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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 03-08-2006, 12:00 PM
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Default Help - Child Support


First of all I was very impressed with the support everyone was getting on this website and was hoping I could tap into some of that and the knowledge basis of the members.

A little bit of my background that got me into this situation. I'm single 30 years old and should have known better. Basically I had a one (4) night stand with a woman who said that she was on the pill. My mistake was I trusted her and didn't protect myself. That was foolish and irresponsible on my part. Anyways, you probably know what's next.

Yes, she got pregnant and gave birth to a boy and is now asking for child support. We leave in two different cities, 6 hours apart. We filled out the financial income statement and I'm in the hole every month by about $500. My problem is I financially cann't afford to pay child support. I only make $12.00 an hour. I went to lawyer and he told me based on my income it would be about $213 a month plus my share of the daycare ($700).which will come into affect in August. As well she is asking for back payments from July 2005. The women in question makes approximately $36,000 which $10,000 more annually than me. She is living with her mother in the 3 bedroom townhouse while I'm leaving in a one bed room apartment. My understanding is her mother is pulling in approximately $50,000.

While was was struggling with all this and often went into a deep depression, I had a friend (women) who helped through this and fell in love with her. She has been my rock and saviour. We are planning to get married and expecting our first child in August, which I'm very excited about. My finance is unemployed at the present time. But my past mistake with a fling is putting a terrible toll on my new life. I know I have to pay child support but after reading the Act, the court doesn't seem to favour the non-custiodal parent (especially men) and doesn't take my circumstances under consideration. It appears it is only based on my income. I hope I'm wrong. On your website you mentioned that there was book that could help my lower my payments but it seems to be geared to the US. Is there an equivalent for Ontario?

My questions are:
Is there any way on lowering the payments?
How can I afford to pay child support and look after my family? I just cann't see how I can manage it.
How can I prove that her standard of living is much better than mine?
Do I have to pay back child support to the date of the baby's birth?

Any helpful advice would be appreciated.

Defeated
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Old 03-08-2006, 04:02 PM
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Hello Defeated, and welcome to the site. There are many people here with far more legal education and experience than I have, and will likely be able to help more, but I'll give you my opinions and best guess as to what you're looking at. Hope it helps!

You asked:
"My questions are:
Is there any way on lowering the payments? "

You may be able to claim "undue hardship", which essentially will allow the court to look at your financial circumstances versus your financial obligations to your child. While your child support amount doesn't seem high to me, I rather doubt the daycare amount would be reasonable; if she makes more money than you, I would think daycare would be split proportionately, and $700 would be far more than a proportionate share.

"How can I afford to pay child support and look after my family? I just cann't see how I can manage it."

The short answer: you manage it by doing whatever you have to. As I said, you can ask the court to consider undue hardship, but whatever amount is set, you do whatever you have to to afford it; whether that's moving in with your parents, working a second job, giving up luxuries.. whatever it takes. I know you're struggling with being a father earlier than planned, but that is the reality you are dealing with. On the up side, as well as having responsibilities to your son, you also have rights, and exercising them could bring you greater joy than any amount of material goods will ever come close to.
The first thing I think you need to do is to start changing the way you think about your son; he IS your family. I know you were refering to your 'new' family, but sometimes wording is very indicative of perceptions, and I'm guessing that you haven't exactly been including your son as being part of your family. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding his conception, he is still your son, and very much entitled to not just your financial support, but especially your love, time, and commitment. Frankly, your obligations to him began before your current plans to marry and the second child on the way, so if you and your fiance have to have a quiet civil service at the courthouse in order to meet your financial obligations to your son, that's what you do.

"How can I prove that her standard of living is much better than mine?"
In order to set a child support amount, the Federal Child Support Guidelines require not only your financial information, but hers as well. Unless she's earning income that she isn't showing, there's very little else to argue about. The choices each of you make that contribute to your standard of living (such as her sharing living expenses with her parents, while you have your own apartment) hold very little, if any, weight with the court in terms of child support obligations; at least, that's my understanding of the law.. someone, please correct me if I'm wrong on that..?

"Do I have to pay back child support to the date of the baby's birth?"

Likely, yes. Have you known about the child since then? And if so, have you done anything to contribute? If not, why not? I'm thinking that unless you only just found out about the child's existence, there's a good chance you will have to pay retroactive to the birth.

I'm guessing these aren't the answers you are hoping for, and maybe someone else can help you further, but I think the best advice I can give you is to start accepting the reality of your situation. I know it wasn't the way you planned it, and I really do feel for you; it's got to have come as a heck of a surprise that you weren't expecting, but it is what it is, right? No child would choose to be born under those circumstances; both you and the mother are responsible for starting this baby out with lousy circumstances.. now you both have to take responsibility for your actions, and do whatever you can to make sure this little guy doesn't pay for them.
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Old 03-08-2006, 07:04 PM
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Remember that with the day care expenses there is a large tax deduction for that. You only need to share the after-tax cost of the daycare.

By my calculation, the total child support you'd need to pay, including your share of the day care expenses, is $380 per month. That's not a lot compared to the costs of raising a child. But yes, I can see you have a tight budget.

There may also be child care subsidies available to help. You should research them or maybe someone on the forums is familiar with what's availabe.

Family law has a policy of "first families first." In other words, your primary financial obligation is to your first child. The idea is that in deciding whether to start a second family, you have to take into consideration your existing financial obligations.

Call me a cynic, but you may want to get a paternity test done, the sooner the better.

Regarding undue hardship, you need to fall into one of certain categories for it to apply. The only one I can see that might apply to you is "high expenses associated with access to the child." I'm not sure what your access expenses are, but it sound like your child is far away.
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Old 03-09-2006, 08:55 AM
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Jeff, I appreciated your comments. My son is six hours away but it's workable. The expenses I would occur would only be travel expenses. I would be staying with my parents during visitation. The tax info has been a benefit. I was looking at over $500 which I found overwhelming but I believe I can scrap up $380 by doing odd jobs. I did do paternity test after I found out she was sleeping with three other men.
Thanks again, for your insight.
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