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Teen asks about support $$

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  • Teen asks about support $$

    What would you tell your teen child if they asked:

    Do you give my mom money for us?
    Do you pay support?
    How much money do you give mom every month?

    Why did you/would you respond as you did?

  • #2
    hmmm in normal circumstances I would think that a simple "that is a matter between mom and dad" .......

    However Serene in your case I'd just tell them or accidentally leave out a court document with the monthly amount highlighted. Karma LOL


    • #3

      I recently read this: Where Do I Stand? A Child's Legal Guide to Separation and Divorce - Ministry of the Attorney General

      I was surprised that money was discussed. The kids have been asking about money matters. I'm a little perplexed to say the least as both homes are well off. Although the kids say "my mom doesn't have as much money as you" and other comments about affordability. Mind you 5 years after separation she isn't working at all. Not a bit. I get the sense they are concerned about how much money she has...


      • #4
        Personally, I would go with something along the lines of ' your mom/dad and I are both responsible for supporting you financially'. As for the how much, I would let them know my personal finances are just that: personal.

        The same way I don't discuss the rest of my finances with the kids, I wouldn't discuss that either.


        • #5
          Blink - by your model finances are personal. But if the kids think dad isn't supporting them/mom, and they have concerns about money matters - those haven't been addressed at all. I'm willing to bet, and I have no proof that this is taking place now, that the conversation at mom's is less than accurate.


          • #6
            I have no doubt that is indeed the case in many situations, mine included. I choose not to play the game with the ex and just reassure the kids that both parents are responsible for them and both are meeting their responsibilities, just as I don't feel it is appropriate to share the details of my finances with them in other areas, I don't feel it is appropriate to do so in this area.

            Others may not agree for their personal situations, but the question was asked 'what would you do' and my answer is this is what I would (and do) do in our situation.


            • #7
              Everyone will have different opinions on this but personally, if the child is a teenager and able to grasp financial matters, I would tell the child exactly how much child support the other parent receives each month and even show them proof.

              While not as relevant for smaller amounts of child support, I suspect that for those parents who receive large amounts of CS each month that the child rarely actually gets the FULL benefit of that - instead it's de facto spousal support but without the tax deduction for the payor.

              While the receiving parent of CS can basically spend a portion of it on themselves with no repercussions and accountability, perhaps if the teenager questioned how the money was spent each month it could help prevent the payee of CS from spending the child's money on themselves.

              It still shocks me that the government will leave no stone unturned to ensure that no matter how ridiculously high CS can be for some payors, they'll go to the ends of the earth to extract it from the payor in "the interests of the child" BUT then require ZERO accountability that the CS funds aren't squandered on the receiving parent. I appreciate this doesn't happen when CS amounts are a few hundred dollars every month but when we're talking 4 figures per child per month how does it benefit the child when the receiving parent spends the money on themself with no benefit to the child ?

              Again, if a suspicious teen questioned how THEIR money was spent each month it might curb this problem !!


              • #8
                Good points Shellshocked.

                The teen child approached dad to contribute to a phone plan. While a low dollar value, dad pays full guideline support despite having kids over 40 percent of the time. And dad pays for most medical and extracurricular activities, and all clothing, etc. At our home (kids never go back and forth with anything). Mom is also in receipt of high spousal support.

                The teen child was quite upset that dad said no to the phone plan. The child said "but mom is willing to pay for half...". Mom doesn't work lol. So technically, it's dad's money that is affording her half of the plan. Dad simply said that the child would need to work something out with mom and that dad gives mom a considerable amount of money to provide for the children and even her.

                When dad told me of this convo I connected recent dots. The kids have been saying things lately like "my mom can't afford this..." and "my mom doesn't have as much money as you", there seems to be concern on their part about mom's finances and I get the sense they feel she is hard done by. Mind you, their innocent minds don't fathom/consider why she isn't working or why she doesn't need to work... it just concerns me that there is a notion that dad isn't providing. Or that dad isn't providing as he is providing.


                • #9
                  Children are manipulative at all ages IMO. I think you have to recognize it for what it is.

                  This is my 3-step process:

                  1. My adult 33 yr old occasionally makes statements about his father not paying me "all the money that is owed to you." (Son has absolutely no relationship with his father besides one phone call per year - very sad).
                  2. I remind son that the money matters are between his father and I. I remind son that if I didn't receive money from his father that he would have to support me. I then tell him he should be saving up as I have heard senior residences are very expensive.
                  3. I then quickly start nagging him to call his father some time.... "he is your father after all, etc." "He's going to be an old man before you know it." "Why don't you call him - it will only take a few minutes of your time?

                  I have taken his questioning and turned it back on him. Works like a charm.


                  • #10
                    I too would be honest about money matters with a teenager. That's a beyond a good age to start understanding how money, working, expenses, etc, work.

                    Explain that child support is intended to pay for things like clothing, food, shelter, utilities and other basic needs. Extras such as university tuition, expensive hobbies and other optional stuff is handled individually.

                    Explain that the government has a system to calculate child support, and that it's based on a person's income, and how many children are involved. Explain the offset calculation if access is close to equal (40-60). And finally, explain that you are paying full CS even though it should be offset CS.

                    If they feel that a phone is a basic need, they should be asking their mother to cover all of it. If they feel that a phone is an extra that should be outside the CS system, they have to convince you it's necessary before you'll pay a share.

                    If the kid notices that one parent doesn't have as much money as another parent, they will learn that this is because there are differences in how the two parents earn money, and how they spend money.

                    A teenager either has already developed, or should be developing, the maturity to understand money management. If you don't teach it to them by explaining your own money management, how are they supposed to learn?

                    We do children a disservice by telling them not to worry about finances, or explaining only that it's personal. You don't have to reveal specific amounts; you can just say things like a third of my income goes to support you at your other parent's, a third goes to paying the mortgage and utilities here, and out of the last third, comes the food and car payment and gas and fun and savings, etc.


                    • #11
                      Hey Serene:

                      I TOTALLY understand your frustration on the matter. Due to your partner's ex receiving such high CS and SS - there is no need for her to work; especially if she is basically spending "CS" on herself. Has to be a kick in the head when you hear "but Mom will pay half" when any money Mom is spending is really Dad's money !!!!!

                      Hopefully if the teens see how much Dad is sending Mom they'll realize the true situation - that in effect Mom is spending the kids money on herself. Perhaps if the teens start putting pressure on Mom she'll do the right thing and spend CS on the child - as radical a thought as that is.

                      And maybe, just maybe, as SHOCKING as this might be, Mom might actually GET A FREAKING JOB like everyone else who doesn't sponge off people who actually work for a living lol...

                      Hopefully she'll smarten up with pressure from her kids who she is basically stealing from.....


                      • #12
                        I had to be be honest with my 8 and 5 year old, to a certain extent.

                        They were saying that mommy didn't have money, that there was not enough food, that I should give her money to help her out, and the straw that broke the camel's back was when one of them suggested I give mommy 'more' money. I didn't care if she had either told them something or if they accidentally overheard something with her boyfriend. I had enough at that point.

                        I told them that I gave mommy some money every month to help her buy food and clothes, and that I couldn't give her any more, since it would mean that I wouldn't have enough for my household. I then told my ex what they had been saying. She was humiliated and angry, but the kids magically stopped asking about me 'giving mommy money'.

                        I kept it simple, and gave them as much truth as their tiny little brains can handle. Sometimes, that is all you can do.


                        • #13
                          I'd point them towards the online Federal Child Support Guidelines so that they have a better rounded view of what it is all about. Because just one number and a bit of explanation can be misinterpreted/twisted too many ways.
                          Also, a side discussion (not related to CS) on how everyone has different amounts of money, and that depends on their choices of how to use their energy, abilities and resources. And how people generally don't discuss their finances openly, and why (because money is tied so closely to pride/image/self-esteem)


                          • #14
                            Rioe, I like this very much! I'm going to show this thread to my husband.

                            Just to be clear, mom has more than enough money. I'm always intrigued that someone can not work by choice, have 2 vehicles, a vacation property and a large new home and be considered as "not having enough".


                            • #15
                              My kid asked me that question last year when she was 8 (I have 50/50 and pay offset). I said Mom and Dad agreed Mom would send Dad some money every month to help pay for things to take care of her at his house. She asked why Dad didn't send me money; I said it was because I earned a little more than Dad, and I was happy to help him look after her when she was at this place. End of conversation.

                              I'm of the opinion that you should always err on the side of discretion when talking about the other parent. You can demonstrates responsible attitude to money management by telling teens that Dad sends Mom some money every month to help pay for kids' expenses at her house, and that the amount is set by the federal government (if they're old enough, point them to the guidelines to show them how the amount is calculated). The kids don't need details of how exactly how much money is transferred, and they certainly don't need editorializing about how Mom spends the money.

                              (And it's not "Dad's money" that she's spending - it's money that has been deemed by the law or by parents' agreement to be hers. Dad may have strong opinions about how she spends the money, but that stopped being his business the minute the divorce order was signed. Th CS I pay my ex stops being my money the minute it exits my bank account).


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