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Old 09.09.2019, 01:49
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Child support question

Hi all - I'm looking for a little advice here on a complicated situation that maybe someone here knows more about than me. Sorry about the long story - I don't really know how to tell short ones. If you're just interested in the question, read the last paragraph

I'm not originally German, but am a German citizen, as is my ex-husband. When we split a few years back, we were living in another EU country and our custody arrangement was made there.

My main goal then was to get me and my kid out of the marriage as quickly and with as little fuss as possible, not aiming to keep my kid away from his dad, just to get me out of the relationship and keep him out of a living situation which was growing increasingly inappropriate.

So I basically agreed that I didn't want anything from him (I did not), and we agreed with each other that we'd just split costs. I was granted physical custody, but we have gemeinsame Sorgerecht, which is fine. The court in our country of divorce said he had to arrange to pay for transport costs of visitation and we could arrange the rest on-the-fly, which hasn't worked out all that well in recent years (Dad is unwilling to interrupt his schedule to have kiddo visit, didn't pay for it fully, and almost never came to visit him because I wouldn't let him sleep at our place).

Anyway, his dad moved to CH a couple of years ago, and recently, so have we, though at quite a distance. It's nice because my kid could, theoretically, go see his dad when he wanted to. All well and good.

Buuut.

First of all, for the most part, he was only *splitting* the transport costs. So not even abiding by the agreement we had.

And then last year, when I was still in our previous country, after a couple of years of him just sending me the Kindergeld his canton gave him once a year and occasionally splitting medical expenses with me, I told him our "just split the costs" informal agreement wasn't working, because it costs more to raise a child than just paying half the dental bills and whatever that 2k/year CHF child benefit he was receiving would cover.

I work full time and was actually working in the infamous "Home Office" so that I could give my kid as much care as he needed, but our arrangement was patently unfair and I tried to make it more fair, unemotionally, by simply sending him the table our country used based on income to determine what the child support he would be paying would be had we gone to court about it, and showed him the calculation based on what my income at the time, had I not been the custodial parent, would have been.

My ex, who has some serious emotional regulation problems, absolutely flipped his shit, said I was vastly overestimating his income by using mine, and threatened me with a very silly and totally impossible legal consequence if I did not agree to the salary figure he quoted me.

I didn't disagree at all - none of this is really about me, it's about my kid. And most of the time, my ex was overly honest. So I agreed to his quote, he paid the money, and then he said we'd have to figure out what we did when the kiddo and I moved to CH.


So we've been here in CH a little bit, kiddo has started school, and it turns out, unsurprisingly, that school expenses for things like sports and outings and the like, as well as the expected items kids might need for school, are a both a little more numerous (bike helmets! outdoor gear for the mountains!) and little more dear (welcome to Switzerland) than they would have been in our previous land. No real shock, but calculating my budget at month's end made it clear that the discussion we'd postponed until now has to happen. (It should be noted that I have the usual problem of getting through the first month on my previous salary, so it feels more urgent, but it really shouldn't be about a parent trying to stave off financial problems. Child support money isn't for ME, something my ex does not understand.)

It is telling that the first thing he did when we got to CH was buy kiddo a GA Familia Kind Karte so that the terms of his transport agreement are covered, but I am afraid that is no longer going to cut it. My kid doesn't really need it where we live; he needs food and clothes and a roof over his head and a working bicycle. But anyway.

I looked up how child support is calculated in CH, because while it caused my ex to freak out last time, I still feel like it's better if I provide unemotional facts rather than try to argue about whatever he feels is worth subsidising and what not. As best I can see, as the only time negotiated for him in the custody agreement is that he takes half of each longer school break, this is a case involving alleiniger Obhut (with me) with gemeinsame Sorgerecht. All well and good.

Now, I don't know my ex's income really, but I looked up starting salaries where he works (a state institution) at his posiition level, and it is quite clear that he was... understating his net income by quite a bit. I don't really care about this except that I REALLY don't like being lied to. And it is a message that I can expect to be lied to again, more importantly, and probably cannot negotiate in good faith with this person.

Anyhow. So from what I can see, we have very similar incomes, both of which fall within the general range for the average case of being responsible for child support. This last year, my ex was effectively paying me (after I complained) about 5k per annum in support, and I wasn't complaining based on the fact that apparently I was making so much more than him.

(I wasn't.)

And then I found out how much he would be expected to pay here, regardless of where his income fell in this range. (More than twice as much, with good reason.)

Which makes me think he's going to read the link I sent him to how child support is calculated here and lose his mind at me again, since he was obviously unwilling to pay half of that on the same salary. (I have little sympathy - I don't begrudge him his vacations and hobbies, but I'd like to be able to have some too instead of every dime being spent on raising my family.)

I am hoping he will look at that, agree to it, and pay what would be expected from him here. But... I kind of doubt it.

I'll probably get an ad hominum attack in response. And he is kind of a scary person when angry, which is why I have never pursued it formally before.

And so here's the question, after all of that: if two EU citizens have a custody arrangement negotiated in another country (where the arrangement also states, constantly, "in absence of a better agreement", so it is explicitly changeable) and the divorce has long since past, but the terms of the custody agreement are deeply unequal, I know that a renegotiation is always possible. I don't think any party involved wants to change where my son lives, and I in no way want to prevent my ex's access to his son. However, I DO want to revert to the state norm for our situation. As my ex is *highly* unlikely to volunteer to do this on his own (he will first likely propose that the CHF 680 he paid for the GA pass was enough for the year, and then revert to something equally ridiculous), what would the steps be for negotiating this situation here in CH? (I am not rolling in money right now, which is part of the problem, so I'm also interested in cost-effective solutions, but I understand that may not be possible. I am also nervous about this, because my ex gets extremely ugly whenever he is challenged with anything, and I'm a bit afraid of him in this respect, so any suggestions are appreciated.)
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Old 09.09.2019, 11:47
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Re: Child support question

(I'm all but an expert, but know how some others have handled this)

They contacted a lawyer, and took along the current data incomes/expenses and asked the lawyer if the change of incomes/expenses compared to when the first arrangement was made is enough ground to have a judge recalculate the allowance.
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Old 09.09.2019, 13:17
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Re: Child support question

In Switzerland, all of these arrangements must be made by the paramount principle that the well-being of the child must come first. This is a central guiding line in all divorce courts and those to whom one may appeal to regularise either the financial aspects or the contact.

These two matters: the contact between the child and the parents, and the financial arrangements, are separate legal aspects. It is important that the parents and the children do not mix these two up. They are not considered a trade-off.

I agree with EdwinNL and think that you will need to go to a lawyer. However, for some initial guidance of what to do and which documents you will need, you may try this free advice centre: https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/sd/de/i.../infodona.html

For some ideas of how to keep your legal fees as low as possible, you might find some of the tips in this thread (about a somewhat different situation) helpful.
https://www.englishforum.ch/housing-...t-anymore.html
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Old 09.09.2019, 22:58
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Re: Child support question

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In Switzerland, all of these arrangements must be made by the paramount principle that the well-being of the child must come first. This is a central guiding line in all divorce courts and those to whom one may appeal to regularise either the financial aspects or the contact.
Thanks to you both - I'm quite clear on the fact of my son's well-being being paramount to the court, and I'm grateful for that. As I said, this is really NOT about me, and that contact and finances are different; I'd never interfere with contact anyway unless my son were in danger.

His response to the whole thing was to state that he suddenly wants and had the absolute right to alternierender Obhut (he lives on the other side of the country), either making my kid switch schools every week (I can't imagine any court would allow for that) or making our son spend every day he has off, weekends and holidays, with him.

He's visited our kid twice in the entire time we've been divorced (it was a 6 hour train ride away) and never even taken him for the full time he was alloted to take him except for this last vacation, and my son is really upset about this new idea his father has.

If he'd said he wanted to go to his dad for that time, I'd have been quietly upset to myself, because this isn't about me, but he doesn't, and wants to know if he will have a say with the courts. My guess is that at nearly 12, he will?

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I agree with EdwinNL and think that you will need to go to a lawyer. However, for some initial guidance of what to do and which documents you will need, you may try this free advice centre: https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/sd/de/i.../infodona.html
Many thanks! This is a good start.

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For some ideas of how to keep your legal fees as low as possible, you might find some of the tips in this thread (about a somewhat different situation) helpful.
https://www.englishforum.ch/housing-...t-anymore.html
Much appreciated

Last edited by 3Wishes; 09.09.2019 at 23:01. Reason: fixed quote
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Old 09.09.2019, 23:25
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Re: Child support question

Hi...
Welcome to the forum.

I also second (or 3rd) the viewpoint of - go to a lawyer. One from your village/kanton, & recommended to you by a friend/contact. NOT off the net.
There may even be free advice from your local gemeinde.

Don"t kid youself that what he might pay might be based on his income. It will be based on how good his lawyer is. And the judge.

The courts will look at the childs welfare. At 12 (by the time it gets to court.... this could be years, mind..) your boy will be taken to a separate room & spoken to by the judge. Don"t "train" him for this - judges are pretty clever.
At 18 the kids "sue" the non resident parent themselves, for support until the end of their first "apprenteship". The kids win as it is their right for financial support.

A sticky situation, expect it to get difficult. But the only way to know whats possible, is to take all your papers to a lawyer.
Good luck.
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Old 09.09.2019, 23:45
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Re: Child support question

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Hi...
Welcome to the forum.

I also second (or 3rd) the viewpoint of - go to a lawyer. One from your village/kanton, & recommended to you by a friend/contact. NOT off the net.
There may even be free advice from your local gemeinde.

Good to know. Thank you.


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Don"t kid youself that what he might pay might be based on his income. It will be based on how good his lawyer is. And the judge.
Also good to know. I'm actually not going to kid myself that he'll be paying anything; it would just be a better outcome than him not doing it, but I'll be careful about lawyer selection on my end.



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The courts will look at the childs welfare. At 12 (by the time it gets to court.... this could be years, mind..) your boy will be taken to a separate room & spoken to by the judge. Don"t "train" him for this - judges are pretty clever.
I've more or less done the opposite - all I've done, and all I will *ever* do, is to tell him that if the court wants to talk to him, he'll be able to talk to an adult who is interested in the best outcome for him without us present, and that this is his opportunity to be honest about what HE wants; that no one is going to tell me or his father exactly what was said, and that they will be interested in his thoughts, not what he thinks I or his father want to hear, and that I will never ever be angry about the outcome from that.


And I otherwise plan to avoid the subject. Because if he truly wanted to stay with his father or another arrangement, I really WANT him to be able to tell the judge that without worrying about making either of us angry.


Oooo, years to get to court? Fun! Well, now I guess I know what to expect, at least.



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At 18 the kids "sue" the non resident parent themselves, for support until the end of their first "apprenteship". The kids win as it is their right for financial support.

A sticky situation, expect it to get difficult. But the only way to know whats possible, is to take all your papers to a lawyer.
Good luck.
Thanks for the forewarning and the advice. It's greatly appreciated. I'll start looking at lawyers ASAP (it's a little hard to go through friends atm, as many of my friends here are mutual friends with him, but I'm sure I can find some connections somehow, and I'll look into city/cantonal resources)


Thank you!
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Old 10.09.2019, 00:55
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Re: Child support question

I can recommend a family lawyer I know - you can get initial advice and least to know where you stand. Your child is old enough to have a say now and depending on how long have you both resided here , it will be apparent whether this court or the other court which granted the order have jurisdiction.

Feel free to PM me for more details.

All the best
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Old 10.09.2019, 10:33
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Re: Child support question

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So I basically agreed that I didn't want anything from him (I did not), and we agreed with each other that we'd just split costs. I was granted physical custody, but we have gemeinsame Sorgerecht, which is fine. The court in our country of divorce said he had to arrange to pay for transport costs of visitation and we could arrange the rest on-the-fly, which hasn't worked out all that well in recent years (Dad is unwilling to interrupt his schedule to have kiddo visit, didn't pay for it fully, and almost never came to visit him because I wouldn't let him sleep at our place).
So its not entirely clear what was agreed legally in the other country from what's written here. Surely if it stipulates costs are split (equally?) then it would be fairly straight forward to total up expenses monthly/quarterly/yearly and send half the bill or whatever was agreed to your ex. I sense your ex is being somewhat difficult as something was agreed and now that's no longer being upheld. Yes, circumstances change, but it seems you are both working and should be providing per the original legal agreement.
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