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Advice on how to keep things civil please

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  • Advice on how to keep things civil please

    I am feeling frustrated and it is making it difficult for me to be objective or even nice right in this moment.

    X moved within an hour and a half distance about 3 weeks ago. We were previously 8 hours apart. Yay - this is good news! He asked if the kids could spend the weekend with him last weekend, but wanted us to bring them/pick them up. We agreed, but there was some discussion about how we will not be able to eat the transportation costs all the time.

    He is not working and is talking about going back to school again. He mentioned that he would like to have them every second weekend (when he could use his girlfriend's vehicle). I said yes, and we could help with some trips, just that we couldn't shoulder the expense alone.

    I brought up something to him today over email about if he would be open to hyphenating the boys last name (it is his last name) with my husbands last name. They do not call my husband dad, but my H has mentioned to me many times that he would like them to have his last name as well - a sort of public acknowledgement that they are his family too.

    He has essentially raised them for the past 3 and a half years, and has been the one financially supporting them as well. He loves them very much - still, I was hesitant to bring it up to my X. Anyway, I did mention it and he did completely shoot it down (no huge surprise, but at least I asked on behalf of my H). I had also mentioned at length in my email to him at the same time that I need him to start paying child support.

    In the past few years he has made maybe 6 payments.

    He completely ignored that part of the email.

    My H is getting frustrated with him, and I know he will be hurt that my X is not willing to add his last name - I know that is a sensitive issue for both of them, and I can understand why my X said no, but my H will still be hurt. The truth is that I am frustrated as well. The name issue is one thing, but the money is another. I am frustrated that I have not had a chance or the money to finish my BA and probably won't be able to for years because of the kids, but my X is talking about going back to school for the 4th time instead of getting a job. I am frustrated that he is not helping me with the expenses and a lot of it is falling on my H's shoulders now.

    Advice that is objective is needed. I don't want this resentment to fester and end up blowing up into a situation where the kids are aware of it. Is it worth it to pursue child support from a parent who doesn't want to pay, or should I just bite my tongue and try to keep the peace for the kids sake?

    Right now, I am feeling angry about it. For years I have just let it slide, but maybe it is building up under the surface. My feelings are also probably a little hurt for my H's sake about the name thing too. Removing emotion from the equation - should I keep pushing this (the child support, not the name)? Or should I just let it go?

    He has said he will pick up the kids every second weekend, but if history is the best indicator, that will only last a few weeks before excuses start and then it will be up to us to make it happen. I don't want them to be disappointed, they are so excited that he is close by now.

  • #2
    It's absolutely worth insisting (in whatever form is necessary) on CS - it's your kids' right... According to the law, it's not your prerogative to waive CS.

    As for the name thing, well, you said it yourself: You're not surprised - let it go for now. Fugeddaboudit. Or, offer your ex the option to let your current mate adopt the kids

    As for access, you have to be reasonable, but you don't have to do it all. Exactly what reasonable looks like is, unfortunately, open to interpretation.

    OK, so, for CS: Make an offer to him ($ amount) along with a statement that if he doesn't agree to play ball, you will begin the process to impute an income, get an Order for CS, and enforce through FRO. If he has even half a brain, I bet that cooperation will follow.




    • #3
      You have every right to expect that the transit of the kids will be split somehow. Perhaps you could each meet halfway at a Tim's, or he could pick up and then you could pick up at the end of the weekend.

      You have every right to expect him to support his children. (You don't mention this, but it should be clear that CS and Access have nothing to do with each other; he still gets his access if he doesn't pay.) If he has existing university education you should research jobs he is qualified for, determine an entry level salary and use that as his income to calculate CS. Alternatively, you could impute him a full-time minimum wage, which would be appx $18k per year.

      He may not simply stay in school indefinately and not pay any child support.

      Regarding the name change, it is your ex's choice whether he agrees to the change. Choice means he has the option of saying yes or no. He has said no.

      Your husband will feel what he feels, but he has no ethical right to expect the children's father to agree to this.


      • #4
        I had no idea that this is how it works - CS should be calculated on what he can reasonably make, even if he is not working? Or am I misunderstanding?

        Yes, I know access and CS are separate, that has not been an issue. I wouldn't want to punish the kids over something X is doing anyway.


        • #5
          ALWAYS keep things between you and your ex - no exceptions. Do not get sucked into relating, in any way, to his/her current girlfriend. The divorce/separation is between the two of you - no one else.


          • #6
            I have no issues with his girlfriend, she seems quite nice and we have a pleasant acquaintance relationship.

            I called X last night and we talked for about a half hour. A lot of talking but afterwards I didn't feel like we accomplished much. He said that he is trying to get a job and I guess I don't see what else I can do. I can't force him to work and I can't make him help support the kids. He is defensive when I talk to him about child support, so it is hard to communicate about it. I back off because I hate confrontation.

            My husband is more frustrated than I am at this point. I feel discouraged and a little sad, but he is angry - probably because the way that things are working out right now, I am home with the kids and he is the only one supporting us. He has been working 80 hour work weeks - it is not ideal and I don't even want to be a stay at home mom, so we are trying to change our dynamic here. But I know that he is feeling a lot of strain and pressure being the only one responsible for paying the bills right now and I feel like that is coming across in his resentment about X. Obviously, also, he is still hurt about the name thing, but he will have to accept it.

            My husband wants to give him a few months to get a job and start paying, and if not then he wants to take him to court for child support. I am still resistant to the idea of going to court because I feel like it will just make a bad situation worse - I don't think that it will force X to work, it will just strain an already tense relationship and I don't want the kids to see that.



            • #7
              You should definitely go to court to get child support. You have to do what is best for your children. Unless there is a legal consequence your x could very well continue to go on in life shirking his responsibilities. Playing the "pity-party" line has obviously worked for your x for many years. It can take considerable time to get to court but it is worth it in the end. If your x has to go out and pump gas or wait on tables to provide for his children then that's what he should do and the courts will likely emphasize this at the time of the hearing. Being unemployed or underemployed isn't an excuse. I really feel he is taking advantage of your sweet nature. Wake up and smell the coffee. Providing a good quality of life and income for your children is part of being a good parent. If you don't do anything about it you are simply not parenting. Don't be so naive. Your x could have income that he isn't telling you about. Your children have a right to support from both parents. If you don't have the "ovums" to get things rolling then shame on you.

              I'm sure you have a good relationship with your x's girlfriend - she must be absolutely thrilled that your x doesn't give you any money. Be prepared for that to change if you do happen to grow up and fight for your children's rights.


              • #8
                How old are the kids?


                • #9
                  Name Change
                  You might want to look at the law regarding name changes for children and the Change of Name Act Ontario is probably a good place to start. Look at the section titled Change of Child’s Name. Here is the link.

                  A couple of things you’ll need to look at are whether:

                  · You have sole or joint custody. If you have sole custody and your ex has access, you do not need your ex’s consent. You are required to provide him with notice only. He can certainly dispute it, but the onus is on him to do so, you simply have to provide him with notice of the change. If you have joint custody, you do require his consent, but, you can apply to the court to ‘dispense with that consent’. When making their determination, courts use the ‘best interests of the child’ test. In your post, you mentioned that your H would like them to have his last name as ‘a public acknowledgement that they are his family too’, but, and as much as I can empathize with your husband, the reason for the change has to be for reasons that are in your children’s best interests, so just a heads up that you’ll need to word it from the perspective of your children and not from your husband’s viewpoint. Also, again another heads up, it would be unwise to state that it is in the best interests of the child that the family shares a last name. In this day in age, when the normal family nucleus no longer exists, the prevailing viewpoint is that children often tend to have different names then the primary caregivers in the home in which they live, so, in a nutshell, that argument doesn’t wash (again, just a heads up).

                  · The age of the children. if your children are over 12 years old, you also need their consent.
                  Child Support
                  You should definitely be pursuing child support for your children. Child support is the right of the children. The courts will ‘impute an income’ (basically create one based on his previous years’ income, employability, etc.) for your ex and he will be required to pay. I’m not sure how long you’ve been separated but generally the courts will not award retroactive child support for more than three years from the date of application. The leading court case from the Supreme Court of Canada on retroactive child support is D.B.S. v. supra, of course there are other considerations they look at, so you might want to read up on this (go to CanLII) and also consult a lawyer.

                  As for access with your children, why are you (and when I say you, it sounds like it is your new husband) shouldering ANY of the transportation expenses for access, particularly when he is not paying child support? You need to figure out how much he should be paying per month in child support, and, if anything, there may be a reduction due to travel expenses. Not knowing the particulars of your circumstance, it could also be that HE will be responsible for shouldering the FULL travel expenses, depending on who did the moving, etc. For example, if it was his choice to move, then it may well be that he would be responsible for bearing the expense, but again, there are several permutations that would be considered based on your own individual scenario. So far, and based on what you wrote, it sounds like not only is your new husband supporting your children for their day to day care, but HE is also the one paying for them to enjoy access with their father…perhaps some of the source of his frustration.

                  I’m sorry to hear what you’re going through as it definitely sounds stressful. Sounds like it’s causing some consternation with your husband (understandably so) and you’re caught between a rock and a hard place trying to keep your husband happy, keep your children happy and having a relationship with their father, and keep your ex happy so that everything remains reasonable between you guys.


                  • #10
                    I could be wrong here, but both you and your ex are unemployed? So your new husband is taking care of you and your ex's kids right... Unfortunatly you cannot make your ex do anything, though telling him your going to court to get a child support order will help, and by all means go and get it if he does not start paying. He needs to pay something, even if its just a token amount to show he is trying at this point. How does he support them when he has them for the weekend? Also how did he afford a move? You can't make him grow up unfortunatly, and I applaud you for keeping the kids out of this and really working hard to work with your ex, but maybe you could get a job? I am not sure how old the kids are so this is strictly speculative at this time. Thats alot of work for your husband and its great that he is doing it, but it sounds like he is getting resentful about the fact. In my opinion changing the last name would further confuse the kids and it seems very unneccessary in your situation, your husband should be content to be a great role model for your kids and be happy that they know he is a great guy.


                    • #11
                      arabian - Thank you for the remark regarding my hesitation to enter the courts a sign that I need to "grow up". That is helpful. While more income would be an asset, there are other considerations in what is best for the children. I am trying to keep from developing resentments and bitterness between us. I'm not looking for spit and venom here, I'm looking for actual sound advice from an outside perspective.

                      fireweb - They are 8 and 5 years old.

                      Fuming - We have joint custody, but it has never been legally outlined, if that makes a difference. I raise the boys, and he sees them on holidays and the occasional weekend. This will change now that he lives closer (I mean, I think it will change, as he should be able to see them more frequently).

                      As far as the name thing goes, I don't know that it would affect the boys either negatively or positively - this was really something for my husband. We hadn't even asked the boys how they felt about it - I wanted to talk to my ex first. It was rejected by my ex, and we'll just have to accept that. I'm not going to try to battle him on it or force it. My sons have always had a different last name than myself (my ex's name), so the name issue isn't really something that I am concerned about - it is something that my husband had really wanted though.

                      My ex and I have been separated for 4 years.

                      As far as paying travel expenses - we have only done this for the kids benefit. Since he is not working and does not have his own vehicle, they would hardly be able to see him if we didn't do it and that is hard for them. (He is coming this weekend in his girlfriend's vehicle to get them now). Regarding moving, he moved 3 hours away first and when he decided not to move back (it was supposed to be temporary), we then moved for work as well, but farther (our distance was about 8 hours apart after our move). We discussed the move with him first and he okayed it.

                      I know that my husband is frustrated because he feels that he has done a lot for my ex (in terms of picking up the slack on supporting the kids and travelling for visits, etc) and he feels that my ex is taking advantage of that and he is also hurt about the name thing. In his more heated moments, he talks about wanting to push to get full custody legally and to be able to legally adopt the boys (but it is not something that I would consider, because, while the boys love my husband - they would be crushed if their father surrendered his rights to them. I don't even know if it would be a legal possibility, but it doesn't matter because it is not something that I want for them).

                      After looking at statistics about how many NCPs don't pay CP even when there is a court order, I am feeling that it is not even worth the emotional energy of fighting him on this, and it is not worth creating a more toxic environment. I want to keep things calm enough that we can co-parent and the boys can see their dad whenever they want. If he wanted to support the kids, he would have found a way to do it over the last few years. When I talked to him last night on the phone I hear the same old story about how hard it is to find a job ... it'll always be the same, I think.


                      • #12
                        not sure why your children would carry your current H last name. They are yours & exes children and before you sling the mud, I know current H is helpign with rearing & raising however when you met he knew you were a package deal (you & children). Yes he may love your kids (no doubt) however I do nt think that joining his name to theirs is fair. Hypothetical- you go through the name change situation and God forbid you two go separate ways now you have one of two scenarios - your children are stuck with that hyphenated last name or they end up in court trying to change their name back to what it is now. Seems like alot to go through for something that is unneccessary in long run.
                        CS is based on income tax filed this year for LAST years income.....sorry but because he is unemployed doesnt mean your children stop eating, living, or surviving. There are jobs everywhere however the person needing the job has to realize they wont walk into 100k/yr job. Your ex has children that means he has to work no matter what to support - if working one job doesnt pay it then get two or three. I am custodial parent and I do get CS but I still work two jobs to give my child a better life.

                        Travel expenses is something you work out between the two of you. Keep in mind for the children you would be doing this not for the ex.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by littleman View Post
                          not sure why your children would carry your current H last name. They are yours & exes children and before you sling the mud, I know current H is helpign with rearing & raising however when you met he knew you were a package deal (you & children). Yes he may love your kids (no doubt) however I do nt think that joining his name to theirs is fair. Hypothetical- you go through the name change situation and God forbid you two go separate ways now you have one of two scenarios - your children are stuck with that hyphenated last name or they end up in court trying to change their name back to what it is now. Seems like alot to go through for something that is unneccessary in long run. .

                          As a child from divorced parents, my mom remarried when I was 3. When asked 5 years later, (i was 8), I jumped at the chance to change my name to my *real* dad's name, the man who had been raising me for the last 5 years. I don't recall who instigated the request, but I do remember meeting with someone from CAS to discuss. And I have never regretted that choice.

                          Biology doesn't always necessarily dictate whom the real parents are, you know.
                          Start a discussion, not a fire. Post with kindness.


                          • #14
                            Sorry if this is a little preachy - it is an emotional issue personally and out of respect to all the parents who do everything they can at great personal unconditional "sacrifice"........

                            Like many posts - child support is not a right for you to ignore. It, in a very large way, is a "moral?" responsability on your part to have child support paid now and later on when they take teh opportunity to continue their own education. I wish I had the ability to go to school for life (ok I don't but - how about on a chair, on a beach in some nice weather part of the world???) Ok - again I don't want that either - what I do want, is to pay what I can, provide what ever support I can to the whole family. Even if I can't work and support my family fully as I have in the past and would like to do today. I am on disability and even with what little I do have, in the end I expect, and will, pay and do what I can for our kids.

                            ALL our kids are not free rides by\for any parent who is low enough to NOT give the support, financial or otherwise, to their children. The lawyer that said I would not have to pay suppport - I told him even if I can give them $10 each for "gas money" to help them out as they go to school...... If I can't be there for them financially at this time in my life I can be there for them in a thousand other ways - they just need to "pick up the phone".

                            Preachy - yes. Your ex - did not have to move 8 hours away (he had a choice). Your ex - did not have to move 6-1/2 hours closer (he had a choice). His choice - your children's loss. Your ex did not have to miss every single child support payment, he did not have to miss how many days, hours, minutes of their time together - his choice. You are afraid of what the consequence is if you go forward and advocate your children's right to support - YOU do not have a choice! Your children depend on you to make the right choice even if they never see it directly.

                            The court can help your ex realize that it is not your new husband's responsability to provide for his children... It is his and yours alone. As in your post, you are a stay at home Mom and you are struggling to do more. Your ex can put off his new dreams of an education and go, to the best of his ability, to work, earn income, and support not only his current family but his forever "family" in his children no matter where they live. After, if he is lucky, willing and able, he can go to whatever school he desires.

                            What I do see is both your new husband and your ex's (other?) are both being taken advantage of even more than just financially - this will end when you understand your responsability and the children will be better off for it.

                            Your children are very fortunate to have had this person you married come into their lives to offer such unconditional support and love even if their names do not match. If you haven't said this to him lately - you should.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ddol1 View Post
                              Like many posts - child support is not a right for you to ignore.
                              I totally disagree with this. If a parent chooses not to pursue obtaining CS from the other parent, for whatever reason THEY decide, and they are providing a reasonable standard of living, then that is totally fine.

                              It is such BS when people say that a parent HAS to go after the other to force CS or they are not being a good parent to the kids.

                              The other parent is the one not being responsible, not the one paying the bills. If the CP decide not to pursue getting CS, letting the NCP 'off the hook', then that is 100% their decision and right. For those of you that want to state that the law states that CS is not an option - again that is against the one not paying. It is not the law that the CP must pursue CS, nor should it be.


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