Author Topic: divorce/child care/early retirement  (Read 21619 times)

SKL-HOU

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #100 on: May 04, 2018, 11:11:52 AM »
I didnt read all the replies so maybe it is mentioned... you donít get to reduce your hours by choice then turn around and ask to reduce your CS obligation. I doubt a judge would agree to that.

UnleashHell

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #101 on: May 04, 2018, 11:36:41 AM »
Its very simple. You agree to child support at a set amount. You also agreed to all the transportation.

Given that the wages are similar and the night you have the kids are close Iíd suggest contacting a divorce lawyer to calculate what the formula would be in your state if you were to go that route.

If it works out way lees for you to pay Iíd take that to the ex and open a discussion regarding transportation and extra curricula stuff for the kids. You can suggest that the transportation has to be fair and you have to be involved in the scheduling of other activities. In return you will ignore the lower child support and continue at $700 a month (which is way lower than Iím paying for one kid!).


If the CS calculation is higher then keep quiet and suck it up.
Reduction in work and wages later is totally irrelevant to the conversation.


Then do everything you can to play nice with the ex when it comes to the kids and raise them as best you can. Thatís all.

charis

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #102 on: May 04, 2018, 11:45:23 AM »
But the negative reaction to a person that is providing $269 per day for the care of their two children (on top of providing health insurance) is not explainable by being a man; if you insist on tying it to any sex/gender stereotypes, it's a sign of the opposite, a feminized, overly emotional response.  A person with a healthy understanding of obligations of parenthood and an objective, not hyper-emotional response would realize that as far as finances go, he is meeting his obligations and then some.  We spend a lot on our kids (probably an unhealty amount), and outside of health insurance (which again, he is providing), and housing, food, utiliites, etc. (which they are basically splitting, except for a 26 day difference), we probably don't spend more than $32,000 for three kids for an entire year.    He's providing $8400 for less than a month for two kids. 

Where are you getting these numbers?  The OP says in his first post that he pays $700 per month in child support to his ex wife.

Gronnie

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #103 on: May 04, 2018, 11:57:42 AM »
But the negative reaction to a person that is providing $269 per day for the care of their two children (on top of providing health insurance) is not explainable by being a man; if you insist on tying it to any sex/gender stereotypes, it's a sign of the opposite, a feminized, overly emotional response.  A person with a healthy understanding of obligations of parenthood and an objective, not hyper-emotional response would realize that as far as finances go, he is meeting his obligations and then some.  We spend a lot on our kids (probably an unhealty amount), and outside of health insurance (which again, he is providing), and housing, food, utiliites, etc. (which they are basically splitting, except for a 26 day difference), we probably don't spend more than $32,000 for three kids for an entire year.    He's providing $8400 for less than a month for two kids. 

Where are you getting these numbers?  The OP says in his first post that he pays $700 per month in child support to his ex wife.

Think about it a little bit harder. He has the kids nearly half time, she only has the kids a couple more days per month than him. He ALREADY is providing nearly half their support, which is all he should be responsible for unless there is a drastic difference in income (which there is not).

Jrr85

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #104 on: May 04, 2018, 12:17:44 PM »
But the negative reaction to a person that is providing $269 per day for the care of their two children (on top of providing health insurance) is not explainable by being a man; if you insist on tying it to any sex/gender stereotypes, it's a sign of the opposite, a feminized, overly emotional response.  A person with a healthy understanding of obligations of parenthood and an objective, not hyper-emotional response would realize that as far as finances go, he is meeting his obligations and then some.  We spend a lot on our kids (probably an unhealty amount), and outside of health insurance (which again, he is providing), and housing, food, utiliites, etc. (which they are basically splitting, except for a 26 day difference), we probably don't spend more than $32,000 for three kids for an entire year.    He's providing $8400 for less than a month for two kids. 

Where are you getting these numbers?  The OP says in his first post that he pays $700 per month in child support to his ex wife.

I read the post.  He says he has the kids 6 out of 14 days.  That's a little less than 156.5 days a year, which is ~ 26 days less than 182.5 days (which is exactly half a non-leap year).  So his $8400 over the course of a year, spread out over the 26 days she is covering that would get him to half, works out to $323 per day.  I got sloppy and just divided by 31 based on her basically having the kids a month extra (which would still be closer to $271 than 269; not sure exactly where I screwed that up).   

Also, again, that's not including health insurance, which is a pretty big contribution in itself.  (He states he provides healthcare and they split out of pocket costs, which I assume that means he provides insurance and they split the out of pocket costs). 

partgypsy

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #105 on: May 04, 2018, 12:43:40 PM »
There is no way of knowing reading here, because he has close the 50% nights, if that = 50% effort. When my ex left, he didn't have them a single night for the next 4 months, and after that it was scattered (2-4 nights a month) until he moved into his current place about a year ago. He also didn't take 90% of his stuff, so I'm the one having to go through all the stuff and organize the house.

Now we are techically 50/50, but I have them 4/7 nights of the week. I also inherited our 2 geriatric pets, so I'm taking care of them. I do stuff like if the kids need a new pair of shoes, or training bras, or need a form signed for school, or have appointments to be scheduled, or planning extra curricular activities or birthdays, they come to me. Because I stayed in the home, and was the one doing the paperwork, pretty much all recurring expenses and bills also fall to me. Now that is pretty typical that the kind of things fall across female/male lines, and I wouldn't be surprised if the mom was doing a number of things like this that falls under the radar.

In turn, ex DOES do more driving (which I hate) and I appreciate that.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2018, 12:45:36 PM by partgypsy »

charis

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #106 on: May 04, 2018, 12:44:00 PM »
But the negative reaction to a person that is providing $269 per day for the care of their two children (on top of providing health insurance) is not explainable by being a man; if you insist on tying it to any sex/gender stereotypes, it's a sign of the opposite, a feminized, overly emotional response.  A person with a healthy understanding of obligations of parenthood and an objective, not hyper-emotional response would realize that as far as finances go, he is meeting his obligations and then some.  We spend a lot on our kids (probably an unhealty amount), and outside of health insurance (which again, he is providing), and housing, food, utiliites, etc. (which they are basically splitting, except for a 26 day difference), we probably don't spend more than $32,000 for three kids for an entire year.    He's providing $8400 for less than a month for two kids. 

Where are you getting these numbers?  The OP says in his first post that he pays $700 per month in child support to his ex wife.

Think about it a little bit harder. He has the kids nearly half time, she only has the kids a couple more days per month than him. He ALREADY is providing nearly half their support, which is all he should be responsible for unless there is a drastic difference in income (which there is not).

I don't have to think about a random poster's irrelevancies a little harder.  The reasonableness of OP's child support obligation has already been determined by a court or by the parties' agreement.  There's no reason to break it down in this manner and quibble.  $8400 a year for two teenagers is arguably unmustachian, but certainly not objectively exorbitant for that period from a 120K household who has them for less time, even if it doesn't include an expensive sport.

partgypsy

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #107 on: May 04, 2018, 12:48:34 PM »
But the negative reaction to a person that is providing $269 per day for the care of their two children (on top of providing health insurance) is not explainable by being a man; if you insist on tying it to any sex/gender stereotypes, it's a sign of the opposite, a feminized, overly emotional response.  A person with a healthy understanding of obligations of parenthood and an objective, not hyper-emotional response would realize that as far as finances go, he is meeting his obligations and then some.  We spend a lot on our kids (probably an unhealty amount), and outside of health insurance (which again, he is providing), and housing, food, utiliites, etc. (which they are basically splitting, except for a 26 day difference), we probably don't spend more than $32,000 for three kids for an entire year.    He's providing $8400 for less than a month for two kids. 

Where are you getting these numbers?  The OP says in his first post that he pays $700 per month in child support to his ex wife.

I read the post.  He says he has the kids 6 out of 14 days.  That's a little less than 156.5 days a year, which is ~ 26 days less than 182.5 days (which is exactly half a non-leap year).  So his $8400 over the course of a year, spread out over the 26 days she is covering that would get him to half, works out to $323 per day.  I got sloppy and just divided by 31 based on her basically having the kids a month extra (which would still be closer to $271 than 269; not sure exactly where I screwed that up).   

Also, again, that's not including health insurance, which is a pretty big contribution in itself.  (He states he provides healthcare and they split out of pocket costs, which I assume that means he provides insurance and they split the out of pocket costs).

It doesn't work that way. The primary reasons childcare costs are split is to make living situations similar across parents. A larger percentage of that is housing, making sure housing is similar across the two houses. Unless they are living in hotels, breaking down costs by day doesn't make sense.

Gronnie

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #108 on: May 04, 2018, 12:57:10 PM »
But the negative reaction to a person that is providing $269 per day for the care of their two children (on top of providing health insurance) is not explainable by being a man; if you insist on tying it to any sex/gender stereotypes, it's a sign of the opposite, a feminized, overly emotional response.  A person with a healthy understanding of obligations of parenthood and an objective, not hyper-emotional response would realize that as far as finances go, he is meeting his obligations and then some.  We spend a lot on our kids (probably an unhealty amount), and outside of health insurance (which again, he is providing), and housing, food, utiliites, etc. (which they are basically splitting, except for a 26 day difference), we probably don't spend more than $32,000 for three kids for an entire year.    He's providing $8400 for less than a month for two kids. 

Where are you getting these numbers?  The OP says in his first post that he pays $700 per month in child support to his ex wife.

Think about it a little bit harder. He has the kids nearly half time, she only has the kids a couple more days per month than him. He ALREADY is providing nearly half their support, which is all he should be responsible for unless there is a drastic difference in income (which there is not).

I don't have to think about a random poster's irrelevancies a little harder.  The reasonableness of OP's child support obligation has already been determined by a court or by the parties' agreement.  There's no reason to break it down in this manner and quibble.  $8400 a year for two teenagers is arguably unmustachian, but certainly not objectively exorbitant for that period from a 120K household who has them for less time, even if it doesn't include an expensive sport.

Sure you do, critical thinking skills are important. There's a pretty large lack of them in this thread from what I've seen (which mostly amounts to arguments based on emotion).

charis

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #109 on: May 04, 2018, 01:00:24 PM »
But the negative reaction to a person that is providing $269 per day for the care of their two children (on top of providing health insurance) is not explainable by being a man; if you insist on tying it to any sex/gender stereotypes, it's a sign of the opposite, a feminized, overly emotional response.  A person with a healthy understanding of obligations of parenthood and an objective, not hyper-emotional response would realize that as far as finances go, he is meeting his obligations and then some.  We spend a lot on our kids (probably an unhealty amount), and outside of health insurance (which again, he is providing), and housing, food, utiliites, etc. (which they are basically splitting, except for a 26 day difference), we probably don't spend more than $32,000 for three kids for an entire year.    He's providing $8400 for less than a month for two kids. 

Where are you getting these numbers?  The OP says in his first post that he pays $700 per month in child support to his ex wife.

Think about it a little bit harder. He has the kids nearly half time, she only has the kids a couple more days per month than him. He ALREADY is providing nearly half their support, which is all he should be responsible for unless there is a drastic difference in income (which there is not).

I don't have to think about a random poster's irrelevancies a little harder.  The reasonableness of OP's child support obligation has already been determined by a court or by the parties' agreement.  There's no reason to break it down in this manner and quibble.  $8400 a year for two teenagers is arguably unmustachian, but certainly not objectively exorbitant for that period from a 120K household who has them for less time, even if it doesn't include an expensive sport.

Sure you do, critical thinking skills are important. There's a pretty large lack of them in this thread from what I've seen (which mostly amounts to arguments based on emotion).

Are you suggesting that I lack critical thinking skills because I expressed disagreement that your numbers break down is relevant?  That is a tough argument to wrap my head around.  Thanks for the advice.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2018, 01:08:01 PM by jezebel »

Gronnie

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #110 on: May 04, 2018, 01:13:08 PM »
But the negative reaction to a person that is providing $269 per day for the care of their two children (on top of providing health insurance) is not explainable by being a man; if you insist on tying it to any sex/gender stereotypes, it's a sign of the opposite, a feminized, overly emotional response.  A person with a healthy understanding of obligations of parenthood and an objective, not hyper-emotional response would realize that as far as finances go, he is meeting his obligations and then some.  We spend a lot on our kids (probably an unhealty amount), and outside of health insurance (which again, he is providing), and housing, food, utiliites, etc. (which they are basically splitting, except for a 26 day difference), we probably don't spend more than $32,000 for three kids for an entire year.    He's providing $8400 for less than a month for two kids. 

Where are you getting these numbers?  The OP says in his first post that he pays $700 per month in child support to his ex wife.

Think about it a little bit harder. He has the kids nearly half time, she only has the kids a couple more days per month than him. He ALREADY is providing nearly half their support, which is all he should be responsible for unless there is a drastic difference in income (which there is not).

I don't have to think about a random poster's irrelevancies a little harder.  The reasonableness of OP's child support obligation has already been determined by a court or by the parties' agreement.  There's no reason to break it down in this manner and quibble.  $8400 a year for two teenagers is arguably unmustachian, but certainly not objectively exorbitant for that period from a 120K household who has them for less time, even if it doesn't include an expensive sport.

Sure you do, critical thinking skills are important. There's a pretty large lack of them in this thread from what I've seen (which mostly amounts to arguments based on emotion).

Are you suggesting that I lack critical thinking skills because I expressed disagreement that your numbers break down is relevant?  That is a tough argument to wrap my head around.  Thanks for the advice.

You either completely missed the fact that he has the kids 1/2 the time and incomes are ~ equal, missed the relevance of that, or were being completely disingenuous in your question. Which was it?

Jrr85

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #111 on: May 04, 2018, 01:36:32 PM »
But the negative reaction to a person that is providing $269 per day for the care of their two children (on top of providing health insurance) is not explainable by being a man; if you insist on tying it to any sex/gender stereotypes, it's a sign of the opposite, a feminized, overly emotional response.  A person with a healthy understanding of obligations of parenthood and an objective, not hyper-emotional response would realize that as far as finances go, he is meeting his obligations and then some.  We spend a lot on our kids (probably an unhealty amount), and outside of health insurance (which again, he is providing), and housing, food, utiliites, etc. (which they are basically splitting, except for a 26 day difference), we probably don't spend more than $32,000 for three kids for an entire year.    He's providing $8400 for less than a month for two kids. 

Where are you getting these numbers?  The OP says in his first post that he pays $700 per month in child support to his ex wife.

I read the post.  He says he has the kids 6 out of 14 days.  That's a little less than 156.5 days a year, which is ~ 26 days less than 182.5 days (which is exactly half a non-leap year).  So his $8400 over the course of a year, spread out over the 26 days she is covering that would get him to half, works out to $323 per day.  I got sloppy and just divided by 31 based on her basically having the kids a month extra (which would still be closer to $271 than 269; not sure exactly where I screwed that up).   

Also, again, that's not including health insurance, which is a pretty big contribution in itself.  (He states he provides healthcare and they split out of pocket costs, which I assume that means he provides insurance and they split the out of pocket costs).

It doesn't work that way. The primary reasons childcare costs are split is to make living situations similar across parents. A larger percentage of that is housing, making sure housing is similar across the two houses. Unless they are living in hotels, breaking down costs by day doesn't make sense.

If you want to break it down at that level, and think it's an obligation of the higher earner to make the housing approximately equal for the duration of the minority of the kids, then he's still pretty much an adequate amount.  Even if they were talking about spending 30% of their gross income on housing, you're talking about $6,000 annual difference, which is probably somewhere in the reasonable range of the value of the health insurance he provides? 

ETA:  I don't think it's really reasonable to get down into the weeds like that.  They are both good earners and got half of everything when they split.  I do wish we had not given people a unilateral right to walk-away from a marriage, so that a spouse can take time off for children and then not end up with teh short end of the stick if a divorce happens and they have a permanently lower earning potential, but since we don't have that, splitting things down the middle when both parties make good incomes seems pretty reasonable. 
« Last Edit: May 04, 2018, 01:39:27 PM by Jrr85 »

caracarn

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #112 on: May 04, 2018, 02:31:25 PM »
But the negative reaction to a person that is providing $269 per day for the care of their two children (on top of providing health insurance) is not explainable by being a man; if you insist on tying it to any sex/gender stereotypes, it's a sign of the opposite, a feminized, overly emotional response.  A person with a healthy understanding of obligations of parenthood and an objective, not hyper-emotional response would realize that as far as finances go, he is meeting his obligations and then some.  We spend a lot on our kids (probably an unhealty amount), and outside of health insurance (which again, he is providing), and housing, food, utiliites, etc. (which they are basically splitting, except for a 26 day difference), we probably don't spend more than $32,000 for three kids for an entire year.    He's providing $8400 for less than a month for two kids. 

Where are you getting these numbers?  The OP says in his first post that he pays $700 per month in child support to his ex wife.

I read the post.  He says he has the kids 6 out of 14 days.  That's a little less than 156.5 days a year, which is ~ 26 days less than 182.5 days (which is exactly half a non-leap year).  So his $8400 over the course of a year, spread out over the 26 days she is covering that would get him to half, works out to $323 per day.  I got sloppy and just divided by 31 based on her basically having the kids a month extra (which would still be closer to $271 than 269; not sure exactly where I screwed that up).   

Also, again, that's not including health insurance, which is a pretty big contribution in itself.  (He states he provides healthcare and they split out of pocket costs, which I assume that means he provides insurance and they split the out of pocket costs).
This whole method of figuring out cost is so off.  All those "costs" you add exist regardless of whether he is divorced or not.  He does not suddenly have to feed his kids or provide them with insurance because he is divorced.  He has to do that because he chose to have kids.  You don't get credit for paying the costs of being a parent. 

I get your opinion is that I am missing perspective or objectivity.  You're entitled to your opinion.  Since I've never had that concern raised by anyone in our groups and have had exactly the opposite I hope you'll pardon me if I disagree with your assessment to be a support counselor given that feedback from people who actually work with me in that capacity is 100% opposite that.  You can discount what I'm saying here, that's fine.  But crediting the guy with $269 or $323 per day because he pays for normal costs and saying that allows him to press back on his obligations and that those of us that question him are not objective is not fine.  His lifestyle sets those daily costs at that level, not his kids.  It's a choice he made, and whining about that choice is just whining.  Living through the process myself, my opinion is I see nothing in what he said that makes the whining justified, instead I see concerns. 

charis

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #113 on: May 04, 2018, 02:46:01 PM »
But the negative reaction to a person that is providing $269 per day for the care of their two children (on top of providing health insurance) is not explainable by being a man; if you insist on tying it to any sex/gender stereotypes, it's a sign of the opposite, a feminized, overly emotional response.  A person with a healthy understanding of obligations of parenthood and an objective, not hyper-emotional response would realize that as far as finances go, he is meeting his obligations and then some.  We spend a lot on our kids (probably an unhealty amount), and outside of health insurance (which again, he is providing), and housing, food, utiliites, etc. (which they are basically splitting, except for a 26 day difference), we probably don't spend more than $32,000 for three kids for an entire year.    He's providing $8400 for less than a month for two kids. 

Where are you getting these numbers?  The OP says in his first post that he pays $700 per month in child support to his ex wife.

Think about it a little bit harder. He has the kids nearly half time, she only has the kids a couple more days per month than him. He ALREADY is providing nearly half their support, which is all he should be responsible for unless there is a drastic difference in income (which there is not).

I don't have to think about a random poster's irrelevancies a little harder.  The reasonableness of OP's child support obligation has already been determined by a court or by the parties' agreement.  There's no reason to break it down in this manner and quibble.  $8400 a year for two teenagers is arguably unmustachian, but certainly not objectively exorbitant for that period from a 120K household who has them for less time, even if it doesn't include an expensive sport.

Sure you do, critical thinking skills are important. There's a pretty large lack of them in this thread from what I've seen (which mostly amounts to arguments based on emotion).

Are you suggesting that I lack critical thinking skills because I expressed disagreement that your numbers break down is relevant?  That is a tough argument to wrap my head around.  Thanks for the advice.

You either completely missed the fact that he has the kids 1/2 the time and incomes are ~ equal, missed the relevance of that, or were being completely disingenuous in your question. Which was it?

I guess it should be obvious that it's neither.  And I'm not going to repeat - there are other posters who have basically said the same thing in more detail, so it's silly to rehash.  But your point about critical thinking is becoming increasingly ironic.

Gronnie

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #114 on: May 04, 2018, 07:51:16 PM »
But the negative reaction to a person that is providing $269 per day for the care of their two children (on top of providing health insurance) is not explainable by being a man; if you insist on tying it to any sex/gender stereotypes, it's a sign of the opposite, a feminized, overly emotional response.  A person with a healthy understanding of obligations of parenthood and an objective, not hyper-emotional response would realize that as far as finances go, he is meeting his obligations and then some.  We spend a lot on our kids (probably an unhealty amount), and outside of health insurance (which again, he is providing), and housing, food, utiliites, etc. (which they are basically splitting, except for a 26 day difference), we probably don't spend more than $32,000 for three kids for an entire year.    He's providing $8400 for less than a month for two kids. 

Where are you getting these numbers?  The OP says in his first post that he pays $700 per month in child support to his ex wife.

Think about it a little bit harder. He has the kids nearly half time, she only has the kids a couple more days per month than him. He ALREADY is providing nearly half their support, which is all he should be responsible for unless there is a drastic difference in income (which there is not).

I don't have to think about a random poster's irrelevancies a little harder.  The reasonableness of OP's child support obligation has already been determined by a court or by the parties' agreement.  There's no reason to break it down in this manner and quibble.  $8400 a year for two teenagers is arguably unmustachian, but certainly not objectively exorbitant for that period from a 120K household who has them for less time, even if it doesn't include an expensive sport.

Sure you do, critical thinking skills are important. There's a pretty large lack of them in this thread from what I've seen (which mostly amounts to arguments based on emotion).

Are you suggesting that I lack critical thinking skills because I expressed disagreement that your numbers break down is relevant?  That is a tough argument to wrap my head around.  Thanks for the advice.

You either completely missed the fact that he has the kids 1/2 the time and incomes are ~ equal, missed the relevance of that, or were being completely disingenuous in your question. Which was it?

I guess it should be obvious that it's neither.  And I'm not going to repeat - there are other posters who have basically said the same thing in more detail, so it's silly to rehash.  But your point about critical thinking is becoming increasingly ironic.

Ok fine, I'm willing to consider that I may be wrong here. I just don't understand why he should be paying through child support when they are basically 50:50 on both time and income.

Can you explain to me why he should be on the hook for paying child support (ie compulsory, and through the government) as opposed to them just splitting costs of everything 50:50 (and with him getting a chance to say no to paying for non essential extracurriculars if he so chooses)? He clearly is very involved in his children's lives and supporting them as evidenced by him having them nearly 50% of the time.

Villanelle

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #115 on: May 05, 2018, 02:48:19 AM »
I'll try to reply to everybody.  Regardless if you think I'm a dbag, I appreciate your input.  I was trying to be brutally honest as I want unfiltered advice.

1)  I take care of my kids 42% of their lives.   Annually, my ex gets my kids 52 more days per year than I do.   When I agreed to pay her 700 (we settled and this was not mandated by court), I had no inkling that I could retire if I lived more simply.  I have 1.2 million at 4% spend down = 50k annually.  We spend about 60k annually.  and that means I have a bit of gap. 

2)  At the 11th hour of divorce, my ex inserted a bit of language that made me responsible for 100% of transportation.  I did not appreciate the extent to which I would resent this, as my ex uses this as a weapon against me.  During one of the handovers, this driving was costing me about an hour so that I can pick up girls clothes (that she was responsible for providing).  I asked her to compromise and meet at work for this transfer (we work less than 2 miles from each other).  She refused.   She was expecting me to drive an hour to pick up a volleyball jersey for my girls.  So, I said that I can't continue to pay for expensive extracurricular activities if she can't compromise.   I also went out and bought a bunch of clothes for my girls, at no small cost to avoid this drama.  When I have the girls, I don't ask my ex to subsidize OUR extracurricular activities.  My daughter signed up for a swim team for the month that I have them for summer...I paid the fee.  My other daughter signed up for a volleyball camp...I paid that fee. 

3)  At my full salary, I make about $20k more annually than her (120 versus 100k)  which in her mind requires me to give her about half of the differential.  REGARDLESS of how much time I spend taking care of kids.  I don't understand this, as it seems irrational to me.  If she found I got a huge raise, would she hit me up for more money???? I dunno...divorce is irrational. 


4)  Why does it matter?  I'm loaded right? I dunno...if I make 120k and owe her half of the differential, it seems that if I start drawing down my income, then maybe that number should change a bit?  I'm not sure...I've come to terms with the notion that the money I send her MIGHT be used for things like housing, food, etc or MIGHT be used for frivolous things.  And I've come to terms that it's none of my business how she spends that money...it's hers.  It rankles me a bit that she got to work part time for 10+ years, walked away with half of our savings, I have to send her that much child support, AND I can't reduce that cause I want to work part so I can spend time with my newborn son and daughters when I have them.   

5)  Somebody said I was spending 100k annually and therefore not mustachian....Really?  We are saving 60k annually in after tax income, saving 37k annually in max 401k savings, and 11k in roth IRA.  I reckon we could save a bit more, but it's getting pretty lean.  We don't have car payments, live in a very small home, we don't eat out, we stopped drinking when my wife got pregnant, I ride my bicycle to work when I don't have the girls, bike to grocery store occasionally. It might not be 100% mustache, but we probably live within 10% of that ideal.

6) I understand that this is an emotional subject for me, and maybe some of you.   I want what's best for my girls.  I don't want them to resent me (that's something I hadn't considered in my math).  I want them to grow up to be:
 Independent, Kind, and Happy. I think the problem is that I want what I consider to be fair.  Ex might disagree with that last part I reckon.

You agreed to several things without understanding the ramifications, and it sounds like now you have buyer's remorse.  Unfortunately, but the time for that was before you gave your word.

I think you need to stop thinking about what is "fair".  As you said, you and your Ex (and probably your kids) are all going to have very different versions of that, so you will never, ever get there.  Instead, think of what is tolerable (without using "fair" to influence that--forget what she does and says entirely, and just ask, "are my girls worth sending $700 a month to?  Is that an acceptable expense for maintaining a relationship with kids I love?").  Focus entirely on the girls, and them alone.  Forget what your Ex pays and says and does and spends her money on.  It is all no longer part of your sphere of influence.  What you can influence is your relationship with your kids.  And yes, that may mean delaying FIRE.  Are the relationships worth that? (And at a time where you are having a baby with your new wife, your kids are likely to be hyper sensitive about the idea of being "replaced", so this is even more true in light of that.  Right now would be a good time for behaviors from dad that very, very strongly reenforce they are not being replaced and are not going to play second fiddle to the new baby with the new wife.)

You'd also be delaying FIRE if you were still married to a spendthrift.  Or if you got sick and had major medical bills.  Or if you lost your job.  Life happens, and it often costs money.  In your case, "life" includes a divorce and a shared custody situation, and the resulting child support.  Perhaps if you think of that as comparable to a job loss or pay cut or car accident, it will help reframe it.  It's a thing that costs money and thus will delay FIRE, just like every other thing in our lives on which we spend money.  Even needing to eat and going to the grocery store for frugal food is a thing that delays FIRE. This is your path.  You can't go back and marry a different woman or not get divorced or not have kids.  You signed a contract, and trying to rework that contract may well damage your relationship with your girls, which it's clear you don't want.  So accept that this expense is part of your path, pay it just like you do rent/mortgage, utilities, the grocery bill, your travel fund, and expenses for your new baby.


You make a lot of good points. I like this perspective.

Here's what I think I'm gonna do:

1)  I will continue to work full time for the next 2-3 years.  Socking 100k a year away.   
2) I will continue to pay full child support without seeking an amendment to that when I begin phasing into early retirement.
3) I will not agree to paying for any extracurricular activities while
     a)  I am not given a say in those activities (equal pay for equal say)  (My daughters have played rec league volleyball for 4 years (And I was the coach)).  This year my exwife decided to have them play club volleyball and it was super expensive AND deprived me of the ability to coach my kids)
     b)  I am required to make absurdly time consuming trips across town for trivial clothing exchanges when we work less than two miles apart.
4)  I am going to start carrying my youngest daughter to a counselor.  I will give my exwife the option of paying half of that cost.  If she declines, then it will impact my desire to fund other non-medically necessary expenses.
5) I will drive my daughters to and from all extracurricular activities and I will continue to strive to be a good father.  My wife and I believe that when the girls are with us, that we focus on them.  We don't watch TV, don't play video games, don't play on our phones.  We interact with the girls in meaningful ways when we have them.

I'm a little confused because it sounds like you liked (and presumably agreed with) the post you quoted, but your response is in pretty much direct contradiction.  The bit about refusing to fund extracurriculars if your wife won't pay for half of counseling?  That is absolutely about what you perceive as fair, and about extracting that fairness from your wife.  If you think your daughter needs counseling, why on earth would you not be willing to happily pay whatever it takes to make that happen, no strings attached.  And the fact that the string you are choosing to attach potentially punishes your kids for their mom's supposed transgression? 

I think you do love your kids.  You are *this close* to becoming the deadbeat dad who ditched his first family and upgraded for a better wife and better kids in their eyes.  You will be the dad who refused to pay for their beloved volleyball because you wanted to punish their beloved mom more than you wanted to support them, or is too cheap to pay for reasonable things for his kids (and likely their will relate this, fair or not, to you prioritizing spending for the new family over spending on the old one).

Of course I can't say for sure.  I'm some rando on the internet.  But there is a very good chance this is your future with your first set of kids if you don't change your thinking.  And maybe it is what you want, or at least not what you actively don't want.  Maybe subconsciously you've got a new wife and new baby and suddenly risking the relationships with the first set doesn't matter quite so much.  You wouldn't be the first guy (or woman) who sees the first family is disposable.  But if that isn't the case, you are on very tenuous ground and if you don't work, hard, to change your attitude and your approach, that is likely to be the perception.

You mention counseling for your DD.  Perhaps it would be helpful for you as well, so you can process your feelings about the divorce and maybe approach interactions with your Ex-wife and first kids in a healthier way.

Jrr85

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #116 on: May 05, 2018, 01:53:51 PM »
But the negative reaction to a person that is providing $269 per day for the care of their two children (on top of providing health insurance) is not explainable by being a man; if you insist on tying it to any sex/gender stereotypes, it's a sign of the opposite, a feminized, overly emotional response.  A person with a healthy understanding of obligations of parenthood and an objective, not hyper-emotional response would realize that as far as finances go, he is meeting his obligations and then some.  We spend a lot on our kids (probably an unhealty amount), and outside of health insurance (which again, he is providing), and housing, food, utiliites, etc. (which they are basically splitting, except for a 26 day difference), we probably don't spend more than $32,000 for three kids for an entire year.    He's providing $8400 for less than a month for two kids. 

Where are you getting these numbers?  The OP says in his first post that he pays $700 per month in child support to his ex wife.

I read the post.  He says he has the kids 6 out of 14 days.  That's a little less than 156.5 days a year, which is ~ 26 days less than 182.5 days (which is exactly half a non-leap year).  So his $8400 over the course of a year, spread out over the 26 days she is covering that would get him to half, works out to $323 per day.  I got sloppy and just divided by 31 based on her basically having the kids a month extra (which would still be closer to $271 than 269; not sure exactly where I screwed that up).   

Also, again, that's not including health insurance, which is a pretty big contribution in itself.  (He states he provides healthcare and they split out of pocket costs, which I assume that means he provides insurance and they split the out of pocket costs).
This whole method of figuring out cost is so off.  All those "costs" you add exist regardless of whether he is divorced or not.  He does not suddenly have to feed his kids or provide them with insurance because he is divorced.  He has to do that because he chose to have kids.  You don't get credit for paying the costs of being a parent. 

Again with getting overly emotional to the point of being illogical. Unless you are explicitly backing the sexist position that only fathers have financial responsibilities to their kids, then yes, when you are trying to figure out whether each parent is covering an appropriate share of the costs, you do have to account for the costs each parent pays. .

I get your opinion is that I am missing perspective or objectivity.  You're entitled to your opinion.  Since I've never had that concern raised by anyone in our groups and have had exactly the opposite I hope you'll pardon me if I disagree with your assessment to be a support counselor given that feedback from people who actually work with me in that capacity is 100% opposite that.  You can discount what I'm saying here, that's fine.  But crediting the guy with $269 or $323 per day because he pays for normal costs and saying that allows him to press back on his obligations and that those of us that question him are not objective is not fine.  His lifestyle sets those daily costs at that level, not his kids.  It's a choice he made, and whining about that choice is just whining.  Living through the process myself, my opinion is I see nothing in what he said that makes the whining justified, instead I see concerns.
I am not 'crediting' him for paying that amount per day. He is paying that amount per day and I am just acknowledging it. And it doesn't allow him to press back on his obligations. I was just pointing out that he is meeting his financial obligations.

bugbaby

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #117 on: May 05, 2018, 06:30:11 PM »
He agreed to the support payment in exchange for the prize (hassle free divorce to marry new wife?). Now it's time to pay and all of a sudden it wasn't fair all along???


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caracarn

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #118 on: May 07, 2018, 08:20:32 AM »
I am not 'crediting' him for paying that amount per day. He is paying that amount per day and I am just acknowledging it. And it doesn't allow him to press back on his obligations. I was just pointing out that he is meeting his financial obligations.
You do understand that the whole point of his original post was how to avoid continuing to meet his financial obligations, right?  And for us to make him feel good about and and explain how to do it?

Jrr85

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #119 on: May 07, 2018, 03:24:29 PM »
I am not 'crediting' him for paying that amount per day. He is paying that amount per day and I am just acknowledging it. And it doesn't allow him to press back on his obligations. I was just pointing out that he is meeting his financial obligations.
You do understand that the whole point of his original post was how to avoid continuing to meet his financial obligations, right?  And for us to make him feel good about and and explain how to do it?

And you understand that I specifically weighed in on a hysterical response that it was his obligation as a father to pay at least $323 per day? 

There are lots of reasonable responses to his post.  The easiest one is "you're not going to get a child support modification based on you wanting to cut back your hours, so unless your ex-wife just loves you and would be happy to relieve you of the obligation, no need to waste time worrying about it."  Another one is "that child support decree was likely part of a global settlement of your divorce, and even if it's disproportionate to the actual needs of the children, you shouldn't ask to pare it back because it isn't really tied to the needs of a children, but to your desire to settle your divorce with your wife."  Another one is "Your wife is likely to have a negative reaction to you even asking, and considering your financial position, it's not worth messing with because of the potential that your children will pick up on it and internalize it and it harm your relationship with your kids."  Another one is "Dude, if you   are this clinical and rational when talking with your kids, they probably think you are a sociopath that doesn't love them; focus less on the financial issue and make sure you focus on the non-financial aspects of being a father."  I think these have all been more or less mentioned in this thread and I'm sure there are a lot of other ones. 

What is not a reasonable reaction is "ERhmygawd, you're not worthy of being called a man if you don't contribute more at least $323 per day or if you expect your 6-figure earning ex-wife to contribute to the financial costs of raising the children!!11!1!" 

obstinate

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #120 on: May 07, 2018, 04:22:28 PM »
And you understand that I specifically weighed in on a hysterical response that it was his obligation as a father to pay at least $323 per day? 

There are lots of reasonable responses to his post.  The easiest one is "you're not going to get a child support modification based on you wanting to cut back your hours, so unless your ex-wife just loves you and would be happy to relieve you of the obligation, no need to waste time worrying about it."  Another one is "that child support decree was likely part of a global settlement of your divorce, and even if it's disproportionate to the actual needs of the children, you shouldn't ask to pare it back because it isn't really tied to the needs of a children, but to your desire to settle your divorce with your wife."  Another one is "Your wife is likely to have a negative reaction to you even asking, and considering your financial position, it's not worth messing with because of the potential that your children will pick up on it and internalize it and it harm your relationship with your kids."  Another one is "Dude, if you   are this clinical and rational when talking with your kids, they probably think you are a sociopath that doesn't love them; focus less on the financial issue and make sure you focus on the non-financial aspects of being a father."  I think these have all been more or less mentioned in this thread and I'm sure there are a lot of other ones. 

What is not a reasonable reaction is "ERhmygawd, you're not worthy of being called a man if you don't contribute more at least $323 per day or if you expect your 6-figure earning ex-wife to contribute to the financial costs of raising the children!!11!1!"
Agreed. I have kind of given up on people seeing sense in this thread. I can only assume there are a lot of children of divorce or people who had difficult divorces themselves. Possibly some folks with deadbeat dads, or deadbeat exes? And they are projecting onto OP. I see lots of encouragement for OP to consider ex-wife's feelings, and almost no empathy for OP. Assumptions that OP cheated, etc., that simply are not well-founded. People pretending that the existence of a legal agreement at a particular time creates a permanent, ongoing, immutable moral obligation, and that failing to want to live up to this agreement makes OP a deadbeat. All this makes me suspect that people have had their judgments clouded by ~something~.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2018, 06:28:35 PM by obstinate »

Kyle Schuant

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #121 on: May 07, 2018, 05:42:08 PM »
All this makes me suspect that people have had their judgments clouded by ~something~.
Yes, by morality.

obstinate

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #122 on: May 07, 2018, 06:27:26 PM »
All this makes me suspect that people have had their judgments clouded by ~something~.
Yes, by morality.
If morality to you is tied to paying a specific, way above median amount for the rearing of a child, than I guess all I can say is that we have very different moralities. I suppose that's OK, though! OP, if you're still reading, hang in there. But you'd be wiser to not.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #123 on: May 07, 2018, 08:19:22 PM »
The minimum we can ask of any person is that they honour agreements they have voluntarily entered into. Keep your word. That's part of morality.


We can't really complain about bankers defrauding the public of trillions, politicians lying, employers dismissing employees without notice or reason, landlords hiking the rent or evicting people without notice or reason, and so on, and then try to weasel out of our responsibilities to our own children. Once you let your sperm get anywhere near a woman's egg, you've made an implicit promise that you'll always be there for your children. Always. No matter how inconvenient that may be.


Keep your word. This is part of being a man. And a father.

obstinate

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #124 on: May 07, 2018, 09:34:29 PM »
The minimum we can ask of any person is that they honour agreements they have voluntarily entered into. Keep your word. That's part of morality.

We can't really complain about bankers defrauding the public of trillions, politicians lying, employers dismissing employees without notice or reason, landlords hiking the rent or evicting people without notice or reason, and so on, and then try to weasel out of our responsibilities to our own children. Once you let your sperm get anywhere near a woman's egg, you've made an implicit promise that you'll always be there for your children. Always. No matter how inconvenient that may be.

Keep your word. This is part of being a man. And a father.
Keeping one's word is part of being a person in general. It has nothing to do with being a man in particular. I can see from your previous posts that you have a thing for banging this macho drum, but I'd rather you didn't.

That said, a contract or an agreement is often subject to amendment when circumstances change. OP was asking whether and how he might go about amending the terms of an agreement he made, after seeing its effects and after a rather significant change in his own circumstances (to wit, a mindset change r.e. spending, and also an additional mouth to feed). There is zero in-thread evidence of him breaking any term of his legal agreement, and no intimation that he plans to either.

There is also zero evidence of him being a neglectful father in any sort of absolute terms. He is providing far more than the typical standard of financial support. Although we have no evidence of this, suppose it is slightly less than before. Well, I don't plan to send my son to $20k per year preschools for the rest of his life, although I do now. When he turns five, he's going to public school. Am I "not there for" my son because I'm spending twenty grand less on him each year? Not under any definition of "being there for" that seems reasonable to me.

To seek to amend one's legal agreements within the law is not to break one's word. That's pretty much all I have to say on the subject. (If you do not agree, I hope you have never changed your will, a power of attorney, refinanced or closed a mortgage, threatened to back out of a contract under contingency, etc.)
« Last Edit: May 07, 2018, 09:40:46 PM by obstinate »

Kyle Schuant

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #125 on: May 07, 2018, 10:22:29 PM »
Keeping one's word is part of being a person in general. It has nothing to do with being a man in particular.
It's part of being a woman, too, yes. But we're not addressing a woman.

Nor are we addressing a man, really. But we're encouraging him to be one.

Agreements freely-entered between adults into can be amended by mutual agreement. That's moral. But he's not trying to do what's moral, he's trying to do what's legal. There's a difference. I don't give a damn about the law, I care about what's right. The law, for example, allows me in this state to be unfaithful to my wife with a 16 year old girl. The law allows ruinous credit interest rates to people who can't pay it, and all sorts of other things which are wrong. So I don't care about the law.

And the agreement you have with your children, the implicit agreement to be a father, is an agreement with minors, and minors can't alter agreements on their own in either the law or morality. Once you become a parent, you're a parent for life. You've taken on those duties and don't get to weasel out of them - even if the law allows you to.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2018, 10:27:28 PM by Kyle Schuant »

bugbaby

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #126 on: May 08, 2018, 04:25:26 AM »
Kyle Shuant,
I applaud you for taking your time and effort to try and help OP ...

I suspect it's not only his ex and children that are seen as variables to be moved around in his own financial and 'happiness' equations. It's a world view and an enduring pattern.

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Jrr85

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #127 on: May 08, 2018, 07:55:23 AM »
The minimum we can ask of any person is that they honour agreements they have voluntarily entered into. Keep your word. That's part of morality.


We can't really complain about bankers defrauding the public of trillions, politicians lying, employers dismissing employees without notice or reason, landlords hiking the rent or evicting people without notice or reason, and so on, and then try to weasel out of our responsibilities to our own children. Once you let your sperm get anywhere near a woman's egg, you've made an implicit promise that you'll always be there for your children. Always. No matter how inconvenient that may be.


Keep your word. This is part of being a man. And a father.

Are you intentionally muddling your posts?  Or are your thoughts this muddled?  Yes, he has an agreement with the mother that is signed off on by the courts.  I think there is a philosophical argument about how voluntary such an agreement is, but that would also probably require some facts regarding the dissolution of the marriage. 

But regardless, any obligation with that agreement is separate from the obligations he has as a father.  If his ex-wife stops properly feeding and clothing his kids, he doesn't get to say, "I took care of them half the year, provided health insurance, and paid $8400 to help cover the costs of the other half of the year; I've met my obligations."  He has an obligation to take care of his kids, and it isn't relieved or diluted if the biological mother declines to meet her obligations even though she is able.  Similarly, as long as he is meeting the needs of his kids, financial and otherwise, the $700 he pays to the mother is not an obligation of parenthood, except to the extent that not paying it, when it is not a big financial burden, would cause strife that impacts his kids. 


RetiredAt63

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #128 on: May 08, 2018, 11:03:14 AM »
Whew so much here.

First, if the kids see OP not paying for things that they think he would/should normally be paying, when he obviously can afford it,  they will feel it.  My ex had to be massively pressured when we first split to continue support for our over-18 DD who was in school.  That super stressed her out.  And his pattern has continued, with some really sucky examples that I will not mention here but really really hurt her.

Extra-curricular activities - I don't think the important thing is whose time the girls will be doing things on, or what they are or what they cost.  What matters is the total amount of time/energy the girls are spending on them.The girls are 13 and 11, right?  They are getting to an age where school is more demanding.  The parents need to coordinate how many activities the girls are doing without messing up their schooling.  And the girls need to be part of these discussions.  I saw many kids drop activities once they were in high school, the combination of more academic demands and moving up levels in sports/dance/other activities meant that they could not manage everything, something had to give.  Parents have to go with their kids on this, they shouldn't push for an activity to continue the same as before because they are involved in it.

OT - 1 year apart for every 3 years marriage - what do you do when you have been married 30-40 years?  Starting dating in the nursing home?

caracarn

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #129 on: May 08, 2018, 11:22:09 AM »
That said, a contract or an agreement is often subject to amendment when circumstances change. OP was asking whether and how he might go about amending the terms of an agreement he made, after seeing its effects and after a rather significant change in his own circumstances (to wit, a mindset change r.e. spending, and also an additional mouth to feed). There is zero in-thread evidence of him breaking any term of his legal agreement, and no intimation that he plans to either.
Wow, sometimes I wonder if I'm reading the same original thread as other people.

The whole point of his original post was the clear evidence of him striving to break the term of his legal agreement.  He came here to ask if it was "fair" (which was properly pointed out as whinypants by many) and then how to change it, so clearly an intimation.  What were you reading?  Because it certainly does not seem to be the original post. 

The vehemence that some of us are showing is because of why he is asking.  He CHOSE to have another mouth to feed.  And now is upset about the impact and of all the options to improve his budget he chose one, that to many of us, is the most off-limits one he should ever look at, the obligations to his children.   Again, CHOOSING to make less money is not a valid reason to amend child support.  It's what a weasel considers.  Every. Single. One. Of his reasons is not the fault of his children.  Deciding MMM sounds awesome is not something his kids determined to do.  He should be parent enough to speak with them about how daddy is looking at things differently and how that impacts what activities they can do.  When I got divorced and money got tighter, I sat my kids down and explained that while in the past they had more activities now they could do one and it would not be something like horseback riding or ice skating because they were too expensive at this point.  They were very upset and it was a hard conversation to have.  But they key here is that those conversations happen outside of child support.  I promise the court worksheet in any state does not have a line that indicates that you want top of the line activities so there is a $1,000 premium to your support payment.  You have your support amount and adjust your budget accordingly.  So if you want to live more frugally, fine, but be frugal with things that you should touch.

If he lost his job and spent a year looking and could only find one at half salary, that is a change that warrants support review.  If he became disabled and could no longer work, that warrants support review.  Getting married and having a child is also a reason to do that, but it rarely impacts things the way he'd like and most of us explained that.  That's because that is a choice, not something thrust upon you so it rarely factors in substantially to your obligation.  Negotiating expenses is fine, but other than indicating his displeasure he did not show any work there.  Not all the money pots in divorce are accessible at will.  The whole issue with this thread is he is trying to touch one that is less accessible than others.  I get that he's having difficulty with the others because his ex wants expensive activities where he would like to cut down.  Again, conversations with his kids can handle this.  These are not fun.  And that is where I, and others, have little respect for how OP wants to handle these things.  He seems to want to avoid the hard and unpleasant work and just go on into fairy tale land of his new life.  Sorry buddy, it does not work that way.

caracarn

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #130 on: May 08, 2018, 11:31:43 AM »
OT - 1 year apart for every 3 years marriage - what do you do when you have been married 30-40 years?  Starting dating in the nursing home?
Since I was the one that shared this advice from our support group materials, I'll respond.

The way we cover this is people can and will obviously do whatever they want.  Believe me, we've heard every excuse in the book, including this one.  And like any "rule" with evidence there will be some who do not follow it and it works out.  For most people married that long, yes they would likely not date again.  I've had two people in my groups that fit that time frame and neither had any interest in pursuing another relationship once they were through the program as they clearly understood they had a lot of work to do to be ready and that was their focus.  The professional counselors however will tell you that the ones that work are by far the exception.  It's tough not having love in your life.  You want to know what's tougher?  Not doing the work and the healing and dragging some poor stranger along into a marriage you are not ready for only to have it implode as well for much the same reasons and then doing it over and over again. 

That is what the guidance is designed to have people look at.  As we cover the topic of relationships and particularly this piece, another way we explain knowing if you are ready to date is that if you are at a point where you would be content to go through the rest of your life single, that is the point you are finally ready to begin dating.  If you get there faster than 1 year for every 3 years of marriage, then you have a good shot.  If you still need someone to complete you, to make life feel whole, or for someone to fill some gap for you, then you are likely headed to a poor outcome.   You need to be full and whole and have something to offer to someone in a relationship for it to work well.  If you need someone to rescue you, to make you happy to do something for you, then you will eventually suck them dry and be in the same boat. 

Hope that makes it a bit clearer.  Each session is about three hours long, so two paragraphs on the internet are not going to cover the depth and allow for all the discussion that happens, and this topic keeps coming up in subsequent weeks over the 13 week group, so I tried to give a very, very, very high level explanation of why and how it is explained that way.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2018, 11:33:29 AM by caracarn »

caracarn

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #131 on: May 08, 2018, 11:36:56 AM »
I suspect it's not only his ex and children that are seen as variables to be moved around in his own financial and 'happiness' equations. It's a world view and an enduring pattern.
Bingo.  You win the prize.

Jrr85

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #132 on: May 08, 2018, 12:13:28 PM »
That said, a contract or an agreement is often subject to amendment when circumstances change. OP was asking whether and how he might go about amending the terms of an agreement he made, after seeing its effects and after a rather significant change in his own circumstances (to wit, a mindset change r.e. spending, and also an additional mouth to feed). There is zero in-thread evidence of him breaking any term of his legal agreement, and no intimation that he plans to either.
Wow, sometimes I wonder if I'm reading the same original thread as other people.

The whole point of his original post was the clear evidence of him striving to break the term of his legal agreement.  He came here to ask if it was "fair" (which was properly pointed out as whinypants by many) and then how to change it, so clearly an intimation.  What were you reading?  Because it certainly does not seem to be the original post. 

The vehemence that some of us are showing is because of why he is asking.  He CHOSE to have another mouth to feed.  And now is upset about the impact and of all the options to improve his budget he chose one, that to many of us, is the most off-limits one he should ever look at, the obligations to his children.   Again, CHOOSING to make less money is not a valid reason to amend child support.  It's what a weasel considers.  Every. Single. One. Of his reasons is not the fault of his children.  Deciding MMM sounds awesome is not something his kids determined to do.  He should be parent enough to speak with them about how daddy is looking at things differently and how that impacts what activities they can do.  When I got divorced and money got tighter, I sat my kids down and explained that while in the past they had more activities now they could do one and it would not be something like horseback riding or ice skating because they were too expensive at this point.  They were very upset and it was a hard conversation to have.  But they key here is that those conversations happen outside of child support.  I promise the court worksheet in any state does not have a line that indicates that you want top of the line activities so there is a $1,000 premium to your support payment.  You have your support amount and adjust your budget accordingly.  So if you want to live more frugally, fine, but be frugal with things that you should touch.

If he lost his job and spent a year looking and could only find one at half salary, that is a change that warrants support review.  If he became disabled and could no longer work, that warrants support review.  Getting married and having a child is also a reason to do that, but it rarely impacts things the way he'd like and most of us explained that.  That's because that is a choice, not something thrust upon you so it rarely factors in substantially to your obligation.  Negotiating expenses is fine, but other than indicating his displeasure he did not show any work there.  Not all the money pots in divorce are accessible at will.  The whole issue with this thread is he is trying to touch one that is less accessible than others.  I get that he's having difficulty with the others because his ex wants expensive activities where he would like to cut down.  Again, conversations with his kids can handle this.  These are not fun.  And that is where I, and others, have little respect for how OP wants to handle these things.  He seems to want to avoid the hard and unpleasant work and just go on into fairy tale land of his new life.  Sorry buddy, it does not work that way.

By your overly emotional "logic," most mustachians are welshing on their financial obligations as parents.  I suspect there are quite a few people on this forum who have declined to pay for travel sports even though they could afford it.  Or declined to provide their teenage children a car, even though they can afford it and it's not the children who decided MMM sounded awesome. 

There are lots of potential things to criticize the OP for related to his approach to dealing with his kids and ex as far as working through things like extra curriculars and travel responsibility.  Considering dropping his financial support down from a very high level to a level that would likely still be higher than most people provide period is not a reason to criticize, any more than it is a reason to criticize people who choose to retire rather than building a bigger nest egg to leave to their children as an inheritance. 

Awesomeness

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #133 on: May 08, 2018, 01:03:34 PM »
OT - 1 year apart for every 3 years marriage - what do you do when you have been married 30-40 years?  Starting dating in the nursing home?
Since I was the one that shared this advice from our support group materials, I'll respond.

The way we cover this is people can and will obviously do whatever they want.  Believe me, we've heard every excuse in the book, including this one.  And like any "rule" with evidence there will be some who do not follow it and it works out.  For most people married that long, yes they would likely not date again.  I've had two people in my groups that fit that time frame and neither had any interest in pursuing another relationship once they were through the program as they clearly understood they had a lot of work to do to be ready and that was their focus.  The professional counselors however will tell you that the ones that work are by far the exception.  It's tough not having love in your life.  You want to know what's tougher?  Not doing the work and the healing and dragging some poor stranger along into a marriage you are not ready for only to have it implode as well for much the same reasons and then doing it over and over again. 

That is what the guidance is designed to have people look at.  As we cover the topic of relationships and particularly this piece, another way we explain knowing if you are ready to date is that if you are at a point where you would be content to go through the rest of your life single, that is the point you are finally ready to begin dating.  If you get there faster than 1 year for every 3 years of marriage, then you have a good shot.  If you still need someone to complete you, to make life feel whole, or for someone to fill some gap for you, then you are likely headed to a poor outcome.   You need to be full and whole and have something to offer to someone in a relationship for it to work well.  If you need someone to rescue you, to make you happy to do something for you, then you will eventually suck them dry and be in the same boat. 

Hope that makes it a bit clearer.  Each session is about three hours long, so two paragraphs on the internet are not going to cover the depth and allow for all the discussion that happens, and this topic keeps coming up in subsequent weeks over the 13 week group, so I tried to give a very, very, very high level explanation of why and how it is explained that way.


Personally not a fan of these guidelines, 1 year for every 3 is actually the worst one Iíve heard.  For me that means 8 and a half years for me to heal from my marriage.  Divorce is horrific and traumatic especially if you didnít want it. I wanted the pain to stop so Iím doing what I can to get better and when I first started see these guidelines, well it didnít give me hope.   I talked to my therapist about it and he said ďhow long do you want it to takeĒ.  Thatís what I needed to hear. I have a say in my recovery. 

Also have issues when people say we need to do the work and fix ourselves after a divorce.  Ha!  Iím not broken. I donít need fixing.  Hate the way that implies I had something to do with the choices my husband made.  I want to vomit.


Anyway I get what they both mean but to those that donít it can read you are a broken piece of crap so go be miserable for years.

I do like the way you described getting whole and content with yourself before dating again. I totally get that.  Sounds much better that the ďfixingĒ others suggest as thatís what Iím doing.  But even after a long 26 year marriage that ended horrifically I do know I would love to find a good mate someday.  A Charles Ingalls or Rocky Balboa would be nice.  Lol. Good men devoted to their woman. 

caracarn

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #134 on: May 08, 2018, 02:47:29 PM »
OT - 1 year apart for every 3 years marriage - what do you do when you have been married 30-40 years?  Starting dating in the nursing home?
Since I was the one that shared this advice from our support group materials, I'll respond.

The way we cover this is people can and will obviously do whatever they want.  Believe me, we've heard every excuse in the book, including this one.  And like any "rule" with evidence there will be some who do not follow it and it works out.  For most people married that long, yes they would likely not date again.  I've had two people in my groups that fit that time frame and neither had any interest in pursuing another relationship once they were through the program as they clearly understood they had a lot of work to do to be ready and that was their focus.  The professional counselors however will tell you that the ones that work are by far the exception.  It's tough not having love in your life.  You want to know what's tougher?  Not doing the work and the healing and dragging some poor stranger along into a marriage you are not ready for only to have it implode as well for much the same reasons and then doing it over and over again. 

That is what the guidance is designed to have people look at.  As we cover the topic of relationships and particularly this piece, another way we explain knowing if you are ready to date is that if you are at a point where you would be content to go through the rest of your life single, that is the point you are finally ready to begin dating.  If you get there faster than 1 year for every 3 years of marriage, then you have a good shot.  If you still need someone to complete you, to make life feel whole, or for someone to fill some gap for you, then you are likely headed to a poor outcome.   You need to be full and whole and have something to offer to someone in a relationship for it to work well.  If you need someone to rescue you, to make you happy to do something for you, then you will eventually suck them dry and be in the same boat. 

Hope that makes it a bit clearer.  Each session is about three hours long, so two paragraphs on the internet are not going to cover the depth and allow for all the discussion that happens, and this topic keeps coming up in subsequent weeks over the 13 week group, so I tried to give a very, very, very high level explanation of why and how it is explained that way.


Personally not a fan of these guidelines, 1 year for every 3 is actually the worst one Iíve heard.  For me that means 8 and a half years for me to heal from my marriage.  Divorce is horrific and traumatic especially if you didnít want it. I wanted the pain to stop so Iím doing what I can to get better and when I first started see these guidelines, well it didnít give me hope.   I talked to my therapist about it and he said ďhow long do you want it to takeĒ.  Thatís what I needed to hear. I have a say in my recovery. 

Also have issues when people say we need to do the work and fix ourselves after a divorce.  Ha!  Iím not broken. I donít need fixing.  Hate the way that implies I had something to do with the choices my husband made.  I want to vomit.


Anyway I get what they both mean but to those that donít it can read you are a broken piece of crap so go be miserable for years.

I do like the way you described getting whole and content with yourself before dating again. I totally get that.  Sounds much better that the ďfixingĒ others suggest as thatís what Iím doing.  But even after a long 26 year marriage that ended horrifically I do know I would love to find a good mate someday.  A Charles Ingalls or Rocky Balboa would be nice.  Lol. Good men devoted to their woman.
And as I said I tossed out a few points in two brief paragraphs of a topic that is discussed for three hours and would get into all your points.

To try to add some color to your input and how we'd address it.  No you did not have something to do with the choices your husband made, but it is also unlikely that everything you did was perfect.  We all need to examine how we contributed to our marriage not working out, and I've yet to have met anyone who when honestly being introspective did not find some significant changes to make before they engaged in another relationship.  Part of what we cover as we go through this is how not doing this perpetuates the cycle we see so often of people ending up with the same type of spouse they divorced.  Someone who is abused ends up in another abusive relationship.  Someone who was cheated on ends up with another cheater.  My wife was in the abused category and the first two people she dated very quickly after her divorce were abusers also, but luckily she had healed enough to recognize it early this time and get out.  She joined a solid support group.  Then she spent a few years on the sidelines and identified how she was co-dependent and enabling those types of behaviors and therefore attracting those types of men.  Taken in isolation, yes these points seem off, especially if people do not want to understand what they mean.  Nowhere in there does anyone say you do not have a say in your recovery.  The intent is that if it takes you 8 1/2 years to get there not to feel bad.  It is a tool to combat the societal pressure I'd say 70% of our attendees walk in with which is family and friends telling them to move on with life, start dating again, yada yada.  And then they crash and burn and don't get why.  The concern with "how long do you want it to take" without any further guidance (I assume your therapist offered more than that phrase in their therapy) is that far too many people will pick some time that is far too short for the work they need to do.  I get where you are coming from.  I was one of those people that went faster but in the process I spoke very, very heavily with other support group leaders, I was open to their feedback, I had them meet the woman I eventually married and was open to them saying I was not ready yet.  I was remarried one year after my divorce from a 16 year marriage and she was the one who didn't want it just like you.  I tried and fought yet also knew it was inevitable because it takes two people to stay married and I had realized that very fast after we got married.  What I found in my therapy and support group work was I had done a lot of the healing while still married because we were basically apart already, so I had 5-7 years of that before we divorced and that seems to have been included in my recovery time so I did have about 5 years of separateness.  And I was questioned and challenged hard, and extensively by my support network, just as we are doing with the OP.  That's the best way to know if things are really aligned.  And now six years into my last marriage my wife and I are doing great and we've weathered a lot.  That's why we confidently can help lead support groups because between us we've got basically all of the things that could happen in a divorce in our experience so we can counsel from a point of been there, done that and feedback we get is very good.

I do think it is important to be open to the fact that while broken may be a tough thing, it may be somewhat or very true.  I do not know your story beyond the few items you shared, but my wife came out of a horrific marriage suffering every form of abuse imaginable.  Part of our courting process was me meeting with her therapist and my wife and her therapist both described who she was after the divorce as broken, almost not human.  And she would say it was all because the choices her husband made.  For her to have not been open to admit that she was broken would have made impossible to recover.  She spent two years convinced she was not broken before she was led to understand she was and finally got the help she needed.  Just sharing that perspective as food for thought as to why fixing ourselves should not be discounted too quickly, because there is likely something that can use some adjustment and is, maybe just a little, broken.

caracarn

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #135 on: May 08, 2018, 02:58:14 PM »
That said, a contract or an agreement is often subject to amendment when circumstances change. OP was asking whether and how he might go about amending the terms of an agreement he made, after seeing its effects and after a rather significant change in his own circumstances (to wit, a mindset change r.e. spending, and also an additional mouth to feed). There is zero in-thread evidence of him breaking any term of his legal agreement, and no intimation that he plans to either.
Wow, sometimes I wonder if I'm reading the same original thread as other people.

The whole point of his original post was the clear evidence of him striving to break the term of his legal agreement.  He came here to ask if it was "fair" (which was properly pointed out as whinypants by many) and then how to change it, so clearly an intimation.  What were you reading?  Because it certainly does not seem to be the original post. 

The vehemence that some of us are showing is because of why he is asking.  He CHOSE to have another mouth to feed.  And now is upset about the impact and of all the options to improve his budget he chose one, that to many of us, is the most off-limits one he should ever look at, the obligations to his children.   Again, CHOOSING to make less money is not a valid reason to amend child support.  It's what a weasel considers.  Every. Single. One. Of his reasons is not the fault of his children.  Deciding MMM sounds awesome is not something his kids determined to do.  He should be parent enough to speak with them about how daddy is looking at things differently and how that impacts what activities they can do.  When I got divorced and money got tighter, I sat my kids down and explained that while in the past they had more activities now they could do one and it would not be something like horseback riding or ice skating because they were too expensive at this point.  They were very upset and it was a hard conversation to have.  But they key here is that those conversations happen outside of child support.  I promise the court worksheet in any state does not have a line that indicates that you want top of the line activities so there is a $1,000 premium to your support payment.  You have your support amount and adjust your budget accordingly.  So if you want to live more frugally, fine, but be frugal with things that you should touch.

If he lost his job and spent a year looking and could only find one at half salary, that is a change that warrants support review.  If he became disabled and could no longer work, that warrants support review.  Getting married and having a child is also a reason to do that, but it rarely impacts things the way he'd like and most of us explained that.  That's because that is a choice, not something thrust upon you so it rarely factors in substantially to your obligation.  Negotiating expenses is fine, but other than indicating his displeasure he did not show any work there.  Not all the money pots in divorce are accessible at will.  The whole issue with this thread is he is trying to touch one that is less accessible than others.  I get that he's having difficulty with the others because his ex wants expensive activities where he would like to cut down.  Again, conversations with his kids can handle this.  These are not fun.  And that is where I, and others, have little respect for how OP wants to handle these things.  He seems to want to avoid the hard and unpleasant work and just go on into fairy tale land of his new life.  Sorry buddy, it does not work that way.

By your overly emotional "logic," most mustachians are welshing on their financial obligations as parents.  I suspect there are quite a few people on this forum who have declined to pay for travel sports even though they could afford it.  Or declined to provide their teenage children a car, even though they can afford it and it's not the children who decided MMM sounded awesome. 

There are lots of potential things to criticize the OP for related to his approach to dealing with his kids and ex as far as working through things like extra curriculars and travel responsibility.  Considering dropping his financial support down from a very high level to a level that would likely still be higher than most people provide period is not a reason to criticize, any more than it is a reason to criticize people who choose to retire rather than building a bigger nest egg to leave to their children as an inheritance.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  You have yours and I have mine.  With my experience and study of people having been through divorce I'm seeing things that you perceive differently.  I'm not at all suggesting he should pay for expensive activities.  You feel I said that.  In the answer above I already addressed how he can address those conversations with his kids and adjust.  He's shown only selfish effort here, not finding a way to engage with his kids.  Several people have asked him if he asked the girls if they want these activities and he never responded to that.  He's had lots of chances to show all the work he's done here and instead he just circles back to why it's hard for him.  I gave the guy the benefit of the doubt for quote a few responses.  Only when I saw a clear pattern of behavior demonstrated in what he focuses on in his responses did I feel I had enough to know where his interest lies, and I see that it is not with his kids.  Again, you can disagree.  A healthy individual would either take the constructive criticism and reflect and adjust if it was accurate, or ignore it as someone who does not have the detail they may not have shared and go on.  OP has a chance to show which one he is, but ending with the response of taking activity money and diverting it to a 529 and thinking that is a healthy response for the kids gave me all the validation that I needed to frame his original post as someone who is looking out for themselves and the new family ahead of his original offspring.

obstinate

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #136 on: May 08, 2018, 03:26:46 PM »
He's shown only selfish effort here, not finding a way to engage with his kids.
Maybe he just doesn't feel like he needs advice on that front? I don't come in here and ask for parenting advice either, and if someone gave it to me I'd be very likely to ignore them. This is a perfect example of what I'm talking about w.r.t. to people jumping to conclusions.

Awesomeness

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #137 on: May 08, 2018, 06:59:11 PM »
@caracan. Hey I get what you are saying.  I guess I prefer the words healing and grieving versus broken.  To me it implies I had a role in what he did and thereís no way Iíll ever accept that. A perfect spouse never exists but I can guarantee that any issue he ever had with me was not what made our marriage deteriorate, he will say it was but honestly heís insane. I honored our vows from start to finish and didnít say in those vows Iíd be perfect. No one is. Basically alcoholism, abuse, intentional destroying of our finances and top it off with adultery and all that goes along with all of that is what I went through.  Anyway Iím 7 months out and do see now that I started grieving the losses while I was in the marriage still and that has helped me get to where I am now.  Sort of like you mentioned in your post. Makes me think of people losing a spouse to a long cancer battle. The relief can come not long after the death because they grieved during the illness.

My therapist is a gem and has helped me make sure Iím not a textbook divorcee like you mentioned.  Iíve witnessed people moving on too fast and that hasnít appealed to me. I see why they do it though.  Itís hard and you can think someone else can fill those gaps.  Like Rocky said ďI got gaps, sheís got gaps, together we fill gapsĒ lol.  But I donít want damaged goods and I donít want to be damaged goods, I donít want another man like I just divorced. Thankfully he wasnít like that our whole marriage. 


Divorce care wasnít for me.  I felt it focused too much on reconciliation and realizing my part in the break up and as you can see Iím just not going to go there. No human being can do anything to deserve what he did to me.  Thank you. And thank you for what you do.   Iím sorry you and your wife went through hard times to get where you are but itís wonderful you are serving others that are suffering. The best support often comes from those that have suffered and hurt as well and know exactly the pain it causes. I want to live the best life I can and sometimes I do get a chance to help someone else. Something good coming from such pain helps me heal too.

Jrr85

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #138 on: May 09, 2018, 08:23:44 AM »

Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  You have yours and I have mine.  With my experience and study of people having been through divorce I'm seeing things that you perceive differently.  I'm not at all suggesting he should pay for expensive activities.  You feel I said that.
You are projecting your overly emotional state on this issue to others.  I don't feel you said that.  I don't have any baggage re: divorce or child support like you, so I am just responding to what is typed and not projecting my past experiences and issues into the conversation.  I pointed out that people stating or implying he is somehow failing to meet his financial obligations to his kids, either under the current payment structure or even at a reduced payment rate are attempting to impose an obligation on him that the vast majority of fathers in the U.S. can't meet, whether still married or not.  There are lots of flags with how he might approach his kids (but it's a few internet forum posts, so I'm not sure how much should be read into that), but assuming he is not neglecting them when they are in his care, he is doing more than enough financially.   

  In the answer above I already addressed how he can address those conversations with his kids and adjust.  He's shown only selfish effort here, not finding a way to engage with his kids.  Several people have asked him if he asked the girls if they want these activities and he never responded to that.  He's had lots of chances to show all the work he's done here and instead he just circles back to why it's hard for him.  I gave the guy the benefit of the doubt for quote a few responses.  Only when I saw a clear pattern of behavior demonstrated in what he focuses on in his responses did I feel I had enough to know where his interest lies, and I see that it is not with his kids.

That's mighty magnanimous of you to give him the benefit of the doubt for a few internet forum posts before you decided you know what kind of father he is. 

 
« Last Edit: May 09, 2018, 10:18:14 AM by Jrr85 »

Captain FIRE

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #139 on: May 09, 2018, 09:26:04 AM »
Agreed. I have kind of given up on people seeing sense in this thread. I can only assume there are a lot of children of divorce or people who had difficult divorces themselves. Possibly some folks with deadbeat dads, or deadbeat exes? And they are projecting onto OP. I see lots of encouragement for OP to consider ex-wife's feelings, and almost no empathy for OP. Assumptions that OP cheated, etc., that simply are not well-founded. People pretending that the existence of a legal agreement at a particular time creates a permanent, ongoing, immutable moral obligation, and that failing to want to live up to this agreement makes OP a deadbeat. All this makes me suspect that people have had their judgments clouded by ~something~.

I took a negotiating class.  Boiling it down to the absolute bare essence, you achieve the best negotiation result when you have as much information as possible about the negotiation, including the interests of both parties.  The OP seems particularly blind to understanding the ex-wife's possible motivations.  This is why I (and possibly others) pointed out he might want to consider her perspective.  It's not so much telling him he ought to consider her feelings (although that's a nice humane thing to do...) as getting him to think about how she might feel about his requests/actions, and how that might impact her reactions/decisions.  They're divorced now, he doesn't *have to* consider them anymore.  But frankly, imo, he'd be a fool to completely disregard them given that their fights affect their kids.  Again, not that he has to make nice, but at least making an effort to do so will reduce stress on their kids.

For more concrete example, what is his primary goal with keeping the girls in the rec volleyball team?  To save money?  Spend time with them as their coach?  More convenient practice hours/locations?  What is his wife's primary goal in wanting to change the team?  I gave some possibilities above, but it could be anything from avoiding having them be coached by the dad, to being on a more advanced team.  If his primary goal is saving money (as that's what he seems to be pretty upset about), and hers is avoiding having the girls coached by him...then they can both achieve what they what if he agrees not to be a coach.

[For someone who doesn't like assumptions, you immediately and ironically turn around and make your own about the posters in this thread.  Despite your assumptions, I have no particular baggage: I'm happily married and my folks are happily married.  But I did see our neighbor get divorced and how hard it was on their kids that their dad married a split second after the divorce, which was hard on one kid in particular.  I also don't have empathy for the OP because his follow-up replies have not engendered any goodwill, particularly his comments about deciding to pay for extracurriculars based on whether his ex pays for therapy for the kids.  I don't think he needs to pay for everything the ex/girls propose, but his reasons for rejecting paying are unsound to me, and demonstrate to me that he's punishing the girls for his ex-wife's behavior.  His many other comments also give me the impression he's replacing his old "flawed" family with a new shinier family.  I wonder if the girls think so too and I feel badly for them as a result, and therefore want to try to hammer some sense into him.]

obstinate

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #140 on: May 09, 2018, 09:59:30 AM »
[For someone who doesn't like assumptions, you immediately and ironically turn around and make your own about the posters in this thread.  Despite your assumptions, I have no particular baggage
I made an inference about a group's tendencies, not about any particular person. I did not say, "Captain FIRE is divorced/was badly affected by divorce," I said, "A lot of people here probably were." (What I meant is that a disproportionate fraction probably are, to be specific.) And it does appear from some responses that disclose personal histories with divorce that I am correct. At any rate, I have zero problems with someone inferring properties likely shared by a group from how they are behaving. As you get into personal accusations against an individual of "not being a man" (something that was actually said to OP based solely on what he has disclosed here -- which again I maintain shows no past or anticipated act of neglect), I believe the standard of evidence rises sharply.

As to the rest of your post: sure, it's tactically wise to consider her feelings in certain cases. No evidence that OP didn't, though. What surprises me is the divergence between how OP is being told to treat his ex, and how he is being treated.

« Last Edit: May 09, 2018, 10:02:03 AM by obstinate »

caracarn

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #141 on: May 09, 2018, 12:50:03 PM »
@Awesomeness sounds like things are going well and you got help that was beneficial.  That's all any of can ask for in this process.

Like any program Divorce Care is highly dependent on the leaders you have.  Our sessions with three of us leading did not but undo focus on reconciliation, just offered it, as I think it is intended in the program, and an option.  There is after all only one week that speaks about it and even during that time we made sure to focus on when it is and is not appropriate.  After all, a lot of people who do what your husband did use it as a tool to keep a spouse entrapped.  It was a process my wife went through with her ex.  It is also important to note that you can reconcile short of remarriage.  One of our leaders returned to such friendly terms with her ex (who was also an alcoholic) that they once gave him a ride across country over 2,000 miles with her new husband to attend an event for one of their children.  I could do that with my ex, but we certainly could not with my wife's.  There is a lot that goes into it.  Sorry that the program you connected with pushed you away partly because of that focus as overall I think it is one of the best programs out there for providing a comprehensive support process.

I got involved and my wife joined in after we married exactly as you indicated, because I felt called to turn a negative into a positive.  Men especially tend to think they do not need help and I felt that serving as a leader could help that change in our little circle, and it has.  That was partly inspired by the fact that in the session I went through there was another man in it with me along, and  he chose to leave three weeks in because he felt he was all better.  Our leader encouraged us to see it through as there is a lot to learn and her chose not to.  No idea what happened with him, but I know I also felt I was not sure I needed the group myself due to my earlier grieving as you mentioned, but I learned a lot and saw extreme value in the process.  It is also interesting how some people return multiple times because at different times in your healing you get totally different things out of the program.  It really is a testament to how well designed it is.

ericbonabike

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #142 on: May 09, 2018, 01:48:40 PM »
Despite my better judgement I checked back in on this thread.  wow.

I will try to respond to the insults/insinuations/questions/comments.

1) I had an affair?  Well, I did inappropriately tell my current wife that I was attracted to her exactly 3 days before I asked my then wife that I wanted a divorce.  Why did I want a divorce?  Well, a) my exwife had refused to have sex with me for at least two years.  The last time I tried to make a move on her, she told me "Not Now Not Ever".  I took that as a sign that marriage was finally over.   (my only regret, is that I didn't ask her sooner).  BTW, when I asked her for a divorce she said "Thank God, I had been praying for this".   b)  I found myself strongly attracted to this other woman (which I knew was wrong).  So, those two events stirred me up to seek divorce.  I am proud of that.  I don't regret that.  If I had been my parent, I would have been jumping with joy as leaving my ex was unarguably the right thing to do.  About a month into the divorce proceedings, I did start/have a relationship with my now wife.  Unethical?  Maybe.  Depends on your individual perspective I reckon.

2)  I pay a paltry amount of money to my exwife?   Well, in my state, court ordered child support is ZERO dollars.  The state provided a table just assumes the default custodial arrangement (10 days every two weeks for custodial parent, 4 days every two weeks for noncustodial parent), and then it's just a simple lookup using custodial parent's salary, noncustodial parent's salary, how many kids you got, less any shared expenses, etc.  For us, this worked out to be about $1200 per month.   But, because I have 6 of 14 days (close to half), the court said that table is complete junk.  Our $700 was agreed upon amount that she told me would keep her "happy".  I never reckoned that she would hit me up for high-end activities, refuse to transport the children, and in general, play ugly.  And I never reckoned that I would be able to retire early.  Shortsightedness?  I guess.  Do all the people in this thread understand that my exwife walked away with about $1 million also?   

3)  My oldest daughter probably "needs" to play club volleyball. I wasn't particularly surprised by that.  What was surprising was when my ex told me that my oldest AND my youngest daughters were playing on the "Power" team, with a cost of $2000 per kid. My youngest daughter was 11 year old on the same U13 team as my oldest.  As a result, she was lonely on the team, didn't get much playing time, etc.    I wasn't asked about this or the fact that my oldest could have played on a slightly lesser U13 team for $1000.  My youngest probably should have just been playing rec ball again which she ASKED me to coach her team.   

4)  My last statement has been mischaracterized and I want to clarify.   I said (I'm paraphrasing) "I will not pay for extracurricular activities unless I a) have equal say in determining participation  b) find an equitable division of transportation."   Those statements are true.    I was happy driving my girls to/from school and swinging by my exwife's house to pick up their clothes/volleyball gear.  But then ex went on a rant and told me that I couldn't come by her house. "it made her feel uncomfortable"  I never went inside, just helped girls carry bags to the door.   Said I had to meet her at school in the morning of custody change, but I don't get out that way till I pick up my kids after school.  I told her no, and then sparked off a massive argument about clothing responsibility (she signed a paper saying she would provide clothing for the girls while they were at my house).  I choose not to enforce the clothing requirement because she told my girls that they would be carrying suitcases to school!

5) I am also carrying my youngest daughter to counseling.   My ex and I agreed to split costs for out-of-pocket medical expenses.  She carried the girls to get eyeglasses, and spent about $1200 versus the $300 that I had expected.  I paid her $600 for designer frames for two girls (only one of whom actually wears them).   I objected, but I paid.   She will be given an equal opportunity to reimburse me for my the counseling.    If she declines to pay that, I will perceive that as a "out of pocket expenses can be paid as each parent deems fit".  This deviates from our court decree, but if she's playing by those rules, I will too.  I don't think an 11 year old "needs" a $300 frame. 


6) I'm sorry if you all have perceived that I'm not a man of my word.  I guess that's true.  I signed a contract and expected to be treated with a certain amount of professionalism or courtesy.  As the divorce has progressed, that relationship has steadily gotten worse.  I conceded a lot during the divorce proceedings, and as one poster said "I bought a quick divorce".   I get that. 

Examples of bad behavior
She calls my wife a slut (in front of my girls).  Guess what my 11 year old called her older sister a couple weeks ago???
My oldest daughter told me that she wants to live with me, but is too afraid to tell her mom.   
My oldest daughter had a boyfriend who is black, and then my ex forced her to break up with him.   My ex's father threatened to disown my daughter for having a black boyfriend.   She's 13 years old....
My ex has repeatedly refused to allow me to buy the girls passports so that we could travel internationally.  Told me and my girls that she thought I would "steal them".
My ex routinely confiscates my oldest daughter's phone and chastises her for communicating with either me or my wife.
When I sold my house on the high-end side of town, and moved to a slightly cheaper area near downtown, she told my girls that they were moving to a high-crime area with lots and lots of "sexual predators".  Scared the crap out of them. 



In short, and I know my comments above have been blunt, there is a long sordid history here of conflict, strife, and borderline mania.  I will shoulder about 50% of the responsibility of the craziness.You all read some random guy's bitching on the internet and assume that he's a DBAG  father.  I am trying everything I can to limit the amount of damage all of the above causes my girls.   But, I can't keep giving ground to my ex.  She's a taker, and when I have given ground, she just takes more.  I am trying to be a good father.  And a better husband. 
« Last Edit: May 09, 2018, 01:51:43 PM by ericbonabike »

honeybbq

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #143 on: May 09, 2018, 02:43:21 PM »
Here's some of my thoughts:

Examples of bad behavior
She calls my wife a slut (in front of my girls).  Guess what my 11 year old called her older sister a couple weeks ago???


Yep, I was the slut, too. It's hard when one person moves on and the other doesn't. In the divorce classes they teach you to play nice, but the reality is that no one stops you from being an ass. The ex-wife basically made it impossible for me to have a healthy relationship with my step kids. You can try to avoid it, good luck. It ain't easy.

My oldest daughter told me that she wants to live with me, but is too afraid to tell her mom.   

This will happen time and time again. Or at least it did in our situation. Live with Mom, she has rules. Lives with Dad, he has different rules. Kids don't like any of them. Some times it vacillates on a daily basis, sometimes yearly. I would not put too much stock into this, though YMMV.


My ex has repeatedly refused to allow me to buy the girls passports so that we could travel internationally.  Told me and my girls that she thought I would "steal them".

While you may not like this, it is a law and you'll have to play by the rules. Be prepared to butter her up and/or bribe the ex-wife to get her to consent to these things. A passport is not enough, by the way, you'll need a signed affidavit that it's ok for you to leave the country with the kids (if you do get them a passport). While this law can be hard in situations like yours, think about the situations it prevents...


My ex routinely confiscates my oldest daughter's phone and chastises her for communicating with either me or my wife.

I don't think taking away a teenager's phone is a problem. In fact, I doubt this is done enough. But she should be allowed to communicate with you through other means.





haflander

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #144 on: May 09, 2018, 02:55:40 PM »
I'm going to decline bashing my exwife anymore than I already have....

You made it 6 days. Wow, talk about commitment!

Villanelle

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #145 on: May 10, 2018, 08:11:13 AM »
Your Ex sounds awful, and like an terrible person with whom to try and co-parent.

In a case like that, there are no good options.  But the least bad option is rising above.  You are choosing not to do that.

You are choosing to cede the high ground.  Will not paying for volleyball stop her from calling your new wife a slut?  Nope.  But it gives her ammunition to paint you (and the new wife and baby) as the bad guy. 

Will reducing child support prevent her from wasting money on designer eye glasses? Nope.  Will it prevent her from wasting *your* money on designer eye glasses?  Yes.  And at the cost of giving her--someone with a proven track record of being willing to badmouth you and your new family--something to throw in the girls faces about now that dad has a new baby coming, clearly he can't be bothered to pay for their things any more.  And given that this is something about which your kids are almost certainly insecure and afraid, that will work to great effect. 

Give your girls some credit.  When they here mom call stepmom a slut, they know that's bad behavior on her part.  The know it's not okay And in future, they will look back and realize that she made some bad choices and put them in an awkward position.  I'm sure that's little comfort, but it's probably all there is.  If you start sinking to that level--badmouthing her or punishing them by withholding money and experiences because of their mom's decisions, you are just as bad, small, petty, and selfish as she is.  None of this is about her.   

Right now, I feel awful for your kids.  They've been told by mom that they will have to carry suitcases to school unless Dad caves.  They hear their stepmom being called a slut.  And they also have a dad who is now wanting to go back on his arrangement to pay money that is called *child* support because he suddenly want to RE with his new wife and kids, and because he wants to lash out at mom after she lashed out at him.  He is going to refuse to pay for their activity if mom doesn't cave to him.  So they are basically surrounded by people using them as pawns and acting with hurting the Ex as a primary motivator, rather than being as supportive and loving as possible to them.  It's pretty terrible.  And while you have ZERO power of your Ex's share of that, you have full power over your half.  Instead of using that to rise above, show your girls they are worth far more than a small % of your income or net worth, ensure they know they are loved and valued, and make them feel secure, you are giving them more of the same as they are getting from mom.

You are in a bad situation.  I'm sorry for that.  But shame on you for allowing you to make yourself as bad as she is, all at the expense of your daughters.  They really lost the family lottery, and it is going to screw them up likely for life, unless you choose to get your shit together and be better than this.  Because right now, your posts make you sound just as bad as they make your wife sound.  I think it's because you are frustrated and lashing out, not because you are actually a selfish prick, but the result is the same, except that the former means there is a chance of you being better if you decide you want to be.

Good luck to you, and mostly good luck to your poor daughters who are trapped in the middle of this shit show you and your Ex have produced for them. 

Prairie Stash

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #146 on: May 10, 2018, 09:11:10 AM »
Despite my better judgement I checked back in on this thread.  wow.

You should avoid this thread, its turned into personal conjecture. Its a trainwreck of asumptions and emotional opinions. None of us know the entire story, but we'll sure let you know what kind of person you are...Don't bother trying to defend yourself, someone will twist every last thing you say. If you follow this thread I think it might make you even more frustrated and negate any kind of help that may be on here.

I did therapy once upon a time (after a divorce), I laid out the good and the bad. I'm not perfect, I owned everything that I could think of and then some. One thing my therapist never did was insult me, call me a name or degrade me in the slightest.

Funny thing is, some of the points my ex thought were wrong, my future relationships think is right. There is no singular right way in a relationship. We discussed this at counselling, how to move forward. I was not encouraged to change everything to suit my past relationship, its about finding ways to become better for my next relationship. That includes being a better husband, father, friend and a person you can be proud of. If we attack you, it will ruin self confidence, that in turn ruins your ability to be a better father and friend. After a divorce, a large part of the healing is to make sure you are better too, even if the relationship ended years ago, most people carry some grief for years. We have failed you if we don't support you and help you so that you can further help those around you. Even when we end a relationship, theres still a part that misses the happier times, its never all bad or good.

To be clear, my counselling focused on exiting the relationship, not every counsellor will focus on saving a relationship that's doomed. The main takeaways I received help improve future relationships, that's what you need from this thread. You don't need attacks or punishments over the past.

A focus on the past is not going to improve anything unless we offer ways to help. Rehashing and trying to assign faults is not something my counsellor engaged in ever. The past is over, how you proceed from here onwards is what matter. Don't give any more thoughts to the past, focus your thoughts on the future.

caracarn

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #147 on: May 10, 2018, 10:48:45 AM »
Despite my better judgement I checked back in on this thread.  wow.

I will try to respond to the insults/insinuations/questions/comments.

1) I had an affair?  Well, I did inappropriately tell my current wife that I was attracted to her exactly 3 days before I asked my then wife that I wanted a divorce.  Why did I want a divorce?  Well, a) my exwife had refused to have sex with me for at least two years.  The last time I tried to make a move on her, she told me "Not Now Not Ever".  I took that as a sign that marriage was finally over.   (my only regret, is that I didn't ask her sooner).  BTW, when I asked her for a divorce she said "Thank God, I had been praying for this".   b)  I found myself strongly attracted to this other woman (which I knew was wrong).  So, those two events stirred me up to seek divorce.  I am proud of that.  I don't regret that.  If I had been my parent, I would have been jumping with joy as leaving my ex was unarguably the right thing to do.  About a month into the divorce proceedings, I did start/have a relationship with my now wife.  Unethical?  Maybe.  Depends on your individual perspective I reckon.

2)  I pay a paltry amount of money to my exwife?   Well, in my state, court ordered child support is ZERO dollars.  The state provided a table just assumes the default custodial arrangement (10 days every two weeks for custodial parent, 4 days every two weeks for noncustodial parent), and then it's just a simple lookup using custodial parent's salary, noncustodial parent's salary, how many kids you got, less any shared expenses, etc.  For us, this worked out to be about $1200 per month.   But, because I have 6 of 14 days (close to half), the court said that table is complete junk.  Our $700 was agreed upon amount that she told me would keep her "happy".  I never reckoned that she would hit me up for high-end activities, refuse to transport the children, and in general, play ugly.  And I never reckoned that I would be able to retire early.  Shortsightedness?  I guess.  Do all the people in this thread understand that my exwife walked away with about $1 million also?   

3)  My oldest daughter probably "needs" to play club volleyball. I wasn't particularly surprised by that.  What was surprising was when my ex told me that my oldest AND my youngest daughters were playing on the "Power" team, with a cost of $2000 per kid. My youngest daughter was 11 year old on the same U13 team as my oldest.  As a result, she was lonely on the team, didn't get much playing time, etc.    I wasn't asked about this or the fact that my oldest could have played on a slightly lesser U13 team for $1000.  My youngest probably should have just been playing rec ball again which she ASKED me to coach her team.   

4)  My last statement has been mischaracterized and I want to clarify.   I said (I'm paraphrasing) "I will not pay for extracurricular activities unless I a) have equal say in determining participation  b) find an equitable division of transportation."   Those statements are true.    I was happy driving my girls to/from school and swinging by my exwife's house to pick up their clothes/volleyball gear.  But then ex went on a rant and told me that I couldn't come by her house. "it made her feel uncomfortable"  I never went inside, just helped girls carry bags to the door.   Said I had to meet her at school in the morning of custody change, but I don't get out that way till I pick up my kids after school.  I told her no, and then sparked off a massive argument about clothing responsibility (she signed a paper saying she would provide clothing for the girls while they were at my house).  I choose not to enforce the clothing requirement because she told my girls that they would be carrying suitcases to school!

5) I am also carrying my youngest daughter to counseling.   My ex and I agreed to split costs for out-of-pocket medical expenses.  She carried the girls to get eyeglasses, and spent about $1200 versus the $300 that I had expected.  I paid her $600 for designer frames for two girls (only one of whom actually wears them).   I objected, but I paid.   She will be given an equal opportunity to reimburse me for my the counseling.    If she declines to pay that, I will perceive that as a "out of pocket expenses can be paid as each parent deems fit".  This deviates from our court decree, but if she's playing by those rules, I will too.  I don't think an 11 year old "needs" a $300 frame. 


6) I'm sorry if you all have perceived that I'm not a man of my word.  I guess that's true.  I signed a contract and expected to be treated with a certain amount of professionalism or courtesy.  As the divorce has progressed, that relationship has steadily gotten worse.  I conceded a lot during the divorce proceedings, and as one poster said "I bought a quick divorce".   I get that. 

Examples of bad behavior
She calls my wife a slut (in front of my girls).  Guess what my 11 year old called her older sister a couple weeks ago???
My oldest daughter told me that she wants to live with me, but is too afraid to tell her mom.   
My oldest daughter had a boyfriend who is black, and then my ex forced her to break up with him.   My ex's father threatened to disown my daughter for having a black boyfriend.   She's 13 years old....
My ex has repeatedly refused to allow me to buy the girls passports so that we could travel internationally.  Told me and my girls that she thought I would "steal them".
My ex routinely confiscates my oldest daughter's phone and chastises her for communicating with either me or my wife.
When I sold my house on the high-end side of town, and moved to a slightly cheaper area near downtown, she told my girls that they were moving to a high-crime area with lots and lots of "sexual predators".  Scared the crap out of them. 



In short, and I know my comments above have been blunt, there is a long sordid history here of conflict, strife, and borderline mania.  I will shoulder about 50% of the responsibility of the craziness.You all read some random guy's bitching on the internet and assume that he's a DBAG  father.  I am trying everything I can to limit the amount of damage all of the above causes my girls.   But, I can't keep giving ground to my ex.  She's a taker, and when I have given ground, she just takes more.  I am trying to be a good father.  And a better husband.
Eric thanks for peeking back in and for sharing some more.  I know this can be difficult.

The details vary, but many of us have exes that similarly use whatever means possible to punish us and make us "pay" sometimes with cash, sometimes with time, sometimes just emotionally.

All I've been suggesting is separate the support amount of $700 from everything else.  Leave the $700 alone as it was agreed in court, would likely take trip back to court to change (your ex will not agree) and given the chart you said they use seems about where you'd end up anyway.  The mil she walked away with is also apart from this.  You both agreed to split that pot however you did.

Your view on the activities makes a lot of sense and is what I figured would be going on.  It's what I have faced and many others I know to.  The trick is to figure out what you can control which is quite a lot.  Since the expenses are not mandated at a certain level, which I would be surprised if they were, I'd suggest speaking with the girls as many of us have suggested to set real expectations and get what they want.  The one thing I am uncertain of here is how much of your issue may be because of the expectations that a high end lifestyle may have instilled in your children.  I had a bit of that with my own kids, but we split about $300K in half not $2 mil.  As such, I had a lot of pissed off kids when I had to explain to then that they did not "need" to continue activities that we were doing they "wanted" to do that.  It certainly would be reasonable for you to clearly let your ex know that going forward you will not be paying half of anything you are not consulted on.  That's what co-parenting is about.  It sounds like she's not doing that, which as I said, was what you seemed to be saying at the start.  If your ex wants to give them the luxury of the team that is above what you would support, that's on her.  There is always a threat she'll choose to take you to court to collect on the items you are not paying for, but I think that is more rare than people think.  Again, any upset in your kids about this you just could handle with conversations, with no guarantee that they will go well.  My girls understand I'll pay for a reasonable prom dress for example (around $200) but not for much more.  We can talk about it but they understand what I consider reasonable.  They may not agree with it.  Their mom many times does not and that's her prerogative and also her option to pay.  Similarly, if I want to have them do something I do not expect my ex to cover whatever that may be if I do not agree ahead of time with her.  I've found that most of the times her answer is "they can just not do it at all".  At that point it is up to me if I want to pay 100% of it or not and talk with the kids from there. 

I just hope you can find a way to separate your kids from your ex in your decision making.  You're ex will be a jerk, say things and likely do whatever she can to upset you.  You seem to have a vindictive ex and that sucks.  You can't co-parent with someone like that, and that turns into the same situation I have.  I can't co-parent either so I have to take on 100% of the kids expenses.  It's not fair by a long shot.  And it means they are mad at me a good portion of the time because they need to understand what they want is just not in the budget.  My kids have always had to cover a lot of their expenses to learn responsibility like car insurance, some gas for the car.  They also were taught money management early on and if they wanted to buy anything they could use their allowance.  If it was gone, and it was not something I felt they needed, they went without.  That has kept the arguments to a minimum because they get more than most kids how money works.  As they have started working part time jobs in some cases that helps as well.  They have even more of their own money now and they understand how hard it is to earn $10 when it takes them an hour to do it.  None of them want to be in any $2,000 activities now.  Just drive those life lessons home at the level that works for your household.  If you have embraced the MMM viewpoint it can very rewarding to teach your kids how blessed they are with all the abundance your income makes available laid against how choosing not to just spend it all makes them learn to value things differently.  One of my ex's attacks against my household is that we make a lot more money than hers does and so she tried for a time to explain to the kids how mean I was for not spending all kinds of money on them.  It sucked having to overcome that crap, but it was helpful for them to get to hear me explain why we did what we did.  Why we did not spend $50K on a car just because we could.  Why I was not going to buy them all a car.  Why they would be contributing to their college.  It's the same conversations I would have had regardless of getting divorced, and I think it is similar to what you may need to do with your new frugal focus after the kids grew up with a lot of non-frugal before.

What you are working through is hard.  I'm glad you came back to see what you could learn.  Take one day at a time and try hard to take the high road even if it costs you more if it is the right call for the kids.  It's a very freeing way to approach the time after.

mm1970

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #148 on: May 10, 2018, 11:32:16 AM »
Ya know, your divorce sounds pretty typical for the ones I know of, when kids are involved.

- It's not uncommon for couples to drift apart and become like roommates.  And want to move on, but feel like they should stay together for the kids, or stay together because it's in some ways easier.  In this respect, your marriage/ divorce sounds pretty typical.

- It's not uncommon for there to be a power struggle afterwards.  On either side.  I've seen it many many many times.  Everyone wants their "own way".  And when you were married, you probably discussed it, and you were, for the most part, a "team".

- It's not uncommon for people to speak badly about their exes. Sometimes because they suck.  Sometimes because you need to vent.  Our next door neighbor bought the house during his divorce.  They had one teenager.  Oh boy it was years and years of hearing about his evil ex.  Then on a long run one day I met this lovely woman...ah ha ha, guess who it was!  They actually mostly get along now, 12 years later.

- When it comes to paying for glasses, club volleyball, etc. - you are no longer a team.  Because you aren't married.  This is the thing that you need to get over.  You can refuse to pay for half, but it will only reflect badly on you.  Trust me.  My parents divorced/ separated when I was 15.  My  mom left with nothing.  I moved in with her later.  She asked for nothing from him, which he gave gladly!  They are both long gone now, but when I think fondly of my parents, and how they helped me get through college emotionally (if not financially) - guess who I think fondly of!  Not him.  He refused to even fill out FAFSA, which meant another $1800 a year I had to drum up, in the 80s.  You really just need to suck it up, unless you want 100% custody.

- Having 2 kids on the same team is way more convenient, and I won't fault her for that.

Sibley

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Re: divorce/child care/early retirement
« Reply #149 on: May 10, 2018, 12:10:34 PM »
OP, I think that in a couple years, a lot of this is going to calm down. You just divorced, got remarried and are expecting a baby. That's a LOT of change in a short period of time, and it makes perfect sense for your ex to feel betrayed. You are also probably feeling a lot of strong emotions. Emotions are not logical, you can't reason them away. Hopefully the dust will start to settle and come to a new normal. Your challenge is, and needs to be, remaining a positive, loving presence in your daughter's lives and providing them with stability when they're with you, regardless of what your ex does or says.