is child support a bad idea in the long run?

River - posted on 03/24/2015 ( 19 moms have responded )

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I have a stepson and from what I've seen, child support doesn't seem like a great idea. I understand that both parents should financially take care of their kids. Child support is supposed to be just half of the child's expenses. It's supposed to be the non custodial parents half of the child's expenses. If that's the case then shouldn't the non custodial parent have a say in how it is spent? Or do they legally have a say? I think that the parents should have to discuss what the child needs and what the support money should be spent on. My fiance pays his support And is not behind. But he can't afford to pay support Then buy extra stuff that his son needs that mom won't get. Wouldn't it work better if they put the money on a card then moniter what it's used for? Like if it's obvious that the parents keeps using it for themselves then they should be held in contempt since its money to go for the child. And to me, it does seem like what they are saying is you have to be able to spend, let's say 100 dollars, every week on the child. But really if your child lives with you and you can't afford to spend 100 dollars each week on them, yet they do not go without, then you don't get arrested. But if it's child support and you can't afford that much every week you do risk getting arrested. I'm not trying to start any arguments. I'm honestly curious if others think the idea of having the parents sit down and write out what the child needs and all that should be a requirement for support. It just seems like both parents should have a say in how the money is spent on the child.

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Raye - posted on 03/25/2015

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You and your fiancé need to ignore her bad behavior, or at least not respond with something that she can use against you. Neither parent needs to run to the judge for every little thing, as they will start siting both in contempt. But if you have solid evidence that she's neglecting the needs of the child, then that should be brought to the court's attention. Then, maybe your fiancé can get custody/visitation/child support re-assessed.

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River - posted on 03/25/2015

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I haven't spoken to her other than when she comes to pick up the child and says something to me first. There's a court order in place that she has a hard time following. He's already filed for custody. He has joint legal custody. The judge has told him and her it's best if they work towards joint physical custody. She lied to him and said that's no problem. Then changed her mind a few days later. My fiance has tons of stuff proving violence in the home. It just sucks knowing that courts are so lenient towards the mother no matter how good of a lawyer he gets. But it's definitely worth a try.

Jodi - posted on 03/25/2015

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But he's not paying her expenses. It may appear that way because she is waiting to buy things for herself until the child support comes in, but in the meantime, the child is being fed and clothes and has a roof over his head.

I can understand it being annoying having her say those things. I'd be pissed at that too.

If the child is being exposed to abuse in the home, then your boyfriend needs to step up and look at whether it is in the child's best interests to be in that environment - it causes trauma for a child long term. Are there court orders in place at all?

I would also suggest you don't even communicate with the woman. Not even given you mean well.

River - posted on 03/25/2015

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Jodi, sorry. I just was frustrated by some stuff she keeps pulling so I kinda ranted a bit. It's just not easy dealing with a woman who believes her son's father should pay HER expenses as well as the child's. I understand he needs to provide for his child. I wasn't saying 400 a month is excessive. I do think it's fair. It's just annoying that she says it's her money and she shouldn't have to work. She lives with an abusive boyfriend who has hit her and screams in front of the child. She has him act as if he's dad but if I even ask how the child's doing she gets upset and starts calling me names. I've never met a women as hateful or mean. I am not trying to play mommy. I'm just asking how the child is doing once in a while. My fiance is the one who deals with everything. But I feel like I shouldn't be yelled at for asking how the kid is doing. But maybe I am going to far by trying to have anything to do with him. :/

Jodi - posted on 03/25/2015

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I wasn't trying to be rude, I was just floored that you think $100 a week is excessive for child support.

"She has no house payment, car payment, or any bills because she lives off of her boyfriend."

So her boyfriend is supporting the child then.....as in HE is paying many of the costs that I listed. That still doesn't eliminate the fact that she has those costs that need to be paid and that between them, she and her boyfriend are supporting those things for the child. What you just said there is like saying that while I was a SAHM for my children, I was living off my husband so I wasn't paying for the roof over my son's head and therefore must be spending my child support money on myself. That's just ridiculous. Not to mention, it isn't her boyfriend's job to support her child, it is hers and your fiance's.

"However when she receives over 400 a month in support,"

So your fiance is only paying $100 a week. I assure you, that is only half of what it costs to raise that child. It certainly isn't all the cost, like you are claiming it is. It is quite a minimal amount.

"Both parents should have a say in these things to an extent."

Okay then, allow me to put this to you. If you get to have a say over how she spends the money coming into her household, how about she get to have a say over how you spend the money in your household? It's basically the same thing - a violation of someones rights by trying to control them (and yes, what you are suggesting is a form of control).

"My fiancee was paying that support plus providing all diapers and wipes and clothes and food for a while because somehow 400 a month was not enough to get any of that, but it was enough for her to buy new phones and go out to eat wile leaving the child at our house."

So your fiance was buying all this while the child was at your house for visitation? Or for the child at her house? And you have just used past tense, so I am assuming this is no longer occurring anyway, so is a moot point.

"Then she told us that when we have him her and her boyfriend like to go out sometimes"

I'm not seeing anything wrong with that, but your fiance is not required to pay extra - that's his choice.
From your other posts, I can see that she is probably quite selfish and entitled, but that still doesn't make $400 a month excessive. He just needs to stop giving her more if that is what the court ordered that he pay, and if can genuinely demonstrate hardship, maybe get it reviewed, but keep in mind that $400 a month isn't covering all of the expenses to raise this child. If WIC and her boyfriend are paying the rest, that's really not your concern, it just means that you aren't paying all of what it costs to raise the child. She is somehow covering the other half, even if it isn't coming from her own pocket.

River - posted on 03/25/2015

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Raye, neither of us respond generally. I don't want to hurt his chances at custody even just joint physical. He has joint legal. He does save important texts and voicemails, which he's spoken to lawyers in our county and they say the judge most definitely accepts those things as evidence. Thanks for your advise. :)

River - posted on 03/25/2015

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Thank you Chana and Raye Ramsey for not being rude or sarcastic with your answers. I really didn't mean anything mean by this stuff. I was just wondering about it. I know I can't butt in. So yes I do rant on here sometimes because some of the stuff she does is very frustrating. My fiance paid his support online and it took a couple days to go through. So she immediately ran to the court house and filed for a contempt hearing. Of course when the judge didn't put him in jail she got mad and started leaving obscene voicemails calling me a whore. I hadn't said anything to her. :P I would rather rant a little on here than go and say something mean to her.

Raye - posted on 03/25/2015

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Child support and alimony (spousal support) are two different things. Child support is not meant to cover her living expenses, too. She can "mention to the judge" whatever she wants, but that doesn't mean she'll get it. She's trying to manipulate her ex for her personal gain, and he needs to grow some balls and make it stop.

River - posted on 03/25/2015

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Shawnn, I don't stalk anyone. She does tell us what she buys with the money sometimes. She bought several new phones and went on about how she needed the support money after her phone broke so she could get another new phone. When someone tells you this stuff it doesn't mean you are stalking them. Again, I wasn't trying to be rude mean or start any arguments. But it seems like some people just like to be arses. No my parents did not stay together. My mom worked 3 jobs to support us all and when this woman tells me and my fiance she bought a phone with support money then says she doesn't have enough left over for the things he needs, it gets to me. My fiance tried helping her get a job and he offered to pay daycare and transportation for his daycare and help her to and from work. She says she should not have to work. She says the child support should cover her living expenses too. Then she mentions asking the judge to start taking out 300 a week when my fiance makes 350 a week. Then she starts saying "guess you guys will have to live in a shelter because the judge will take that much out when I ask. Then there'll be no need for me to work". Her words. She's also said "you can't have our son half the time. They'd lower support then." She sent that to my fiance.

Raye - posted on 03/25/2015

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Should the mother be more responsible with the money? Yes. Absolutely. Can you force her to be? No. He can stop paying extra above and beyond the support payments, as she may just be trying to see what else she can squeeze out of your fiancé. It's not right, but many parents use their children to either get back at their ex or try to get as much out of them as possible. Your fiancé needs to demand proof of hardship before he will give more than paying his support payments. I'm sure he doesn't want to punish the child for the mistakes of the mother by making the child go without, but maybe it would force her to reevaluate her spending habits.

My husbands ex is always asking for favors, treating my husband like an ATM or her personal handyman and she gets away with it because he allows it (trying to keep the peace for the sake of the kids). But it's not right, and it's frustrating to me because I see all this going on, but I can't get involved past suggesting to my husband that he not let her treat him like a door mat. It's their jobs to make the co-parenting thing work and I just try to be supportive of him and love him and the kids as best I can. The rest is not my circus, not my monkeys.

Chana - posted on 03/25/2015

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I am not a step parent but I have to say something. You said both parents should have a say in how the money is spent on the child. I will tell you my husband does not know nor does he care where every penny goes that we spend on our girls. If they need something I buy it either online or when we are out shopping. If I had to account for every penny I spent on them I would go insane. Sometimes it is a package of socks, a couple shirts, a pair of shoes. Honestly I don't even know everything I spend on them sometimes I see something they need and just pick it up without thinking about it. If she had to tell your boyfriend everything she bought she would go crazy. I think if it is something big or a large amount of money then yes he deserves to know but daily needs is unrealistic.

River - posted on 03/25/2015

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He is nearly 2. He is in underwear now. And my fiance asked her where the money was going one day because she kept saying she had no food or clothes for him. She recievws food stamps and wic. So that's why we thought it was strange that she couldn't even provide food for him. Then she told us that when we have him her and her boyfriend like to go out sometimes and she saw nothing wrong with using the child support money because as she says "she deserves that money". So there's no proof that she used the support on that. But she did tell us. I'm not trying to act like I'm his mom or anything like that. I was really just curious what others thought of the whole thing. These are things that affect me as well because I am marrying the father. It just gets a little annoying when she says she deserves the money and then asked my fiance to pay more. But then she can't get him what he needs. And admits to buying stuff that's not needed.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 03/25/2015

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"From what I've seen, child support doesn't seem like a great idea”~~Let me guess. Your parents either stayed together, or your custodial parent didn’t receive a support settlement, so went without? How in the world can you even contemplate uttering this statement?
Apparently you don’t realize that supporting a child (whether the child lives with you or not) means paying for housing, food, & utilities, as well as doctor’s visits, dentists, school expenses, medications, clothing, insurance, fuel for transporting the child, insurance for the vehicle…get the point?
“Child support is supposed to be just half of the child's expenses. It's supposed to be the non-custodial parents half of the child's expenses”~~Sort of. It is the agreed upon amount that is settled on the custodial parent for the upbringing and care of the child. It’s a lot more than food and clothing.
“If that's the case then shouldn't the non-custodial parent have a say in how it is spent?”~~No, they don’t have any say, just as the custodial parent has no say on what the non-custodial spends money on during visits.
“I think that the parents should have to discuss what the child needs and what the support money should be spent on”~~well, effective coparents do this.
“I have a stepson… My fiance pays his support”~~Good for your fiancé, but the child is not your stepchild until you marry.
“Then buy extra stuff that his son needs that mom won't get. Wouldn't it work better if they put the money on a card then moniter what it's used for? Like if it's obvious that the parents keeps using it for themselves then they should be held in contempt since its money to go for the child”~~Unless you are stalking the woman, you don’t know that she’s NOT using the support for the child. As previously stated, ‘child support’ covers more than you realize.
“And to me, it does seem like what they are saying is you have to be able to spend, let's say 100 dollars, every week on the child. But really if your child lives with you and you can't afford to spend 100 dollars each week on them, yet they do not go without, then you don't get arrested. But if it's child support and you can't afford that much every week you do risk getting arrested”~~Its not that cut & dried. Perhaps speaking with a family counselor would help you understand.
“It just seems like both parents should have a say in how the money is spent on the child”~~Each does. During their time with the child.
You do realize that $400/month for one child is EXTREMELY reasonable, to the point of being insufficient, do you not? Or do you not have children of your own?
“somehow 400 a month was not enough to get any of that, but it was enough for her to buy new phones and go out to eat wile leaving the child at our house”~~Excuse me? You followed her around to spy out what she was doing while the child was in the care of his father? Your behavior could be bordering on criminal, if you aren’t careful. It is none of YOUR BUSINESS what bio mom does when the child is with his father. If the child’s father is concerned, he can request an investigation.

You have a lot to learn about blending families and understanding the dynamic of support between ex spouses and co parents.

Ev - posted on 03/25/2015

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I have to agree with Raye's words as well. And until you are married to the man, this child is not a step child.

Raye - posted on 03/25/2015

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River, (love the name BTW), I don't think Jodi was trying to be rude. She was explaining how it is for many families. If the child spends time with their father in his home, then he is supposed to pay food, clothes, other expenses for the child *while in his care*. If he pays his child support, then he should not pay anything extra to the ex for expenses while the child is in the care of his ex. And, no, he does not get a say in how that money is spent. If he has proof that the amount he pays is more than needed for the child's expenses, or if he truly cannot afford the payments, then he should petition the court to reassess his child support payments. However, if she is also getting government assistance and it's proven she doesn't need all the assistance she's getting, then they would likely reduce the government's burden of payment to her and your fiancé's would remain the same.

FYI, until you are married, the child is not your step-son.

Ev - posted on 03/25/2015

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You can not know that the money was spent on other frivilous things as you say. Were either of you with her when the money was spent? And you can not count the boyfriend's home and utilities in the matter as he is not a parent to the child. $400 is not enough a month to raise one child. Do you realize how much diapers are these days. One case of 150 diapers for a small baby runs about $40 bucks and a small baby uses a whole lot more than an older child and as the child changes sizes there are less diapers in the case than for an infant. Also the wipes depending on what you buy are expensive too. You are also not taking into account that kids under the age of five during those years grow quickly and change clothing sizes rapidly. So maybe the child did need the extra diapers that the support did not buy. As for food and so on, you do not know how expensive formula is for a child and if food stamps can not cover it then it comes out of support too. You do not know how they spent the food stamps and that is not always in the count in a lot of families so you can not actually add that to the support.

Just because she has a boyfriend that has a house and pays the utilities right now does not mean he is gong to be there in the future to keep her in a house. Next week she could be on the streets.

The point is child support is for all expenses that are needed to raise a child and even now $400 is not enough really when you consider doctor visits and such too. In some states that is the bare minimum the state lets a parent get buy with if they have little to no income.

River - posted on 03/25/2015

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No need to be rude Jodi. She has no house payment, car payment, or any bills because she lives off of her boyfriend. Whom is abusive. If she was using it for house payments then it wouldn't be as big of a deal. However when she receives over 400 a month in support, 300 in food stamps, and WIC, then her boyfriends house is paid off and he pays the utilities, I would think the child has no reason to go without. I have raised kids. I had to raise 2 little girls when my brother and his ex wife ditched them. I worked a job as a CNA when I was 17 just to support them. So I do know how much it costs to raise children. However, without the house payment and not having to buy food with her own money then 400 a month should be plently to raise the child. That 400 is not meant to be the child's entire living expenses. Child support is supposed to be half of the child's expenses. Both parents should have a say in these things to an extent. It is both of their child. My fiancee was paying that support plus providing all diapers and wipes and clothes and food for a while because somehow 400 a month was not enough to get any of that, but it was enough for her to buy new phones and go out to eat wile leaving the child at our house. So yes we do know the money isn't spent on the child. If the parents were together they'd likely both know what's bought for the child. So they are entitled to that knowledge even if their separated.

Jodi - posted on 03/24/2015

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LMAO. You really think that if one parent pays $100 a week on a child, they are paying for things for the other parent? Seriously? I'm sorry, but has it occurred to you that the following costs need to be factored in when calculating the cost of a child:

A proportion of the cost of the house they live in (either mortgage or rent). This may also include repair costs, etc.
A proportion of the utility costs.
Contribution toward wear and tear on the car, as well as fuel and repair costs.
Education costs
Clothes
Shoes
Food
Daycare or other care so the other parent can work (if applicable).

And that's just the necessities.
If you can get all of that for $200 a week ($100 a week for each parent), then I absolutely congratulate you.

You couldn't possibly know she is spending your money on herself when you consider all of those costs. Unless, of course, what your fiance is paying is excessive.

But no, you shouldn't be entitled to know where the money goes (or he shouldn't). Because really, it isn't any of your business unless the child is going without the necessities. If your fiance is having problems paying support, then he needs to get it reassessed. If you decide to buy extra stuff that mum won't buy, that's your choice.

My ex once suggested that he had a right to know where I spent the child support money. I almost spat out my coffee. He can shove his $30 a month where the sun don't shine if he thinks that is something I would even contemplate. Clearly he had NO clue how much it actually costs to raise a child. 15 years later he still hasn't got a clue, but hey, his kid never missed out. He also never saw a single itemised expense list.

You want to pay half what it costs to raise that child? Maybe it would be an interesting exercise for you to sit down and cost it out and see what you come up with. I assure you, it isn't what you think it is.

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