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Cristal's avatar

What's the right thing separated parents should do?

Asked by Cristal (14points) January 23rd, 2013 from iPhone

One of my dear friends has been separated from her partner for about 2 years. They have 1 biological child together(7) and my friend has a child from a previous relationship(16).
Their seperartion was amicable! They both raise these children together beautifully, of course still have the od disagreement here and there but always make decisions together regarding the children. They are friendly with one another, they can play with the children together and the children seem to be reaping the benefits of how well these parents get along.
It’s a wonderful thing to see.
My friends ex partner has been seeing a girl for about a year who has 2 children. They have recently moved in together and as this girls children have an absent father in their life my friends ex has become their legal guardian. So now here comes the issue. Now that her ex has 2 children he financially cares for, the amount of child support my friend receives will most likely drop! This is where I’m really confused!! As I’m in a stable relationship with my husband and 3 children. I couldn’t fathom if (touch wood) my husband and I divorced, he would even consider doing this. My way of thinking is, the husband and wife are no longer together but love and support for the children stays the same!! That includes the financial support!! Is it right for these children’s dad to take financial responsability for 2 children knowing he may not be able to afford it? His girlfriend makes decent money and from what my friend has told me, she also doesn’t try to get child support from the absent parent for her children. This dynamic doesn’t seem fair to me. Why is it that when parents remarry or repartner, they look at child maintenance as a way to cut back on money? Shouldn’t both parents be responsible in the way of living within their means to make sure they can upkeep their financial responsibilities for their children?
My friend is having a bit of a hard time understanding this and so am I.
Another thing that’s upsetting my friend is that in the new house her ex is living, they havnt accommodated for her older child who has been cared for by her ex since this child was 6 years old. My friend has a hard time knowing whether or not to bring these issues up with her ex partner for fear she will come out looking like the bitter ex.
I’m not sure how to answer her about that but I do think she needs to talk to someone about it, like a counsellor. So, my question is, what is the right thing Separated parents should do??

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14 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

Child support is a matter for the courts and the respective lawyers to handle. The children should have their own personal advocate as well. Many family courts provide counseling.

Shippy's avatar

She needs to first of all get her legal rights ironed out.As far as I am aware the father is to maintain the same child support as he did before this incident. If it were to go to court, I would imagine they would ask him to outlay his monthly expenditure, and income, including the new spouses. As they might just check his financial viability.

It would appear that they have a good relationship, the ex’s and so this is probably her first stop. Talk to him in a none aggressive way, with some good points she has to share. She would need definite answers from him though. Plus commitments

Perhaps the older child has not been accommodated because of cost issues? Larger home etc., The ex wife should mention to him that over time, it could cause him financial drain if he is in fact supporting 4 children, so he can maybe encourage his girl friend to lay claim to her benefits from their dad.

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diavolobella's avatar

She needs to contact an attorney. I don’t believe becoming a legal guardian is going to give him the legal basis to modify his child support. I’m fairly sure he’d have to legally adopt the children and he’d have to be married to the new woman, not just living with her or dating her. Guardianship is a separate issue.

Also, the court is going to look first to the biological father of those children to pay child support and question why the mother has made no effort to collect it. The court will look at all of those things and then make a determination of child support based on that and the income of all the parties.

KNOWITALL's avatar

If they share one biological child, he is only responsible for that one child’s financial and medical support. The other child, unless he adopted, is completely the mother and father’s responsiblity, absentee or not.

As far as him getting with the other woman and her children, that is his decision to make, but if there’s not money or room for his biological child, it’s pretty messed up.

What I’m trying to figure out is if your friend is pushing the other child on him, the one that is not his biologically, as a ‘buy1get1”-type deal. You take your bio kid and take this other one that loves you, too.

I had a friend in that situation and it may be morally reprehensible, but legally, his only legal responsiblity is to his biological child.

Cristal's avatar

Thanks for your responses!
I’ll add that my friend does get child support for her older child, she had to fight for it, but she got it. She puts no financial responsibility on her ex at all concerning her older child,even when they were
together. As for the living arrangements in her ex’s new house, what my friend is upset about is when both her children go to visit, her older child will feel completely left out and somewhat unwelcome. Her older child’s father is also very distant and doesnt call on birthdays, christmas etc. So my friend does encourage the relationship between her ex and her older child. As this relationship she feels is very important for her childs wellbeing. She knows it’s a moral issue and not a legal one.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Cristal I dated a man who was in a similar situation, his ex girlfriend has his bio child and one from a previous relationship. He paid child support for his but she REQUIRED us to take the older girl with us for every weekend or outing if we wanted to see his daughter.

It was a struggle for us but we did it. My boyfriend felt very put upon for having to always take the older child even though he did love her, it was just too much. It was financially a burden as well because we had to pay for two children every single time, and she was a little mean to her little sister and frankly, sometimes he just wanted to take his own daughter and get to spend some quality time with her.

All I want to impart is that with his child and two new children, he may be feeling overwhelmed. Rather than insist on him taking the older child, perhaps she can make those special ‘mother-daughter’ weekends where they can do something just the two of them so she doesn’t feel left out. It’s tough I’m sure, sorry.

marinelife's avatar

Your friend’s child by another man is no longer the financial responsibility (or emotional) of her ex. Just as the ex’s new partner should be getting financial support from her children’s father, your friend should be getting financial support from her daughter’s father.

It would be nice if he continued to include the older child in his life, but seems unlikely with a whole new family.

She needs to talk to him and figure out exactly what his intentions are. Hopefully, the conversation can be cordial. The kids should not be present.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@marinelife It may also be time for her to talk to the older child as well if she will understand the whole ‘he’s sissy’s daddy, but you have a different daddy’, especially if the conversation with him goes badly. Maybe she can appeal to the new wife, if it’s a friendly relationship?!

Cristal's avatar

My friends older child doesn’t go to visit with her younger child every time. Her ex gets a lot of time with his biological child. Their are no forced visits in this situation. There is no pressure there at all. Thanks again for the responses! Very helpful.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Judge Judy would say that he knows he has a child to pay for, so if he takes on two more voluntarily, he shouldn’t have to reduce anything, and if he has more with her he’d better be able to support them all.

Seek's avatar

All I have to say is this: That poor 16 year old. It really, really sucks to have all the evidence in the world (from your perspective) that no one wants you. Dad doesn’t want me, stepdad doesn’t want me. Mom is more concerned with step-dad’s new family than with me…

Cristal's avatar

Also the older child never called my friends ex ‘dad’ it was always by his first name. The older child always knew my friends ex was not a replacement dad.
The relationship they have now
is one that grew over time. My friends ex and has been in her older child’s life for the last 10 years.

Seek's avatar

@Cristal That older child formed a relationship with a father-figure, then lost that figure. Then they spent 10 years forming a relationship with a new father-figure. “Dad” is a job-title, not a name. You can’t tell me that the older child “knew the ex wasn’t a replacement dad”. That’s a huge burden of emotional responsibility to put on a six year old.

Cristal's avatar

When my friend and her ex started a relationship, her then 6 year old was old enough to know this man was not her father. This child knew her biological father. over the years her biological father grew distant as he repartnerd with a girl who also had kids. From what I saw back then he made my friends life hell. He was an abusive man to my
friend, very controlling. This is why she left him. When he realized he couldn’t control her anymore he became distant. And sadly, even from his child. But this was a gradual thing. He still appears every now and then, but I mean after a year or two. But that’s what I ment by this older child knew my friends ex wasn’t a replacement dad. No father child relationship was forced if you know what I mean. May I say this older child is dearly loved by all. This childs life is not filled with doom and gloom. This child’s mother has done a really good job and made sure this child knows there are plenty of people who loves them. My friend comes from a large family with Aunts and Uncles, cousins etc. And this child is quite well adjusted.

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