I'm retired U.S. citizen , living in California and receive Social Security retirement benefits. My 13-year-old son (U.S. citizen) lives with his maternal grandmother in Mexico, receives benefits on my record. I have been paying child support in cash as part of mutual agreement between his mother and I. She (citizen of Mexico) recently married another man and has a new baby, but now wants to collect more money from me and is threathening if I do not comply, she won't allow our son to spend time with me. For the past several years she has been ok with me taking him to where I go on vacation during school breaks. For most of last year, he was under my care while attending school in the U.S. since she couldn't care for him. She decided she did not want that arrangement any longer and had me return him to her in Mexico even though she's not the one caring for him, but the grandmother. Now, she refuses to let our son spend time with me unless I pay her more. I was wondering if the benefits he receives from Social Security due to my retirement benefits count toward his child support or is that completely separate and in addition to child support payments?
First, I hope you kept good records of your cash payments to her. If you did not, it is very unlikely you will receive credit for the cash payments if she denies receipt of the funds.
Where a child receives derivative retirement benefits due to a noncustodial parent's retirement and the noncustodial parent is obligated to pay child support, the social security retirement income received by the non-custodial parent is considered income available for child support. However, the court will give a dollar-for-dollar credit for the Social Security derivative retirement benefit received by the custodial parent against the child support obligation. However, if you have any other sources of income, a court is likely to look at the income available for support rather than just the social security retirement income.
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I agree with my colleague. I would consider, if you are of the mind, filing a motion to change custody to you, given that the mother is not caring for the child. The court will usually consider a parent before a grandparent, so long as there is no reason to believe the parent is unable to provide adequate care and living arrangements for the child.
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