How to make CHILD SUPPORT for the kids?


#1

My live-in boyfriend has an upcoming child support case regarding his two elementary age children. I also have 2 elem age children from my first marriage.

He has been separated for 2.5 years and divorced for 1.5 years and always paid his ex “outside the system” per her request to receive child support but still qualify for social service / welfare benefits in the form of Medicare for the kids, food stamps, F&R lunches at school and free track-out care.

Last January she caused a scene at his place of work and he lost his job as a 1099 subcontractor. His boss sited him as a liability, given her scene in front of customers. Since, he has not worked and has not paid her any cash for the kids needs. During his unemployment we contributed to the children’s needs in terms of clothing; furniture; school funds for supplies, field trips, yearbooks, pictures, gifts; activities including baseball and dance; summer activities including pool memberships, zoo membership, museum trips. We held both birthday parties and managed 2 short weekend summer vacations to White Lake and Wrightsville Beach. We take care of all the children’s needs while in our care - plus some. When my boyfriend does get an odd job, his first concern is making sure the kids have haircuts and new shoes … and a toy!

The children’s mother elects to work 15 hours per week at minimal wages - even though the children are in school full-time, and she uses full track-out / after school care services. She has primary custody and lives with the children at her mother’s - rent free. She drives her mother’s vehicle and her mom pays all utilities, car insurance, household expenses. This is not a short term arrangement. She has made it clear to the children, to her ex, and to the court during custody hearings that she intends to live this way until remarried. So, the children’s mother - after working the system and her family - pays only gas, clothing, entertainment. She does not have the kids enrolled in a single social - academic, athletic or religious - activity. She enjoys lawn concerts, football games, clubbing and weekly beach trips to the mom’s 2nd home at the shore. She shops at church donations and good will for the kids clothes, including their underwear!

We don’t begrudge her the luxuries she has from her family and friends. We are not in a place - or interested in - judging her work ethic. But we do not feel like sending money we spend on the children to a place where it will be spent only on her needs. She has made it known that she believes her ex still OWES her the white picket fence.

My questions:

  1. Based on the child support calculator, will my boyfriend have to pay child support while unemployed?

1b. He has a seasonal job starting in Dec and ending in January. Will the brevity of that job (7 weeks) be considered in the decision?

  1. Over the last 10 months, he has relied solely on my financial assistance to live. Some of that is charity - and we’ve agreed some of it is his responsibility to pay back (lawyers fees, doctors bills, truck payments). Will my income be considered (imputed) to meet his child support obligations? How will his obligation to me (or any debtor) be weighed?

  2. Is he entitled to back-support for the time he was unemployed and she was working? We have the kids 125 nights per year. The calculator seems to indicate she would owe him.

  3. Will her income be calculated based on minimum wage for 40 hours per week? Will she be directed to work full-time?

  4. Whatever the amount of support determined, his primary emotional struggle is that - if paid to the ex - the money will NOT be for the children. And it will impede our ability to do the things we do now for and with the children. How is that presented and factored in court? Are there any cases where the father commits to child support and produces receipts showing how the money was spent on their behalf? I know this must be rare … but she / they have NO living expenses, no child care expenses, no medical expenses, no food expenses. Currently, the children’s mother is very vocal with the children that daddy gives her nothing and does nothing for them and keeps his money for himself. The children see enough to the contrary. If all available funds are sent “up the road”, they will not see what their father does for them. It’s really very sad.

Finally, a statement. I think it is a sad course of events that drives a legal system to teach women and mothers that they FIND A BETTER LIFE BY ACHIEVING LESS AND EXPECTING A MAN TO TAKE CARE OF THEM. We seem quite comfortable in our legal calculations to teach women that they are not responsible for financial independence. I’m appalled at the number of posts here that state the woman doesn’t work. What are we teaching our daughters? I’ll tell you. My boyfriends daughter has been told by her mother that she can marry when she is 16. No other dreams or expectations. She has told her son that he better figure out how to support himself. I agree - but somewhat hypocritical coming from a mom who lives with mommy and who drives her mom’s car?!

Thanks for listening to the vent.

Please respond with legal advice?


#2

Child support will be ordered in accordance with your boyfriend’s income, if it is unemployment income, that amount will be placed in the calculator, if is zero, and the court finds that he is not depressing his income in bad faith, his income will be found to be zero. The income from the seasonal job will also be considered.

Your income will not come into play, neither will his debts/expenses. Only income, insurance costs ( for the children) and day-care costs are factors in a child support calculation.

If your boyfriend would have received support he may be entitled to some back support, however that is usually awarded back to the date of filing for support.

The court could impute income to the mother ( or either party ) if it is found that they are not working to their potential to avoid obligations to their children.

Once support is ordered, it is to be paid directly to the payee. The Payor cannot direct how the funds are used.


#3

Thank you very much for your response.

  • Will her social services / welfare programs be considered as part of her income?

  • Will working pt and sending kids to track-out ft be considered not working to her potential?

  • Once the amount is established, can he request that he pay through the court to the plaintiff so there is a court record of on-time payments?

Your straightforward explanation of the law (avoiding my emotional run-on) was very helpful! Thank you!


#4

Any income or financial assistance is considered part of a parent’s gross income.

It will be up to the judge to determine if the mother’s working part time is a bad faith depression of income. In my opinion, if she is not able to provide for her children, and not working to her full potential that is bad faith. Once child support is established, either party can request that it be paid through centralized collections.