Okay, so I know this is supposed to be about books, at least loosely if nothing else. But, this has nothing to do with any novel; it has everything to do with life and why in the hell do people do the things they do? I feel safe in saying that I do not need to make the pronouncement that divorce sucks. Everyone has been affected by it in one way or another, and it isn’t pleasant from any perspective – excepting, perhaps, that guy on the other side of the desk being paid $300 an hour – yes, that’s right, he is worth $5 a minute. I chose the wrong major. Now, if someone would kindly explain why some feel the need to take this horrible process and make it worse. Greed, ego, pride? Even after you have remarried? Why? Does it ever occur to these people to look inward, instead of outward for an explanation of their unhappiness? No, of course not, “it must be the ex-wife’s fault that I am not happy”…what-the-hell-ever!
I can honestly say that if it weren’t for my ex-husband’s constant crap, the only time I would see him would be when we meet for him to pick up the girls, and the conversation wouldn’t go beyond ‘hello’. I learned a long time ago that he is still not done yelling at me and accusing me of God-only -knows what (I don’t really listen anymore – and I sure as hell don’t pick up the phone – pretty sure that is why caller id was invented). Now, this seems funny to me as he moved in with his current wife before our divorce was final, and was married within a couple of months of that. Why am I even still on his radar? Oh, now I remember, he resents having to pay child support – it is my fault he had 3 minutes of fun (3 girls), so now society expects him to support them, and he thinks Ron (my husband) should. In all fairness to Ron, he actually does support them – financially (private school for M, clothes for all 3, ballet, pottery, Y memberships, health ins, cell phones) and emotionally (both foreign concepts to the aforementioned). So now, he is taking me to court in order to have child support reduced – he is actually hoping for a total change, one that will enable him to receive the checks.
Because I cannot really understand the logic of his argument, I am going to review what actually happened (to the best of my recollection) at mediation:
He: “I really don’t want our spouses to be responsible for our children”
He: “Even though she currently has no income (unemployed teacher – aside: I don’t know about your area, but all of our schools are cutting way back for the second year in a row), I would like to have her income calculated at her teaching salary. Incidentally, because of the economy, my salary (with an MBA) has been cut back to $16,000″…sorry about your bad luck.
Me: “I understand the frustration of marking my income as $0, so, Ms. Mediator, would you please make the calculation based on my income being the same as his? Then we will have 50/50 responsibility.”
He: “I don’t think that is the legal number. Isn’t it possible the judge will impute her old salary since she left her job voluntarily (to get married and move to live in the same city with her husband)?
He: “I don’t think we can make a decision here. I want to wait for the judge to give me the legal numbers.” Thanks for playing.
So, just in case you missed it – because he obviously did – he doesn’t want our spouses to be responsible for our children, but he wants to have my income calculated at twice his. Where would the money come from to support our girls? Yes, that’s right, my husband. But, I thought he didn’t want our spouses to be responsible? Oh, he meant his spouse….
Now, as a little background, Ron and I got married in November of 2008 while actually residing in two different cities. I stayed where I was so I could finish out the school year. The girls and I moved in June 2009. My oldest daughter, a senior this year, decided to stay with her dad so she wouldn’t have to change schools. As a result, my ex- husband reduced child support according to his own calculation – not through the legal system (as a result of his impending crap, I have filed a request to recoup that for the girls since apparently he is no longer interested in supporting them – after all, he did request the legal numbers). Because of a profound lack of responsibility on his part, she was without car insurance from June to December – don’t worry he gave her a car as part of the deal. She was covered on our insurance, but he didn’t know that until November. Then, 2 weeks after her 18th birthday, and 1 month after filing for custody of her, he kicked her out of his house, telling her school he was not responsible for her and did not know where she was living (crap, btw). Because I know you are wondering, she was kicked out of the house because she had no prospects or even an apparent willingness to get a job so she could pay her father rent to prove she was learning to be responsible. Not that it has any bearing on the subject, but how many high school seniors do you know that pay rent to live in their parent’s home? Did he pay rent? The answer is no – not in high school and not in grad school when he was living in a house bought by his parents specifically for the use of their children while in school. And when her high school nurse called him because she was sick, he told her he was not responsible for her and didn’t know who was. Nice.
So, will someone please explain to me why he believes me to be the evil one? Granted, I am sarcastic and potentially quite bitchy, but when did I say I would not tolerate a reduction in child support? Wasn’t I the one who offered to have my salary marked as equal to his even though it is actually 0? How is it that an MBA can justify a reduction in salary to 16,000, but it is impossible to believe I cannot find a job? And, how can it possibly be worth taking me to court over? Lawyers (as stated above) are not cheap. So, why?
It is not to gain a closer relationship with his daughters. It may shock you to learn that they are not tremendously impressed to discover he isn’t interested in paying child support. Not only is Susan hurt and furious for being misled into his home – then thrown out – but, her sister is even more upset and extremely protective. So, he may be able to knock child support down to nothing, but in the meantime, he has lost 2 of 3 daughters (the 3rd one is 6, she is not aware of anything going on). Worth it? Certainly wouldn’t be to me.
This also begs the explanation of why I should continue to drive an hour to meet him halfway between our homes so he can see the girls, when he is obviously unwilling to pay for half of their expenses. He actually told the judge that if I wanted to continue to support Susan while she was living at her friend’s house that was fine, but since she is 18, we weren’t obligated. So, he doesn’t contribute. He actually believes Susan’s friend’s family is responsible for supporting her. How does a person arrive at this conclusion? And, him giving her money for college? – that idea has always been laughable, but now he has the justification to cut her out. A real peach, isn’t he?
We are going to end up somewhere in the ball park of receiving $50 per week for 3 children – one of whom is already receiving tuition bills (she doesn’t start until Aug).
So, here’s my advice: when your ex looks at you and offers to have support calculated equally (and at more than she is making) – take it and run. She may not continue to be that nice. And I feel pretty confident saying that whatever financial gain you may receive in the end, it will take a long time to recoup the lawyer fees; and even longer to recoup the relationship with your children.
Oh, and don’t read this thinking my advice about divorce is “don’t do it”…as big as a pain as this is, I am thankful everyday I am not dealing with him on an hourly or even daily basis.
The court actually agrees with Mark on this one…WOW…Socialism at it’s finest… An MBA who’s proud of the $16,000 income, taking money from his children by claiming I should be making $38,000 (as if he shouldn’t be making at least twice that) – and legally removing his oldest from his list of obligations. I know you’re jealous you didn’t find one as great as this to be the father of your children.
Lucky for them, they have the greatest “step”father in the world!