What is a "fair" amount of child support?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2000
What is a "fair" amount of child support?
6
Sat, 09-15-2012 - 6:23pm

I met with my STBX and his lawyer the other day, which was an experience.  Though I doubt his lawyer's abilities, he DID make my ex shut up immediately when he tried to go on a tirad against me, so that made me at least not hate the man.  I didn't have time to get my lawyer there, and didn't really need her to discuss custody, since I don't have any issues with him visiting, though aparently saying that 8 times, in writing, wasn't clear enough.  His lawyer said typically child support is about 20% of the non-cutododial parent's net pay, plus medical payments, which he estimated at about $60/month, and then half of any major medical expenses, like hospital copays.  I think this would equal maybe $300/month, since he would be using his last 3 years' tax returns, but he's actually made about 2X that this year.  I'm not out to fleece him, but I would love to be able to use the money to actually support my son, so I could use MY paycheck to fix up the house that's falling down (and by "falling down" I literally mean that, as a part of my carport's wall actually FELL down this week).  

My question is does that sound fair?  Because, to be honest, with a 12-year-old boy, that's barely enough to buy food for the month.  I also have to pay someone to spend the night at my house while I'm at work, since I don't feel comfortable leaving him alone overnight, not to mention clothes, shoes, school supplies, athletic supplies, etc.  I also have a child in college to support; I'm giving him about $50/week for food & gas, paying another student to stay at the house with my little guy for $50/week, and still helping to support my nephew, whom I have custody of and is living at my father's house right now.   I am not poor or anything, but I have thousands of dollars worth of home/car repairs I need to get done, plus a ton of debt I racked up supporting my ex while he spent "his" money on fun stuff for himself.  Besides all that, I want to be able to put some of the child support money in a savings account for my son for buying him a car and helping out with college expenses.  I know a lot of women who would be thrilled to get that much, but it seems to me that we deserve a little more than that, since I have supported us most of the 15 years we've been married.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008

I am no lawyer nor expert but that does sound kind of low in this day and age.. Actually I thought it was more like 35 percent of the person's income.. I guess it depends on if you reject this does it mean that you have to pay more in legal fees?God forbid out of his heart he might pay more for his son.. These guys are so low..

Personally I would reject it and hold out for more.. because if he is what 12 now you will only be getting that until he is either 18 or 21..which is really not that far off.. ? What about college and things like that.. I so think the amount is too low..

Are you also not getting spousal support?? What about the house? Do you have to sell and split it??

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

Every state has a law on how to calculate child support so just Google it.  20% does sound low, plus c.s is usually calculated on gross income, not net and it should be calculated based on his current pay if his pay is a lot more than what he made last year.  I can tell you that in MA, child support is more like 25% of gross pay. 

Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004

Hi,

You need your lawyer in on this and you need to ask for what you need, not what your STBX wants to pay. Plus, Music is correct in pointing out most child support is calculated based on a state formula, not the whim of the STBX and his attorney. Calculate what you'll need and put it on the table.

And why are you shelling out $200 a month to a college kid for "expenses?" If they're old enough to be in college they're old enough to work part-time to earn their expense money...and spare me the argument you don't want to take their attention away from school. Sooner or later they have to pay their own way: make it sooner. You can't afford to spend $2,400 a year on a "kid" who needs to learn to make their way in the world.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2000

Wow! My "kid" just turned 18, has already finished 2 years of college, and has a full academic scholarship, including dorms.  He also works as a math tutor to earn some money, but he does have to eat and put gas in his car!  His scholarship only covered $500 for books,  and if you've ever bought text books, you know that's only going to cover maybe 2 classes.  Concidering that it costs almost $50 just to fill his car up with gas, it doesn't leave a whole lot for food!  Besides all of that, he comes home every other weekend while I work nights to stay with his brother, do yard work, clean the house, etc. to work off the money I give him, and I get off cheap for the amount of hard work this kid does.  This is no spoiled kid who's using my money to go out and party. 

As for the child support, I'm just trying to get an idea of what's considered fair while I wait for the paperwork from my ex's lawyer stating how much he thinks he should pay.  I have no intention of signing anything without having my lawyer go over it first. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-15-2008

Hi there,  I wouldn't know what to tell you about the child support--I hope your lawyer will help you get a fair settlement.  When I divorced my exh he was ordered to pay for half of the marital debt even though the credit cards were in my name.  It was still considered marital debt.    Isn't your stbxh responsible for any of the debt that you are paying off?  I would ask about it if I were you.  

I hope everything works out for you mcpayton!

Ollie

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2000

I'm sure he is, and to be honest, since he's run up so much debt, I told him he should pay the cards in his name and I'll pay the one's in my name; I also handed over the timeshares he just had to buy because it was a good investment, even though I said "NO" about a thousand times.  He promised to pay for them when he bought them and then dumped them on me for over 2 years; he was really mad when I handed them back over.  I also gave him all of his own bills to pay, which is probably why he's so angry with me now.  He never had a clue how much money he was spending, even though I made him sit down with me every couple of months to go over the budget.  What I find ironic is him emailing nasty comments to me about ME not being able to handle money.  The sad truth is, I let him spend me into a huge hole just to keep the peace, because when I would say "no" we can't afford something, he would flip out, go off about me being controlling, holding him down, that he deserved stuff, too, because he did a lot around the house, blah blah blah.  It was so much worse to say no sometimes, you know?  I would have to add it all up, but his cards and the rest of it are about equal to the amount of mine and the home repairs I need to make, so I think that's fair, so long as he does help support our son.  As for the house, all he wants is name off of it, which is fine with me, since I am going to be living here.   I think I'm actually going to come out ahead in the end, which is fine with me.