Men’s Rights Myth: Typical Child Support Payments Are Insanely High

I frequently read and hear anecdotes about non-custodial parents (usually fathers) being ordered to pay outrageously high child support – amounts that are impossible for anyone with an ordinary income to afford. No doubt some of these anecdotes are exaggerated, but I’m convinced that some are not. Unaffordable child support payments don’t benefit anyone – not even the children – and should not be imposed. Furthermore, some measures to help non-custodial parents pay child support – such as a tax deduction of some sort – would be reasonable.

However, some men’s rights activists (MRAs) use rhetoric which suggests that child support payments are often or typically outrageously high, or that child support has made single motherhood a profitable situation for women. Neither claim is true.

According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report (pdf link), the median child support payment in the U.S. is $280 a month. The average child support payment is a little higher – $350 a month. That’s a noticeable amount – similar in scope to payments on a new car – but it’s hardly the crushing, slavery-like burden some MRAs seem to describe child support as.

Although the Census Bureau report doesn’t provide detailed income breakdowns, what information it has indicates that child support amounts are sensitive to income. For instance, among fathers who are below the poverty line, the median child support payment is $125 a month, compared to a median of $300 a month for those above the poverty line.

So despite the terrible anecdotes that we hear (and if you think about it, it’s those who are mistreated by the system who are going to talk about their experiences the most often), the evidence shows that typical child support payments are not ridiculously high. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be concerned about those outliers who are being ordered to pay unaffordable amounts of child support; however, I think the weight of the evidence suggests that while the system may need some tweaking, on the whole it’s not broken.

* * *

So the typical child support payment is $280 a month – put another way, half of custodial parents who receive child support get $280 a month or less. How does that compare to the costs of raising a child?

Again, the federal government compiles some good statistics on this (pdf link). For a single parent with an income of about $17,500, raising a single child for 17 years will cost about $10,125 a year, or $840 a month.

Of course, a single parent who earns $17,500 a year is pretty poor. What about single parents who aren’t poor? For better-off single parents – those earning an average of $65,000 a year – raising a single child for 17 years will cost almost $21,600 a year, or a little over $1,800 a month.

All told, the typical child support payment in the USA covers much less than half the expense of raising a child. Custodial parents – usually mothers – are taking on not only the majority of the work involved in childrearing, and the majority of the opportunity costs – they’re taking on the majority of the cash expenses, as well.

Therefore, I’d support a two-tiered reform to child support. Child support payments should be made more sensitive to individual situations, so that noncustodial parents are not saddled with irrational and impossible-to-pay child support orders, as has happened in some outlier cases. At the same time, typical child support payments are simply too low, compared to the cost of raising a child; therefore, most non-custodial parents should have their child support obligations increased. (This will also have the side benefit of reducing unwed motherhood.)

NOTE FOR COMMENTS: Please don’t post about how you have an income of $500 a month and the judge ordered you to pay $2000 a month in child support to your ungrateful lazy ex-spouse who spends all the child support money on dresses she can wear to the track and she earns more than you do anyway and the judge won’t even reply to your motions. Unless I know both you and your ex-spouse, and can verify for myself that she’d tell me the same version of events that you’re telling me, I don’t think anecdotal evidence of that sort is more useful than the federal data.

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1,309 Responses to Men’s Rights Myth: Typical Child Support Payments Are Insanely High

  1. 401
    dint says:

    It’s sad that some people–mothers and fathers–taint things for everyone. The child support system was meant to make life after divorce more equitable. I receive almost the max for 2 kids here in TX (1,400), but my ex- makes nearly 7 figures. Yet I pay for literally everything for the kids–lessons at his country club, instruments, sports equipment, counseling, you name it.

    I agree, though, women who exploit their children for money…that’s shameful.

  2. 402
    pcnightmare says:

    You do realize that the math in this blog is totally wrong right? Let me show you what I am talking about…

    “Again, the federal government compiles some good statistics on this (pdf link). For a single parent with an income of about $17,500, raising a single child for 17 years will cost about $10,125 a year, or $840 a month.”

    If you do the math that $840 is per year. Cause $840 a month for a year is already over $8k and if that continued for 17yrs the figure for raising a child in 17years would be closer to $130,000.

    Just thought I would point that out.

  3. 403
    Ampersand says:

    PCnightmare, one of us is having trouble doing math, but I don’t think it’s me.

    Specifically, I think you missed the phrase “a year” in “raising a single child for 17 years will cost about $10,125 a year.”

    $10,125 divided by 12 months = $843.75 a month.

  4. 404
    Jose's wife says:

    Hi folks! A few months back I wrote about my husband’s experience with a child support agency in Puerto Rico and the difficulty we had in obtaining his passport.
    We had to take out a large loan to pay off the bogus back child support since his job was on the line. It has taken our atty 8 months, but they finally went through all the records and it shows that he overpaid child support in the amount of $8,000.00, he was never received all proper credit, just like he has been saying for the past three years. Now his 20 year old son has finally been removed from child support, remember he lived with us and we supported him for 10 months and my husband still paid his ex wife child support for him to keep the court order. My husband’s 16 year old daughter has been removed from his ex wife’s home by child services because of the threat the ex wife’s boyfriend poses. My Mother inlaw has legal guardianship since his daughter does not want to leave high school to live with us. My husband wants to push for custody in case something happens to his parents he can protect his daughter. In addition we are suing his ex for the $8K in overpayment, but his children and his Mother do not want him to ask the ex for child support and we both agreed. We want her to keep his daughter on her medical and slowly pay us back the over payment, she’s currently at Disney World with her boyfriend and their child. My husband and I will continue to take care of his daughter.

    To all of you Keep fighting, keep praying and never give up, it will eventually pay off. Good Luck to you all!

    Jose’s wife

  5. 405
    Sailorman says:

    pcnightmare Writes:
    If you do the math that $840 is per year. Cause $840 a month for a year is already over $8k and if that continued for 17yrs the figure for raising a child in 17years would be closer to $130,000.

    If there is some trick to raising my kids on $840/year each for the next 17 years, will you please let me know what it is? Heh.

  6. 406
    Steven says:

    I’m a 17 year old and my father pays child support. My mother is single and my father is remarried with 4 kids. I know he makes at least 40k a year and pays 240 a month in child support. Everyone here seems to be recieveing or paying more. Am I the only one who gets the average?….

  7. 407
    janet says:

    i have one more comment to some of the above comments. that is if you are not prepared to raise a child by yourself with your own resources then you should not have a child. divorce and death happen everyday and people considering parenting should realize that they could very well end up a single parent.

    as far as one parent making a better living then the other. well, everyone in this world has an opportunity to raise their own standard of living and comparing yours to others is never a positive situation. if your ex has a better more lucrative life style i am sure he or she is working to make it that way. i work hard for what i have and my ex never wanted to work that hard. he was easily satisfied and intern he has a different life style than i do. we both recognize that and he does not come after me for money just because i have more. that makes no sense trying to equalize families of divorce. if you put someone through school maybe you should have thought twice about what the very possible future of divorce. 60% of all marriages end in divorce, those are not very good betting odds if you are counting on that person to support you for the rest of your life.

  8. 408
    Kevin says:

    I really hope someone called this person out for using statistical data published in 2002 for a post published in 2006. So speaking to your “NOTE FOR COMMENTS: Please don’t post about how you have an income of $500 a month and the judge ordered you to pay $2000 a month in child support to your ungrateful lazy ex-spouse who spends all the child support money on dresses she can wear to the track and she earns more than you do anyway and the judge won’t even reply to your motions. Unless I know both you and your ex-spouse, and can verify for myself that she’d tell me the same version of events that you’re telling me, I don’t think anecdotal evidence of that sort is more useful than the federal data.” I would have to argue that their anecdotal evidence is at least as useful as your out of date evidence, not to mention that your other stipulations for accepting their anecdotal evidence are ridiculous. The real tragic part of this whole thing is that it’s people with attitudes and narrow minded heard mentalities like your’s that are propagating the problem.

  9. 409
    Ampersand says:

    Kevin, with all due respect, 4 years is not at all a long time, as far as data like this goes; it’s not like the data I used is gathered and published anew every year. If you look at studies published in peer-reviewed papers, using data significantly older than four years is standard practice.

    Do you have more recent data, from as good a source, suggesting that what I wrote in this post is wrong? Because without that, it just seems like you’re stretching to find any reason to ignore the facts and pay attention to anecdotes instead.

    The problem with anecdotal data on this subject — as is obvious from this thread, just looking at the comments I did let through — is that there are both women and men with anecdotal horror stories to tell about the child support system, which makes it hard to say that the anecdotes prove that women are universally favored and men are universally victims of the child support system.

    Finally, regarding your last sentence, if you post here again, please try arguing respectfully and without making personal attacks. Thanks.

  10. 410
    Mary says:

    Janet -
    I am in the same situation you are regarding my work ethic versus my ex’es work ethic (you would probably have to tell him the definition of that!). The thing is, not everyone has the opportunity to improve their situation i.e. economy, education, support of family members/friends/employer…… The options just aren’t terribly abundant. I am not defending HIM, but perhaps sympathizing with the custodial parents who are just eeking by and have no other options. Add to that a dead-beat ex-spouse and the custodial parent is screwed. I also disagree that someone should not have children unless they are prepared to support that child on their own. That energy should be spent planning on how to be a strong family instead of what to do if it falls apart. Perhaps that sort of thinking is behind the “disposable” nature of marriage that seems to be accepted by many. Maybe work on planning to have financial stability within the family in the event things go wrong – death, etc. Sometimes you cannot plan for everything or fear everything that could possibly happen – “shit happens” and the basis of your character is how gracefully you handle what you have in front of you. Nobody has the right to tell someone who is married/in a commited relationship when it’s appropriate for them to have a family.
    As for some of the other remarks – I don’t think it is the system that is brokenas much as it is enforcement of the system that is the problem. I am in a state where the percentage is based upon the salaries of both parents. A child needs someone to take care of them – if the parent who isn’t working cannot, it is up to the parent who is working. Instead of whining about how much you have to pay, think about what you can possibly do to provide the best possible life for your child. I’m the one who pays to take care of my child, but my only thought is for her well-being. I am not a high earner and have had to sacrifice plenty, but wouldn’t do anything different where my baby is concerned.

  11. 411
    Vicki says:

    I’ll just outline my situation for ya’ll here, for those who think this is unfair on either side of the issue.

    I have two children. They have different fathers. I was not married to either father.

    For my oldest son, I receive no support. 100% of all of his care rests on me. And I assure you, the numbers posted are pretty dang accurate. If I was paying for just me, in the state and area of the state in which I live, my total living expenses would be much less than people think. I could right now get an efficiency apartment that costs $100 a week or $400 a month. That price includes rent and utilities. My food, on average, would be maybe $100 a month if I ate at home and about $600 a month if I ate out everday, twice a day, all month long. So as of now, we’re up to $1400 for just me. Add in clothes at about $100 a month and my total for taking care of JUST me is $1500.00 a month for the basic necessities. Health insurance for just me would be $30.00 a month at the company that I work for. So now we’re up to $1530.00 a month.

    Now, let’s add the child in here, the one I receive support for, not the son I support totally on my own. Daycare where I live is anywhere from $115.00 a month for 6 weeks-11 mos to $150.00 a week for the same age. For children who are 12 mos to 3 years (unless potty trained before then) is $110 a week to $140 a week. So we’ll go with the lower end here. For the first 11 mos of my son’s life, I would pay $1,210 ALONE in daycare expenses.

    No, let’s add the food. I work in an enviroment that is not conducive to breast feeding. Formula, the cheap stuff, is $25.00 a can for Parent’s Choice’s largest can. That can of formula, may last about a week to two weeks. So I’d pay at least $50 a week for formula for him. Diapers cost anywhere between $13.00 for an large bag to $22.00 for the same. That large bag lasts for aproximately 2 weeks. I used the cheap diapers. So my cost for diapers would be (monthly) would be $26. So as of right now, I am up to $1,286.00 a month.

    How about clothes… children grow remarkably fast. Clothes can be from 0-3 mos, 3-6 mos, 6-9 mos, 9-12 mos etc. Each outfit costs anywhere between $5 new-$12.. at WALMART. If I allowed that my child would out grow his clothes every three mos (which is reasonable, I promise) and I only bought him 3 new outfits a month, that would be between $15-$36 a month. Three new outfits, however, isn’t really practical. We can say that some clothes were hand-me-downs or given directly to me. With that I’d say three new a month is ok. So as of now, I’m lookin’ at about $1306 a month in support for him.

    We haven’t even touched on housing this child. For those who’ve ever seen an efficiency apartment, you know why I would need to move. One room would not house a crib and a full sized bed, let alone any toys, extra dressers to store this child’s clothes or toys. For a two bedroom apartment in Memphis, you’re looking at anything from $515 a month to $700 a month depending on where you live. Now, that doesn’t seem to be such an increase from the $400 a month I was paying until you factor in that included in that $400 was utilities. My smallest utility bill was $110.00 a month (summer, turning off the air when I left my house and not turning it back on until I got home in the evening). My largest was $250.00 (winter, leaving heat set on 60 degrees all the time.) So in addition to the $115 extra that I spend on rent, I now am responsible for an average utility bill of $180. So to support just him, I am now paying $1601.00 a month over and above what I spend on myself.

    I could also go into gas to transport my son back and forth to doctor’s appointments, the increase in insurance to pay for those doctor’s visits (his father carries insurance as well but has defaulted three times in almost two years) and for ALL medicines needed. Not to mention the time taken off of work that wouldn’t have been taken before and that his father never shares in.

    To be fair, my son is almost 2 but is not potty trained, which means that this number would decrease by $5 a month for daycare, but increase for diapers. I am potty training and pull ups cost more than a bag of diapers.. I can get 80 size 5 diapers for $13.00 at Walmart but a pack of the cheap pull ups, for a 44 count, costs $15. While he doesn’t use formula, he is adding to the food bill things I wouldn’t have bought before such as more veggies, fruits, breads, milk increasing that bill.

    I have a court order for $445 a month in child support. Of that $445 a month, $80 of it is for the repayment of arrears and for the father’s half of our son’s birth.. not MY medical, but our sons. (Since it was my insurance that covered the whole thing, and I paid the premieums each paycheck [$30 every two weeks=$60 a month], I think paying for half of the medical from our sons birth, the son that he also wanted to keep and be a father to, was quite fair.) So, his actual support order is for $365.00 a month. I am left with the remaining increase in expenses from having just ONE child of $1,236 a month. Half of that is $618 a month. WOW, that’s sooo freakin’ totally unfair to the guy right? Um not so much.

    Oh and by the way I live in TN where child support is factored by income shares. His income and mine get added together to calculate each parent’s total percent of support for the child. (Together it equals 100%). Also factored in is the cost of medical for the father (but not the mother), how many other children are being financially supported by each parent (which I wasn’t given credit for my oldest son), how much time each parent spends with the child (in the last 8 mos, my sons father has gotten him zero times. ZERO times) and any other expenses that are outlined in the support order. The original support amount goes down for each of these factors, or increases depending on the non custodial parent.

    NOW, ask me if I feel sorry that he cannot live in the manner in which he was acustomed to before our son was born (which he stated numerous times that he wanted and would willingly support financially) when I’M the one who’s expense have almost doubled??

    And to just add a side note here… when I found out I was pregnant, I told him the only thing I needed him to cover was daycare. After his childsupport a month, I’m still left with $75.00 a month plus all other expenses. I paid all of our son’s medical bills out of that year’s income tax refund, ruining MY credit, but not his, because I could not pay during the year (because he refused to comply with the court order.)

    I assure you, if he wants to go to a father’s rights organization and start action to lower the support, given the facts about, a judge would laugh him out of court. He’s not supporting me at all. He’s not even really, half way supporting our son.

  12. 412
    Vicki says:

    And just to quell any other questions, no I’ve never received welfare, I work full time AND go to school. So me “getting off my lazy butt to get a job” really doesn’t factor in well here huh?

  13. 413
    Angel says:

    Wow,

    When I got a divorce from my husband I had 2 children with him, I tried to be fair to the point of excess. I went for joint custody I paid for the medical insurance (mine was better) and he was suppose to pay for the co-pays and half of the uninsured items. I had it worked out that he only needed to pay half the daycare costs not to me but directly to the daycare that we were both suppose to agree on. Clothing and such was suppose to be a half and half thing. It was working good untill he met his new wife, immediatly he stopped helping with the expences of daycare, refused to buy cloths and stopped seeing the kids. Fastforward to 2 years ago I was having a hard time and I went to him for help. Long story short what was suppose to be a visitation with him turned into a custody issue where he blocked my ability to see my kids, after fighting for 9 months I was able to get my kids back only to find out that they had been abused by his new wife. He is now not allowed to be around them unless he is supervised. Now 2 years later and 5000 dollars in counseling c0-pays my kids are almost back to normal but he still refuses to help out, he sent 50 dollars to his oldest daughter to take the girls out saying he wouldn’t give me the money because I wouldn’t spend it on the kids. hmmm I never did drugs or drank while we were married and still don’t. I didn’t say much because the kids did get a new pair of shoes which was cool.

    I know that child support is sometimes used as a tool or a weapon against the fathers and that makes me sad but when I look back on what I went through and still face I cant say I would be that fair again.

  14. 414
    Luis's Wife says:

    Jose’s wife, Is there any way we can talk, I am going through a very similar issue w/ ASUME… any info would be so appreciated..

  15. 415
    GWilli says:

    O.K…..I give up….it does feel good to have paid off both kids child support. It was a little comfort that the same case worker that rode gun shy on my rear bent over at the little window at the State office and said, yeah, you made it, super job. I guess the real satisfaction came from my daughter that said, thanks Dad, for sticking by my brother and I all these years. She didn’t mention money, she didn’t have to, but I know what she meant. She just graduated from a major university and my son is now entered this fall. When we all set him up in the apartment and went to stock up the old frig, it really didn’t matter who’s pocket it came out of. Hell, we just split the bill and where both glad he was going to school.
    Yes, it is nice to have my paycheck back, and the times that I send money away to college, it is nice to get a Gee, Thanks Dad, and I promise I won’t party like you did in college. Well, some things you have to grin and bear. :)
    Good luck to both parties, the Moms who make ends meet and the Dads who can make a difference.

  16. 416
    Julie Herds Cats says:

    An oldie but a goodie.

    Back when this post was making the rounds originally I had a nice, well paying job and was able to keep up with my $1,300 a month support payments for one child, plus all the “additional support” I’d agreed to.

    I’m on Month #6 of being unemployed and struggling to get my support reduced to something that doesn’t result in my being forced to sell my house or cash in any more retirement. Meanwhile, I asked the “obligee” to propose a reduction that would save us both the cost of a trip to court. No response. So, instead of being able to pay something, I’m now paying lawyers for something the system should have built into it. It’s not like people who pay child support don’t ever find themselves unemployed.

    I suppose this thread will pop back up in another few years and I’ll let y’all know how it worked out.

  17. 417
    Kimberly says:

    Boy I wish I got 300.00 a month for childsupport. My childsupport here in the great state of Texas is 154.00 for two children. But of course my x thinks Im getting rich off him lol, and owes 18,000 in back owed support. He went to jail last Friday for 6 months.Funny thing is that he is a child advocate for LULAC in Abilene Texas. I guess everyone elses children not his own.

  18. 418
    Klytaimnestra says:

    In Canada child support payments are calculated perfectly straightforwardly, based on income. I don’t know what the exact calculation, but it’s some percentage of income x number of children, and can be recalculated when income goes up or down. This has the welcome side effect of a perception of fairness. You may feel you’re paying through the nose (or feel that your ex-husband is starving you), but at least you also know that everybody else is in the same boat, and nobody is getting a better deal than you are.

    This also means nobody is spending bazillions in legal fees trying to negotiate child support payments – you can spend bazillions on the rest of the divorce if you like, but that part, at least, is cut and dried.

  19. 419
    TxMomof3 says:

    Child support is less of an issue than is the fact that most NCP’s tend to “drift off” and leave the CP with the responsibility of raising the children, both financially and emotionally. My main gripe with the legal system would be that if they are going to espouse the wonderful benefit that my children should get from having their father in their lives, and are willing to allow him to put me through all the legal hoops to do so, why then is he not ORDERED to appear to ACTUALLY see them? I have been told by my attorney that I could face fines and even jail time should I not arrive at the dropoff place in time for his visitation, but that there is nothing I can do to him for refusing to come at all. How is THAT in the best interest of my child? How is disappointing and emotionally crippling a child perfectly alright for these men spout all the “Active Father” propoganda, and then just find “better things to do” when it’s time to actually take care of them? I don’t want my child’s father to “go away”, I want the bastard to be MADE to actually GROW UP and be a FATHER, like he charmingly and manipulatingly grandstanded of himself to the attorneys and judge. The law should be changed to enforce BOTH parties visitation….the NCP to hand over the child and the selfish ass on the other end to ACTUALLY pick them up!!

  20. 420
    ms0048 says:

    The above article makes no mention of additional costs. Just listing $350 as an amount paid only includes the money being paid directly to the CP. What about the increased costs of carrying insurance and higher life insurance costs? One fundamental flaw I’ve seen in all child support calculations is that they fail to include the costs incurred by the NCP. So lets look at the expenses incurred buy both parents. Both households should maintain at least a two bedroom residence so that the child has a place to stay when they are with either parent. So assuming that the cost of housing should remain equal for both parties. Therefore basic utilities to operate a refrigerator and air conditioning would remain the same for both parties. Same thing goes for transportation. Both parents have to pay for a vehicle and the costs incurred to use the vehicle. That leaves just food, clothing, and childcare expense.

    In my case I pay $600 for child support each month. In addition I am required to carry the cost of insurance for the child. This comes to about 150 per month extra. So in total there is 750 each month that is gone before I ever see my paycheck. Assuming that 10,125 amount is accurate and since it is the cost to insure said child which would seem to be the implication since it states that it is the cost to raise a child for a year, that comes to 843.75 per month. Removing the 750 I am paying for support and insurance that leaves a gap of $93.75 to be made up by the custodial parent. So how is that not an insanely high amount?

    The biggest flaw in the percentage of income calculation is that it does fail to accurately take into account the total expenses and divide them equally between the parents. Take the actual cost incurred to raise a child over what the CP is having to pay vs. what the NCP is having to pay and I’m bet you’d find that the cost is disproportionately paid by the NCP.

  21. 421
    Debbie Shride says:

    This is my last post on 9-10-08:

    I am a FULL TIME working mother… mother of 2 boys, 7 and 16. Their father and I are divorced. I have always worked a full time job. Unfortunately my salary has never been as high as their fathers salary. I do feel that it is appropriate that the child support be adjusted according to the income of the 2 individuals so that the children do not suffer. Their lives do not need to change anymore than they already have changed (after their parents have divorced). Just because their father has to pay me child support does not mean that they are now living a better lifestyle than they were before the divorce and neither am I. Just a little information so that maybe everyone will understand where I am coming from:

    $238.00 per month for childcare
    $160.00 per month for Lunch money, 2 children
    $167.00 per month for Car insurance, 16 yr old driver, Liability only
    $200.00 Food
    $100.00 Clothing/Shoes
    $100.00 Misc/Pictures/Field Trips/Sch Suppl/Church Trips/Sch Activities
    $ 20.00 Cell Phone for 16 yr old Driver
    $100.00 Medications/Toiletries/Haircuts
    ____________
    $1085.00 divided by 2 = $542.50

    (And we both have health insurance on the children — they are double insured… which helps out a lot, since we don’t have to pay co-pays and deductibles, etc…)

    I am paid $698.00 per month in child support, the difference would be the difference in our incomes. I hope this shows that there are mothers out there that are working hard to take care of their children and that we are not all just waiting for a check to come every month. Actually, there is so much more that could be listed… this is actually just an abbreviated version… everyone knows how much it costs to raise a child.

    now fast forward to today, 3-12-10… so much has changed, expenses have increased and guess what my ex has decided that he is not going to work and sits around collecting unemployment. In March of 2009, he informed me that he has been laid off from his job and that meant no more health insurance or dental insurance for our kids. At first I felt sorry for him, but I don’t anymore… it has now been a year and he is still collecting unemployment. He goes to “school” about 8-10 hours per week and will not get a job. When he lost his job, he told me he would take me back to court to lower his child support. And indeed he did. Our court papers state that he has to reimburse me for 1/2 of all uncovered medical, dental and vision expenses that are not covered by insurance. When I send him copies of bills and receipts, he refuses to reimburse me, tells me that he gives me more than enough each month to pay for everything. Hello??? Is he stupid or what. Not to mention that our oldest is a senior this year. Yearbook $50.00, cap & gown $70.00, announcements $120.00, senior pictures $427.00… and his class ring has not even been ordered yet. All of this paid for out of my pocket. I sent his senior picture proofs to this Dad so that Dad could order some if he wanted to… he did not order any… I tried to be nice and I gave him some of the pictures, did he even say Thank You, of course he did not. I just wish that I could get their Dad to understand that everything is not “covered” with his child support. He did not understand or care to understand any of this while we are married and he never will.

  22. 422
    Trish says:

    I am a single mother going to to school full time for my nursing degree and also working full time. The father of my child is in the military. I pay 3200 dollars a year for child care expenses. I also pay around 1500 more dollars a month for the necessities(not including cable, phone bill, car payment, or car insurance). Then you have to factor in extra curricular activities and clothes and everything else. My daughters child support was just dropped from 435 to 300 a month and not to mention that I am now being obligated to pay an extra 400 dollars a month to pick her up on my insurance plan at work. I’m sorry but 300 dollars a month isn’t even a fraction of what I pay.

  23. 423
    Trish says:

    Oh…and let me remind you that…The health insurance he has…IS FREE!!! FREE TO HIM AND TO HIS DEPENDANT!! I did a research paper for one of my college classes…the national average cost to raise one cihld from birth to age of 18 is about $548,250…you mean to tell me that he only has to pay $90,072 of that??? Yes I agree…some guys get completely screwed when it come to child support payments…however, a lot of mothers are getting completely screwed as well

  24. 424
    Robert says:

    Child support is calculated based primarily on the income of the parties. How much do you make, and how much does your child’s father make?

  25. 425
    TNK says:

    Recent figures indicated that the average single parents income is $25,000 from all sources.

  26. 426
    Amy says:

    I don’t understand why people make this so hard on themselves. I was with my son’s father for almost 10yrs, and we’d always planned to have kids. But when I had our son, he decided he wasn’t ready… at 32. Anyway… that’s beside the point. It’s fine if he changed his mind and doesn’t want to be in our son’s life, because I do want him in mine. I filed to papers sent to me by CSOS right away, and had my own home, bills, etc before it was time for us to meet to determine the amount of child support to be paid. You DO get to mediate this! As long as it’s agreed upon, and is fair for both, the court WILL approve it! We figured he should pay 25% of the basic household expenses (rent, phone, elec & water) as well as half of what I pay for food, clothes, and basic necessities for our son. It all added up to about $215/mo. We also decided that we would each pay half (on our own w/o a court order) for major expenses like tutors, birthday parties, orthodontia, camp, therapy, after-school activities, sports activities, uniforms,
    equipment, and fees, Boy Scouts, application fees for colleges, car, driving lessons, travel costs to visit prospective colleges, SAT, achievement test fees, etc. I wish more people would just put the petty bickering, jealousy, and the like aside and figure out a fair amount together rather than leave it all up to the lawyers and courts. It doesn’t take that long to do, and it’s in the best interests of your child(ren) if it’s something you both can agree on. You also have to understand that just as you at times may be out of work and strapped for cash, so will the other parent. My son’s father was out of work for 5-6 months this year, and that’s okay. It wasn’t intentional. He doesn’t want to be poor and borrowing money just to stay afloat. Most people don’t. I make enough on my own to take care of myself and my son, and since CSOS keeps track of how much he got behind in his payments… neither of us have to worry about sitting down to figure it out. It really is a good system if both parents can agree.

  27. 427
    Goodad says:

    Well now. Let me shed some light on reality. Child support payments vary across the board….$280 may seem low…..$1400 may seem high. But the common denominator here is the resentment felt by the payee. The bottom line is this…..when you are married, you share all expenses….you have one rent/mortgage, and you are frugal about your expenses. Once the child support guidelines kick in, frugality is not a factor. Divorce or break up = children going to one parent…the courts typically don’t care if the Dad wants 50% custody…..”it’s not healthy for the child”. Meanwhile, if the Dad had the child for 50%, the Mom could reasonably plan occupation and life. Lets face it, although women have fought long and hard for equal rights, the facts lend themselves to the remarriage of a woman takes a lot of financial responsibilities away from her….but I digress.
    Every divorce I have encountered not only requires that the father pay what I feel is a large sum of money per month in child support, but sometimes inflicts the splitting of all medical expenses and extra curricular activities, and in some cases ALIMONY! The system is lopsided. The system in unfair. The system is unhealthy for relationships between both parents and children.
    REFORM is necessary. The last real reform in MD was 20 years ago, and that was when the lopsidedness started. Now they claim reform will occur in October 2010…..by INCREASING the amounts to be paid!!!
    This is not reform. The systems needs to focus more on the child, and less on the $. If the Payee didn’t feel resentment, and the depression inducing results found in these court orders, then there would be more focus on the child, and less worrying about how can they afford to live?
    50/50 custody, so both parents can feel the “parenting costs”. Obviously, the parent with the better means to support the child will probably wind up having more custody, but this is definitely a better starting point for the whole child support/custody issue than what is in place presently.
    If the automatic 50/50 rule were put in place, divorce rates would plummit. If you had kids, the reality of raising them would smack you in the face. Kids would have both a Mom and a Dad…..Not just a mom or dad and a paycheck.

  28. 428
    Frustrated Dad says:

    Hi, I live in Mass That being said. Currently I’m the CP of a 16 yr old boy who I gained custody of when he was 7yrs old, for the first 7 or 8 yrs I paid his mother 120.00 week, plus prior to a paternity test I had to put money in an escrow account. At the the time I was only making 16.00 hrs plus paying for his insurance which I had no problem doing after all he is my son and I love him. This could be a long story, but I’ll make it as short as possible.

    Reason I gained custody was due to the fact that his mother was using (drugs), but the one thing that always stays in mind from that day. While I was in court with my lawyer and my sons mother, the Judge looked at her asked her if she completely understood her rights and was completely OK with giving up her parental rights. The judge not only asked once, but 3 times and then when my lawyer asked for CSO ( Which I asked not for ) the judge said I do not see it as fit. Granted me legal custody, physical custody, sole custody of my son.

    Interestingly enough its been a long winding journey, My sons mother fell off the face of the earth for about 3 yrs then would call here and there and stop calling for awhile then would call again. she’s been in jail, moves from house to house is on disability for what, I have no idea. I guess once a drug addict and alcoholic this entitles you to disability. Plays the whole wow is me, very well I must say. Also, she has been in and out of rehabs a couple of time. When my son was younger I would deny her the right to see him by herself and would arrange her to see him with her mother or other family member. My son has always protected his mother and would always say she doing better when she wasn’t. She would always mention to him that shes going to do what ever it takes to get him back and bad mouth me and my wife. She’d call him up telling him stuff that most of us parent would not tell there children. Bottom line she talks to him like he is one of her friends. Now that he is older, its tougher to keep him away from him mother not that I would, matter of fact I have never denied her the right to see her son. He sees his mother on a regular basis and she NEVER brings him home on time matter of fact I need to call over there just to make sure shes bringing him home and what time ( which it never the correct time she brings him home. At times it seems my son is taking on her aliment for which I have him in consuling, but he tells me he cant tell the consular anything because he does not trust him this is his second consular since moving in with me. We do everything we can do to help my son, but it seems as if his mother tears it all down.

    It was so much better when he was younger and I could limit the time spent with her. I guess what I’m getting to is that I contacted my lawyer and he was really of no help. after telling him the situation about the way they talk to each other and never coming home on time, possibility of drug use with her boyfriend. I asked could I bring her back to court and get supervised visits. He’s answer to me was you can try, but it could turn in her favor and that I should try and work it out. That the odds are more likely against me. Not liking that answer I contacted another lawyer in Mass who unfortunately mentioned the same deal. This system is messed up!!! what about us DAD that really care and try. I guess I could stop all visits, but then I risk the possibility of my son running away causing issues at home. Then her bringing me back to court stating I don’t let her see her son.
    It’s kind of I’m damned if I do and Damned if I don’t……

  29. 429
    Storm Dweller says:

    I tend to find myself torn on this issue. I was a child raised in a home for a time where the CP drank and drugged the CS away, and I saw very little in the way of care. Now I find myself on the other side of the spectrum. I am a single mom of three, two of which have special needs, work a 40 hour/week job (though there are many weeks I do not see 40 hours when you account for medical/dental appointments) and I utilize every government service available to keep my head above water and my children cared for. The ex was ordered to pay a mere $625 per month and I maintin the health insurance etc on the children, because I knew he would not. He does not pay it. Would that money be helpful to meet their needs? You bet it would. But the fact remains less support from him, also at this point means less involvement from him, and I’ll just keep doing what any mom worth her salt would do… keep plugging away at it. I don’t really care if it’s fair. It’s just life.

  30. 430
    Harmeet says:

    I have had a real eye opener. I was the custodial parent and my ex paid $940/month for our 2 girls. I didn’t think too much about it, and figured he could afford it because that is what the tables “said” he could afford. He never complained and he paid 60% medical and all other extra expenses.

    When the girls became teenagers, we started having problems at home, so they went to live with their dad at 14 and 16 years old. Now I pay him $700/month (off the tables) and I pay 40% of extras. I don’t get to claim them on my taxes and get a credit for them, and I don’t get the $218/month I got as a child benefit.

    In other words, my household income has gone down by -700-940-218-150(average expenses). So my houshold income is LESS by $2008/month (and 700+150 of it is after tax) than it was when I had custody of the kids! And I thought all I was “getting” was $940. Oh plus, the income tax I pay has gone up substantially, I no longer get a big refund at tax time.

    I have truly “seen-the-light” as they say. I had to move to a smaller place, but it still has to be big enough for my girls too, and I still pay for LOTS of stuff for them. I can truly say that being an NCP is much more difficult financially than being a CP. I miss my kids daily, and am struggling financially.

    When this happens to more and more moms, they are going to see how it is from the other side, and maybe the laws will change to make it more fair for both parents.

  31. 431
    mythago says:

    Harmeet, I agree with you, but from the opposite side. I wonder if as more and more men have to juggle childcare and work (not as much an issue for your ex, since your girls are nearly grown, but a big issue with young children) and having to pay for expenses the child support check doesn’t cover, if there will be a greater demand for accommodations for parents in society and the workplace.

  32. 432
    scott ruvolo says:

    I sleep in my car and shower at 24hour fitness,thank God my annual renewal is only 24 dollars a year. I coach track and field at a H.S. , I get paid a stipend of $1900 in (may) and $1900 in (nov). for cross country. thats $5000 gross and $4800 take home. my x-wife makes $3850 per month and lives rent free with her mom and dad. I was ordered to pay $350 per month. Cant work full time, frozen shoulder and back problems. I was barley making that money stretch as it was , but now they want me to live off $100 for 6months for gas, food, and survival. only because they do not believe that I sleep in my car and think that I have a job on the side. they do not have to prove anything, they order me off an assumption. My x in 2007 had a court case without serving me that she won becuz I didnt show up. She told them a false income and I was ordered to pat $880.00 per month, years latter…. turned into criminal case, I now owe 30k in arrears because they said that I was served, and they do not have to prove it. I must try and pay support and arrears with a suspended license , tge system is totally wrong and screwed t words men.

  33. 433
    TB says:

    It doesn’t just happen to men.
    I have been paying child support for our 2 boys without fail to my ex-husband for the past 6 years. I even had my current husband paying him for 2 years when I was not working. My ex took me back to court 2 months ago and won a child support increase of over 2 times the amount I was paying (400 to 913 monthly). The catch is that I was not working because of a recent disability and I could no longer work at the job I was trained for and I have a new infant at home with me. My family paid the 913 for 3 months for me but I can no longer pay it and haven’t for the past 3 months. I received a new order in response to a plea for modification through my attorney and I am supposed to pay 500 per month (dating 3 months back) and the amount goes up in 50 to 200 dollar increments every 8 months until I will, again, pay 913. The order even identified my disability and my inability to work and still requires this of me. I just have no idea how to pay the money now and I feel this judgement is incredibly vindictive and unfair.

  34. 434
    Keeper says:

    The system is definitely unfair. I am a CP. My son is the result of a planned pregnancy by BOTH parents. I endured the ENTIRE cost of all the medical bills of a high risk pregnancy when he walked out on us. Not saying my ex should pay for me, but missing 2 days a week of work for doctors appointments so that our son survived childbirth was expensive. It wrecked my credit. I gave him rights even after he denied our son. I personally think that if there are circumstances that prevent work, that the other parent should do more to “chip in”…I didn’t trap or trick someone into parenthood. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to work, spending half the week sitting in a doctor’s office prevented it.

    When my son was born, I also agreed to take less in child support than what the state wanted him to pay so that he would supply the medical insurance premiums with us splitting the cost of the co-pays. Right after negotiations, his supervisor (the company is owned by his parents) “granted” him a raise, and he got a second job working under the table. So, income was hidden. I let it go. He was supporting a new girlfriend and a baby that wasn’t his before doing for his own child. I let it go. He quit all work 2 years ago and his parents are now paying his childsupport because they don’t want their grandchild to do without. The way they see it is that $240 a month is nothing compared to the millions they have sitting in the bank. I would happily pay them $240 a month if all of them would go away and never contact us again.

    The state says its useless to sue him for more because he doesn’t have a job. My arguement is he did that to himself when he chose to quit his job. Its not like he was laid off, injured…etc. Just because he doesn’t have a job doesn’t mean that our son doesn’t need things. It kills me because I try to be nice and haven’t denied him anything, although I was entitled to do it based on abandonment. I do think that $240 a month is unfair for him to contribute while he has no other bills (he chooses to live at home with his parents BECAUSE they will pay for everything and he has told me thats the reason), over $40,000.00 in an IRA and a degree. I also know that trying to enforce the court order that WE agreed to, making him pay more for our son’s expenses since he is no longer shouldering the burden for a child that was not his and since he isn’t paying health coverage. In the state where I live, NCP are required to give 20% of their income after certain things are deducted…taxes, etc.

    Just because he doesn’t have the money doesn’t mean that I don’t have to get it from somewhere. My son’s expenses don’t go away just because my ex decided his supervisor made him angry one day. My issue is that the state does nothing to enforce anything even if he is unemployed by his own choices. All the while, he is still seeing our son and I even give him more than the ordered time because my son loves his father…even if his father doesn’t truely love him or think of him first…I want to make it clear that my child is NOT a weapon.

    I think that because his parents can afford a $500 an hour attorney to bail him out…(they have done it most of his adult life) and because I don’t have the money to fight him, I let alot go. I don’t rock the boat and in the meantime, my son gets denied what he should have. How can I go about getting blood from a rock? How does the state let my son go without, but people who are completely unobligated pay? Makes no sense to me. Again, there aren’t enough jails for the “fathers” who put their needs above their child. $240 a month is a joke when my son’s expenses are more than double that.

  35. 435
    John says:

    @ Lauren, post #1. I’m in Indiana and though I get time, my wife got over 2/3′s of the overnights. The court has ordered $1000 a month child support for 1 child which would be an 80%/20% burden split in their eyes (me paying the 80%). I’m not mad by any means, I want my child to be taken are of but what I do get upset about is none of that money includes what I have to spend to care for him when he’s with me (those payments will be $200,000 over time). What gets me is, the court sees my money as good but my time which I want to give as much as possible as less worthy.

    I will say, my x-wife isn’t being vindictive, this was all “standard” from the courts. I don’t think that I’m getting particular screwed compared to the next person but I am certainly carrying a brunt of the financial burden (and I want more time but can’t get it, not because either of us are bad parents, just because the court felt the mother needed more time). That is what it is.

  36. 436
    John says:

    @Keeper, you said “$240 a month is a joke when my son’s expenses are more than double that.”

    My question is, how much more than double? If you’re sons expenses were double… wouldn’t that mean you’d be carrying an equal financial burden? To me, that seems fair. $240 a month is a little low though, I will agree with you.

  37. 437
    Erica says:

    I live in Texas and can guarantee that there is no “flat rate of $1000 a month for the first child.” I have one daughter. My ex wasn’t interested in custody and has minimum visitation. He has been unemployed for 6 years, and his support has always been the minimum for Texas. It was based off of the $5.60 minimum wage and did not increase when the minimum wage did. He is ordered to pay $160 a month child support and $80 a month medical support. $240 total.

  38. 438
    James says:

    Properly viewed, children are assets of the marriage that come with liabilities. Like a house requires upkeep, insurance, etc so do children.

    The child support system gives the house to one parent and expects the other to pay the taxes, insurance, upkeep, and repairs while only getting to visit the house a couple of days each month.

    From an economic perspective, the value of having custody is greater than the cost of supporting the children or the parents would not have had children in the first place. Unless one parent is clearly unfit, then both parents have equal right to custody and if they get anything less than 50% custody should be reimbursed for the loss of custody. Based upon the prior valuation (Custody > Cost), the custodial parent should be paying the non-custodial parent for the privilege of having custody.

    The only real way to ‘value’ custody and the ‘cost’ of raising the children is a secret auction. High bid gets custody, and pays the bid amount to the non-custodial parent. If the costs outweigh the benefits, then the bids may be negative. Only in the event of negative bids should a non custodial parent make support payments.

    If a poor woman wants custody of her kids from her ‘rich’ ex-husband, she will either have to pony up a ton of cash, *or* will be sitting pretty with a nice income from her ex who will be paying her for the privilege of having custody. This is far better situation than some ‘rich’ guy being forced into bankruptcy to pay for a child he doesn’t even get custody of!

    This takes care of the spousal support issues as well. A house wife will be unable to bid much until she can establish herself and get a job. The ‘rich’ husband will know what resources she has at her disposal and bid just enough to get custody, but not more than necessary. This will result in a “alimony” payment until the house wife can get a better paying job which is much easier if she does not have kids! Once she can establish herself in the work force, she will be in a better position to bid on custody of her children. This will force the ‘rich’ husband to pony up more money to keep custody or potentially switch custody to the mother who is able to live out bid her ex.

    You are only bidding for any time above 50% custody. Regardless of your income, you will be granted 50% custody unless you auction off some of that time. It should be SOP that kids spend 6 months of each year living with one of their parents. Alternating weeks if they live in the same town, or semesters if they live across the country.

    If you refuse to exercise your full 50% visitation, then your bid for custody is either 0 or negative.

  39. 439
    Keeper says:

    @John…You asked how much my son’s expenses are…well, for starters, he is a special needs child…diagnosed with learning and developmental disabilities. Child support that was paid to me on behalf of my son didn’t even cover all the co-pays for the doctor visits and medications that I paid for last year…then add in food, housing, electric, schooling, daycare, incidentals…etc. I probably spend over $1000 a month on my son if not more…I try not to break it down because it infuriates me. I get angry that my ex gets away with being a jerk who looks good on paper while my son does without all he should have from BOTH parents.

    Whenever child support is sent (usualy $110 2x per month), I use it to pay for some of what my child needs and I also usually take my son to the store and let him pick a little toy of some kind and tell him that because its money meant for him, he should get a say in a luxury for himself even if it means that I go on wearing clothes that are falling apart, my son will get all he needs and more. The funny part is my ex and his parents have made comments to me about how I never get anything for myself…I feel like screaming to them that I can’t afford it because the burden of my son’s expenses are no where close to being evenly shared thanks to their manipulation of money and a broken legal system. I know I am lucky that I even get support considering all the nightmare deadbeat parents out there, but I still wish it was more fair.

    I do have to say, that if put in the “abandonded in pregnancy” situation again, I would take off and not even tell the father…Its alot easier than having to watch my ex buy some bimbo jewelry and new vehicles for himself (that get put in his parent’s name) while his son is outgrowing everything at an alarming rate and I barely scrape by with a car that constantly breaks down.

    I have also learned that fathers aren’t necessarily genetic. I have a great guy in my life now. He has really stepped up and picked up the slack for the lesser father and my son ADORES him…even asks for him more than his own father, started calling him “dad” without any suggesting or encouragement…He has gone above and beyond the call of duty for a child that isn’t even his. Its great that my son has that from someone, I just wish his own father felt more of an obligation to be the father that my current boyfriend already is. We are talking about getting married and I think my son is alot more content because he has a “dad” that he knows cares for and loves him.

    Lastly, I have my ex to thank for me having such a strong faith. God provides all to my son that he doesn’t get from his father (he gave us a wonderful replacement). I survived alone in a high risk pregnancy because of my faith and some really great doctors. Now, I can only expect that karma and God will take care of the lesser people that I can’t. With that said, GOD BLESS the good fathers and mothers and the people who take the place of the lesser counterparts out there that realize that the money is sometimes a necessary and fair part of raising a child.

  40. 440
    Keeper says:

    @ James…Children aren’t puppies…They are people with very real expenses and they should have the same standard of living at both places for their own comfort and stability. Children shouldn’t do with less in one place because the parents decided not to be together. If you read my previous posting, I provide more than half. I provide all his expenses here and the medications and some things that travel to hios father’s house…while my ex lets his parents pay the expenses for our son at his house. In other words, I do my financial responsibilities as a parent while my ex lets his parents shoulder the burden and help him to hide money. I have found that the more time my son spends with his father, the less he progresses developmentally. Its not that equal time isn’t good…its that its not stable and causes insecurity issues in children…especially those with disabilities. My ex is in COMPLETE denial about my son’s issues even though there is documented medical proof. I have watched my son get mad at me because he thinks I “forgot” him during the month he is with his father (dumped off on the grandparents). I can’t interfere during that time and it mentally hurts my son (also, it destroys me with worry and longing for my child). So, the system is broken, I agree. Saying that a child should have an unequal standard of living makes me ill to even think about. Just so you know, my ex lives in a brand new, 4000 square foot home that his parents had built for him on their property and my son and I live in a 900 square foot apartment. My ex spends more money on a child that isn’t his than he does his own flesh and blood. While there are good parents out there, there is also an alarming amount of scum slithering the earth.

  41. 441
    James2 says:

    I just realized that there was another James… I did not mean to impersonate.

    Children have real expenses is my point, but the question is *who* should pay those expenses. My argument was the custody has *real value* and the custodial parents never compensate non-custodial parents for that loss.

    Turning this around to what the ‘kids deserve’ is missing the point. Kids get the parents they are born from, good or bad. There is no ‘standard of living’ they are entitled to other than what the parents decide to give them. If the parents had stayed together the kids are not entitled to ‘imputed income’ or any particular standard of living. They could be missionaries to Africa living in a tent without plumbing and it would not be grounds for denying custody nor visitation.

    The only issue is between the parents. Who gets the kids, when, and who pays for what. You have a supply of child-days and each parent is entitled to 50% of them and responsible for the expenses while they have them. If one parent wants to be an African missionary and another a Rich Banker then that should not change the fundamental rights of the parents to their kids.

    Awarding custody to one parent is not grounds for awarding the other parent liability. One parent wins twice (custody/support) and the other loses twice (custody/financially). In 99% of cases, custody should come with responsibility and loss of custody a loss of responsibility. Anything else is an assault on justice.

    Imagine dividing a business in divorce and awarding one spouse the equity and the other the liability. Or awarding one spouse the title to the house and giving the other the mortgage.

    Kids have feelings and it is the responsibility of the individual who has custody to care for the kids as best they see fit. No one else is responsible for the care of kids not in their custody.

  42. 442
    Keeper says:

    @James
    Ok…let me give you this scenerio then…you have 2 children, your wife decided to run around on you and even flaunt that in front of your young children, you have been abused mentally, so you decide to leave the marriage because obviously your wife has changed and is NOT the person she was when you married her. She tells you to take the kids and give her the house… now, I ask you to consider this, would you want your children having to pay for her selfishness, leave their home and what they know as normal because your wife was a witch…well, this scenerio has actually happened to a friend of mine and he has both of his children and the kids resent their mother.

    Children should NEVER have to pay for their parent’s divorce situation. Your last sentence makes me ill.

    ” No one else is responsible for the care of kids not in their custody.”

    So, you feel that you aren’t a parent when your children aren’t with you? I pray you never have custody of your children, because as a mother, I worry and care about my son’s well being, physically and emotionally 24/7. In my particular case, my ex gets away with skirting all of his parental responsibilities. My son gets dumped off on his grandparents. When my ex is supposed to have him, he sometimes doesn’t show up, so does that mean he is supposed to reimburse me for the expenses I incurred having my son for 7 extra days this month??? Lastly, if you put yourself in the child’s shoes, your point of view makes them the one suffering for all the adult’s immaturity. You are only looking at this from the point of a wallet…no whats best for the child. If I were to leave my son with my ex for 50% of the time, my son would still be at a 2 year old’s level when he is now almost 5. Not allowing my son to have all he should medically constitutes neglect, yet the courts do nothing to my ex because he pays a whopping $240 a month. If I wanted a full time parent’s responsibility, I wouldn’t have agreed to joint custody when he asked for it… The bottom line is you have made me angry because you are telling me that my son doesn’t deserve an equal share from his father. His father chooses and continues to be selfish and irresponsible when it took 2 people to make the child…My child is not a paycheck…he shouldn’t have to do without because his father chooses not to be there or be a parent. When I agreed to get pregnant and have a child, it was with the agreement that we would both be parents (my son was a planned pregnancy)…I can’t understand anyone ever abandoning their children. I want to know what you would like me to do with my child since I can’t necessarily afford him on my own? If I was to give him to his father because obviously, he has money, most of his needs would be neglected and his father would just dump him off on 2 feeble elderly people. This is my point, this is the situation that child support is necessary for…so the child doesn’t pay for the parent’s selfishness and the child’s needs are met. So, are we supposed to excuse a murderer of the consequences of his actions because he skips the state? Your logic dumbfounds me.

  43. 443
    James2 says:

    The problem with your approach is that there are no ‘standards’ that can apply fairly to all situations. Someone other than the parents must decide what is in the best interest of the children and that someone ends up being the government and the government only decides what is in the government’s best interest.

    I am a father, of two girls. I want shared 50/50 custody or more. My wife left despite the fact that I provided well, never abused her or the children, and did everything I could to try to make her happy. She moved my girls 4 hours away from me and refuses to get a job (after 2 years). Child support comes to about $1000/month, plus $850 in spousal, plus $400 in medical insurance, plus $250/month in travel costs just to see my kids. That comes out to $30,000/year after taxes. If she were to get a job, then work related child care would take more than is offset by her income. This past year 60% of my income has gone to her and what income I had left was spent on lawyers attempting to enforce an arbitration award that would have given me custody unless she moved within 30 minutes of my house. Courts overturned arbitration on grounds that *only government can decide*… government’s best interest once again!

    Lets try to avoid personal attacks and simply focus on what is practical and focus on axioms and fundamental truths. I am a good dad whom wants what is best for my girls. So lets set aside personal situations because they can cloud our judgment.

    Lets first consider your proposition: “Children should NEVER have to pay for their parents divorce situation”

    It could be reworded as “Children should NEVER have to pay for their parents marriage situation”. As long as the two parents stay together regardless of how much they fight, how lazy or un-involved, or absent the father or mother may be there is no grounds for imputed income nor child support. The parents do not get thrown in jail for not earning up to their ‘potential’. The ‘best interest of the children’ is not even part of the equation until serious abuse is involved.

    Now lets get back to the main point, that the ‘best interests’ argument flies in the face of parental rights. The problem is that the ultimate decision will be in the government’s best interests.

    Examples:
    1) Father cares about medical side effects of vaccines after much study and objects to giving his kids vaccines because he loves them and believes it is the best decision. Government will decide against him.

    2) Father cares about the education of his children, wants to be free thinkers skilled in debate, reason, and able to articulate/defend what they believe. He wants to home school them. Government will decide that Government Socialist Indoctrination Centers (Public Schools) are the best interest of the children. Ultimately, killing their desire to learn.

    3) Father wishes to forgo expensive health insurance in favor of alternative, healthier, better/preventative medical solutions. He decides that the opportunity cost is too high and that his kids would be better off using that money for other things with only catastrophic coverage. Too bad, Government backed Medical Industrial Complex’s cures which are worse than the disease are in the best interest of the child. Even if it means the dad will be unable to save for retirement and thus the government will have to ‘tax’ the child to pay for the dad in old age!

    4) Both parents are equally competent to care of the kids and are in every way identical, except that one makes much more money than the other. Children get awarded to parent with less income because state governments get a federal kickback for every dollar of child support they help collect. Once again, government’s best interest.

    So the question becomes *who* gets to decide what is in the best interest of the children? The parents or someone else? Should I get to decide what is in the best interest of *your* children? Should the government take the kids from a poor family of hippies because it is in ‘the best interest’ of the children? Clearly, ‘best interest’ is not a definable nor defendable standard and is subject to wild abuse.

    Do parents have the right to give their children up for adoption? Clearly they do. Just because parents get divorced does not change the right of one or both parents to give up their children for adoption. Non-custodial parents whom do not get enough visitation/influence to justify the expense should have the freedom to give their kids up for adoption. A rich parent may give up their kids for adoption to a lower middle class parent. Is the child still entitled to the lifestyle of the ‘rich’ parent? Why then are rich ‘dads’ forced to pay more child support than ‘lower middle class’ dads?

    In your case, you clearly get more than 50% custody and he is not fighting for his 50% nor exercising what custody you are willing to share. Consider yourself LUCKY as I would gladly take full custody and receive NO support. The value of having your kid for an extra 7 days is worth more than what ever ‘costs’ you may want reimbursed.

    The real issue is that *you* are unable to meet your obligations as a parent and instead wish to steel money from your ex so that you can raise your kids how you think is best at his expense. If your ex was dead, your obligations would remain and the impact on your kid would be the same as if your ex paid no support. Perhaps it is in your kids best interest to tax *me* to pay so that your kids can enjoy a higher standard of living than you can provide?

    So either let your ex support him 50% of the time and do the best you can 50% of the time, or accept the full responsibility that comes with having custody. Regardless of how ‘bad’ you think your ex is, you have no more right to tell him how to raise his kids than he does to tell you how to raise yours. Perhaps in your case it is clear that *you* are the better parent, but in millions of cases the difference between the two parents is not so clear nor cut and dry.

    So the kid gets the parents they are born with and the parents combined must decide how to care for the kids. You cannot strip parental rights without just/mutually agreed compensation simply because you and millions of others disagree with them. In any event, your kid is will be better off than over 50% of the kids in the world… the kid is blessed and will live like a king compared to most people throughout history. Put in the proper perspective, your demands on your ex seem down right ‘entitled’.

  44. 444
    James2 says:

    Considering either parent may die at any time, no one should have children without being prepared to carry 100% of the responsibility of raising those children. If your co-parent dies, runs away, is imprisoned, or otherwise wants nothing to do with the child, you become 100% responsible. If you run away from your spouse and want custody as well, then *you* are 100% responsible. If neither one of you want the child then give it up for adoption or *bid* to lose custody. High bid pays support (in the amount of the high bid) to the custodial parent who had the low bid. High bidder maintains the right to give the child up for adoption unless the custodial parent is willing to adopt for 0 support.

    If you are unable to be 100% responsible, then give the kid to someone who can or ask for voluntary donations.

    Enabling one spouse to run away, take the kids, and then forcing the left-behind spouse into involuntary slavery to maintain your ‘lifestyle’ in the ‘best interests of the kids’ is one of the primary enablers of divorce. Ultimately, parents who should/could work things out don’t because the mom gets the ‘milk’ for free. This is not in the best interest of the children!

    Perhaps that dad wants a real family, he will never be able to afford it again because his ‘first family that abandoned him’ is still taxing 50% of his income. His future children are equally deserving of his love/care as his first children, but it is *his* choice how much time,money,love to give to each child of his… not yours.

    My solution is not perfect and many kids will suffer at the hands of poor parents, but your solution doesn’t actually reduce the suffering of kids and necessitates violation of parental rights. Your solution grants the government authority over all children because it is premised on the fact that good parents may have their parental rights stolen from them and get to pay for the privilege!

    One day your son will grow up and get married and have kids. Do you want your son subject to the same rules that you are applying to your ex in the event that his wife leaves him and takes his kids?

    The best interest of the kids is a free society where property rights and parental rights are respected and enforced. Anything else devolves into tyranny and oppression.

  45. 445
    Torn says:

    I know what it is to be on both sides of this argument. I receive child support from my ex and my husband pays it to his. In my case is was done in CA and when the judge made the order he did not ask for proof of my ex’s income, just took his word for it. He was ordered to pay $324 a month for 2 children. I worked 3 jobs to support our kids and to add insult to injury he started working under the table to avoid paying. He finally got a tax paying job and his tax return was ceased by CA (which I understand all states have the ability to do for arrears owed) and sense then has not filed a tax return. His child support was raised to $367 when he filed to have it lowered because he had to file pay stubs with the court and they saw that he was making more then he stated in court. Currently his support is being paid due to he will go to jail if he so much as misses one payment. I have never complained that he did not pay enough, my only issue is that he didn’t pay at all.
    On the flip side, my husband is required to pay $400 a month in TX which we cannot afford. His ex filed for full custody and then had the paperwork set to an address that she new we had not lived at for over 3 years. As she had picked him up from our current address all that time. She was awarded full custody due to default because my husband was not in court. She also told the court that my husband was still active duty (he was medically retired and she was aware of this) and that he had no other dependents ( at the time our daughter whom she has meet and seen many times was almost 1) and the judge set support based on these statements. My husband is disabled and cannot work. He receives disability from the VA and SSI. However, it is hardly enough to support our family. If it wasn’t for my income and child support we would not be able to cover our bills. Add to that his child support and it doesn’t work. I believe %100 that he needs to support his son but, his credit is being destroyed due to arrears that are growing everyday because we cannot afford his support. We have been waiting 10 months to get back to court and fight what was done deviously and have no idea when we will actually see a court room. We are asking that this order be over turned and the old one reinstated until a new hearing can be held to for custody and support. Which even then the old order was 50/50 and in the county we live in no one is to pay support because both are named primary yet, he was ordered to pay $200 a month to her.
    No system is perfect but, when it comes to support there are way to many problems with the existing system. There is to much room for a judge to just “do what he/she wants” instead of what is the law. Both of my experiences with this have been bad on both sides of this argument.

  46. 446
    Taz says:

    Hate to break it to you, but it is profitable for women based on my experience and what I’ve observed. First off, how many fathers in solid relationships honestly spend 20% of their income on one child in their family? Very few, unless the child is spoiled. I know my father never spend that much on me… and as for food, our family of four ate well on just over $100 a month.

    So you end up with single moms getting between 20% and 40% for the childs best interest while at the same time many are receiving an average of $300 per month in government help for food. So the food problem is out of the way in that scenario… so where exactly is that 20% to 40% going?

    Now I know in my case — and with dozens of guys in the same situation that I know — the child support is paid… yet for some reason the ex never has enough money to buy school clothing, Christmas, and basically anything else you can think of. Why? Because she uses my support for our child to pay rent and utilities.

    I’m sorry.. but we are all grown ups and should be responsible for providing our own shelter. I personally think that it should be illegal to use child support for utilities or rent. If the custodial parent can’t hack it perhaps the other parent should be the custodial parent. It is a simple as that.

    Furthermore, why should I pay her utilities and rent while she has another guy living under her roof? Am I somehow responsible for caring for him or any other guy she shacks up with? I’m responsible for feeding and sheltering another adult? That is not in the childs best interest… but mothers do that with the childs support ALL THE TIME. I think that is stealing from the kid.

  47. 447
    Taz says:

    And how about this… why is that whenever we guys mention that it should be in the law that both parents have access to how child support is used we are hit with “Thats discrimination of the women” pleas. I should be able to know that my support is being used properly. There is no excuse for both parents not to have access to that. I have to keep receipts for taxes… so I know it would not be difficult for custodial parents to do the same.

    Also, those government figures on raising children calculate the cost of shelter, utilities, transportation and so on that benefit the WHOLE family. I’m sorry, but the custodial parent should be able to provide that stuff without using the child support money. She left, she is a big girl… she took responsibility a she sees it… so she CAN be responsible for her own life. And if she can’t she should do what is in the best interest of the children and give custodial rights to the father.

  48. 448
    Eric says:

    There is a new law being proposed regarding this issue. http://www.ppia2012.info

  49. 449
    Shannon says:

    She doesn’t deserve any money. All so-called “child-support” she receives is income. Since caring for your own children is your responsibility all money she receives for this task is income.

    If she has 4 children with 4 different successful men, she can net a yearly income of $80k for being grossly irresponsible.
    Since both abortion and adoption are legal every woman that has a child chose to. That means she chooses to take on the responsibility of motherhood – it is not the case that a man coerces her into it as the current set of laws presume.
    If she then chooses to take primary custody, she chooses to subsume responsibility for that as well.

    The link to the Federal date is dead, but those studies always include things that not related to the care of the child and things that are luxuries but it doesn’t matter, the information presented is not internally consistent. It cannot “cost” a low-income person $17k and “cost” a higher-income person $20k.
    Those people *spent* that much money on their child (above and beyond obligations.)
    The cost of raising a child is-what-it-is and (in Michigan) it’s around $4k/yr as-of 2011. It’s probably a bit higher in California, perhaps $6k/yr.
    If you prescribe to the misogynist idea that the parents ought to pay based on their income then the child-support is spot on. (This also means you accept women are intrinsically not as capable as men are in the work-force. i.e. If it’s her choice to “work less” then it’s her choice and she should still pay for 50%.)

    A fair arrangement that would also be in the best of the children would be a “bird’s nest” arrangement which requires both parents to work and both parents to contribute in essentially equal amounts and ways to raising their children. The kids stay put at the “nest” home and both parents move out and get their own places. Both parents are required to pay 50% of the cost of maintaining the bird’s nest. A parent may optionally commit to paying more to maintain the existing nest. Moving the nest requires both parents to agree on the new location and the new budget or it doesn’t move.

    In 95% of all cases the man has been order to pay the woman, this is de-facto intrinsically sexist. An affirmative action plan is needed to bring this to a balance near 50%/50%.

    If I had full-custody my children would be much better off. If I had full-custody that money would be going into savings, bonds, & trust. They would have a college fund, they would have an inheritance, I could help them with a down-payment on a house, etc…, etc… Instead they have a mother that doesn’t work and is squandering their future for the sake of her quality of life.
    It doesn’t matter that it’s 40% of my income so much as the inequity of how it is spent. Divorce grants her a paycheck and him a bill.

    In a post-Feminism society in the event of the dissolution of marriage or no-marriage she should be require to work to provide for her children just as he is. SAHP should not be acceptable under these conditions – it is abusive towards both the parent that works and the children.

    Why aren’t Feminist outraged at the inequity?
    The law is she is too incompetent to contribute equally to the rearing of her children, she requires help from men in the form of “child-support” or welfare.
    (The other half of the sexist law is that women are better “care givers” than men.)

    You do not deserve income for choosing to have a child.
    You do not deserve income for having a failed marriage.
    You do not deserve income because you made choices that rendered you unemployable (or underemployable).
    Yet money is forcible taken from men and given to women for these reasons.
    This is systemic violence perpetuated against men.
    That is why the animosity is so high and why related (physical) violence is on the rise.

    “This will also have the side benefit of reducing unwed motherhood.”
    This is more violence and more sexism.
    You think men /ought/ to marry women and /ought/ to have babies with them and /ought/ to pay for them.
    The appropriate response to a woman that becomes pregnant out-of-wedlock and keeps the child is zero-contact. She has demonstrated that she is not responsible enough to be entrusted with the intimacy of a relationship.
    Marrying a woman that irresponsible is not a good decision and men should be informed and told the truth not coerced and compelled to take action against their interest for the benefit of a woman.

  50. 450
    Ampersand says:

    Broken link fixed; thanks for pointing that out.

    Do you have any references for any of your factual claims?

  51. 451
    Mel says:

    I have a father who decided to take the higher paying job instead of that with benefits and a pension, even though my mother encouraged him to take the one with benefits and a pension. Now that he has left her for another woman, and is taking her to court, he demands half of her pension up front – even though she doesn’t have that money. He also took her 50 thousand dollar inheritance, which he claims is OK because it was in a joint account. That money was intended for my education. Now she is forced to support my sister and I, and although she was the responsible one who got a job with benefits and a pension, she is forced to pay him outrageous sums of money in the settlement. He is also trying to charge her rent on the family home she has been living in during the proceedings – which she couldn’t leave because she 1) was recovering from cancer and 2) couldn’t put up for sale because she could not viably pay for all the house expenses, her own living expenses, expenses for her children, AND the expenses of selling a house. Let’s not even talk about the legal expenses she is being forced to spend for the divorce HE wants.
    And he will get away scott-free, with the inheritance and the money from her pension up front. She also gets to deal with the stresses and trials of emotionally supporting and raising two children. If that is equality in the system – then I am a monkey’s uncle.

  52. 452
    Mel says:

    Also as a sidenote:
    This is for your child. This for the best interest OF YOUR CHILD. You would think you would care a little more for your child. If it was the man with custody of the child – would he not argue that it cost money to put a roof over the childs head, and heat in the house of that roof? If the man had custody – the woman would also have to pay for these expenses, AS THESE EXPENSES ARE STILL A REALITY. Just because you don’t want to pay for them doesn’t mean they aren’t real. I pay 400 dollars in rent, 70 dollars a month in utilities (hydro, water, internet), and at least 150$ in food. I haven’t even factored in the cost of clothing, cleaning supplies, hygiene supplies, school expenses, or any other kind of expense. That is 620$ for basic shelter, food, water and heat. And that is my cost living with FOUR OTHER PEOPLE. I hardly think that an average cost of 280$ towards YOUR CHILD for BASIC LIVING NEEDS is that far of a stretch.

  53. 453
    cal says:

    All humans are created equal. All humans have the ability to make decisions of their own free will. Good decisions should be rewarded; whereas, bad decisions should come with consequences. Lately women have gotten away with making bad decisions, or decisions that they were unprepared for. This is where I am going to clash with many women out there. If a woman wishes to divorce a man, let her first obtain financial stability, then divorce. For after a divorce the man holds no obligation to the woman, save basic necessities of the child. Basic necessities are those things that are required for living of the child alone. Being that the woman would in fact need a house if she were alone, she would be required to afford that home alone without the assistance of the divorced man. Why should a divorced man be obligated to provide shelter for his ex-wife? If the ex-wife can not obtain a home on her own how can she care for a child? A woman should be able to obtain transportation? It should not be the man’s obligation to provide transportation for a woman who left him for whatever reason. The court systems have made rules that have become abused and twisted to benefit only women. Rules that break men, push them into poverty, and sometimes kill them. Too many men out there have committed suicide because of strict rules regarding the support of a child. Stop this madness and change the world, free fathers from involuntary servitude. Give fathers back their rights. Fight for the constitution

  54. 454
    Amused says:

    Cal: Would you apply that rule to men? Because it seems to me you view women as the only ones who should be punished for “bad” decisions. Also: Why do you blanketly define seeking a divorce as a bad decision?

    Consider a hypothetical: A man beats his wife and children. She cannot support herself (in part because she is not allowed to work on pain of being beaten). Now according to your rules, she would not be allowed to divorce him or to raise her children because she is not self-supporting; instead, you would have this woman and her children continue to tolerate abuse indefinitely. It’s a bad decision to beat one’s wife and children, no? If so, why would you reward an abusive man’s bad decision by making it impossible for his wife and children to escape the abuse? Shouldn’t men be punished for bad decisions, as long as you argue that women should be? And wouldn’t it be a good decision to leave an abusive spouse? If so, why would you punish a woman for making a good decision?

    In a society that already pressures women to give up careers in order to take care of men and children at home, thus rendering them unemployable in the long run, what you are suggesting would create tremendous incentives for abusive or controlling husbands to seek further ways to deprive their wives of self-sufficiency as a way to ward off divorce.

  55. 455
    cal says:

    amused, you make a good point, but i counter claim with. Just because the man beats a woman is the punishment for this crime equal or lesser than the punishment of paying double or triple what he would normally pay had he stayed in the home? Here lies the problem, lets modify what i said above, when a person, male or female, decides to remove themselves from a contractual relationship, they therefore are in fact saying they no longer want them, or need them in their life. That being said, how, can a person then after making that decision decide that they do in fact need them in their life to survive and then use them to acquire goods and services from a person that is no longer indebted to them whatsoever. The parent is in fact only indebted to the child, not the mother, and certain luxeries and privileges are exactly that, luxeries and privileges… Take for example a recient article posted on yahoo where a us government representative, not going to mention names, posted on unemployment benefits, that people that are poor should not be driving in cars and should not be living in houses if they collect unemployment. Same goes for a woman who divorces, if a country can neglect housing and vehicles for the poor why can a man not do the same for a woman that refuses to support herself and live of the man…

    As you have given me a good example of your point i will leave you with my example, this is a true story and it happened to me. I also want to remind you that it is all completely legal in the united states.

    I married many years ago and had two children with my wife, she had 7 affairs durring the course of 5 years, and i stayed for the child, and yes i am a man if you were wondering. After the 5 years, my wife at the time was scared that i would take my children from here, because she had a history of drug use, didn’t work, and could not support the children. before the court case started she had filed a restraining order on me on behalf of my children, barring me from seeing my kids, then she told my 4 year old son to tell the state that i molested him or he would never see her again. That in turn started the investigation, during the investigation my wife at the time rushed the divorce court to a decision and used the allogation of molestation as a crutch to make the court decide that I infact am “restrained and enjoined from coming about or having anything to do with my 2 minor children”. Then she got into a relationship with a woman in a state where gay rights are not recognised, which barred a removal of rights, so the court decided to remove my rights, without actually removing my rights, by barring me from having any contact in the future with my kids but, i will pay child support in the amount of 600 dollars a month. After this 2 years go by and my son is 6 and tells a councelor at a boys club that i never did anything to him and that his mother told him to say those things. That didn’t help my case. It’s now been 7 years of paying (on time) 600 dollars a month to my now estranged exwife, and stranger children. She does not work according to my last visit with child support court, collects unemployment, refuses to work, and refuses to let me see my kids. She lives off her lover and my forced contribution to her lifestyle. my kids do not see the money i send, it is spent on her to own a home, and drive a car without a job, while she sits on her butt and gets fat. This is what you people call fair, it’s completely legal and does happen. This is your american judicial system at work.

  56. 456
    Amused says:

    First of all, cal, I am not going to make a judgment of the judicial system based on what you told me about your divorce. I don’t know you and I don’t know your wife, and since I haven’t heard from both parties, I really cannot accept what you are telling me — her being Satan incarnate, and you a blameless saint — at face value.

    Suffice it to say, what you are proposing is contradictory. Both parents should contribute to the care of their children REGARDLESS of how much money the custodial parent makes. No matter how much money she earns, and no matter how little the father pays in child support, the child support arguably enables her to spend more on what you consider to be “luxuries”, such as a car. Even if the father pays her only $5 a month, that still allows her to spend extra $5 of her money on something other than child-related expenses. You argue that women who divorce their husbands should be able to single-handedly support themselves and their children, and you simultaneously argue that custodial mothers should live in poverty, without spending even one cent (regardless of what they earn) on “luxuries”. So basically, what you are saying is that if a woman is not self-supporting, the ex- husband shouldn’t have to pay child support, and if the woman IS self-supporting, the ex-husband shouldn’t have to pay child support either, because dammit, she should live as poor people do, poverty the price of escaping the marriage. Or maybe you are just really angry in your ex-wife and you are not thinking this through.

    How about this? The non-custodial parent should pay at the very least half of the expenses of raising the children in the lifestyle to which they were accustomed during the marriage. Even that still advantages the non-custodial parent, because the custodial parent has to pay the other half AND do most of the child care. You paying $600 per month for 2 kids? I don’t know where your ex-wife lives or how old your kids are, but where I live, $300 per month per child would cover only a small fraction of the actual cost of raising that child. Especially if the woman were to get a job. Hell, daycare alone here easily runs $1500 a month.

  57. 457
    cal says:

    Lets turn the tables, because this seems to be a gender related problem, so here you go. lets say the man gets the kid, now you as the woman, will pay half of my house bill, that’s 500.00, half of my electricity, that’s another 50.00, half of the food, that’s another 75.00, half of the cost of clothes, that’s another 100.00 half of the car, another 150.00, half of the gas cost that’s another 30.00. so grand total 1000.00 a month, not only that but also support yourself with a home, car, food, what not. do you make that? But here’s the kicker, you pay it, and you work your butt off to better your life, so you go to school, get a degree and increase your salary to make ends meet. Then your ex takes you to court for a modification and now instead of 1000.00 a month you are now paying 2000.00 a month because you “make more money” meanwhile your ex is sitting on a couch eating bon bons watching jerry springer and living off your “salary that you work tripple time, and multiple jobs, to pay.. This is what is “fair and just” this is your life, and don’t think about not doing it or you will “go to jail”, “loose your licence”, and the list goes on and on. These are the simple facts, this is how this system works. EXCEPT. how often do you hear of “dead beat mothers” never, the system looks at women as unequal, unable to produce the same monitary salaries. But women fought for “equal rights” well give them it. My opinion, you want it, you got it. You should take both the good side of equality and the bad, not just one. It’s not my fault you may or may not have an issue with a person paying support to you, but the truth is, never count on anyone paying you anything ever, make your way in the world on your own, do it yourself, work your butt off for it. You have a choice as a parent, to decide to work and make something of yourself, or to sit on your butt and do nothing. That choice is yours and yours alone to make, but don’t for one second think that a man that you “once upon a time” had a relationship with is going to support you forever. I will tell you the same thing i told the DA in court when he told me that i needed to fight for myself. ” are you going to pay for it” and the harsh reality of ” 7 more years, and she’s in for a huge suprise” when my son is 18 and i stop giving her an income. I own no one a living, save myself, and if the choice has to be made to “pay child support” or continue to live, i choose life! bottom line.

  58. 458
    cal says:

    And a further note, the order to pay a woman an amount in which provides the same lifestyle as they were accustom to during the marriage is called alamony. this is child support, and never during a course of a marriage has any one person ever spent, 600.00 dollars a month twords the upbringing of a child, save for the fact of providing shelter car and other luxeries. childs upbringing basic necessities, formula, 30.00 per week divided by 2 is 15.00 per parent, groceries about 100.00 per week divided by 2 is 50.00 a week. why should i have to pay a portion of YOUR electric bill, i have my own to pay, which does provide for my children because i have to pay it while they see me, right? that’s fair, or a portion of YOUR rent, because now i have my own too, which i have to have to see my kids as well… think about it. it makes sense…

  59. 459
    Robert says:

    Cal, how does she collect unemployment if she’s consistently refused to work?

    Amused, while I am generally in favor of expecting a lot from parents when it comes to supporting their children, I have to take exception with the idea that a child should be assigned support sufficient to half-support them in the style to which they were accustomed during childhood.

    First, the moral hazard issue, which I acknowledge may not be of huge practical import but which I do think is of fairly significant character-building – do we really want to teach children that, because something was once the way it was, that everyone has a judicially-mandated burden to keep it that way?

    Second, it is very easy to conceive of situations where this guideline leads to appallingly unjust outcomes, and very difficult to conceive of a way to mitigate and prevent those situations without effectively nullifying the rule.

    As an easy example of an injustice that hammers both parties, I make $100k and my wife makes $100k; my wife gets sole custody because I have [x] condition that makes me an unfit parent; the court assigns a child support amount in accordance with your guideline that requires the child get sufficient support from me to give him half of a $200k lifestyle, so $100k minus whatever my ex makes. On day 1, I owe no support because my now-ex-wife already has the income to support the child at the $100k level; this is monstrously unjust to my ex-wife because she has all the burden of the childrearing labor but receives nothing from me. On day 2, outraged at the injustice of it all, she quits her job and files for a new order, and now I am required to give 100% of my income to her so that there’s still a $100k lifestyle in the child’s home; now I’m being massively screwed.

    A lesser but still enormous injustice comes in when we consider the reasonable and generally allowable desire of people to change careers, go to school, or make other socially-acceptable life changes that may reduce their income temporarily or permanently, to a great degree or a small degree; when we consider the possibility of, I dunno, a recession or layoffs, the problem becomes even clearer. I’d like to go to law school and build a better career; this means my income is going to drop from $50k a year to $5k flipping burgers. Under the current system, I can go to court and petition the judge to adjust our support on the reasonable basis that my income has changed for a bona fide reason; similarly if I get laid off and simply don’t have the income I used to have. Under your proposal this makes no difference; the child is to be supported in his previous manner of life regardless of the volitional or imposed life changes of the parents. That’s just whack.

    Third, such a solution totally devalues and can easily end eliminating the contribution that is made to a child by a parent who does not work outside the home, and instead fills a SAHM/SAHD role. A SAHM married to a high-income dad, who ends up with less custody of the child for whatever reason, is now effectively required to go and seek paid work in order to make financial contributions to her much-higher-income husband, and to forego to a greater or lesser extent the domestic responsibilities which still benefit the child during the times the child is with mom. For totally irrelevant reasons, I’m all in favor of the court sticking it to the non-earning mom and giving extra brownie points (and perhaps free Snickers bars) to the earning dad, but in this scenario I don’t see that as being just.

    Also: $1500 a month for day care? On what planet? When I first responded to this post I thought it was Amp saying what you said, and I know he lives in Oregon so I googled up some info at http://www.naccrra.org/randd/data/docs/OR.pdf

    A school-age kid in before- and after- school care year round averages $4000-$4500 a year. The most expensive category of care is for infants in full-time care, which is a bit less than $11000. Even an infant spending much of its waking life in full-time care is going to run the family less than $1000 a month. Not that that’s peanuts, but it’s temporary (infants age) and the average cost of care for the bulk of the kid’s dependency period is less than $400 a month.

  60. 460
    cal says:

    My ex wife took a job at a nursing home for 6 months and got herself fired to collect unemployment benefits…

  61. 461
    Ampersand says:

    Robert, thanks for the correction.

    Cal, please reread this note from the post itself:

    NOTE FOR COMMENTS: Please don’t post about how you have an income of $500 a month and the judge ordered you to pay $2000 a month in child support to your ungrateful lazy ex-spouse who spends all the child support money on dresses she can wear to the track and she earns more than you do anyway and the judge won’t even reply to your motions. Unless I know both you and your ex-spouse, and can verify for myself that she’d tell me the same version of events that you’re telling me, I don’t think anecdotal evidence of that sort is more useful than the federal data.

  62. 462
    KellyK says:

    Robert, I think you have a good point about “half what’s necessary to maintain their previous lifestyle” being unreasonable in many situations. I don’t think you could put a specific numeric value on what child support should be, because there are too many factors. You could set a minimum or maximum percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income, but X% of your income is very different for someone earning minimum wage than it is for someone pulling down six figures.

    Unless the non-custodial parent has no income (or little enough income that they qualify for government aid), they should be paying *something.* Even if Joe Awesomeguy delivers pizza and his ex-wife Jezebel inherited a fortune and has everything she needs to take care of the kids, they are still his kids, and he should still contribute financially to their upbringing. Period. Not enough to bankrupt him or jeopardize his rent payment, but something. Same if it’s Jane Awesomechick and her scumbag millionaire ex Adolph.

    Also, it sucks when people take advantage, but throwing around anecdotes doesn’t prove that the system is biased toward evil, lazy women (all women being evil and lazy, and men being paragons of saintly virtue, naturally). From the experience of my friends, I could easily conclude that the system is biased toward men. (A friend left an abusive relationship. He got the kids, ignores them a lot of the time. When she actually had an income, she not only paid child support but also ended up buying them school clothes and things that he didn’t bother getting, despite his salary being twice hers.)

    That’s not to say that there aren’t overarching biases. This is one area where gender stereotypes do tend to benefit women, since we’re supposedly instinctively nurturing and “kids just need their mommies.”

  63. 463
    KellyK says:

    Third, such a solution totally devalues and can easily end eliminating the contribution that is made to a child by a parent who does not work outside the home, and instead fills a SAHM/SAHD role. A SAHM married to a high-income dad, who ends up with less custody of the child for whatever reason, is now effectively required to go and seek paid work in order to make financial contributions to her much-higher-income husband, and to forego to a greater or lesser extent the domestic responsibilities which still benefit the child during the times the child is with mom. For totally irrelevant reasons, I’m all in favor of the court sticking it to the non-earning mom and giving extra brownie points (and perhaps free Snickers bars) to the earning dad, but in this scenario I don’t see that as being just.

    Wow…I was all set to agree with you and applaud your good sense until that last sentence. So close! ;)

    Although you say it’s totally irrelevant, now I’m curious. Why should the non-earning mom be penalized? And is it the same if it’s a non-earning dad?

    I actually would see it the other way, where the (previously) non-earning parent is due more support, because they sacrificed their own career options for the sake of the family, and the working spouse most likely got career benefits out of the arrangement, because they were available for long hours or travel or short-notice work, or any number of things they couldn’t have done if they didn’t have an SAH partner to take care of kids and house.

  64. 464
    Helen says:

    I’m sorry if this point has already been made – the comments threat is a little TL;DR now – but as another take on child support, if you are IN a relationship with child/ren and don’t spend $350 per month on child related expenses – let alone $280 – then shame on you. If people think that’s excessive for child support it might shed some light as to why their relationship broke up in the first place.

  65. 465
    Robert says:

    Kelly, I am in the process of a divorce and was the primary wage earner, while my wife worked primarily in the home. I do not think that the judge should stick it to anybody; that was intended as a quasi-witty allusion to my difficulties and my natural emotional desire that the judge should order my wife to wash my car every morning and bring me a piping hot pizza every night, with the box inscribed each day with an original poem by her extolling a different one of my virtues, and if I don’t like the poem I get to order my dog to bite her. Not that he would, the traitor, he still likes her. I don’t THINK that, in other words, I merely FEEL it.

    Though it pains me to give praise to any human institutional system, it seems to me that the general formulas laid out for child support in most jurisdictions of the United States are about as fair and balanced as they can be in a fallen world, and I have never seen a suggestion for modifying them from the present status quo where I could not immediately see ways in which the proposed improvement in fact represented a dreadful de-optimization.

    It might be helpful to summarize how that system makes its calculation. In general, and very broadly (there are thousands of details and many exceptions and every jurisdiction has its own flavors and pet policies), it currently works like this:

    The income of mom and the income of dad over the past few years prior to the hearing at which support is calculated, are reported and documented. If a parent does not work outside of the home and is not hopelessly incapable of doing so by reason of disability or somesuch, then their vocational skills, previous job history, health, etc. are given consideration and an income figure is imputed to them; “this is what you could reasonably earn if you went out and got a job.” For some people this figure can be quite high; the SAHM who was a brain surgeon a couple years back will be imputed an income appropriate to a brain surgeon returning to the workforce. The SAHD who has a high school diploma and has not held a paying job in 20 years will likely be imputed an income of minimum wage.

    The distribution of parenting time/custodial time is then (or previously) allocated by the court based on factors far too arcane and involved to even bullet-point here. With the income figures and the distribution of parenting in hand, the judge allocates an equalization of support that takes the parenting time and the income of both parties into account. The exact formula of course varies from place to place, and even a simplified statement of it would cause the HTML parsers on Amp’s servers to enter a state of terminal nervous exhaustion and probably lead to the genesis of Skynet, so I am not even going to try – but the basic principle is that each parent gives money to the other parent proportional to their incomes and the time that the children spend with each parent. If I make a lot of money and you make (or are imputed to make) only a little, and we each have the kids 50% of the time, then you are expected to give me a tiny fraction of your income and I am expected to give you a tiny fraction of my income. If we have relatively equal incomes but I have the kids 90% of the time and you have 10%, then you are expected to give me a significant fraction of your income and I give you an even tinier than before fraction of mine. If you have high income and I have low income, and you have the kids all or almost all of the time, then you give me nothing and I give you a fair chunk of my diddly-squat. The exact fractions are also proportional to the number of children involved.

    In practice, the parents do not spend their declining years mailing checks back and forth to one another. The sums that each should give the other for support are simply summed, and the person who owes more pays the person who owes less the net difference. For example, my soon-to-be-ex-wife was married previously to a man who now has a high income, while she does not work outside the home and thus was imputed minimum wage. From memory, he was ordered to pay her $1400 a month in support, and she was ordered to pay him $200 a month in support. So he sends her $1200 a month in child support.

    The system is not perfect, and probably its main flaw is not, as MRAs would suggest, that working men get horribly shafted and have to live in a shoebox while mom resides in the Palace Suite aboard a luxury liner, nor is it, as some rabid feminist advocates would probably opine, that vastly wealthy fathers get to pay a pittance while raggedy mothers are forced to work eight jobs to be able to afford a squalorous hovel in Crack Town. People who feel that way about their support orders are mostly, in my kind-of-considerable experience (I hear a lot of stories from family lawyers) either high earners (by no means always fathers) who think it is outrageous that they are actually expected to spend substantive sums of money on their offspring, or low earners (by no means always moms) who for whatever reason internalized a belief early on that it was the role of Other People to do the paying work, while they were to live a life of leisure, self-improvement, or subsidized domesticity. The critical role of the custodial distribution in the sums awarded is often invisible in these discussions, and many many people simply do not understand that the parent who is spending more time doing the parenting is accordingly less liable to pay money to the parent spending less. The system validates and values domestic labor, in other words, whether performed by mom or dad, and as most people do not so valorize this kind of work, other than via lip service, the awards seem wrong to them.

    No, the biggest problem with the system is that, for smart lawyers and smart parents, it puts a bad financial incentive in the custody distribution decision. Both parents have a dollar-value reason to seek more custodial time with the kids, and people motivated more by money than by their child’s overall well-being, will attempt to extirpate the other parent’s custodial time because it pays off in dollar terms. The ideal distribution of custody in a normal situation with two committed and loving parents is generally held to be 50-50; at least statutorily, each parent’s relationship with the child is supposed to be of equal value to the child, and in a perfect world every parent would recognize that and would say “of COURSE I want Brian to have little Frannie and Alexander for half the time. Do you think it would be better to alternate weeks, or alternate months?”

    Instead, and alas, many parents choose instead to attempt to maximize their raw parenting time in an effort to minimize what they have to pay out, or to maximize what they get paid. I won’t bore you with the details of my divorce, but take a hypothetical couple Robin and Tabitha. Robin earned most of the family’s income while Tabitha did not earn much of it; however, Tabitha receives her former husband’s military retirement paycheck and in addition is imputed to be able to earn the minimum wage, even though she does not currently work outside the home. Let’s say that according to the formula, with a 5050 distribution of parenting time, Tabitha would have to pay Robin $150 a month and he would pay her $500 a month, so the court orders him to pay $350 a month. However, Tabitha knows this and wants a better financial deal. So she petitions the court for a 90-10 custody arrangement in her favor; unlikely to be granted, but you never know. Should the 90-10 split become the rule for the child supoprt payment, then Robin will end up owing her a net $1000 or $1100. These figures are rough, naturally.

    OK, I will bore you with my instant case. Under the financially-optimum-for-me scenario calculated by my lawyer (50-50 custody, my ex-wife expected or at least thought-capable of working in her previous field of paid labor, the court accepting my request to average my income over the past three years rather than just using the last, highest figure, a 50-50 custody split) I would have ended up owing a net $150 a month or so in child support. Under the financially pessimistic scenario where the judge takes my income of the last three months before filing (which were pretty high) and extrapolates that out as my “real” annual income, wife gets excused from having any imputation of wages because she’s in school, and the lion’s share of the custody going to her, I would have ended up owing perhaps $1900 in child support.

    Now, in our case, I don’t think $$ is the primary reason she is seeking vast-majority-custody, but I can easily see individuals who would do that; parents aren’t automatically immunized against being cash-grabbing parasites.

    Not that I’m bitter.

  66. 466
    cal says:

    First. My original statement was a rant on how the system is abused, sure things are calculated, drawn up. Examined from left to right, up and down, and people have and will alway say that there is nothing wrong with the current system, but there is.

    Truth, Child support orders aren’t what i have a problem with, what i do have a problem with is when Child support becomes, Mommy support. Lets take for example mom and dad, mom used to work but since the child she hasn’t, dad works a full time 10.00 an hour job, pays the rent, electricity, food, gas… the list goes on and on, mom stays home and does whatever mom does, some moms are good moms, some not so good, whatever. Now dad and mom seperate. Mom realizing that she has gotten herself into a little mess, decides that Dad is responcible for ensuring her well being after the seperation because she has the kids. This is the start of the abuse, now dad tries to help out but a thrid party (court) tells him that 23.78% of his earnings will now be deducted for child support, because mom doesn’t work, and hasn’t worked. Now you think that’s not bad but it gets worse. What you don’t realize is that 23.78% of the check is calculated on the amount made before 30% taxes are taken out. So you say big deal, right, no wrong, they take your their 23.78% then the state takes 30% in taxes out on the ORIGINAL amount, walla! 53.79% of your check gone. Now you may think ohh that’s not our fault, but yes it is, remember above when i told you that i pay my support even though i believe it’s grossly way to high, well here is where the math comes in lets take 100 dollars, 23.70 is removed for child support, then 30.00 is removed for taxes, but you didn’t recieve 100 dollars, so why are they taking it out. Simple, the state wants and needs dad’s money, why? For all those “dead beat” dads out there that the state has to take care of, so what does the state do, they take that little extra money and invest it into the stock market, and pull a quick profit.. This is how all you moms out there get paid for your kids when dad is not paying, it’s not the “generosity” of the state, it’s out of the pockets of the “good” fathers that pay their support. Back to my story, Now dad, having to pay 600.00 finds that a 600.00 child support payment is a little over half of what he originally got, so what does dad do, dad, takes whatever he has left to try to make some kind of life, i don’t know a crappy 100.00 a month appartment, that is too run down to have his kids visit, or worse case a cardboard box. Or dad does another thing, like maybe taking up under the table jobs to make extra money to pay the support that was ordered. What dad doesn’t do is go and get another on the books job, why? because as soon as he does, bam, court takes more money another 23.78% of that pay check, before taxes i remind you. Maybe dad leaves the state and goes back home to his mother, because he can’t afford to live alone anymore, maybe dad can’t afford to live and pay support, so he goes to apply for state assistance, where the state looks at his 10.00 an hour earnins and tells him you make pleanty of money to survive, and that child support is not a vallid expense. Or dad ends up layed off during an economic crisis, and continues to pay the original cs amount because the court sais ” you have the potential to make 10.00 an hour” but now his wages are dropped and still has to pay.. meanwhile mom is suffering too because the economy is bad so what does she do, easy, takes dad back to court for modifications, multiple times, and who pays for that, woah, the non custodal parent. Anyway, back on track again, dad leaves that relationship and struggles to survive for several years, working 2 or 3 jobs one or two of them under the table, but then dad gets lucky and hits a job making 23.00 an hour. Mom finds out and immediately takes dad to court for modification. Now i have a BIG problem, As was stated before in a previous post, cs should provide the same standard of living as the time of the colapse of the relationship, but for some reason this is not the case, dad now pays 23.78% of 21.00 an hour, plus 30% off the original mark and guess what, dad’s back to struggling. Fact.. I as a seperated father need to bring in $90,000 a year to make $30,000 for me, that’s squat. So what do i do, i go to school, being screwed by the system and my ex, why, because both are…. get ready for it , LAZY AND GREEDY, I study and maintain straight a’s through all this stress for what, so i can hold down a $150,000 job and actually bring home about $75,000 a year, so guess what, next time you think that child support system is fair in any way think about this, child support is non taxable income to the custodial parent, that equals FREE MONEY, free for mom, but comes at a cost of half the mans salary. this is truth, this is why i have a problem with cs.

    cs should be made and made once, a one time court deal, it should be based off of the situation at the seperation of the couple, ruled on and ordered by the court, never to be modified again. Also it should be considered a valid taxable expence on taxes taken out after taxes. And fathers should be allowed to claim their children on their taxes, providing they pay support, every year. No man or woman should be punished for bettering themselves after a marriage disolves. Think about it!

  67. 467
    Myca says:

    cs should be made and made once, a one time court deal, it should be based off of the situation at the seperation of the couple, ruled on and ordered by the court, never to be modified again.

    So, wait … earlier, you seemed to be complaining about child support set at a high level and then not lowered when the non-custodial parent’s income dropped. If I’m understanding you correctly, you’re now saying that that’s the correct arrangement?

    Or are you arguing that child support should never be adjusted upwards, only down?

    —Myca

  68. 468
    cal says:

    i am saying cs should never be adjusted period. no upward or downward, also saying cs should be taxable on the custodial parent, not on the non custodial parent. child support should be set at the rate at which the marriage or relationship ended, period, regardless of what each individual parent does after the fact, this gives both parents the ability to better themselves individually also provides a good example for the children, as the children would see that one or both parents actually work towards the betterment of their life in general, also this would deter women from abusing the system because the woman would have nothing to gain later in life.

  69. 469
    cal says:

    the only reason cs is too high is because the non custodial parent has to actually pay double what they are told to pay due to taxes, this is what the court system doesn’t understand, rather than tax the child support amount as it is processed through the state cs system, they tax the non custodial parent based off his original earnings before cs is taken out. this in turn actually makes a 600.00 a month cs payment actually a little over 1200.00 out of pocket for the noncustodial parent, which is fine, granted the man makes a lot and i mean a lot of money. this is why i believe men run from cs. all custodial parents do not realize this is in fact the case, and why. see the federal government only requires taxes on what you take home, not including cs, the state takes the difference in the taxes you should pay, and the taxes you do pay, and puts it into a pot that they use for people who are being shafted, the same thing can be done on the other end, take the taxes out of the cs amount as it’s processed, now what do you have, a taxable income on the custodial parents part, a taxable income on the noncustodial parents part, now it’s fair. no free money for anyone, think of it this way, under current rules if i make 100,000 a year and for math sake lets just say 20% that’s 20,000 dollars going to the custodial parent a year tax free money, leaving you with 80,000 right, now lets take out taxes on a federal average of 30% of 100,000 that’s another 30,000 that leaves the man with 50,000 dollars a year, the federal government takes 24000 and the state takes 6,000 for dead beat dad purposes. ok lets turn the tables and see why this is an issue for most states,same money 100000, 20% to mom, that’s 20,000 lets take out 30 percent 6,000 to the fed right, ok now the dad has 80,000 take out 30% that’s 24000 for the fed leaving the dad 56000. but wait, where’s the states money, gone… that’s why they won’t change it.

  70. 470
    cal says:

    i also believe that the rules for non payment should be loosened, enforsed but loosened, due to economic problems, loss of job, whatever, A person should not be falted or punished for circumstances that are out of his controll, for instance, if it is found that a parent is unable to pay for one reason or another lets say he wants to go to school to get a degree and a better job, that person should be given x amount of time, where x is the amount of time it takes to get the degree to return to his standard of living depending on situation, the ballance owed over x months or years should not acrue interest, and should sit in a account, this amount should be added at the end of the support order, ie 18 years old plus the amount of time used for the degree. remember this is child support, not state support, not mommy support. Just because a parent hits hard times does not mean that he doesn’t want to support his child. another thing i believe that child support should be set 50 50 on the parents in EVERY case, not to be determined by whom sees whom for how many days and when. That’s just bs. each person is obligated towards 50 percent of the childs upbringing, no matter what, both parents had the child equally.

  71. 471
    cal says:

    now i realize a lot of you are going to say all that over 6000 a year, yes and this is why, if cs was a one time thing never to be touched again, that man can then better himself and make raises, or who knows go to school and get a better career at say 200000 and he is still only obligated to pay 20000 toward cs, this is fair, it was the owers decision and hard work that got him from 100k to 200k and yes he would still pay taxes on 180000 or 54000 dollars which puts him over 100k again. get it! no law can be made that abridges the ability of a us citizen from life liberty or property… in otherwords, the fact that cs is modifyable violates the preamble of the us constitution, it abridges the rights of citizens, removing their rights to better themselves.

  72. 472
    Ampersand says:

    Cal, four out of the last four comments on this thread are written by you. Generally speaking, threads on “Alas” should be conversations, not lectures.

  73. 473
    Myca says:

    A person should not be falted or punished for circumstances that are out of his controll, for instance, if it is found that a parent is unable to pay for one reason or another lets say he wants to go to school to get a degree and a better job, that person should be given x amount of time, where x is the amount of time it takes to get the degree to return to his standard of living depending on situation, the ballance owed over x months or years should not acrue interest, and should sit in a account, this amount should be added at the end of the support order, ie 18 years old plus the amount of time used for the degree.

    Now wait a damn minute.

    Either we take life circumstances into account in determining payment of child support or we don’t.

    If we do, then yes, someone who chooses (chooses, mind you) to quit work or work less in order to go to school … maybe we ought to cut them a break. But then, also, we’ll have to take into account when someone begins to make more money. You don’t get to have it both ways.

    As far as your ingenious ‘I get to delay paying my child support indefinitely without penalty’ plan, I’d just like to ask how the fuck you think your child eats and is clothed, while you fuck around in college.

    Oh? The child’s other parent pays 100% of their costs during that time? So effectively they’re nonconsensually loaning you your half of the child support for the duration?

    Yeah. That blows. paying some penalties and interest is more than justified.

    —Myca

  74. 474
    Amused says:

    Robert: Point well-taken about the amount of child support, but my comment was addressed to the frequently expressed idea that child support should be limited to half of what is barely required to keep the child alive. Unless a parent is unable to come up with the money, I see no reason why divorce should mean parents are suddenly expected to do no more than to keep their children exactly at poverty level, regardless of prior lifestyle. I understand children should not be taught to have too high expectation of continuing a life of … well, whatever it was before the divorce. But as far as I believe, a downward change in lifestyle isn’t just having fewer toys and no ice cream on weekdays — it means having educational opportunities taken away, changing schools, changing neighborhoods, inferior health care, lack of privacy, greater threat from crime and general privation; and I would be wary that putting children on bread and water, so to speak, even when their parents can do much better than that, sends the message to children that they are being punished for the divorce.

  75. 475
    cal says:

    It seems as if i have offended someone… so, i ask you myca, is it fair that you work your butt off to make ends meet, after years finally having something extra coming in, then bam the court takes it away again. that’s fair, the custodial parent should benefit from your sucess. BS. the child can benefit from my sucess, on weekends or weekdays, or christmas, or vacations, the child can see that that parent had worked their butt off payed their cs and still, STILL managed to put extras on the table, instead we tell our children and send the message that the custodial parent DESERVES free everything, money from dad and so on. Please? anyone who would get offended by my comments are the custodial parents looking for handouts.
    fact
    i am a college student, that pays my child support that was set at a 23.00 an hour job
    i pay that amount every month with out fail,
    i currently have a 3.92 gpa and have been certified as genius
    phy theta cappa is knocking on my door asking me to join so they look better,.
    and i don’t do it, i stay at home, with my NEW family that has to suffer so, maybe after 4 or 5 years i can get screwed even more by the state because for all my hard work i will pay my ex wife a bonefied salary of 20,000 dollars plus a year tax free in addition to having to pay my bills. Your claim is rediculous, cs should not be modified ever,

    the way that myca see’s it is that if a man looses a job he goes to jail, if he can’t pay for one reason or another he goes to jail, well guess what myca, who pays for him while he’s in jail, … you , me , everybody, yeah, that’s a good trade off.
    and do you get paid while he’s in jail, … not by him, by people like me and my tax money.

  76. 476
    Jake Squid says:

    I’m going to dispute cal’s claim that a parent paying child support will end up paying more than 50% of their take home pay towards cs. As a person who actually does payroll and deals with garnishments, support orders and national medical support orders, I have yet to see a state in which that would be allowable. Every state from which I have received a cs order for an employee has set a percentage as the upper limit that can be deducted from an employee’s net pay for support orders, medical support orders and other garnishments. I have never seen that percentage higher than 50%. 50% is, usually, that cap. I have seen it as low as 40%. When dealing with federal tax liens, the federal govt’s cap is 55%, but if the state in which you’re paying employees has a lower cap, you have to go to that lower level. In the case of cs, you must use the lowest cap of the states involved (state originating the cs order and the state from which the employee is being paid).

    If, as an employee who has to pay cs, you have a gross paycheck of $1400 and a net of $1207, you can be ordered to pay up to $603.50 in combined cs, medical support and other garnishments and liens.

    Most of the employees that I do payroll for earn between 12 and 16 dollars an hour. I have never seen a cs order that approaches 50% of net pay. Never. Not a single one. I have, however, seen cases where a medical support order would put them over that 50% cap. You know what happens then? The employee is not required to pay medical support if the combined cs + medical support goes over 50%.

    I will also point out that the correct spelling is “voila” and not “walla”. If you haven’t had that shown to you in the past, you’d have no way of knowing.

  77. 477
    Jake Squid says:

    cal writes:

    i currently have a 3.92 gpa and have been certified as genius

    Fucking awesome.

    Wile E. Coyote. Supra-geeeeenius.

    Can I ask which organization’s certification you have? And can I get the certificate number?

  78. 478
    Torn says:

    Cal
    Where on earth do you get your information? If the non-custodial parent is not paying their ordered support the custodial parent get a big fat NOTHING! I Personally deal with both sides of this argument as I receive support from my ex and my husband pays it to his. I have seen that there are flaws in the system. However, it does more good then it does harm. You also keep saying that the mother has custody in all situations. A good friend of mine has custody of HIS son and his ex pays him support. The non-custodial parent should absolutely help pay to put a roof over the kids head. I have two kids with my ex and was a single parent for 2 1/2 years. If it had just been me I would have had a 1 bedroom apartment, used much less electricity, and less water. As it is my kids are of the opposite sex. Federal law states that once they reach a certain age they are not allowed to share a room. At that point I am now required to have no less then a 3 bedroom home. My ex left me and because I wouldn’t put up with his abuse anymore. Which is way I was awarded custody.
    In my husbands case he had 50/50 custody and she then filed for full custody and had all paperwork sent to the wrong address. He obviously did not show up for court due to never receiving the paperwork and she was awarded full custody. She also lied to the court stating that my husband had a job that he didn’t, he was unmarried and had no other biological children. So his child support was set high. Truth is my husband is obviously married and we have a daughter whom his ex has met many times. He is also 80% disabled and only income is SSI and the compensation he gets for his injury, which isn’t much. All of which she has knowledge of. Yes, my husband got screwed, however, we are in the process of trying to get it fixed. When it is all said and done she will end up owing us money. So like I said I know how it is to be on both sides of this. Oh and my ex worked solely under the table so he didn’t have to pay his support and in those years I never received a dime from anyone other then my employers!! I also have friends who were not receiving anything from anyone when their ex’s weren’t paying. So I would like to know where you got that information.

  79. 479
    Robert says:

    I do think that the fact that child support is based on pre-tax income is somewhat unfair to the people paying it. Some people pay higher, even much higher, rates of tax than others would on the same income, and guidelines designed to avoid putting the payer into the poorhouse might not recognize that.

    I would fix it by making actual child support paid a deduction from the income tax, making actual child support received taxable income, and adjusting the support formulas to take the new tax status for the recipient into account so that kids get more or less the originally intended amount. (Right now c/s isn’t deductible and the recipient doesn’t pay taxes on it, the rationale for the latter being that the payer paid income tax on the income that the c/s came out of.)

    Other than that, I don’t think that cs is contributing much to this discussion other than opportunities for Jake to make cheap, if hilarious, snark at his expense.

  80. 480
    KellyK says:

    Robert, I’m really sorry to hear about your divorce, and I hope that things get resolved in a way that’s reasonably fair to both of you, with as little damage to the kids as possible.

    And since the “stick it to the non-working mother” thing was just bitterness (which is totally understandable when going through a divorce), that means I do agree with you. (Gasp!)

  81. 481
    Robert says:

    Thanks, KellyK. It will work out well for me, and I think my daughter will adjust although it will never be easy for her. As for agreeing with me, it’s the first step on a slippery slope. In ten years you’ll find yourself at a gun-rights rally holding a sign that says “Tax The Poor – They’re The Ones Costing Us Money”, chanting for the impeachment of President Biden for failing to execute enough illegal immigrants, and you’ll look at yourself and say “my God, I should never have gone on to that Alas site! WHAT HAVE I BECOME????”

  82. 482
    Robert says:

    Cal, not cs. Jiminy cricket, who slipped me the “names are hard, just approximate it” drug?

  83. 483
    KellyK says:

    Thanks, KellyK. It will work out well for me, and I think my daughter will adjust although it will never be easy for her. As for agreeing with me, it’s the first step on a slippery slope. In ten years you’ll find yourself at a gun-rights rally holding a sign that says “Tax The Poor – They’re The Ones Costing Us Money”, chanting for the impeachment of President Biden for failing to execute enough illegal immigrants, and you’ll look at yourself and say “my God, I should never have gone on to that Alas site! WHAT HAVE I BECOME????”

    Hahaha! Okay, that was hilarious, thank you.

    But I’m already in favor of gun rights—OH NO, IT’S ALREADY STARTED!

    If you’ll excuse me, I need to go watch The Daily Show and Rachel Maddow while I still can!

  84. 484
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    Everyone will probably say, “Well, DUH!”, but it had literally never occurred to me that joint custody was so much more expensive than raising a child in one household.

  85. 485
    Helen says:

    Let’s look at this big elephant in the room here. (Again apologies if this has already been covered in this long thread.) It’s called “maintaining two houses/apartments”. Once you split you have two rents, or two mortgages instead of one. It’s this which makes the non-custodial parent poorer, not custodial parents living the high life. But guess what – kids still need school books, clothes, food and activities.

  86. 486
    Robert says:

    Joint custody more expensive? Well, I guess it depends on whose costs you count as being part of the joint custody. My wife has a house, I have a house, the kid has expenses, add that all up, it’s more than we were spending post-divorce.

    I suppose that if one parent has ALL custody and the child NEVER goes to the other house, you could have a situation of house, tiny apartment, kid’s expenses, which is less than house, house, kid’s expenses.

    But it seems to me that the double household is what’s driving the bulk of the expense. Even in the Bad Old Days of routine 90/10 custody splits, Probably-Dad didn’t usually go get the tiniest apartment possible. He got something where little Billy and Sally could come spend their vacations with him or whatever; 2 or 3 bedroom, say, instead of studio. I guess that house + 3 bedroom apt is less than house + house, but seems like much of the extra expense is the additional housing for someone, period; in terms of housing, it costs close to the same to have a kid for one month out of the year as it does to have him year-round. The variable costs (food, utilities, medicine, whiskey for custodial parent) will be bigger in one place than the other, but assuming a continuity of living standards (i.e., mom doesn’t freeze the house out at 56 degrees while dad cranks his apartment heat to 92) that won’t change the balance.

    So what did I miss here that makes joint way more expensive than sole custody?

  87. 487
    Grace Annam says:

    cal:

    i currently have a 3.92 gpa and have been certified as genius

    At what point will you turn your intellect to such things as grammar, learning to punctuate, and finding the spell check feature?

    I usually don’t comment on such things. Usually they’re not bad enough to significantly impair communication. But your prose costs me precious time. It took me a second or two to flesh out “bonefied” into something with meaning.

    Grace

  88. 488
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    I could have just plain been mistaken– it seemed like the extra room plus travel expenses (but I was leaving out that the households could be near each other) would add up. There’s also the possibility of legal expenses, but I don’t know how common it is for joint custody to be contentious enough to include them.

  89. 489
    Robert says:

    There’s also the possibility of legal expenses, but I don’t know how common it is for joint custody to be contentious enough to include them.

    Pause for bitter, bitter, bitter laughter. ;)

    (Don’t worry too much, people who see comments like that and think I’m sinking into a spiral of bitterness. I really am not. I am just milking a schtick. (“Milk a schtick? He should be milking a cow!” /twooldguysinthemuppettheaterbalcony))

    In any divorce other than an amicable one in which the parties can agree on all or most major issues, and then the legal bills can be pretty mild (just court costs and however much time it takes a lawyer for each side to look over the proposed agreements and make sure there’s not a “and I get to eat your living flesh bwa ha ha ha!” clause tucked in there. They can also be pretty heavy even if the settlement is amicable, if the lawyers end up doing a lot of the settling and balancing of issues, at $150 or $250 or $350 or more an hour.

    When things are in dispute, that’s when the legal bills go BOOOOOM. Everything has to be litigated. In open court. My impression is that judges hate this, and that they sometimes secretly wish that they were empowered to simply shoot recalcitrant parents from the bench. Helllooooo, $2500 in court proceedings to decide ownership of a $500 family heirloom antique. Mostly people are smart enough to avoid that kind of thing, though. Mostly.

    So it isn’t the joint custody that drives the bill, it’s what elements of the divorce the former couple cannot decide on via negotiation outside the formal legal system. Sometimes joint custody will be something they both agree to, and thus largely moot cost-wise, and sometimes it will be a point of bitter contention (there’s that word again!) and cost the GDP of Mali.

    Is joint custody that big an issue? I gather that it used to be but is decreasing importance as state legal codes, and more importantly the customs, traditions and allowable latitude of courts, take on more and more of a presumption of joint custody, with the parent seeking reduction of the other parent’s custodial right having the burden of proving unfitness or something similar.

    I imagine that one of the local lawyers could clarify this better than I could, but would then have to charge us each $299 (on sale now!) in order to be Behaving Ethically.

  90. 490
    cal says:

    I have been taking a while to respond not for any reason, except that, it seems that this has become a test of my knowledge, so therefore, i will respond from now on in debate format, with works cited, MLA style. So lets do this.

    According to Holstein, a physician and public health consultant and founder of fathers and families states. “We believe that what’s best for children is a two-condo solution, instead of a castle and a shack,” “And both homes should be comfortable for the children.”(1) That being said, I bring to your attention this fact Home plus twenty percent home is more than just home alone, and Electric plus twenty percent electric is more than just electric. This situation creates an unfair bios when it comes to the living situation of the CP and the NCP. Hold on i forgot to capitalize my I’s, I shall do that now, for all you that wish to correct my grammar. Ok, I digress, All you angry women are now like, so what, you have one opinion, to which we do not agree. I’ll keep going.
    According to Sanford Braver, an Arizona State Researcher, and book writer “The unique contribution in this particular chapter are the equations that provide specific information about where guidelines produce child support orders that exceed the goal of equalizing living standards. A detailed example involves the State of Arizona, with a noncustodial parent�s gross income set at $3,000 monthly, and two children spending 30% of their time with the noncustodial parent. If the custodial parent brings in more than $1,578, she will have a higher living standard than the noncustodial parent.

    It has been previously shown that child support awards contain hidden alimony. This same work presents calculations for spousal support that properly compliment a child support award to achieve a target standard of living in the custodial household. But it is not always appropriate to award spousal support (or alimony). For a variety of legal and straightforward logical reasons, spousal support should not be provided as part of a child support award.

    Some advocates have suggested that equalizing the standard of living between two households is a better approach to child support. Judith Cassetty poineered a standard of living equalization method nearly twenty years ago. This method was rejected in all states because equalization of living standards, or equalization of income would provide a margin of alimony or spousal support in many cases. “It is illegal to include spousal support in a child support award,” wrote a Washington State guideline review committee, “because spousal support can be awarded separately when appropriate.” (This is not so in low income situations. If properly designed, sol equalization may indeed be a good simple preferred approach in welfare cases.) “(2) This one goes on and on about the cs system feel free to read it at your leasure, I will be sure to make a note in the works cited paragraph regarding this one. However I do want to bring your attention to the paragraph where Braver states that CS orders “contain hidden alamony” Well it seems as if I had stated that in a prior post.. interesting. Hold on I better go capitalize my I’s. Heaven forbid I get lazy. According to the State of Connecticut Guidelines Handbook (the same book read from in courts preceding all support cases) “(1) Allowable deductions from gross income
    • Medical insurance premium deduction now includes
    amount for the child whose support is being determined.
    • Husky Plan contributions added.
    • Court-ordered life insurance for the benefit of the
    child added.
    • Court-ordered disability insurance added.
    • Union dues deduction now limited to amounts
    deducted by the employer.
    • The cost of mandatory uniforms and tools, if deducted
    by the employer, added.
    (2) Gross income
    • Maximum hourly wages included in gross income
    reduced from 52 to 45 hours per week.
    • Tribal stipends and incentives added as a gross
    income inclusion.
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) exclusion
    clarified to apply to payments for a child.
    • Adoption subsidy benefits for the child added as a
    gross income inclusion.
    • Limitation of education grants inclusion changed from
    amounts available for personal living expenses to
    amounts that are federally taxable.” (3)
    I now bring your attention to the fact that this is from “gross” income deductions, Jake squid, there you have it, the following lines of this quote state “net income deductions are only used if the CP recieves alamony, in calculating alamony payments, and for those paying CS with disability. Again i pull you back to my original claim that a NCP pays 23.78% plus an additional 30 percent national tax on gross income holds true. case and point, State of Connecticut Child Support Enforcement Handbook, Section 46b-215a-1 and i quote “As used in sections 46b-215a-1, 46b-215a-2b, 46b-215a-3, 46b-215a-4a and 46b-215a-5b:
    (1) “Allowable deductions” means average weekly amounts subtracted from gross income to arrive at net
    income, and are limited to the following:
    (A) federal, state and local income taxes, based upon all allowable exemptions, deductions and credits;
    (B) social security taxes or, in lieu thereof, mandatory retirement plan deductions for an amount not to
    exceed the maximum amount permissible under social security;
    (C) medicare tax;
    (D) medical, hospital, dental or health insurance premium payments, including Husky Plan
    contributions, for the parent and his or her legal dependents, provided the parent provides the name
    of the insurer and the policy number;
    (E) court-ordered life insurance for the benefit of the child whose support is being determined;
    (F) court-ordered disability insurance;
    (G) mandatory union dues or fees, including initiation, to the extent deducted by the employer;
    (H) the cost of mandatory uniforms and tools, to the extent deducted by the employer;
    (I) court-ordered alimony and child support awards for individuals not involved in the support
    determination, provided a deduction for such awards shall be allowed only to the extent of payment
    on any non-arrearage amounts; and
    (J) an imputed support obligation for a qualified child, as determined in accordance with section
    46b-215a-2b(e) of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies.” (3)
    I refer you to the first line I will paraphrase, CS allowable deductions come prior to all of the following, then read in order. Ok Forget MLA baby is crying and got to take care of it. so here you go.
    1 http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/about-fathers/200901/child-support-how-much-is-too-much
    2 http://mensnewsdaily.com/archive/g/gay/02/gay121102.htm
    3 http://www.jud.ct.gov/Publications/ChildSupport/2005csguidelines.pdf

  91. 491
    chingona says:

    It’s bias, not bios.

  92. 492
    Jake Squid says:

    “alimony” not “alamony”

    Sure, more than 50% of your gross paycheck can taken to pay a combination of garnishments and taxes. So what? You were going to pay those taxes anyway. But the combination of garnishments, child support orders and national medical support notices cannot generally be more than 50% of your net pay. I don’t know about you, but net pay is what it’s all about for me. I care how much I take home, not how much I would take home if there were no taxes.

    Here’s an example from today’s payroll:

    Employee X earns $13/hr.
    He has a cs order for $126.46 per paycheck
    He has a national medical support notice ordering him to pay $147.88 per paycheck to add his child to his medical, dental and vision policies.
    He also has a garnishment that per state rules will take $268.26 on this paycheck.

    His gross pay is $1456.98
    Taxes are $383.95
    Net Pay is $1073.03
    Child Support is $126.46
    Medical Support is $147.88
    Garnishment is $268.26 but, according to state law, that is reduced to $262.17 to keep the total of support, medical support and garnishments and liens to no more that 50% of net pay.

    Take home is $536.51. That’s 50% of his net pay. Now we can see that child support and medical support totals $274.34. If you add taxes to that, you get a total of $658.29 which is 45.18% of his gross. Of course, he would have been paying that 26.35% of his gross in taxes even if there were no support orders. The child support and medical support orders are 18.83% of his gross. With the additional, non-child support related garnishment, 63.18% of his gross is being garnished. So, in addition to the usual 26% of gross pay in taxes that he pays on every paycheck he has to pay an additional 18.83% of his gross towards child support. Are the courts unaware of taxes and state limits for deductions of child support?

    Is that a lot? Yeah it is. Is $126.46 every two weeks an excessive amount of child support? Is $63.23 per week allowing the mother of the child to live a life of luxury? Not even close. Apparently, even minimal amounts of child support when added to tax rates are excessive in cal’s eyes.

    I vehemently disagree with cal and I thank him for pointing out how little support %45 of gross pay including taxes actually is.

  93. 493
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Is $126.46 every two weeks an excessive amount of child support? Is $63.23 per week allowing the mother of the child to live a life of luxury?

    What happened to context?

    The debtor here is taking home, after reductions, a whopping $218.26 per week. It’s not like ANYONE here is living a life of luxury, right? If you’re living on $31/day, or raising kids on anywhere near that amount then yeah, $63.23 extra is a shitload of extra cash–getting it, or giving it up.

    Obviously the custodial parent can easily need it since they have the kids and all that. But that’s not always true; the custodial parent can also need it less.

    And even though the custodial parent usually has a real need for the money, it’s absolutely incorrect that it can’t ALSO put a huge burden on the absentee parent.

  94. 494
    cal says:

    disagree with what? the opinion of published researchers, and doctors… hmmm. Just saying, lets make it clearer,
    by your math, i would take home 536.00 right, ok lets talk house.
    the cp has a home and a job recieving 1456.00 a week plus 262.00 plus any aditional income brought into the house hold. they live on the left side of the street where an average monthly cost of housing it lets say 1000.00 a month, that’s just rent right. Ok so the CP is able to make rent/mortguage payment in one pay check, where as the NCP has to work 2 weeks to make barely enough to afford rent, which in turn pushes him to the right side of the street where housing costs about hmmm lets say, 500.00 a month, so question is, what type of shelter can you acquire for 500.oo a month, because based of the logic that there should be an equal living enviroment the NCP should be able to afford his rent payment off of one check as the CP is able to, hell they make the same amount of money right. But this isn’t the case is it. Now we have NCP living in a studio appartment because he can’t afford better, he is not able to see his children a lot because well his housing situation doesn’t allow for it. this infact can raise the amount of CS the NCP pays. Now lets talk electricity, ok so the CP has about a s200.00 electric bill, Wow look at that, between the income she makes, plus the tax free income she makes from CS she can pay her electric bill in the same week as the mortguage. Lets now compair to the NCP, Lets say the NCP has a 100.00 electric bill (he doesn’t have the kids as much, and knows he can’t afford it so he keeps it down, just saying i’ve never seen a electric bill under 100.00, but anyway) Look, he has to wait for week 2 to pay that, meanwhile his first weeks paycheck has been spent on rent, not food, not gas.. Just rent, now 100 out of his 500 is gone leaving him 400 to buy 2 weeks worth of food and gas, because he has no other choice. Week 2 money gone.
    Now lets look back at the CP. The CP may have other expences including gas and what not, but here’s the point both the CP and NCP make the same money work the same amount of time, and here’s the difference NCP ~(that’s a similar to symbol) 2000.00 a month, or 24,000 a year roughly, and the CP ~ 6000.00 a month or 72,000.00 a year. Tell me CS doesn’t force the NCP to work multiple jobs to stay alive 24,000 is poverty. Argue with that!

  95. 495
    Susan says:

    Now lets look back at the CP. The CP may have other expences including gas and what not, but here’s the point both the CP and NCP make the same money work the same amount of time, and here’s the difference NCP ~(that’s a similar to symbol) 2000.00 a month, or 24,000 a year roughly, and the CP ~ 6000.00 a month or 72,000.00 a year. Tell me CS doesn’t force the NCP to work multiple jobs to stay alive 24,000 is poverty. Argue with that!

    Yes, well, but what we seem to be talking about here are the adults. The CP, the NCP. Child support payments, however, are focused on someone else. The child or children, first, and the rest of us (who will be forced to support the children if the parents do not) second.

    Before you create a child (a being who will need very expensive financial support for the next two decades) you might give some thought to the long term consequences. You, mom. You, dad. (I know it can be and often be reversed, don’t distract us by jumping on that. Stop that. ) In fact, the vast majority of child support payments are owed from dad to mom, and the vast majority of such payments are never paid. Which means, mom (the usual custodial parent) will live in poverty or nearly so; which means dad (the usual non-custodial parent) will either pay through the nose or go underground economically; which means that the innocent party here, the child, may suffer scarcity. (And which might mean that I, the innocent taxpayer, have to pick up the difference.)

    I mean, think. Or, at a minimum, take responsibility for not having thought.

    This whole argument is tiresome. Yes, dad often gets the shaft. Yes, mom often has to scrape along with nothing. Yes, sometimes dad has to pay too much. Yes, sometimes mom gets too much or too little.

    I mean, the courts, who are supposed to clean up the mess made by other people, sometimes do it right and sometimes don’t. Honest to God, those of us working in the field are trying to get it right, which is nearly freaking impossible.

    But you know who made the mess in the first place?? THE PARENTS. Stop trying to blame the rest of us that we don’t clean it up perfectly.

  96. 496
    Torn says:

    Looks to me like the NCP would need to learn how to better manage their money, research housing, and research electricity companies. I have a 3 bedroom, 1 bath house with a 1 car garage, decent sized kitchen, formal dining-room, and a large backyard with a rent of $600.00 a month and I don’t live in a bad neighborhood. We have a 6 person family and my winter electric bill last month was $123.28. When you are on a limited budget you can still have a good life. It just takes time and research. My ex’s household brings in almost 3 times the income we do(my household’s including his support paid) and yet they have 5 people living in a 2 bedroom apartment and have had multiple cars repossessed, and a house foreclosed on(mind you their mortgage including insurance and taxes was the same as my rent). My husband’s ex along with her husband, their son and my step-son live with her grandparents. Not because they have to but because they choose to. We are just above the poverty level and yet we are able to provide a good life for our kids. All because we took the time to research.

  97. 497
    Ampersand says:

    I have a 3 bedroom, 1 bath house with a 1 car garage, decent sized kitchen, formal dining-room, and a large backyard with a rent of $600.00 a month and I don’t live in a bad neighborhood.

    Rent depends on the city you’re located in. That kind of deal would require simply ENORMOUS luck to find in Portland, where I live.

  98. 498
    Jake Squid says:

    And even though the custodial parent usually has a real need for the money, it’s absolutely incorrect that it can’t ALSO put a huge burden on the absentee parent.

    Absolutely. The question is whether all parties, in the aggregate, are best served by that level of cs, a lower level of cs or a higher level of cs. IMO, we could adjust that cs by several dollars up or down but more than that is going to inflict too much harm on one party or the other.

    What happened to context?

    The debtor here is taking home, after reductions, a whopping $218.26 per week.

    Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention that the medical support order is for one child and the monetary support order is for two children. (Which leaves me wondering why there isn’t a medical support order for the second child)

    The employee would have an extra $131.085 per week if not for the garnishment that doesn’t go towards the children’s needs. That’s an extra 2 weekly child support payments. I’m not saying that employee X would be living a life of luxury if not for that $63.23/week (or even that $131.085/wk) just as I’m not saying employee X’s children or ex are living it up on that. It truly sucks that he has so little take home pay. It sucks for employee X’s children that they wind up with just over a quarter of the amount that employee X takes home.

    Do you think that that level of cs is excessive, g&w? I don’t. Neither do I think he should be paying at a much higher rate. I dunno, maybe an additional $40/wk given what his take home would be w/o the non-cs garnishment? I could be convinced either way. I don’t think I could be convinced that he should have a lower support payment, though. He’s already paying almost nothing ($31.62 per child per week in monetary support – in other figures, 4.3% of his gross or 5.9% of his net per child per week) for his children. The medical support for one child is a much more significant chunk of change at $73.94 per week (10.1% of his gross per week or 13.8% of his net).

    It sucks for employee X, it sucks for his kids but I don’t see it as an injustice that employee X has to pay 25% of his after tax pay in child support and medical support for two children for whom he is not the custodial parent.

    (That other garnishment, btw, comes from not paying or underpaying state taxes in excess of $3000 in 2009. A mistake, I’m sure, but one that had nothing to do with employee X’s child. Unless that $3000 comes from him claiming children as deductions when he wasn’t the custodial parent.)

  99. 499
    Susan says:

    But you know who made the mess in the first place?? THE PARENTS. Stop trying to blame the rest of us that we don’t clean it up perfectly.

    I want to represent a different voice.

    You got yourselves into this. Now you can get yourselves out. Don’t come to me as a taxpayer to bail you out and support your children, which is what so often happens.

    And don’t blame me when the (publicly subsidized, that’s me folks!) courts don’t get it exactly right according to you. (Mom: “I don’t get enough!!” Dad: “I pay too much!”)

    I’ll support your children if there really is no other option, but if you, the parents, either of you, have money at all please to support your own children, I have children of my own to support without supporting yours.

    Who’s getting the shaft here, the custodial parent or the not-custodial parent? Who can say? Please work this out between you.

    I stayed married, though it wasn’t always easy. I’m not saying that you should have stayed married. I don’t know your circumstances. Just, don’t ask me to clean up after your life, and if we collectively don’t do a perfect job after trying our best, don’t complain. The family courts are struggling against massive odds and doing the best they can. And please to not whine at me about who’s getting the shaft. Honest, we’re doing the best we can do under the circumstances.

    You got yourself into this, you can get yourself out. Just don’t ask me to clean up after you any more than I am already.

    I have problems of my own.

  100. 500
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Do you think that that level of cs is excessive, g&w? I don’t. Neither do I think he should be paying at a much higher rate. I dunno, maybe an additional $40/wk given what his take home would be w/o the non-cs garnishment? I could be convinced either way.

    Who knows?

    I see a lot of this in my practice though I don’t do litigated divorce. It’s pretty much universal that there is no universal rule which won’t screw some folks some of the time. I guess the best thing I could point out is that “it sucks for her” and “it sucks for him” are often true simultaneously. There’s a temptation to set up a false dichotomy in that area, but it shouldn’t be there.

    It’s also (sadly) fairly standard for all parties involved to game the system. There’s no great way around that. If you have a rules based system, folks will game the rules, and their ability to do so is often controlled by factors outside the rules. If you don’t have a rules-based system then the outcome tend to be widely disparate and very discretionary, which leads to a different kind of unfairness.

    The best bet is for everyone just to mediate. It’s the only kind of divorce work I’ll do. Both MRAs and feminist groups would do well to push mediation as a solution IMO; it’s usually a far better outcome for everyone involved. not to mention that it costs a tiny fraction of a litigated divorce, while providing excellent guidance.