February 02, 2010,
S.E. asks from Pemberton, NJ on February 01, 2010
Husband's Ex-wife and Child Support
My husband's ex just lost her job and is not eligible for unemployment. She told us yesterday that she is seeking more child support through the court. Just a few months ago she assured us that she wouldn't do that if we helped her out. We've been paying for all of my step-daughter's needs on top of what we already pay in support. We paid for her school registration, school supplies, school clothes, lunches every month...etc. My concern is that they live in Kansas and we live in New Jersey. Cost of living is higher here and so my husband makes more than he would if we lived in Kansas. Do they take that into consideration? Can she really get more money out of us just because she lost her job? Does it make a difference that we've been giving her anything she's needed or asked for? His income has increased since their divorce but he also now has a new wife (me) that doesn't work, and a child with me. Does that make any difference?
L.W. answers from Chicago on February 01, 2010
I am not sure of the laws in New Jersey or Kansas, but in Iowa and Illinois, it is a set percentage. So for instance, in Iowa it is 22%. So 22% of the father's TOTAL income is what is paid out for child support. It doesn't matter if the ex lost their job or not. The child gets 22%. Might want to inquire with your attorney if something like that applies in your state. Like Ina said, it is good that this is all going through the courts. While I do understand that there is a HUGE difference in the cost of living between the two locations, try to remember that the child doesn't get to choose where she lives, and the money is to benefit her. It's not like you will be paying this forever, only until the child is 18.
M.C. answers from Washington DC on February 01, 2010
I have family going through this...
Basically, the fact that your husband is now married and has another child to support, has no bearing on his support for an older child.
Also, since part of the child support is to help cover the cost of providing shelter for the child, since your child lives with you and your husband, your childs allowed amount of support would be less then the older child.
As for your husband paying for items above/beyond the monthly child support. Keep records. Not to be pety, but so that when the Ex tries to say that you aren't paying or what have you, you CAN go to the courts and show that you have been providing things for the older child.
S.R. answers from Orlando on February 01, 2010
His ex can petition the court every 2 years for a financial review. That is basic throughout most states. The court will assign her minimum wage as her contribution to the total income and then they will base his child support amount on the guidelines they have established. She can not just demand a certain amount and get it. Your families monthly bills are taken in to account and used to balance his over all income. She may get an increase if he is making more than when they first set things in motion.
T.F. answers from Philadelphia on February 02, 2010
Not sure how it workse in those states, but they do take into consideration the fact that he now has another child (family( to support. They will also take into consideration that she has lost her job (it is an unforeseen problem). Does the child go to catholic school or private school? You said yous paid for school registration? A private or catholic school is not a nessecity so if she lost her job and can no longer afford it, your husband DOES NOT have to help pay for it. According to support guidlines, child support is to cover EVERYTHING except daycare (which she obvioulsy doesnt need at 12 yrs old). So if he has provided more, make sure you show the courts receipts etc.. if yous still havw them. Good luck
V.W. answers from Jacksonville on February 01, 2010
It should not matter. I don't know the specific laws in your two states, but generally speaking child support is set up based on a "guideline" amount. Which is simply just a formula. Essentially, your support is based on what YOU (your husband) earns. Here is how it works:
The TOTAL income of the two parents is input to find the "total" support for the child/children. Then, the percentages are determined. If the dad has 60% of the "total income" then he pays 60% of the "total support" amount. So, if she is unemployed (sometimes they will 'impute' minimum wage to her) then he would have 100% of the "total income", but the "total amount of support" is also lower on the scale. It works out that generally speaking, it is the same.. regardless of whether or not she is working earning money or not.
The only time your husband's support obligations would be likely to change, is if HE has a change in income. If his income is substantially reduced (not voluntarily I might add) then he can petition for a reduction in support obligation. Likewise, if his income is increased, she can petition for an increase in his support obligation. But the fact that HER income has changed is largely irrelevant.
I hope this helps.
(these are just made up numbers)
His income: $70,000
Her income: $30,000
Total income: $100,000
Total support based on $100,000 of income: $600/month
His percentage of the total income/total support: 70% which equals $600/month x .70 = $429.month.
I.G. answers from Seattle on February 01, 2010
While I am sorry for you, going through the court is exactly what I would have advised her to do.
Custody and child support agreements are always best to be officially put down and approved by the court if you don't want to find yourself in trouble down the road. Don't take it too personal - it can be beneficial for you too: once the amount is set, there is no more asking for (unpredictable)extras!
Get a lawyer to represent your interests and make sure you have good documentation (receipts) of what you have given her.
B.K. answers from New York on February 01, 2010
Victoria pretty much said it. I know in CT there also has to be 20% change in what the support would be for the courts to even entertain it. Also, if you two have a child together and the ex is going for more support then your child would now be thrown into the mix as you now have the expense for that child as well.
My husband tried to "play nice" with his ex wife for the benefit of his daughter and he would give and give and give (above and beyond). Eventually she got very greedy (and the daughter wasn't getting the benefit). He went to court, had everything adjusted (it worked in his benefit) and now he pays what is required. He has lives in the same state and has visitation, so it's a little different.
Good luck. Greedy ex wives can be a handful, but go through the courts. I'd like to know where she's going to get the money to pay for an attorney if she's not working. The child support is supposed to be for the child, not her, so maybe she should get a job.
Also, I believe you will have to go through the court where the divorce was finalized. So if they got divorced in NJ, she'd have to fight the issue in that court.