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Author: tigerland One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 681  
Subject: Anyone out there, Question.. Date: 12/19/2003 8:02 PM
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Hi-

I"m new, and in looking at the board, it doesn't look like anyone has posted since November. That can't be right. Single parents are everywhere! I have lots of quetions and no one really to ask, so if there is someone alive out there, I'd like to chat.

Thanks-
Tigerland
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Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 651 of 681
Subject: Re: Anyone out there, Question.. Date: 12/19/2003 9:21 PM
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There's a few of us that monitor the board now and then, but I haven't had any specifically single parent issues to type up lately.

So, wha's up?

Ishtar

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Author: tigerland One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 652 of 681
Subject: Re: Anyone out there, Question.. Date: 12/20/2003 8:24 AM
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Hi-
Thanks for checking the board. You would think that this would be a popular one, (if only, sadly, out of nessecity).

Short version....been divorced for 3 years. We have a son who is 6, (and amazaing :))! His dad remarried 4 days after divorce was final, and they now see said child EVERY weekend, (although we live 3 hours apart). My son is beginning to complain that he has to leave his friends on the weekends. That he can't do team sports b/c the games are on Sats. when he is w/ his dad. He misses birthday parties, playdates, etc.... Since I have him all week, I am getting the brunt of his frustration on this issue. I have ALWAYS felt that seeing his Dad was the most important thing, but now, I question that if my son is not liking the arrangement, should he be the one to speak to his father, or I? We have an OKAY realtionship. Not fighting by any means, but not very friendly either.

Also, don't most divorced couples alternate each year on who gets the tax deduction for the child? My ex takes it every year even though the child is w/ me for primary custody, and he only pays $400 a month in CS?

Just wondering someone elses thoughts!
thanks-
tigerland

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Author: ishtarastarte Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 654 of 681
Subject: Re: Anyone out there, Question.. Date: 12/20/2003 11:55 AM
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Ah, can't help you. I wasn't married to my daughter's father, don't get child support, and he's only seen her once.

I think many of the single parents left when the boards went to pay for. There's still some around. You might want to try the "parents and expecting parents" board to see if someone else is dealing with similar issues.

Ishtar

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Author: DowDanny Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 656 of 681
Subject: Re: Anyone out there, Question.. Date: 12/20/2003 2:39 PM
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Hello Tigerland,

Your questions are as much about "divorce situations" as they are about single-parenting, so you might want to check out the
"Divorce-All about it" board

http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?bid=113715

And now a few suggestions: About how you share the child deductions, that one is usually covered in the marital settlement agreement. There are no hard and fast rules, so you can't say "usually" when deciding what is fair. Some people work things out amicably (my sis's husband and his ex make an annual decision based on which choice saves the most money) but when in doubt you are stuck with whatever you signed (as in my case, ex-wife always gets the tax benefits even though I pay quite substantial support). These things can be negotiated or in worst case taken to court and adjudicated but to first order, you're stuck.

Second item: you also asked about Ex's decision to not inform you of where he is and when. Ok - his choice, it is tough one for you, but take it face value, respect his choice and ...here's the fun part ... let him deal with consequences: It is not your responsibility to track him down. If something (god-forbid!) happens to your son, you can leave a message or call his mom, or whatever, but you're primary responsibility is to your son - care for him and worry about him. Dad can catch up whenever he gets around to contacting you.

BTW: it must totally non-negotiable that he ALWAYS informs you of where he is when the children are in his custody. His privacy does not overrule your right and responsibility to know where your children are at all times.

Last and most importantly: About son going away "every weekend". This is one that you must discuss with his father, but I don't think there is any right answer. Sure, he needs time to play on weekends with his pals, but I don't know that "team sports" is a good enough reason to not see his dad. One thing I've learned is that kids adjust rapidly to any situation, but you can make things worse by offering choices that you can't deliver. He has expressed his preference, he is allowed (but I wouldn't suggest it to him, because it will seem that you are pushing the conflict) to mention his wishes to his dad. However, he is still only 6, so it's not really his choice. Your 16 year old wants to decide on her schedule, fine. But kindergartners have to rely on their parents for good decision and you must both (mom and dad) be consistent in explaining why things are the way they are.

Best wishes,

- Danny

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Author: tigerland One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 657 of 681
Subject: Re: Anyone out there, Question.. Date: 12/20/2003 7:02 PM
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Thanks you all for replying!

I agree, the 6 year old does not get to make the decisions. I just didn't want his father to think that it was me pushing him being here all the time, (as I'm not and DO think seeing his father, who might have been not a great husband, but is a great dad).

The tax thing was my fault. The marriage ended as the result of his affiar, and at the time, I was only thinking of securing primary custody of our son. Money, tax exemptions, none of that crossed my mind. And I guess, not my lawyers either. I just thought since we were both paying for the care of our child, we would alternate the years on tax exemptions.

As for him going on trips and leaving me no way to contact him, it is still a puzzle. We don't hate one another, and have NEVER been confontational in each others lives. And I don't think that it's his wife. It's him. If he goes on an extended trip, then he tells his Mom a number where he is, but if they go away for a weekend, then, I don't know anything. It never really bothered me until a friend had their child in the hospital w/ this awful flu that is going around, and I began to get a little parinoid. So my response has had to be, "If something happens, and he asks why you aren't there, I have to tell him it's b/c I don't know where you are or how to reach you" . And that it is the ex's choice to have it that way.

Again, thanks for all the suggestions!
Tigerland

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Author: 2Leos Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 658 of 681
Subject: Re: Anyone out there, Question.. Date: 12/22/2003 9:53 AM
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Food for thought:

The complaints about always being gone may be more commentary on the boy's interest on seeing his dad so often than you realize. My 10 year-old step-daughter really likes to go to her dad's house -- she has a puppy there and a step-brother as an automatic playmate -- she doesn't, however, really enjoy seeing her dad so much and he seldom comes up in discussion in postive ways. Remember, there are always two sides to every story and I can't see a 6 year-old able, or willing, to say something negative about a parent or the situation even if that's what they really feel. Just my .02.

- D

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Author: CatBarber Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 659 of 681
Subject: Re: Anyone out there, Question.. Date: 12/22/2003 12:37 PM
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Also, don't most divorced couples alternate each year on who gets the tax deduction for the child? My ex takes it every year even though the child is w/ me for primary custody, and he only pays $400 a month in CS?

I take the tax deduction for my daughter. My ex and I do not alternate on this.

If your son is 6, perhaps your should broach the subject with your ex and tell him how your son is feeling. Your son may be too young to tell your ex how he feels. One you fill your ex in, then he and your son can take it from there. btw.. I know this goes without saying, but if there are any ill feelings between you and your ex, you must set them aside for your son's sake.

My daughter is 12 and she makes all her plans with her dad. If she has to cancel for a birthday party, girl scouts, etc., she will call and tell him. Or I will tell him when he calls. He calls my daughter every day and they are close. You do not have to physically visit with someone every single weekend to be close to them.

FWIW


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Author: Patzer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 661 of 681
Subject: Re: Anyone out there, Question.. Date: 12/24/2003 1:40 PM
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The tax thing was my fault. The marriage ended as the result of his affiar, and at the time, I was only thinking of securing primary custody of our son. Money, tax exemptions, none of that crossed my mind. And I guess, not my lawyers either. I just thought since we were both paying for the care of our child, we would alternate the years on tax exemptions.

The exemption for the child should follow tax law. If I understand it correctly (and I'm not a lawyer, just a guy who does his own taxes and is getting divorced) the relevant test is that you must provide at least 50% of the child's support to be able to claim the exemption. This can be overridden by an agreement that is part of a divorce decree; but it would need to be specifically written into the settlement. (Check with your own tax advisor for both the accuracy of my understanding and its applicability to your own situation.)

It is my understanding that the alternating year exemption practice can arise either from a provision in the divorce settlement that this will happen, or between two people who amicably divorce and simply agree to do this. If it is the latter, it depends on the honor of both parties; the IRS will not challenge a consistent assertion by both parents on which one deserves the exemption. (Check with your own tax advisor, yada yada.)

Patzer

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Author: Primm69 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 662 of 681
Subject: Re: Anyone out there, Question.. Date: 12/24/2003 6:57 PM
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It is my understanding that the alternating year exemption practice can arise either from a provision in the divorce settlement that this will happen, or between two people who amicably divorce and simply agree to do this.

Just be careful. I'm not in the US, so this probably doesn't apply, but I'd read that if my ex had less than 30% custody of the kids, he could allow me to claim 100% of the tax rebate. BUT my accountant advised me that after he had done that, he had the right not only to revoke his decision at any time, but also to make the revocation retroactive, meaning I would have to pay back any of the rebate I had been "overpaid".

Even after say 10 years, if he wanted to get nasty, he could create a nice old debt for me with the tax office at any time.

Not the sort of timebomb I wanted hanging over my head, so I've just taken the 85% I am entitled to, thanks very much.

Primm

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Author: DowDanny Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 663 of 681
Subject: Re: Anyone out there, Question.. Date: 12/24/2003 8:03 PM
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but I'd read that if my ex had less than 30% custody of the kids, he could allow me to claim 100% of the tax rebate

To the best of my recollection, the dependent child deduction is all or nothing. There is no way to split it within any one tax-year. If there isn't a written agreement re-assigning the deduction and rebates, then the test is unambiguous... the parent providing more than 50% of the support (usually defined as "where the kid sleeps at night").

Some of us have divorce agreements (in writing folks) that re-assign these tax bene's according to some rule or formula (every-other year f'rexample). Some people have amicable relations that allow a year-by-year decision (which must be affirmed in writing by the consenting party in the documentation of the tax return of the parent claiming the benefits).

my accountant advised me that after he had done that, he had the right not only to revoke his decision at any time, but also to make the revocation retroactive, meaning I would have to pay back any of the rebate I had been "overpaid".
Read your Marital Settlement Agreement. If it is in writing there, and you follow the agreement, there is no ticking time bomb of retroactive punishment.

Well, not that I know of, anyway. For specific questions, the TAX STRATEGY board is excellent resource, but be sure you hvae all the details of your situation (including details of all written agreements) before you go posting.

Ciao,

- D

PS: If you have (low enough income) AND (high enough expenses) it possible for BOTH parents to qualify for deductions for CHILD CARE EXPENSES. but that's a different story than who gets to claim the dependents. And each parent qualifies on their own, independent of what the other one does, so again I see no ticking time bomb.



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Author: esster Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 664 of 681
Subject: Re: Anyone out there, Question.. Date: 1/5/2004 2:31 AM
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Just peeking in, this board is usually dead!

On father going away. I don't think he's wrong to not tell you. He's entitled to privacy when he's not taking care of the child - the same goes for you. Should an emergency arise, it might actually be easier if he were away - you'd be able to make any important decisions without having to call him and explain your reasoning and get him to agree.

On weekends. I think the critical issue here is *what's in the child's best interest*. It's in the child's best interest to develop a strong comittment to sports - not only in terms of weight management and general health, but also as a source of confidence and pride, things that will serve him *well* in his teenaged years. It's also in the child's best interest to develop a healthy social life with kids his age and that includes playdates and birthday parties.

I'd suggest getting the Dad to involve the child in sports in the *Dad's* town. There are surely teams that only meet on the weekends there. Alternately, I'd suggest the Dad take the child later on Saturdays, so he'd be able to participate in sports.

That said, I agree that there are probably more issues at work. Kids are reticent to say negative things about parents and this may be his way of letting you know he's bored stupid at Dad's house. If Dad's parking him in front of the TV or not coming up with interesting activities, it's no wonder your son is thinking of other things to do. I'd give Dad an opportunity to do a better job of stimulating the kidlet, but if it's still not resulting in more active weekends, I'd argue it's a good time to re-assess the visitation decision.

Talk to the Dad. Decide together what an ideal *lifestyle* would be for the kidlet and then divvy up the work to make it happen.

As for the importance of time with mom *or* dad, the fact is that it doesn't take that much time to maintain a great relaitonship with your kid. More important is for the kidlet to be building good habits and relationships in *all* aspects of his life that will see him through his teenaged years and beyond.

I dunno about taxes. I'm like Ish, no support, little involvement from the Dad.

Esssss


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