I initially posted this in SA, but I'd kind of like more eyes on this.
So, we split up more than two years ago and DS's dad has never paid a dime of child support. This is mostly because I've never made him. I've been thinking about it a lot and today I had a super respectful, non-confrontational (well, on my end) phone conversation giving him a heads up that I wanted him to think about start paying child support and asking if we could set up a time to talk about it. I even told him today that we didn't need to go though the AG's office and we could work out a deal that would be some fraction of what he would legally owe. He freaked out in his passive aggressive, poor me victim way, got mad and hung up on me.
Reeling from a bad relationship four years ago, I met DS's dad, he seemed like a sweet and gentle Texan guy, the kind who could handle himself around a power drill and take care of a lady. I accidentally got pregnant about a month and a half later. (Absolutely no chance that anyone else is the dad, thank god). Anyway, I quickly began to realize that his life was a mess. He wasn't mean --usually pretty kind, actually -- and never tried to hurt anyone, but he jumped from addiction to addiction (cocaine, pills, pot, alcohol) and job to job, always on the brink of financial disaster, and always feeling like a victim about it. He had a rough childhood and honestly it's a miracle that he's not more scarred, but he's pretty broken. Through our relationship he was a total freeloader and I basically supported him. When DS was 15 months old I had enough and broke up with his dad.
In his defense, ex has always been really faithful about staying in DS's life (to some extent as it's convenient for him, but he's a lot better in that regard than a lot of other guys.) And he clearly loves DS and is typically really good with him. About a year ago he hit rock bottom, got blackout drunk and endangered DS in a way that led to a criminal conviction (probation) and no unsupervised visitation. It was really horrible. The upside is that right after that happened, ex got into AA, cleaned up and has actually been doing really well. He reconnected with his high school girlfriend, now a widow with five children, they got pregnant, got engaged, had a miscarriage the day before the wedding and got married anyway (about a month or so after they reconnected). I actually love his wife and totally get along with her. She homebirths, homeschools, she's college educated, very gracious and she has a lot of strength of character. I couldn't see her ever letting her ex get away without paying child support. She lives in a beautiful $500,000, three story home on a few acres of land. I don't know that she looked under the hood before the wedding. But I'm really glad they're married because she's kind, responsible, nurturing and she can supervise visitation so DS can get some time with his dad. We get along really well, hanging out a bit at drop-offs, that kind of thing.
Anyway, I've been working really hard the last couple years on my own codependency, and this board has been amazing for that. I always let my ex get away with not paying child support because he did a good job convincing me that his life is such a wreck. But I've definitely realized that it's absurd that I've let him make me feel guilty about holding him responsible for his son. So I finally decided I needed to talk to him about it, and that's when he freaked out and hung up on me.
Here's the text he sent me just a little while ago (it was so long it came through in three separate messages: "[Wife] and I have discussed it before and I gotta tell you my time and money are all going to your buddies at the state and I am not going to let her and those kids pay for this bullshit. So you may just want to handle it the way you like and just take me to court. Maybe I can squeeze that in between 200 hours of community service, probation, parenting classes, family violence, anger management, fines, fees, etc."
My response I sent just now was: "Those are the repercussions for your choice of actions last year, and not my fault. That's unrelated to the fact that you have a legal and moral responsibility to your son. I'm not trying to screw you and I hope we can work this out reasonably. Let me know when we can talk about it."
I just want to add that my own life is as stable as can be. The child support money would be great to have, especially for things like saving for DS's college, but right now I can support all of our needs and some of our wants.
I have a good job I've held for the last 8 years, I'm completing my master's degree next spring, I have a wonderful community, good family, and for the last eight months I've been seeing a really good guy who is kind, responsible, educated, has a good job, volunteers, votes, has a circle of long-lasting friends that include a number of my mutual friends, believes in community and always treats me with kindness and respect because he wouldn't dream of treating me any other way. He doesn't have a child, but if he did, I am certain that he would willingly pay child support because it's the right thing to do.
ETA: Also, for the record, I do feel comfortable filing through the AG's office if that's what it comes too. I would probably prefer to work it out between us, but if he keeps on playing victim then I will file through the court system.
Edited by *MamaJen* - 6/2/11 at 2:17pm