where you would get longer chunks of time, but they'd be spread apart more vs. EOW.  OR if you like the EOW -- well, stick to that.

Again since you both moved, I would ask the court to have her meet you half way between both homes for exchanges both ways -- that way she shares in the cost of gasoline, AND you can take them back to your home hence saving hotels and eating out over your weekends AND they get to know YOUR home vs. Daddy's hotel room.

My EX#1 used to live 4 hours away (Panama City, FL) and Me outside of Montgomery, AL -- and YES, we both drove half way, met in Dothan on Friday evening and again on Sunday evening, EOW.     Yes, it ate up a lot of "time" on those weekends, BUT the girls know Dad and his life because of the sacrifices I made.

and that's the focus....what's good for the girls.


I appreciate your perspective and thoughts.  Hotel rooms have been the answer when the alternative was driving an additional 4+ hrs at least.  Getting less easy to justify that expense.  Any suggestions on how to bring the subject up to the ex in a smooth way?  I don't see it being received well.


How many hours are you talking about?

How about text/email:
As you know I have been coming to SC to see the kids as often as I can. With the travel costs/hotel costs it is getting to be a little much plus the kids are getting older and I would like to have a home with me too in NC and to see my family. Can you look at their school calendar and see when some longer weekends and vacations are so we can make arrangements for them to come up here? I am still willing to make some trips to SC, especially for their school events and other activities as they come up.

I was thinking that for this year you can have Thanksgiving long weekend, and then they can come up dec 26-Jan 1 to my house for Christmas and to be with my parents. Then we can see what other school vacations they have that they can come here (winter break? spring break, summer break).

Since we both moved since the separation, the travel should be split between us. We can meet at a half way point or I can come get them at the beginning of the visit and you can come get them at the end.

I really would like us to work this out and not involve the courts as it will cost both of us money that we can use on the kids. Please let me know by xx date, what you think and send me a calendar you think would fit into their school schedule.
Now you would get half of the holidays or do it every other year, fathers day, something for their birthdays, anytime you are in SC with xx days notice to get kids, and at least 4 weeks in summer. So that is your aim.


I like your sample note.  Some key points I'll certainly use, it seems easy enough I just hope she's receptive to it.  I know I should have done this long ago (stand up for what is fair) it would make a huge difference for me. Wish me luck everyone.


Oh, the answer is probably 12 to 16 more driving hours a month that equals 150.00 or so gas bucks.  Part of me hopes she doesn't do the math, since she isn't working that expense for her is coming out of what I give her anyway.  Ultimately, I hope she figures out how to manage working sooner than later.  Wish me luck on that as well.


I live in NC but since SC has jurisdiction, that's not helpful.

One comment about the sample note.  This is just me but the statement about not wanting to involve the courts would have put me on the defensive and shut me down.  Each time my ex (or rather his wife) wrote anything about courts in a letter, I was preparing to battle.  I took it as a veiled threat and an attempt to manipulate me into agreeing to whatever to avoid courts.  Only you can gauge how she'll react to that statement but that would be my reaction to it.
The wonderful thing about tiggers is I'm the only one!


My perspective is to keep the focus on the kids and not on the money.  SC does not allow for a modification of support due to travel expenses.  Typically they want to see that travel expenses are shared by both parties.  Especially considering she is getting welfare - they are not going to want to increase the states support amount because they decreased the amount of support you pay.  (I know that shouldn't matter, but it does.)

What you need to do is have your custody and visitation order modified.  Since visitation was never firmly established, you have a good reason to ask the court to do so even though there is no change in circumstances.
Have the order modified so that you get a specific number of days of visitation.  Make sure it says specifically the dates, days, times, and who will be responsible for transportation.  (Ex:  "Father shall have parenting time with the children on the first, 2nd and 4th weekend of the month.  Parenting time shall commence at 5:00 pm on Friday and conclude at 5:00 pm on Sunday.  Parties shall meet at ________ for the parenting time exchange.")

Spell out who gets which holidays, how much time you get during summer vacation and when, and if you will get extra time if there is a death in the family or a special family celebration (ie: wedding, etc.).

If you feel like you guys can work it out without the courts intervention that is best - but it will need to be notarized and submitted to the court as a modification to the order.  But it sounds like she has been having her cake and eating it too recently, so she is probably not going to want to change anything.

As far as the kids going to stay with you, I think it's important for them to spend time with you as their father and not just some guy who stops by every so often and stays in a hotel.  You need to, and have every right to, do parenting stuff with your kids.  That doesn't happen very easily when you come down there and stay in a hotel so you can see them.  That's visiting.  You want parenting time.  You are their father, after all.