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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 01-28-2010, 06:47 PM
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Default Who is responsible for Child Support

My spouse and I separated about 18 months ago. He has access to 2 of the children about 42% of the time, and the other about 36% (average over the year, but over past few months has decreased to about 10%). He is asking for child support as I make more $.

It was my understanding that the higher access parent was the one with the right to child support and that he, as the parent with the lower access would be eligible for a decrease in child support. (NOTE: currently neither of us pays the other anything, but he is now trying to get retroactive child support for the past 13 months).

I pay for everything for all 3 kids as he won't help at all with anything but the food he feeds them when he has them and the roof over their head he provides when they are with him. I think he probably bought about 2 pairs of pants for each child and a pair of shoes each as well in the past 18 months.

I pay for daycare, private school tuition, medical and dental insurance, medical and dental bills, orthodontic bills, clothes, hair cuts, RESP's, glasses, homeschooling costs, school supplies, school fees, school uniforms......

Over the past 18 months, I pay all these bills and he gets to use the children as write-offs on his taxes and use the charitable donation receipt for private school as a write-off as well. So, all the expenses I put out, he gets about $4,000 back in income tax.

Does anyone know if there is any ruling on this type of case? I would think I should be eligible at least for child support for the one child he is below the 40% threshold for. This child decided not to live with him anymore and he currently refuses to talk to me about a new schedule (I'm guessing he wants to go to court and claim that the child should be with him so he can still try and get child support).

Additionally, wouldn't all of the special expenses be considered in determining whether he was even eligible for child support. I put out about 10,000 a year in special expenses and he gets $4,000 a year in tax benefits even though he puts forward $0.

I'm finding myself really frustrated with the system as if I have to pay him child support, I know it won't go to the children and they will be doing without. For a system that claims to want to make sure the children are cared for, it sure feels as if it is more about him getting his fair share than the kids best interest.
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Old 01-28-2010, 08:27 PM
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You don't say anything about your respective incomes. This would have a huge impact on expenses.

For the children who are within 60/40, you look at the Child Support tables, subtract your amount from his amount and pay the difference.

Since you aren't paying any support for those children, it is very likely that you do owe him child support.

The argument that you buy the clothes, etc falls flat. You are not paying support so his response is, how does afford to cover those expenses on his limited budget?

Daycare costs are Section 7 expenses that are paid proportionate to income, no matter how much time the children spend with each parent. As the primary breadwinner you will pay the body of it. Again, on his limited budget he cannot afford it.

The amount you owe in back child support would far exceed the amount he owes for special expenses. If you try to just hold up the expenses to protect yourself, it will look like you are paying them to cover your ass and just trying to avoid paying child support.

As far as the child that spends 36% of time with him, this is more grey. If he originally had similar time as with the other kids, he should be keeping this time. If the child didn't want to go to school, would you just let them stay home? They don't want to go to dad's so you keep them with you. This is going to look self-serving.

The ex will also argue that he can't compete with the lifestyle you can offer the kids since you aren't paying child support. He could state that this is a large factor in the child's wish to stay with you.

There are plenty of rulings on this type of case. You are 13 months in arrears in support, and one child is becoming alienated from the other parent, possibly because of that.

If the genders were reversed there wouldn't even be a question about paying support. You don't have any strong legal defence, and you will look bad for paying nothing when you do owe child support.

You would do better to get the alienated child into some therapy, possibly family counselling with all three of you, and try to mend the sitation with the father. The kids will be better off together in a co-operative situation with fully shared parenting, than they will be if you two get into a huge honkin' custody battle.

Again, without knowing your respective incomes it's impossible to do the math, but even if you end up with full custody of one child, this won't fully offset what you owe for the other two kids. You should be prepared to make him a reasonable offer for support, because the courts would find that you do owe child support and if you aren't being reasonable in the negotiations you will also be liable for his court costs. You should try to get a decent offer on the table before this goes too far.
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Old 01-28-2010, 08:52 PM
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I make $62,000 and he makes $54,000. The child not spending time with him now is because he won't help her with schoolwork, won't spend time with her because he's too busy with his girlfriend and won't wash her clothes so she needs to call me on her weeks with him to bring her clean underwear and pants etc.... She talked to him about the situation for 6 months before she decided she couldn't live with him anymore. She also talked with unbiased outside parties to assist her in making her decision. She had also been to see a counsellor, with her father to discuss the situation and the situation at the home did not improve. I certainly tried to make things work in a co-parenting situation as it seemed the best route for the children. He won't allow me any invovlement in the situation as he says what happens at his house during his time is his business and not mine.

Incidentally, all the special expenses being paid by me is not a way to "cover my ass." They were all expenses we had prior to the separation, but he left me with and I had nothing to do but pay them since he's not helping. He agreed to pay half of them, and we came to an agreement (verbally) that I would pay him $200 a month and he would cover half of the special expenses for the kids. He said he would get his lawyer to draft up the paperwork, then said, no, I will just take you to court instead. We have repeatedly talked about going to a mediator and sitting down to come up with a fair amount, but he prefers to go the court route and I can't do anything about that. Considering the child support guidelines say that there is a $200 difference, I think I was being more than fair. He is asking for $800 a month and not to have to pay any special expenses.
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Old 01-28-2010, 09:49 PM
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I'm not accusing you of "covering your ass", I don't know you. I'm preparing you for what you'll be going up against. It's pretty much guarenteed that he and his lawyer will paint everything you do negatively.

If I just come on here and pat you on the shoulder and sympathize then I'm not helping you at all.

From your original description, he had a lot of possible ammunition.

With your incomes that close, you will probably end up not owing CS arrears due to the amount of expense you covered, but he will still be able seek support going forward.

I don't doubt that he has problems, and connecting this with your other thread there is plenty going on in the background. That said, it's still better if you can resolve this for the kid's sake. It is better for the children if they have two parents who are taking care of them and spending time and having a good relationship.

Going to court could be a wake up call for your ex so he stops feeling like a victim, but ideally you have to be ready to resolve the conflicts too. I'm not saying you aren't, but you have lots of reasons to be angry. Anger isn't going to help going forward. I wish you luck.
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Old 01-28-2010, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mess View Post
Since you aren't paying any support for those children, it is very likely that you do owe him child support.
I'm confused how would she owe him child support if she is the primary caregiver roughly she has the kids 55% and h 45%, as she is the primary caregiver he would owe her back support.
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Old 01-28-2010, 10:24 PM
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I guess that is really my question? Who is responsible for the child support. Originally the children lived with me full time, and I agreed not to take child support because I just wanted to make things easy for the kids. He would spend time with them when he could and cover their expenses when he had them, and I would do the same. Try and do things amicably. Then he decided he wanted to take them more. I ask how the situation will change and I get the following response:

"I'm going to go after you for child support if your life seems better than mine as you don't deserve a better life than me."

So our amicable arrangement of sharing expenses and the cost of extra expenses turns into a situation where he slowly refused to do anything for the children, and I'm left with all the costs that we had when they were full time with me because he refuses to help.

I know it is a reality that I could end up paying child support and having to cover private school, braces etc.... but it just doesn't seem right to me. The cookie cutter laws in this area don't seem to fit my situation and really will leave my children worse off as I have watched their father in one breath say he can't afford to help with school tuition and then in the next be the cool guy and buy them a $250 remote control car.
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Old 01-28-2010, 11:07 PM
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Status quo, children are in your care the majority of the time, he pays child support plus his proportionate share of the extra expenses. Go through the calebar since your seperation and write down the times you've had the kids,

He needs to pay, let him take you to court, he will end up owing you and also ask for court costs
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Old 01-29-2010, 12:23 AM
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Frustrated, where do you get that 55% equals "primary caregiver"?

From the Federal Department of Justice Child Support Guidlines:
Quote:
Shared custody

In shared custody situations, a child lives at least 40 percent of the time with each parent over the course of a year....

shared custody example
In a shared custody arrangement, Patrick and Michelle need to consider:
1. what the table amount would be for each of them,
2. the increased cost of shared custody, and
3. the condition, means, and needs of both of them
and their children.
Patrick and Michelle have already agreed to calculate child support using the child support table for three children. They look at the tables to find the monthly amount each would pay if the other parent had sole custody of the children. At $40,000, Patrick must pay Michelle $764 a month. At $50,000, Michelle must pay Patrick $938 a month. The parents subtract Patrick's support amount of $764 from Michelle's support amount of $938. Michelle would pay Patrick the difference of $174.
Michelle's monthly amount 938
Patrick's monthly amount – 764
______
= $174
Patrick and Michelle also look at the expenses each of them expects to pay while the children are in their custody. Patrick will have to pay for more expenses than Michelle. Taking Michelle's means into account, they agree that it is reasonable and fair for her to pay an additional amount of child support and they decide that Michelle will pay Patrick $225 a month.
This example shows one way of taking the two table amounts into account. Patrick and Michelle could also use any other method they agree on to figure out the child support amount.
That should be clear, and it is a reliable source.
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Old 01-29-2010, 12:35 AM
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When parents spend between 40 and 60% of the time with their kids they each have significant cost for raising the kids. The example above is correct.

Since mom's wage is higher than dad's she would pay the difference between her full CS amount and his full CS amount. It's called the offset method and it is THE method the court would likely use.
.
I checked out the tables and mom's CS would be $575. Dad's would be $500. Therefore mom owes dad the difference, $75 a month. It's that simple.

If however you refuse to pay and end up in court, then YOU might be on the hook for dad's court costs
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Old 01-29-2010, 12:41 AM
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so, does anyone have any feedback on what happens in a shared / split custody situation? It is shared custody with 2, with me having the third child more than 60% of the time. Shouldn't I be the one eligible for child support for that child since over the past year I have had her 64% of the time and now the child is living full time with me and with dad only about 10% of the time. It simply doesn't make sense that I should have to pay him child support for her when she lives with me just because I make more $ and because the other 2 children are in a shared custody.

Also, I've read that there are different ways of calculating the shared custody child support. Frankly the one where you take what one would pay and subtract what the other pays seems like a mathematical mystery. Essentially saying that if I should pay a$1000 and he should pay $800, that I pay him $200 right? Doesn't that mean that of the $1800 we should be contributing jointly to the children, that I deserve a lower portion of that amount because I make more $? It makes more sense to me to say that each of us should have an equal share of the total. I know I've seen information out there suggesting that this be a method, but the most popular seems to be the former method.
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