really! at this point i just want to bang my head on a wall in frustration! this subject has come to an ugly head because my daughter is missing out on a LOT of things as of this summer. when she was just 3 months old, i begged him to get a job and he reacted badly, lashed out in anger. after that it just kept going downhill, it took 3 tries but i left. i know i did the right thing, even though he told me repeatedly "i would rather go homeless than pay a dime of child support." at first, i didn't really believe him. what kind of person would WANT to live in a homeless shelter and have no income?? i should have believed him ... last i heard, he still has no job and lives in a homeless shelter in MA. (i'm in NH). he's over $20K in arrears at this point. (when he had a job just after i left him, i don't know how but he actually talked a judge down from $40k in arrears to zero. i hadn't even been notified of the hearing! i tried to appeal it, and couldn't.)
i'm permanently disabled and currently "on the dole" meaning i get TANF, food stamps and Medicaid for my girl and me. if my ex paid child support, it would go to the state first to pay for the arrears, which is fine with me, it's the right thing to do. my benefits are actually at a lower rate because he doesn't pay any support at all, they would go back up to a higher rate if he paid even a little (for example we get only $60/month for food, down from $140). they do this to pressure the dads to pay. he did work for a little while in MA and his paychecks were garnished to pay the state, this is when he had a short interlude of visitation (before he blew it forever by hurting my daughter). he can't even get supervised visitation any more. i'm 99% sure that's why he feels justified in never paying child support, based on what he's said to me.
here's why i'm so damn frustrated right now - my girl got a summer scholarship to the local YMCA for both kid camp and swimming classes, but my old car died in March and there's no public transit we can use to get her to the Y. my girl also qualifies for an arts center's "movement" class, it's like dancing and gymnastics put together - again, would need transportation. (i've asked moms for rides so often they're sick of me! one mom takes us once a week to her martial arts dojo, which is a blessing.) i've been struggling hard as hell, but she's well fed, well clothed, well loved and healthy. it's all the social things where she feels like an outcast, most of her friends take part in these activities and she really wants to be with them. she does have the scholarship reduced rate at her martial arts class, that's the one luxury i can afford - she's so good she's been invited to be on the demo team, she'd get to travel and teach other kids "bully busters." i need $100 for the extra safety gear and about $100/month for the extra classes. sighs, no way, no how.
i'm not a mom that feels i have to have my kid in every activity, it's more that my girl is extremely active and a social butterfly, but she really likes a structured environment to be active in. i was able to get bused for swimming lessons after school this last year, and she really misses swimming (they don't have the funding now or next school year to bus her any longer). the arts center comes to her school, so she can participate a little, but she really wants to go to their center - so do i! i could hang some of my paintings in their gallery, maybe get a sale. there are a ton of great activities here, including a "teaching farm" we used to get our raw milk from, with no car we haven't been out there in a long time. she had her 3rd birthday there, it's such an awesome place! you grab a backpack filled with activities and explore the whole farm, taking notes and drawing pictures, you get to shear sheep, spin the wool, make toys from it.
i could go on. honestly i just want to scream!!!! my ex is a very intelligent man who is very talented at technical customer service as well as data entry, databases, etc. a computer geek who can earn a good living. while i was with him, he'd hold down a job and get "let go" or fired after the 6-month probationary status ended. he even worked in movie theaters just so he could see movies for free every day, he was at concessions but he'd compete to up-sell the most and win prizes. how could he possibly go from that to living in homeless shelters?? he even moves around so he can't be found by child support enforcement, or my daughter's guardian ad litem!
i'm stuck between NH and MA child support enforcement. both of them say the other state should be doing all the work. i just keep giving them any info i get, as soon as i get it. i was able to confirm he had a car at one point - how he got a loan after (at least) 2 repossessions is beyond me.
this is just SO NOT FAIR. no one said life was fair. but i didn't have a child i couldn't take care of ... i was married, we wanted this child, he had several good jobs and just seemed to be having some bad luck, as he put it. i remember once when his mom called, the first thing she said was "does he still have a job?" or something close to that. he told me at the very beginning he's the black sheep of his family, i didn't believe him back then but i believe him now. now my daughter is being treated like the black sheep of the family :( her grandma has been generous enough to send her birthday and Christmas presents, she even visited us last January ... she said she'd visit again but i've heard nothing since, i can't get hold of her. i'm afraid to ever call his sister again, last time we talked was her yelling at me in a courtroom that i cut off family access to my daughter, which was silly because i'd emailed her several times to set up a regular chat time for the cousins to get together, she never responded.
i'm very worried about my girl being "at risk" as she grows up, being poor. i do everything i can to make her life interesting and fun, her friends love to come over to "the artsy mom's house." but i just plain need more money to raise her properly! hate to sound greedy, but i'm spending far more than half my income on rent, and quite a lot on food - she's like one of her aunts, she has a hard time gaining and keeping any weight on, so she needs things like whole milk, meats and cheeses, vegetable fats, high calorie whole foods. the "cheap stuff" does nothing for her. i feel like a failure as a mom, sometimes i even second-guess myself, as in "if i didn't push him to get a job at that time, he wouldn't have turned violent." or "if i were a better partner, he would have been able to keep jobs."