Help me understand this (issues about ex, child support, codependency and letting him off the hook) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 23 Old 06-02-2011, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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."

Advice?

 

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.


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#2 of 23 Old 06-02-2011, 02:25 PM
 
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Ugh...he reminds me of my ex....nothing has EVER been that mans fault either!  I let my ex off the hook when he lost his job...in Nov of 2008!!! And let him pay less CS while he remained unemployed (thinking that would be 6 - 8 months)    he was on unemployment for TWO YEARS!  and now only works part time....he has a live in girlfriend who has a great job so i doubt this will ever change...so the jokes on me! 

Two things come to mind after i read your post....the state of TX might not honor your request for CS now that you have proved you can live without it.  and ....if your choices are to drive yourself crazy and spend $$ to file in family ct in an attempt to get a percentage of 0 (is ex working at all - i dont think you mentioned)  and your other choice is to simply never speak to this yutz again...i would choose the latter.  It is not clear to me through your post WHY you still bother letting ex see his son.  And its my understanding that if he wants to see his son, he would find a way to pay CS.   Im glad you made a new friend in his new wife - but you know its HER who is caring for your DS while he is there, its HER hes building a relationship with.    You could cut ties with these people and walk away.  To me, in this instance, the easier solution would be to forget it - and forget him!

 


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#3 of 23 Old 06-02-2011, 02:25 PM
 
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Oh ... gotta love those "always the victim" exes!  Mine amazes me with how many bad things happen to him, by no fault of his own.  I'll tell you right now, that if you were to come to some sort of agreement, there will always be an excuse why he can't pay.  ALWAYS.  Without fail.  His car broke down (because nobody reminded him to change the oil), the bank won't send the payment (because he's $29204 overdrawn), his boss can't pay him, etc.  You will never see a penny.

 

File with the AG and don't discuss it with him.  Don't forget to include child care costs.


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#4 of 23 Old 06-02-2011, 02:38 PM
 
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I'm with the PP.  File with the AG and just get it the heck over with.  Look at it this way, if you GET the money, it goes straight into a college fund, and you use your money to pay rent/childcare/violing lessons/whatever you and ds NEED - and the child support money can also be there in a "for a rainy day" emergency fund.  Theres nothing wrong with that!

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#5 of 23 Old 06-02-2011, 02:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MariesMama View Post I'll tell you right now, that if you were to come to some sort of agreement, there will always be an excuse why he can't pay.  ALWAYS.  Without fail. 



OMG, you're totally right. Totally. I can't believe I didn't think of that. And he'll always try to passive aggressively make me seem like I'm being so mean if I hold him to it and don't let him off the hook. I'm having like a lightening bolt moment here. You're right. I totally need to just file through the state.

And MHD -- he does work for his stepfather (his go-to job when he gets fired from other jobs) and makes about $1600 per month. He puts a lot of that into the gas tank of his giant dodge truck because he has a 45 mile commute each way and thinks he can't get another job because he now has a felony conviction on his record....


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#6 of 23 Old 06-02-2011, 03:24 PM
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Girl, you need to file.

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#7 of 23 Old 06-02-2011, 03:31 PM
 
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I have dealt with victim type too and I totally agree they will always have an excuse. Just file with the proper government agency if you want to start getting cs. You gave him a chance to agree to something lower and he won't talk with you in an adult manner and will always think his reasoning is right.

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#8 of 23 Old 06-02-2011, 04:16 PM
 
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I agree, just get a support order and register with maintenance enforcement. Ex & I have been separated/divorced for nearly 4 years and haven't discussed child support at all since about 6 weeks after the split (when he told me we could talk about it after the kids and I get out of the marital home... seriously, he thought I'd fall for that!) When he stops paying, maintenance enforcement files to take his license away, or his tax returns, or garnish his wages, and poof! he gets all caught up. Easy peasy, no drama, no histrionics, it's businesslike. He mailed an application to have support canceled once, but since he didn't have me served/have it filed in court I didn't need to respond to it, and nothing came of it. The only time we talk about money is if there are extra expenses, like when DS got braces or DD got glasses. I look at that as giving him the opportunity to contribute to their lives, it's up to him whether he steps up or not. To this point, it's been the latter. I'm at the point where I can be completely unemotional/detached about his actions. It's not really about him at all... when the kids are grown and have questions about why he wasn't involved in their lives, I want to be able to look them in the eye and honestly tell them that I wasn't ever a roadblock between him and them.


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#9 of 23 Old 06-02-2011, 05:44 PM
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Yeah. It's painful to see how many mental gymnastics you're putting yourself through. MamaJen.

 

I say: It shows your child the utmost respect for you to expect the other parent to pay. I would not want my mom to decide to make do without. I would want her to get that money, and further stabilize our lifes....Vacations? Buy land? Get a puppy? Whatever it would be, I would do it.

 

Unless he's totally not around, and you have him TPR'd to ensure no in and out games. That does not sound like your situation. I think it's deplorable that your Baby Daddy would abuse you in this way. Let the court do its job and get your CHILD his due.

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#10 of 23 Old 06-03-2011, 05:19 AM
 
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I'm pretty sure you were one of the ones to tell me long ago to quit trying to reason with EX about support because he can't be reasoned with and will always fall back on his manipulation tactics... to go file and be done with it.

 

*hugs*  Love you hon, but yup... this is one of those times to heed your own advice.  Go file.  It will solve some headache on your part.  I'm sure you will still hear him whining (I will get random texts from EX exploding when he gets a letter that I  have paid a medical bill and submitted to be added to our CS account for him to pay his percentage of responsibility, about how can I expect to keep taking money from him...)  But your EX, like mine, will always, always revert to the victim, whoe is me, manipulation/emotional abuse tactics.  It's NOT your fault he can't get his life together enough to support HIS son.  You had to figure out how to provide for your son out of total neccesity... He should have to too. 

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#11 of 23 Old 06-03-2011, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Phoenix~Mama View Post

I'm pretty sure you were one of the ones to tell me long ago to quit trying to reason with EX about support because he can't be reasoned with and will always fall back on his manipulation tactics... to go file and be done with it.

 

*hugs*  Love you hon, but yup... this is one of those times to heed your own advice.  Go file. 



 

Thanks, Jen. You are so right.

Thanks for the advice, everyone. I talked to a couple of attorney friends and I'm going to a free legal clinic Monday evening to get some preliminary advice and possibly get hooked up with a free lawyer.

I've mentioned to a couple few friends that I'm filing, and their response was along the lines of, finally, thank god.

Last night I really hit the anger stage at my ex. I'm mad that he's reacting in a knee-jerk, defensive, victimized way to being asked to meet basic (even less than basic) financial obligations to his own child. I'm mad that he's making me out to be the bad guy -- and I'm mad that I've let him manipulate me in that way for so long. I'm especially mad that one of his first responses on the phone was, "Well, we've got five kids to support now and money is tight" in reference to his stepchildren. That is such a low-down thing to say, especially considering that, 1. his wife is obviously handling her own finances quite well, and 2. I seriously doubt that he's paying a penny towards his step-children, and most importantly, 3. if he cares so much about supporting his stepkids, why has he never cared about supporting his own son?  Grrr. But I do have to remember that his own thinking is disordered and he will probably never really get it. He'll always be a victim in his own mind, and I'm not wasting any energy trying to convince him otherwise. 

The one thing that sucks is that we did have a really amicable coparenting thing going (probably because I never asked him to put himself out -- for example, if we both had plans on a saturday night, I was always the one to keep DS and get the babysitter). But I'm sick of letting him take advantage of me for the sake of keeping the peace.

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#12 of 23 Old 06-03-2011, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by *MamaJen* View Post



The one thing that sucks is that we did have a really amicable coparenting thing going (probably because I never asked him to put himself out -- for example, if we both had plans on a saturday night, I was always the one to keep DS and get the babysitter).

 

 

But I'm sick of letting him take advantage of me for the sake of keeping the peace.


 

No. No, you did not. What you had was.....something else. And it was bad.

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#13 of 23 Old 06-03-2011, 11:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by *MamaJen* View Post

we did have a really amicable coparenting thing going (probably because I never asked him to put himself out -

*snip*

But I'm sick of letting him take advantage of me for the sake of keeping the peace.


One of the aspects of codependency I struggled with was keeping my mouth shut in favour of keeping the peace. It seems you have a similar situation on your hands. Perhaps the coparenting relationship *was* amicable because it was clear that you would be letting him take advantage of you financially...so it was a relationship based on known but unspoken inequity. That is neither fair nor healthy.

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#14 of 23 Old 06-03-2011, 12:47 PM
 
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You know what makes my co-parenting relationship work?  It's certainly not all me, but I'm a BIG HUGE part of it.  I refuse to argue with my ex.  I just flat refuse.  The court side of things is handled in court, and the rest is discussed civilly, and then I make my decision (I have sole legal custody).  If theres an issue with child support, I deal with it in court - I never talk to him about it, at all.  Thats why I have a lawyer (I highly recommend hiring one, they are worth their weight in GOLD if they're good), she does the talking, and I sit back and read a book.  And then I come here to vent when I get mad.  Or I vent to my mom.  NEVER to my ex.  Ever.  Always here, or to my mom, or to a good friend that hates my ex as much as I (secretly) do.

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#15 of 23 Old 06-03-2011, 01:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *MamaJen* View Post

The one thing that sucks is that we did have a really amicable coparenting thing going (probably because I never asked him to put himself out -- for example, if we both had plans on a saturday night, I was always the one to keep DS and get the babysitter). But I'm sick of letting him take advantage of me for the sake of keeping the peace.


It is pretty amazing how amicable things can be when you're always making it all nice, isn't it??  And equally amazing how the one time you refuse to change your own plans or otherwise accommodate him, you become the bitchy one irked.gif

 

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#16 of 23 Old 06-06-2011, 08:58 PM
 
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I think the problem you have now is a good reason to always file through the state at the very beginnning.   Really can you decide whether or not to feed your child or take them to the doctor when it is needed?   it is better to have the government be the bad guy right from the beginning.    I can definitely see not collecting in exchange for keeping full custody and control over visitation in some unique instances but that only happens once in a while.

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#17 of 23 Old 06-16-2011, 07:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by motherhendoula View Post

 

Two things come to mind after i read your post....the state of TX might not honor your request for CS now that you have proved you can live without it.  and ....if your choices are to drive yourself crazy and spend $$ to file in family ct in an attempt to get a percentage of 0 (is ex working at all - i dont think you mentioned)  and your other choice is to simply never speak to this yutz again...i would choose the latter.  It is not clear to me through your post WHY you still bother letting ex see his son.  And its my understanding that if he wants to see his son, he would find a way to pay CS.   Im glad you made a new friend in his new wife - but you know its HER who is caring for your DS while he is there, its HER hes building a relationship with.    You could cut ties with these people and walk away.  To me, in this instance, the easier solution would be to forget it - and forget him!

 

Ok, I'm confused by this statement. CS in TX (and most states) is based on a formula. It's also not about whether or not the custodial parent can afford to take care of the child solely but rather the obligation and legal right a child has to be supported financially by the parent. Why would TX not grant CS to a child just because the mother has a job that earns her a wage that allows her to provide for her child?

 

And to the OP, just file. BTDT, it's best to avoid the future power struggle, the excuses and drama. Let the state handle it. 
 

 


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#18 of 23 Old 06-17-2011, 11:31 AM
 
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What i have heard and read (but do not know firsthand)  is that IF one parent contests having to pay the amount of CS that the formula has laid out.....the judge can say - well, you have been doing fine without this money...AND if this parent had to pay you this money it would be a great problem for him and his current family.....and award her a lesser amount or none at all. 

Yes CS is based on a formula but every district has their own rules about it.  If EX doesnt agree with how much he has to pay - and drags her to family ct.  AND there is non-sympathetic judge sitting....it might not go so well.


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#19 of 23 Old 06-17-2011, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I realize this may sound kind of lame, but we've worked out a voluntary payment for the time being. I know all the reasons why this is a stupid idea. The good news is that DS's stepmother is very adamant that my ex needs to step up to the plate and financially provide for his son, so she's making sure the payments are made.

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#20 of 23 Old 08-12-2011, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Aaand back to the drawing board. Ex is getting divorced, off the wagon, spiraling downward, all that good stuff. I went to the legal clinic last week, talked to someone from the legal aid group day before yesterday, and it looks like there's a really great chance I'm getting a pro bono attorney to handle the case. I'm filing for sole legal, sole physical, no unsupervised visitation and child support.

I've hit a point where I'm done feeling sorry for him, done with being manipulated, and done with the contorted thinking that tells me that I somehow don't deserve for him to take responsibility for his son.

Yeah, that's it. I'm just done.

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#21 of 23 Old 08-12-2011, 12:27 PM
 
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Good for you! I am so glad that you are not financially reliant on him, as it sounds like he is not to be counted on. Even so, he needs to be held responsible. Sole custody with no unsupervised visits sounds like it's VERY necessary in this case... not sure if I'd want my DS to have any visits at all, but that would depend on how the lack of visits would affect the kiddo. :( So sorry you have to deal with this crap.


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#22 of 23 Old 08-12-2011, 10:20 PM
 
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Wow, good for you for doing the legal footwork!  Let us know how it goes. 

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#23 of 23 Old 08-15-2011, 03:20 PM
 
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Texas courts will eat him alive and he deserves it.  He has a respocibiliy to the child he made.  YOU did not MAKE your son alone.  He was THERE.  He was INVOLVED and as an adult he needs to take care of his responcibilities towards his child.  His wife married him KNOWING he had a child and I can not believe she was ever stupid enough to not think this day would come.  How DARE he treat his child so.  Shame on HIM. 

 

And Im a Texan.  And that p!sses ME off!!! >:(

 

Good for you for being done.  My ex ran for 8 years.  Every time the court found him, he'd quit his job and move.  Texas finally moved to incarcerate him.  (Texas doesnt play like that) and he hasnt missed a payment since.  I am currently pregnant with #4.  Bf got drunk and told me to marry him and when I told him I was not going to marry him because Im pregnant he turned around and told me that he could not help with the baby at all.  I felt sorry for him.  For about a week.  But he is a BIG BOY.  He was INVOLVED and since this is HIS 4th too, he knows how theyre made.  Im the one thats going to be parenting this baby everyday.  All day all night.  Through sickness and health.  I didnt ruin his life by giving him a 4th.  He ruined it by refusing to wear a condom.  So he needs to man up and help out and if he doesnt I wont feel bad at ALL when the courts make him.  No more than HE feels bad about me raising 4 kids alone. 

 

*HUGS*

 

(Look at it this way.  Jail might make him MAN UP, CLEAN UP, and make something of himself!!!  In a way, you are HELPING him.  ;)

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