Friday, April 2, 2010

What Divorce Law is Doing to Marriage Part 43

More from the words of Jed Abraham

The first thing you’ll notice when you start paying child support is how small your paycheck is. Your stub still shows your gross earnings less withholding for federal, state shows your earnings less withholding for federal, state and social security taxes. But it also shows withholding for child support. And the child support is about equal to all the other taxes combined.

Your household costs have changed too. Your rent is less than what your mortgage was, but you don’t get a tax deduction for it, and it doesn’t build you equity. You’re eating out more now, so your food costs are higher. Your utility bills are lower, but now you have to pay to park your car. And then there are the costs of your children’s visitation.

You clip coupons.
You buy a cook book.
You get another charge card.

When the children visit, you struggle to get them what they want. You buy them the clothes they clamor for, even though this is your ex’s responsibility. Between the two homes, they do not lack. But you’re in the red after paying child support.

You go back to court.
You tell the court the children are not suffering. What you spend on them they’re with you should be considered an offset to your child support.

The court rules against you. Whatever you spend on your children outside of child support is not child support. It’s discretionary; its in the nature of a gift. You cannot satisfy your fixed child support obligation by making discretionary gifts to your children. You should not buy gifts for your kids until you fully pay child support to your ex.

You obey the court’s ruling
You stop buying clothes for your kids.

Your children are noticeably less eager to see you. They come less frequently to visit. When they do come, they look shabby.

They say Mommy won’t buy them new clothes. Mommy doesn’t have the money. She says you don’t pay her enough. She says you should buy them what they need. She says you don’t care about them any more.

More on the chapter “Child Support” on next summary.