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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 05-05-2010, 02:27 PM
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Default Child support and shared parenting

Hi everyone. I have a question and I'd appreciate some opinions on the topic.

I have been separated for over 2 years. The two children live with my ex, but since she started work I have them about 40% of the time (maybe a little more). The actual number of days is a 50/50 split, but they sleep at my ex's on some of the days I have them.

Child support has always been based on the chart (which would be what I'd pay if I didn't have *any* access to my kids). Lately I've been considering whether this is fair or not. Seems to me that this is shared parenting, and that there should be at least *some* equalization of child support here.

Does anyone know how big a deal it is to apply for shared parenting, and get this changed? Anyone with experience out there doing this? If so, how did it end? Does the whole separation agreement get brought back out and is everything on the table again?

I do have a separation agreement, but it doesn't stipulate shared parenting. We have joint custody. The arrangement for seeing my kids this much has been ongoing for the last 9 months or so, and I can't see it changing anytime soon (which is good! I want to see my kids as much as humanly possible). I have spoken to my lawyer, and he seemed a little uneasy about the whole thing frankly.

Currently I don't actually buy many new cloths for my kids, neither do I pay for stuff like school trips, and book orders and such (as I'm the only one paying child support it didn't make sense to me to pay these things). I do however pay for everything when they're with me obviously.

I would be happy to pay for all the new school supplies, cloths, books, etc when they're with me if I was getting paid the offset amount. If I go ahead and bring this up, do you think I should
a) Wait until the current schedule has gone on for a year?
b) Start paying for things like cloths etc now so the courts have a record that I will do this if the child support changes?

Has anyone went through this before, or have any recommendations?

Thx
DadFirst
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:26 PM
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I think at this point, you are probably best with sticking with status quo. Work with this for a few years, documenting every minute you have the children in your care. Then upon review of the amount of time, go back to court to see if you can have the custody updated to reflect what has actually been happening (aka status quo).

Since you are not providing for clothing and such, that may be used against you. Further, most places determine days of custody by where the child sleeps. It is more about overnights, then days.

So I think it is a combination of A and B. I would wait AT LEAST 1.5 years, probably closer to 2 years. It would be hard for her to argue that this isn't the schedule then when you have your journal stating which days you've had the kids. And start to buy the kids certain necessities (clothes etc) and keep the receipts in your journal. It shows your ability to provide for the kids.

Then go to court and look to have custody updated to shared custody. Focus on the time with the kids and not the money. If you go in looking for shared and the first thing out of your mouth is regarding child support, the courts will see through it and see you are not looking out for the best interests of the children, you just want to pay less support.
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:32 PM
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good advice. Unless you actually have 50% of the nights (and days) then you are going to have a hard fight. Better to continue the status quo and hopefully you can come to an agreement with the mom. You might be able to reduce the amount you pay if you approach her the right way. Just make sure that she is able to support the family with the lesser amount. No judge will order a reduction if the family's lifestyle is threatened.
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Old 05-05-2010, 06:34 PM
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I agree with the above, except that status quo is established generally after 6 months to a year. Waiting 2 years is a bit excessive, depending on the children's ages.

If they are around 10-12 years old, you can expect them to make their own changes when they are teenagers, and in fact you will hardly see them. If you are going to try for a custody change, you should either do it before then, or else see if they are onside with a 50/50 split. Be careful not be coercive in this but just see how they feel about it.

When you say this has been the situation "lately" since she started working, how long does this mean? If it has already been 6 months or so, then I would say you should see a lawyer now, and decide your intentions, and then make your move in another 6 months or so when you have your preparations in order.

In the meantime, you should be acting as if in a shared parenting situation in every way possible. Stay home and take care of them when they are sick, at least half the time. Be involved at their school, if possible do some volunteer hours there, or go along on a class trip to assist the teacher. Take the children to doctor's and dentist's appointments, at least half if you can't do all. Take them to activities after school (piano lessons or swim lessons or sports practices) and be as involved as possible.

If you want a shared parenting custody arrangement, you have to be ready to live this way on an ongoing basis. Doing these things now prepares you for it, and prepares your case, these are all things you will want to point to.
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Old 05-06-2010, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mess View Post
I agree with the above, except that status quo is established generally after 6 months to a year. Waiting 2 years is a bit excessive, depending on the children's ages.

If they are around 10-12 years old, you can expect them to make their own changes when they are teenagers, and in fact you will hardly see them. If you are going to try for a custody change, you should either do it before then, or else see if they are onside with a 50/50 split. Be careful not be coercive in this but just see how they feel about it.

When you say this has been the situation "lately" since she started working, how long does this mean? If it has already been 6 months or so, then I would say you should see a lawyer now, and decide your intentions, and then make your move in another 6 months or so when you have your preparations in order.

In the meantime, you should be acting as if in a shared parenting situation in every way possible. Stay home and take care of them when they are sick, at least half the time. Be involved at their school, if possible do some volunteer hours there, or go along on a class trip to assist the teacher. Take the children to doctor's and dentist's appointments, at least half if you can't do all. Take them to activities after school (piano lessons or swim lessons or sports practices) and be as involved as possible.

If you want a shared parenting custody arrangement, you have to be ready to live this way on an ongoing basis. Doing these things now prepares you for it, and prepares your case, these are all things you will want to point to.
All good points (as well as the points made previously by others). Its been going on like this for almost a year. I have (even before this) been extremely involved with the kids schooling (in fact they do most of their homework at my place now, and every little at their mothers). I've helped with more than 50% of their school projects, and *I* am the one that takes them to their extra-curricular activities once a week.

I've also been more able to work from home when the kids are sick on my days more often than not, and have been there for many of the dentist appointments. I haven't gone for many of the routine doctor's appts though.

Children 9, and 11.

So, what I'm hearing is that I should step it up another notch as far as paying for cloths/shoes/school supplies etc for the next 6 months just like what would happen if it was a shared parenting situation. Wow, with all the money going out between spousal and child support, It'll be tough to scrap together extra, but I guess if this helps...

Thanks
DadFirst
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:36 PM
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It really depends on how amicable things are with your ex. Given the situation you describe, you should also qualify for the CCTB/UCCB payments 6 months/year.

You can file for that without your ex's signature, though if you choose to do it on the sly, expect it to cause tensions.

Your best bet is to approach your ex and get them on board. Perhaps offer up a formal settlement that gradually decreases the amount of CS you pay, however make sure you mention that you will pay proportional share of things like book orders, extra curricular costs, etc to make up for it.
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Old 06-28-2010, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NBDad View Post

Your best bet is to approach your ex and get them on board. Perhaps offer up a formal settlement that gradually decreases the amount of CS you pay, however make sure you mention that you will pay proportional share of things like book orders, extra curricular costs, etc to make up for it.
Shouldn't this be done on a regular basis anyway, e.g., when you both have your financials on paper for income tax purposes? For instance, if DadFirst's ex has started to work, she is earning more money and should require less spousal support, no?

If the current situation is better than what's in the agreement, I don't see why you (DadFirst) couldn't go to a mediator and have the agreement updated to reflect the shared parenting time. It's a legal document that outlines both of your rights and responsibilities as parents.

However, if it is in fact about the money, then I think you need to address that too
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Old 06-28-2010, 02:30 PM
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I personally think you shouldn't wait any longer, It doesn't cost nothing for your children to sleep at night time. If you have them most during the day, it will cost you more in spending money on food and activities such as gas etc... It seems like everyone is missing the point that you are able to provide for your kids because not only do you pay CS you have them mostly throughout the day that costs a lot more than them sleeping. The mother needs a roof over her head so that's a necessity that she needs as well. CS doesn't cover all the rent it only covers some of it, it also provides food and clothing for your child(ren). A lot people have it confused that CS is the Custodial Parents money and not the child's, get it RIGHT it covers the needs of the children for the month not the needs of the Custodial Parent.
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Old 06-28-2010, 03:46 PM
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nobody but you is confused. It costs MORE to raise a family than to clothe and feed yourself.

Dadfirst received good advice already and you are only muddling it up with your running commentary
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Old 06-28-2010, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
Just make sure that she is able to support the family with the lesser amount. No judge will order a reduction if the family's lifestyle is threatened.

You said exactly what I have peen saying, so if your life style before separation or not being able to survive on the lesser amount, what is your whole argument? Or you just want to disagree with everything I say because of something you didn't like hearing before. But I am not here for this back and forth games. I am here for advice, and if I disagree with what your saying I am free to my own opinions, just like you are.
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