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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 09-27-2011, 09:29 AM
Ames Ames is offline
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Default Calculating Child Support

Sorry that I am asking so many questions right now. I won't have an opportunity to get to a family law office until at least next week, and I am feeling overwhelmed by how much I really do not know.

My ex and I are attempting to come to an agreement regarding child support and a parenting plan.

1) For the past three years, they have lived exclusively with me and he has seen them intermittently (not consistently). He now has moved closer and wants them more often. If I have the children primarily, with my ex planning to have them every other weekend (with additional weekends when we agree to them), AND we split the summer and alternate holidays: what is our arrangement exactly? I have been trying to figure it out - we have never been to court, so my understanding is that we have joint legal custody, and I have sole physical custody and he has visitation? Or is it something else? Also, what does all that mean in a legal sense?

2) I am confused about calculating child support. He has made a few payments in the last few years, but we have never really sorted it out. Is CS calculated initially on the previous year of income alone, or an average of the past three years? What about the following years calculations? Do I have to provide him with my income information if he doesn't want to pay anything for section 7 expenses? Do we use our incomes alone or household incomes (important: I have been a stay at home mom for the past year, so don't have income from the past year (my husband is working), but would from previous years. Ex does not work and is supported by his common-law partner, but did work in previous years).

I hope that all made sense.
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:38 AM
HammerDad HammerDad is offline
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C/S is easy.

Unless there is a near to average income due to inconsistant earnings or looking to impute higher (or lower), you use their current income. It is the easiest way to determine it. You say your ex moved, so he probably had to take a new job to be closer to the child. This would be a mitigating circumstance that would justify any decrease in support.

Your income cannot be zero. Even if you are SAHM the courts have determined that each parent has the obligation to financially support your child. As a SAHM, you would have two choices, either impute your income to what you are capable of making (at worst full time min-wage) otherwise a court will drag your spouses income into the calculation. He too has an obligation to get work, otherwise his income will be treated the same way (either imputed or household).

Each parent should (the reality is it rarely happens) be exchanging their notice of assessments each year and adjusting c/s and s7 expenses based on their income.
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:45 AM
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My ex has said that his last three years income are:

2010- $6,200.
2009-$15,175.
2008- $14,134.

Does this constitute inconsistent earnings? Man, CS is a pain in my butt so far!

He has not moved to take a job, he quit his job to move and has not found a new job yet. He is talking about going back to school, but is not willing to work or not able to find work in his fields (he is employable in two fields, as he has two different college diplomas).

Thanks for your help so far.
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:49 AM
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I would simply impute an income equal to full time min-wage, which will be between $18k-$20k. He could get a McJob and work full time and make more then what he has been.

I don't know if the tables contemplate incomes as low as the the amounts you provided.
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:54 AM
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They don't for $6,200, but they would for the other amounts.

I hate everything about this process so far. Imputing income involves going to court, and I genuinely don't want to have to do that. He has offered to pay the table amount based on an average of those years - $11,836. The tables also go that low. I could just accept this and move on.
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ames View Post
They don't for $6,200, but they would for the other amounts.

I hate everything about this process so far. Imputing income involves going to court, and I genuinely don't want to have to do that. He has offered to pay the table amount based on an average of those years - $11,836. The tables also go that low. I could just accept this and move on.
If you are willing to work with this, it would probably be best. The numbers at the end of the day are substantially different anyway as you are effectively only talking a difference of tens of $$, not hundreds.
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:03 AM
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NBDad NBDad is offline
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Honestly, with what the difference would be, you are better off simply accepting the averaged income as a starting point, and recalculating each year based on the prior year's income.

Is the hassle and conflict really worth what? 150/month extra?
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:07 AM
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Heck no, this whole process is such an awful experience. I don't want any conflict at all, and that's why I have avoided CS discussion as much as possible. It has come up because my husband has become unhappy with the arrangement and feels I am letting my ex off easy while my husband shoulders the responsibility of supporting everyone. It's put me in an awkward position - but I feel terrible that my husband feels taken advantage of and I feel like I ought to be taking more of a stand for the kids sake too - they have a right to support from my ex.

Anyway, I'll go with the averaged out income, I just wanted to be sure that it wasn't going to blow up in our faces because it is a completely wrong way of doing things.

Hopefully this way my ex is contributing something and my husband feels better about that - I'm not too keen on a lot of resentments building up.
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:11 AM
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Well if the ex has never really paid CS, using the average income over the last three years as a starting point is perfectly acceptable.

If he's still making LESS than min wage full time hours next year, you may want to consider having an income imputed to him.
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:13 AM
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Thanks NBDad. That sounds reasonable to me.
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