March 25

Child Support Power Shift

I used to have Super Human Powers

Now lets understand that I am speaking from a perspective of equal or nearly equal parenting time. I do believe that these principles apply in a larger context, but I know that they apply in this context. I think it is a pretty simple idea that money does equate to power. All other arguments aside child support is a shift in power in the parenting relationship. Some might say that it is a fair one, because neither parent should have greater power. There might be some truth to this, but not really. Its a surface argument that really doesn’t hold much water, because of human nature. The relationship already had some power boundary lines, and thus this is a change in power not maintaining marital power structures when dealing with children. Lets not pretend that a father who is actively engaged with his children is going to actively avoid his financial responsibilities without the weight of the court making him. This just isn’t the case for most men.

The System

We understand that as a rule men pay women child support. There are few exceptions to this rule, but statistically they are insignificant for what we are talking about. So the man is required to shift his power to this woman that he already is in a contentious relationship with. Now the system is set up such that the father doesn’t pay the mother, but he pays the state, and the state pays the mother, and if the father fails to pay, then there will be severe consequences down the road. Now the system has chosen sides. They are on the side of the other. They don’t care if the father can sustain a house for his family, they only care for whether the mother can. The court may not agree, but you have to get to court to fix it. The system is transparently anti-father. The only protection the father has, is the mother cannot claim that he is not paying when he does pay, but in most cases he doesn’t have a choice, because it is taken straight out of his paycheck before he ever gets to see it.

Right to Determine Your Financial Future

Lets say a father loses his job or has a reduction in pay. It is his responsibility to take that to court and get a change in support orders. He won’t have as much money to do this, and is in a position where any savings he has is precious to make it through the income change. Until such time that there is a change, he still has to pay the previous order. If the judge decides that he is lazy or shirking his responsibilities to his children then he might be ordered to maintain support at current levels. He does not have a choice to seek lesser employment to have more time with his kids, because the payments will surely not change. He no longer has the right to work as much or as little as he pleases, because it was established that he is required to support his kids at a minimum level determined by the court when the child support order was originally issued. This of course was a freedom that he had when he was married to the mother. To be clear, once a child support order is in place, the man loses his right to determine his lifestyle unless he chooses to improve his financial position. He must also understand that every time that he chooses to improve his financial position, he also chooses to improve the mother of his children’s position, because she will go after more child support. The child support guidelines state that they are seeking to maintain the children’s lifestyle after divorce, but if that were merely the case, then increased income would have no bearing on future child support orders. All orders would be based on the income levels of the father at the time of separation of the parents.

Now lets reverse things. The mother decides to work less or earn less or is fired or has a forced reduction in pay, what happens? Well in many cases, the system will increase the father’s child support. In some cases it will have to go to court, but it is rare that they impute income on the mother and maintain support at the current levels. There are cases where she remarries a man who can provide for her to stay at home, and the father is then required to pay child support as if she has no earnings. I do believe that these cases are becoming rarer and rarer, but they do exist. The thing is, if she doesn’t take it to court or the system, she just chooses to stop working, then she is magically no longer required to provide her portion of the child’s support. There is no government agency charged with ensuring that she is earning the money and providing it to the children’s benefit. She is free to make these decisions in her life, and even if the court imputes income on her, she can simply adjust her budget based on the loss of income. So in the worst cases the father pays if the mother has a change in income, and in the best cases she is not penalized by her behavior any further than she has to herself.

The Children’s Perception

There are two ways that this goes. The first is this. Mom provide everything. The father has paid for not only the kids needs but a chunk of the mother’s lifestyle through child support. He has provided on top of that things the children don’t see, but the child sees mom providing everything. She pays for school fees, she pays for activities, she pays for all the tangible things that the children see. They don’t know or understand that their dad is paying for these things through their mother. Depending on the mother involved, she may or may not leverage this to her advantage, but very few will correct their children’s perspective on the issue.

The other way goes like this. The mother constantly informs the kids that their father isn’t paying enough in child support. That they cannot do the things they want to, because dad doesn’t pay enough. She creates a constant divide between the father and the child using child support as the tool. This is direct manipulation and it is cruel to all involved. It is also a tool that the father is not able to use with the children. This is a tool that only the person paid child support has.

Justice

The only justice is a natural one. Men have to figure out how to live on less than they actually earn. They have to find a way to make ends meet, and over time develop better spending habits. They get their life together, and over time make do with this new life. As the children grow up and leave the house, the father will no longer have to pay child support, but now have a lifestyle that doesn’t require that money. At that point they can start to use that money to bolster retirement and other savings that they had neglected to support the mother of their children.

The flip side of this, is the mother has this money coming in, and it abruptly stops as the kids grow into adults. They have a lifestyle that required this money, but they no longer have a legal right to that money. They go deep into debt and have an end result of them not being able to make ends meet. Her cushy life living off her ex has come to an end. Not all women fall to this plight. The few good ones actually use the money for their children only and don’t bolster their lifestyle using the money at all. They come out alright, but in truth these women tend to take different routes like the one I will mention next in the modern divorce paradigm.

A Better Way

The modern world is not so harsh to women in the work place. When they put in the work, they will achieve like the men or better. The system should assume that people who are parenting together can figure out the day to day expenses together. It should assume that unless the parents agree to something different, that all expenses for school, activities and healthcare is going to be split 50/50. No power shift here. Most men who do earn more than the other parent will pay more to ensure their kids are taken care of. Remember we are talking about men who are involved in their children’s life. I would further suggest that the proportion should be based on the time you spend with the kids. A deadbeat dad would be a dad who spends no time with his kids. Mom foots the bill for everything in this case. There currently is a financial advantage to having the kids more, so mother’s will argue for more time, knowing that more money will come their way. A mother who has the kids 80% of the time should have to pay 80% of the expenses. Allow social pressures of fathers who want less involvement to get them to support their children. In my opinion, the time with the children is much more valuable than the money. The system should assume that time is 50/50, and in turn that expenses are 50/50. This would be a fair result. This allows for both parents to determine their futures without influence from the other parent by using the courts and the system against them.

I know this is not perfect, and it would mean that in the cases where a woman is truly abandoned with her children the system would have be more involved in providing for them. I think the freedom that the average guy would have in this is so much more important. Right now divorce equates to loss of freedom for the man in most cases. He no longer has complete freedom in determining his future. This is not good for society, and it is leading to the the upcoming generation of men choosing to not engage in productive activities that lead to having families. Not only is this not good for society, but it ultimately is not good for them. I can’t argue that they should make a different decision in this culture.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

March 25

Child Support Is a Racket

broken racket

I have stated before that I don’t believe in child support. My stance is one that would put many custodial parents on the public dole instead of leaving the the non-custodial parent scraping for change. What child support does is insane, though. Lets look at my case. I just finished negotiating things with the ex, and I got what everyone considers a great deal. That is such crap, because my deal is great only because everyone else gets such a shitty deal. Its simply a comparative response to my situation, not someone really looking at fairness. There is a $50,000 difference in our incomes. This sounds huge, until you consider the fact that she has teachers hours. She doesn’t have an 8 hour day, and gets a ton of days off. Even when compared to my cushy government job, she only works about 28-30 hours a week when spread across the year. She works typically only 75% of the hours a year that I do.

Below is the a table showing just how our child support plays out.

This table shows how she gets two government checks. That increase her income by another $16,440. These were used in our calculation. Because she couldn’t budget I added another $87 a month to cover before school expenses. I will be responsible for 1/2 of all extra-curricular expenses and 61% of all uncovered health expenses. And if the school fees exceed $1200, then I will cover 1/2 of those excess fees as well. I will buy clothing and cover all normal expenses at my house. Now according to this table, you see that I have $9510 in income greater than her after all this. This doesn’t sound like such a horrible deal. Now remember these are all gross numbers. Child support has no effect on taxes for either of us. Also remember that those government checks are tax free checks as well. The bottom row shows the new proportions which would be more fair to pay at this point, but it all goes back to the gross income numbers in the earlier row.

Now here is a table that shows things with some tax values on these numbers.

This table has changed the cost of my child support to represent roughly what it costs me out of my gross. It also revalues her government checks to what they would be if they were taxable income netting the values in the first table. The proportions just at the first row before child support is a few percent different, but then after child support they should be nearly 50/50. There is a $12,132 dollar swing in the actual household available funds. She ends up with $2,622 more money at the end of the year than I do. Child support has effectively leveled our incomes and then some.

Now before anyone goes stupid on me for not wanting to support my kids, understand that I have the kids 50% of the time. I participate in their lives even when they are not at my home. I am as active as I ever was with them. I have the ability to pay all of their expenses out of pocket. This scheme has made my kids more expensive to me than they were before, because I pay many of the expenses twice. I pay her to pay them, and I pay them. Lets also understand that just looking at the gross numbers, that is a $24,000 swing in income from one parent to the other.

There are many people out there that will attempt to explain to me that this somehow right and fair, but it is not. In my state, this predetermined to go to the lower income worker, and statistically we all know that will be the mother. I can’t get a divorce with kids and not pay my ex for the privilege for the rest of my children’s childhood. If these terms are brought back to court after the divorce, I will be asking for straight guidelines. This will mean that I pay child support, and portions of the healthcare. The rest is her problem.

I had offered to pay all of the kids expenses. 100% as they came up. Just don’t go the child support route. I have an extreme problem with the government taking money from me to give to her to do the same thing that I can do anyway. She went after child support, and an amount much higher than what the government standards were. I knew I probably couldn’t trust her, so now she has proven that I cannot trust her. I have to go fighting for everything as we go from here on out. I really have no peace about this. She will cost me by the time this is all over a minimum of $1,000,000 dollars. A decision I made at 23 years old, and then stubbornness to stick to that decision with honor even when others would have walked will cost me a fortune. None of that even accounts for the fact that I also will have to constantly battle her attempts to alienate me from my children.

I don’t know how to combat this. I am looking for options. I will be contacting my representatives and going after them for making sound decisions that protect men’s rights during divorce, and limit the transfer of income between the parents. In the modern world, it is not reasonable for both parties not to be held to account for the financial responsibility of their kids. The guidelines most states use on paper give those very words credence, but then the guidelines don’t actually make it happen, because typically the largest earner, yes the father, is required to send more money than the kids expenses to the lower income earner, yes the mother, to pay the bills. Oh and if that amount of money is higher than what the actual expenses are, then its explained that the money can be used however she pleases. Child support is right, I have to support 5 children. The three I adopted, the one I created, and the one I am divorcing.

This whole thing ultimately will prevent me from getting ahead in the world financially for the next ten years. You see all the money that I might have been able to find to save is going to that woman to spend as she pleases. I can’t hope that she will save any for my kids education, and I can’t afford to pay for it myself. My life will be a constant financial struggle, and I make enough money that shouldn’t be the case. I hate her for that. I won’t get over the damage she had done to my family and my and their futures.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

March 6

She so crazy!

this is my favorite photo i've ever taken.

No really, she is. I try to convince myself all the time that I have the normal crap, and it feels crazy to me, but every time I do, she proves me wrong. There are a couple good ones going on right now. The things she is or has done recently are 1) She has my kids spying on me, and is trying to convince them that my life is harming them. 2) She is telling me what I can and can’t do with my girlfriend around the kids. 3) She has stolen things from my home without remorse.

Spying

This was one that I expected, but not so overtly. I expected that she would question them about what goes on at my house. What surprised me is that she got my middle boy to actually call and text her what was going on. Nothing bad was going on, but it was none of her business, and of course she wants to twist it into something bad. She has been waging a campaign on my oldest boy to convince him that I am harming him. She will go to his counseling sessions, and sit there and bad mouth me for as long as the counselor will let it go on. There are plenty of people who want to tell me how to behave, but none of them really understand what this woman is. She is a border line personality. This means that she projects her own problems on others. She manipulates without remorse, because she has no empathy. Only her end goal is what matters to her. Anyone who has their own opinion is doing it to assault, punish, etc. her

I had a long talk with the kids. Letting them know that it is not okay to do this. I tried not to point out the primary offender. I made it clear that choosing not to talk to me about things at my house, and talking to her instead would be met with consequences. I really hated having to do this. Its what I have avoided, but there is no alternative, but to make them choose who they wanted to piss off. I don’t want them in the middle, but if their mother will put them there, I have to inform them of the boundaries and that crossing them is going to be an issue. My little spy asked me how much trouble he will get into, so I suspect it won’t stop until he is met with consequences. I also told my oldest that he can ask to leave his counseling session and sit in the lobby if his mother needs some therapy regarding me, and that if he needed to talk about me, then it could be done without her in the room, or he can request that I come along instead.

Girlfriend

Yes, I have a girlfriend who has met the children. We have been separated for what amounts to about two years at this point. The kids already see us as divorced. She is a nice woman, who really is about as opposite of my ex as a woman can be. She is thin, brunette, thoughtful, and unselfish. She is a single mom. Meaning her kids father lives in another state, and chooses to participate very little in their lives. The reasons why, I do not know, I do know that she actively gives him chances and always leaves frustrated. It was fairly natural for her to meet my kids, because it was nearly unavoidable that I would meet hers.

One evening she was over. She was working on homework, and her kids were going to stay the night, because there wasn’t any school the next day and she had to work. I went to play soccer for about an hour and a half. The boys biological half sister was there. She stayed working on homework and looking after things. At one point she snapped at my oldest and sent him to another room to play video games. I got the same story from both, so I am fairly certain it really was as simple as that. He called his mom crying. The next day I saw her, she went off on me. She told me that she isn’t allowed to babysit the kids. She wasn’t supposed to be emotionally involved with the kids, and a list of other things. Now the kids in question don’t need a babysitter for 90 minutes. She also said she had the right of first refusal as if that were an edict. It was not included in the temporary orders she filed, and I would not have had a baby sitter for such a short period of time. If I did, it would have been a family member of mine. I will not call her and haul the kids to her, and all the other issues that would come with that. I don’t think she understands that its my parenting time, and if she was sitting for the kids, I could make her stay at my house with them.

My core problem here is the idea that there are rules that we have to follow on these things leads to deceit. Probably by her. It is a way to assert authority into your ex’s life through the kids. I know it is. When I challenged her that she had no say in my personal life, her answer was I do when it involves the kids. I know that my oldest has met boyfriends of hers. They weren’t introduced as such, but that is what they were. This happened early. I had to process all of this then. I made the decision that I wouldn’t say or do anything, because I didn’t want her to think she had a say in my life. Its really that simple. I chose to have kids with her, so I chose her as their mother. Whether that was a good choice or not, I have to live with the fact she is going to make decisions I won’t agree with. Not a lot different than being married in that respect. I have to trust that anything short of being dangerous is not my business, and ultimately is not harmful. That is the environment created through divorce. I don’t agree that its best, but it is what I have to live with. She will probably never accept this, but I will enforce it in my life.

Stealing

I have very few things from our wedding. Maybe nothing now. I don’t care much, because as this blog catalogs, it was largely a farce. I had three trivets I used in the kitchen. They were nice, and were wedding gifts. She saw them when she was dropping off the kids one day. The next day she was picking up my sons for a game while I was already gone with the girls for another game. She took the trivets. I noticed a day or so later when I went to use them.

Since we are in this temporary order stage of divorce, I notified my lawyer, who sent an email to hers. Her response to me was incredible. She told me that it was my bad communication like that scenario is why our marriage didn’t work. She was furious I would dare tattle on her to my lawyer. I let her know that taking things without asking was not communicating, and that she filed the orders that said we were not to remove things from each others property. She apologized angrily, but never returned the items. She threatened to take all my tools in the divorce, and other things. All of which is very unlikely. Our property is essentially divided, and I am sure she doesn’t want to give up the numerous things she took from our marital home along the way without any conversation.

What I find amazing is she thought that this action was acceptable. Even defensible. I know lots of women have done things like this, but most realize that they are doing something wrong, but are also know that they will probably get away with it.


I have a fun decade in my future dealing with this woman. I don’t know what she will do. I kind of hope she does something crazy for everyone to see, so I can just get the kids and let her fade away. I feel sorry for my kids having her as a mom, and even sorrier that I played a part in that. I do hope that things get better, but I doubt she will do anything the easy way. I think that much of what she is doing is an initial salvo in a parental alienation campaign, so I have to be on my toes.

Ten-Foured,

JeD