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As some of you may remember, a couple years ago ExOfMine just stopped paying child support. I let that go on for a year, and then I got laid off my own job. Then I said, "Fuck that shit!" and let FMEP know what was going on.

He tried to talk me into forgiving the outstanding amount, which I probably would have done if he had ever made any attempt to meet me halfway. I said no, not after the bullshit he put me through.

So we went to court, and I was lucky, cuz hsifyppah came with me to hold my hand and keep me sane. ExOfMine found out the hard way that a court order is a legally binding document and he despite financial struggles he could not just stop paying child support. The upshot was that they reduced his child support (fair enough, his income had dropped) but didn't forgive the amount owing (which was adjusted according to his reduced income)

So about 4 months ago, his mom shows up out of the blue at my house to hand me an envelope of papers, without telling me whats in them. We had an argument right then and there. This was what happened last time - she gave me an envelope, claiming she didn't know what it was. And you know, I'm willing to be served, but, bitch please! Don't tell me you don't know what you're giving me when you have to go sign an affidavit saying you gave it to me afterwards!

WTF ever.

I was supposed to send in my response if I was going to try and argue it or whatnot - well, I didn't. I didn't need the stress, or to take the time off work, or to have to stand in front of the judge when there was no chance that anything I could say would make a difference anyway, so I didn't reply. It's not like I could fight it; the court is very meticulous about following the schedule for income and child support and it is strictly based on his income. They look at his taxes, his pay stubs - then they make a ruling.

They don't care that his wife makes probably twice to three times what he does. It's not a consideration.

Aside: If I was the wife in this equation, I'd like to think that I would encourage the guy to support his family - not just stop paying child support like he did. And I would like to think that I would encourage him to spend more time with them if he wasn't working, or have them over more often - something. I don't really know her, nor do I want to - but man, it's hard not to dislike her. /aside

So here are a few of my issues;

The kids go with the ex once a week.
- If he's had next to no work the last 3 years, *why* can't he see them more often?

- They only have a small condo, but seriously - he's let his son (not his daughter) stay overnight once, maybe twice, in the last 3 years. For one night only.

- They rarely *do* anything; half the time, the kids say all they did was watch TV or play video games. Or that they had to play with Ian (the new little brother) which sounds a lot like they're being used as babysitters to watch the rambunctious 7 year old so dad and wifey can have a break instead of spending quality time with their dad.

Girly girl has opted out of going with her dad a couple times now in the last few months; Monkey boy doesn't want to go tomorrow because he doesn't want to have to play with Ian because he doesn't have much in common with him. Yeah, he's 15, I don't expect he does - but his dad made him feel guilty for watching TV and not playing with Ian last week.

Way to form a deep and meaningful bond with your kids, jackass.

- The ex always tells me to make sure the kids have lunch before he comes; he deliberately times it for pick up so he doesn't have to feed them more than once.

Stay Classy, ExOfMine!

- He is consistently 2 hours late. The kids say, "Oh dad called, and said he'd be here at 2 - so we'll be ready to go at 3:55." Dude. What the hell are you teaching your kids? They both get very frustrated with this, but learned a long time ago that if they show frustration or even call him an hour after he said he'd be here, he gets upset and yells at them.

- He doesn't contribute toward any extracurricular things. About 5 years ago I asked him to help send the kids to camp - pay half - and it took 6 months to get the money out of him, and he still owes me $100 which I just wrote off and stopped asking for. I haven't bothered since.

Now. Legally, he is not required to pay one penny more than what the courts say. And as of this month, the courts just knocked another $58/month off what he was paying. As of now, what he pays toward his two teenage children - and those of you who have (or have ever had) teens know about the clothing, shoes, school fees and extras that are involved - $275/month. Or, $135/child.

On one hand, I must remember to be grateful that he pays at all. That FMEP didn't let him shirk. That he didn't quit his job and live off his wife to avoid paying entirely. I must be grateful that he bothers to see the children when there are many guys in his position who don't.

I just can't help getting stuck on the fact that he's been an asshat about a lot of things for a lot of years, and it just feels like more asshatery. I realize that things are tough all over, and his poor social skills make it hard for him to find and keep work, but man. If the shoe were on the other foot and I had spare time, and had only been seeing my kids once a week for years, I would so totally see them more often, even if it was just for a McDees meet up on Wednesday after school! Take them out for a fries or a Sunday, do something with them.

An interesting point to note is that a friend has reported that he is in fact working every time she goes into the Petsmart; every time she's been there in the last 3 months, he's been at work. Interesting.

Well, it's not like he has to worry about it for much longer - Girly Girl graduates this year and Monkey boy only has another 2, so he's off the hook soon enough.

It'll be interesting to see if he makes any effort with them once they're adults. Only time will tell.

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Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
gaffsie
Sep. 17th, 2011 10:41 am (UTC)
Some deadbeat dads find it easier to relate to their children when they're adults. Maybe your ex will turn out to be one of them.
cjoelle
Sep. 17th, 2011 11:00 am (UTC)
My familial situation (as a child) was very difficult, and one of my aunt once gave me that piece of advice, which stayed with me in difficult times :

Most parents do the best they can. Sometimes their best is far from being enough, yes, but they still do the best they can.

So, while I do understand the anger and resentment toward your ex, I don't think those are things you need in your life. He's a crappy dad, he's rubbish at supporting you, the end, you shouldn't get angry all over at things you've known for ages, it will only bring you an ulcer for nothing.

When his kids are 30 and not talking to him anymore, or when they in fact forgive and accept him, he'll realise soon enough what he missed, on his own (or maybe he won't, because maybe he'll never be ready to learn this life lesson).

You love your children, it's all that counts.
jenrose1
Sep. 17th, 2011 11:11 am (UTC)
K's dad sees her once or twice a year. If she's lucky. It's been that way for more than a decade.

Which is to say, I don't comprehend deadbeat asshat absentee fathers either.

Edited at 2011-09-17 11:58 am (UTC)
yasminke
Sep. 17th, 2011 11:43 am (UTC)
Sounds like my ex-, who may deem it to his benefit to return emails from his daughter once every three months, rarely calls and only sees the kids once a year if that.

The kids will ask him for money because 1) they're older than yours and 2) they learned a long time ago that if I ask for help he'll NEVER give it.

And he tells them that all this is because I hate him.

Whatever. I can only trust that they know the truth and behave accordingly.
sgamadison
Sep. 17th, 2011 11:56 am (UTC)
We have somewhat of the opposite problem. Argh. I've typed and erased my response several times, but suffice to say D is actively involved in his children's lives in many, many ways (from financial, to emotional, to coaching their sports on the weekends) and his ex acts as though he is a terrible influence on them and encourages them to disrespect him. It makes my hand itch to smack some people.

It could be worse, you know. Instead of being a non-entity, your ex *could* want to control their every thought and blame *you* for every perceived shortcoming on their part. :-(
jenrose1
Sep. 17th, 2011 12:02 pm (UTC)
It could be worse, you know. Instead of being a non-entity, your ex *could* want to control their every thought and blame *you* for every perceived shortcoming on their part. :-(

It's thoughts like that that got me through 10 years of single parenthood and beyond without actually wanting to kill the man for making his daughter wonder why she wasn't interesting or good enough that he'd want to see her more often.

Then I watched some of my friends go through custody battles.

And I looked at my daughter.

And realized how damn lucky I am and how very, very much he'll never know he missed.
sgamadison
Sep. 17th, 2011 12:17 pm (UTC)
I *love* your icon here. :-)

Ah, don't get me started on She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed. She has the girls 5.5 days a week. He has them 2.5. And yet he is responsible for their poor grades, their bad choices in friends, their poor eating habits, in short *everything* that reflects poorly on her as a mother.

Again, I have drafted and erased my response here several times. I simply can't understand a woman who tries to exert a scary kind of control over her children in the name of religion and then blames everyone else for their rebellion. :-(
jenrose1
Sep. 17th, 2011 01:04 pm (UTC)
Lordy pete. I realized a year or two into my second child's life that my actual ability to control my children in the long run is negligible. I can influence them. I can set up a structure in their life. But there's only so much any parent can do. I have one kid who is a genius, and one who can barely talk. You learn to let go of the idea of "children as clay" pretty damn quickly.

And my dd1's dad had a wife for a couple of years who was a freakin' nutbar, (even he admits it now), who both did everything she could to undermine his relationship with his daughter AND everything she could to undermine me as a parent. It was insane.

I let go of the whole mess when he called me up one day and apologized for every bad thing he'd ever said to me (because his ex wife demonstrated just how reasonable I really was.) Rarely have I been so grateful for a lunatic. His apology changed nothing about his parenting (other than he started paying child support more regularly), but it did stop me feeling crabby every time we heard from him.

sgamadison
Sep. 17th, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
I've tried to stay out of it as much as possible, (because I know exactly what the ex would make of that) but it is hard to see so many people hurting and be helpless to make it better. :-(
enigmaticblues
Sep. 17th, 2011 01:30 pm (UTC)
Yikes. I have to say, I'm with you. I've watched some nasty custody battles in my day--as a counselor, as a lawyer, with members of my family, with the middle school kids I volunteered with--and it's just bizarre how some folks behave. It's not in the kids' best interests, and that's really what it should all be about. The fact that your ex won't help really and won't spend more time with them than he "has" to is just sucky.

*hugs*
petzipellepingo
Sep. 17th, 2011 02:21 pm (UTC)
It'll be interesting to see if he makes any effort with them once they're adults. Only time will tell

Nods. He'll either start relating to them or assume since he doesn't have to contribute anything he doesn't need to ever see/interact with them again.

What a twit.
lunabee34
Sep. 17th, 2011 03:59 pm (UTC)
*hugs*

I can't imagine how frustrating this situation is.
hsifyppah
Sep. 17th, 2011 04:19 pm (UTC)
Asssssshaaaaaaat.
mercury973
Sep. 17th, 2011 06:05 pm (UTC)
My father (not a dad in any stretch of the imagination) had joint custody. Granted, we moved from Oklahoma to California, but saw my brother and I a grand total of twice before we turned 18. The court ordered him to pay $60 per child- $120 a month. Not a lot of money when my parents divorced in 1977, but he only paid for 4 years when he was married for wife #3. When my Mom passed away a few years ago, my brother and I decided not to tell him (still haven't) since we're convinced he would call asking for money which he would occasionally do.

An asshat is an asshat is an asshat. Your kids are gonna remember YOU growning up. You're gonna be their world. My father still means nothing to me. My Mom was my world. Keep up the good fight! The kids know and appreciate everything you do, even if their teen brains won't say it yet. HUGS from me!
mackenziesmomma
Sep. 17th, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC)
I totally feel for you. We have now hit the 2 year mark on Kenzie's dad not seeing her. We're in the middle of a custody...disagreement (It can't really be a battle when he won't do shit) and its freaking annoying.

Somehow my ex has decided that we are friends and that he needs to whine to me about shit in his life. (Like how he *gasp* has to pay for his second kid) And I just ignore him. And save every text message to hand over to my lawyer. (In total? He's mentioned Kenzie three times. Once to tell me his aunt (her great aunt) who called me a bitch to my face was dying, once to say i was getting a check for $25 (L&I) and in the giant whine fest about hte other kid)

In fact right now we're waiting for our next court date and that's been fun.

(Also be glad that he hasn't flat out said that "she's not doing whats in the best interest of the kid" as my ex did. That was fooked up.)
helenkacan
Sep. 18th, 2011 04:28 am (UTC)
Supportive {{{{{hugs}}}}}.

Otherwise ... arrgghh. Perhaps some yelling into a pillow would be cathartic.
duncanmac
Sep. 18th, 2011 05:05 am (UTC)
Sigh. Good thoughts -- and {{hugs}} -- your way.

I'm tempted to say that I am glad not to have been married with kids ... but that seems cowardly.

I never found the right person ... and the one long-term relationship I had years ago was with someone who was just too limited by her upbringing -- and *not* interested in transcending those limits either. Oh well.

Maybe having a good "roomie" helps. Certainly the (male) roommate I live with these days has both my gratitude and my trust -- which is a good thing.
soundingsea
Sep. 22nd, 2011 01:08 am (UTC)
Gah, annoying that you have to put up with this!
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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