We give and we give and we try to find ways to mend, and sometimes it is not enough. And while we are married we try to adapt. But after the vows are broken it can get ugly.
Today I am angry and I’m going to rant for a second.
I have some money in the bank, and I owe my ex-wife some back child support. BUT… I can’t pay her. I mean, technically I could, even though she’s asked me to deal with the Attorney General’s Office going forward, so there’s that. And I need to start paying her again, and I will.
Today I am saving my cash to pay the retainer on a lawyer rather than paying money to my ex for my kids. This sucks. I have tried everything but begging to get my ex to stop battering me with threats, but of course, now it’s too late, the paperwork has been filed, and shortly I’ll be on the AG’s list for back child support issues.
But it was never an issue of willingness. I have not been holding out, or hiding money from my ex. It’s the same crash landing advice we’ve been hearing on airplanes for years. The part about the seat cushion being a floatation device and the more relevant part, “put your mask on first and they help your child.”
You see, there’s this little matter of food and shelter that outweighs even the wrath of my ex-wife. And it wasn’t like I was trying to hide or be an asshole about it, I was being quite upfront about the problem as soon as I knew there might be a shortfall. But she no longer has to listen to me or take my side of the story as a partner, now I’m just the dead beat dad who’s not paying his child support.
But wait. Again, this is a simplification of a very complex issue. When my business took a turn in May I began renewed efforts to find work, and even full-time employment, abandoning the business I’ve been building back up for the last three years. And even though we didn’t use attorney’s to fight over the kids or the divorce, she’s now perfectly willing to call foul and throw me to the system for dead beat dads.
The good news is, talking to a family attorney, he assured me that the court would hear and understand my side of the story. And the goal of the court would be to make sure we had a plan in place to make her financially whole again before my daughter’s 18th birthday, when the child support obligations would need to be satisfied in full. WAIT. What did he say?
So while I’m about to put money into the pockets of the legal system rather than my ex-wife and children’s, there is some good news. In my case, it’s clear I have been trying to work out a deal with her. I even offered a full agreement of her accounting, including incidentals and miscellaneous if she would come to the table without having to hire attorneys. There was no reason not to, it’s how we settled our divorce.
But for some reason, she chose the quick out. “The AG’s office made me sign a letter that I would not negotiate with you on child support.”
So tonight, with money in the bank, I am still short on amassing the small fortune required for my attorney’s retainer. Fuck. That’s so wrong. That’s NOT where this money should go. EVER.
So tonight, a full flip of the bird to the ex-y who still refuses to negotiate in good faith and would rather pitch it to the state rather than talk to me. At least I like the guy who’s going to represent me. And did you know we’re likely not to see the courtroom for 3 – 6 months? More BS.
So to you, dear ex-y, there is no reason for this. You even admit that I’m not trying to hide money from you. But you’d rather pay attorney’s fees, and yes, you will probably require some representation of your own, than simply getting along with our lives as best as we can.
Request to other mom’s in similar situations. Make a note of who your former husband is and if they were honest and forthcoming while you were married to them, and when there are hardships sit down and talk things over. Because throwing things to the state, or the lawyers, especially if you have a willing ex-partner who is open to sharing and problem solving is stupid. And it makes parenting issues more difficult. How can I be flexible and loving when you ask for adjustments to the parenting plan, when you’re suing me in court?
Again, I know there are couples who find themselves in this situation for real, where attorney’s are the only way to go. But I’ve never tried to hide my situation, or shirk my liabilities and responsibilities. Not now, just as I was when we were married. So why now? What’s got the bee in your bonnet now? Didn’t you get the SPO just like you wanted. The house, just like you wanted. Even the amount of the child support, just like you wanted?
Well, squeezing me out of my house and home is not a viable solution and now I’m going to fight back. And the money that I should be paying to you, right now, tonight, I’m saving for a legal retainer. AGAIN, not to fight the amount, or the obligation but simply to slow down the court system you activated from making my financial recovery (and thus YOUR FINANCIAL RECOVERY) more difficult.
You CAN sue your ex and ask for a weekend swap in the same breath, but is sure sucks, for all of us.
The Off Parent
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image: scorched earth husband – the author