My ex-wife is disabled due to MS and severe depression. She can no longer drive our kids anywhere but still wants them half the time. Because her disability policy payout and SSDI are somewhat less than she was earning before, she is looking for me to pay more in child support. I am asking the court to give me more time with the kids. For a whole host of reasons, I think they should be limited to spending every other weekend with her.
I am not sure I should have to pay more support because I also pay for all of their private school costs at the school she insisted they attend. Now, because she can’t drive, I also need to find transportation for them on her days to and from school.
Does her disability insurance and SSDI get calculated in the child support guidelines?
If I am successful in getting the children for more time, what does that do to my child support?
Disability insurance and SSDI are both income to her for purposes of determining child support. Don’t take her word for what she is receiving, ask for documentation including where the money is being sent. If her checks are going to someone else because she cannot manage her own finances, that may say more about her overall competency and fitness to actively parent. And, when you ask to see your ex’s income information, be sure to also ask for the SSDI child benefits. Assuming your children are under age 18, they too receive monthly checks on account of having a disabled parent. That money counts in the child support calculation so you need to be sure the judge has that information in order to make the correct child support order.
Unless there is an order stating otherwise, you don’t have to volunteer to pay for the transportation to and from school on her days. Use it for negotiation. Many people prefer to directly pay child-related expenses rather than increasing the child support order. You can offer to pay for the transportation in lieu of increasing your child support payment.
If there is an order requiring you to pay for transportation, ask the judge to modify that order too. Her new need for you to transport the children on her days is a change in circumstances.
If you do succeed in getting more time with the children, the child support calculation will shift from an equal parenting plan to your having the children for approximately two-thirds of the time which alters the payment. She may end up owing you support. If that happens and you don’t really need the money, consider just asking her to pay the child benefits toward the kids’ private school expenses. That might help you reach an agreement because much like you don’t want to pay her any more than necessary, she won’t want to pay you anything.