Welcome to my blog. I am a single mother and share custody of my 3yr old son with his father. We have joint legal custody but I have sole physical custody, in other words, my son lives with me and his sister and the father has visitation. I decided to start a blog to document the many experiences that I and many other families in the US, UK and around the world face when co-parenting. I say everyday that things can only get better as the other parent matures then he acts like a jerk and we’re back at square one. I know for a fact that I am not alone here. Sadly I have many friends who go through the same “game playing” with their jerks. More shocking of all, are my married friends who have their own versions of “jerks” or jerk like behaviors in their marriages when it comes to parenting. I plan on using this blog to document my story and that of many others I know so that we can help others navigate their way through co-parenting. This is a new concept to me as I have been the sole parent and provider of my daughter but now find myself “sharing” the role of ‘parent’ with a complete jerk. For the sake of this blog, let’s call him Henry and I will focus on child support for my first entry.
Whilst I was pregnant Henry insisted on taking a DNA test once the baby was born because he accused me of doing everything he was doing. It was almost like he was having an “out-of-body” experience. He was sleeping around with any bit of fluff he could pick up whilst I was with child, taking care of another child, working 9-6 every day, cooking, housework and laundry, you name it, I did it. I gave him space to work on his business and he took my kindness for weakness and took advantage of the situation and did what ever he wanted to do. After my son was born, we worked on trying to repair the very damaged marriage but I had already switched off and was ready to get back to being me: strong, beautiful, kind, loving, independent lady/mom. My children deserved to be happy and to be raised in a healthy environment. Once I got back on my feet, I promptly left the marital home with my children and moved into our apartment. 3 years later, my children and I are extremely happy, each year brings even more happiness for us and they are both doing very well, even better in school and their activities than ever before. All children need schedule, routine, structure and a happy, healthy household to thrive and grow.
So this was August 2009 when my children and I left the marital home (which was owned by Henry’s mother, BIG MISTAKE!) Never involve the mother-in-law in your marriage at all. At the time, we were paying this woman $2000 a month to live in a sub-standard house that needed $100K worth of repairs and the house had no mortgage on it. More on that in my next blog. Anyway, we worked it out that Henry would pay $1300 in child support based on the outstanding bills and debt we had together and needs for our son. Henry paid this in Sept, Oct, Nov 2009. In December 2009, just after my son’s first birthday, I served Henry with divorce papers! I did it a little prematurely but was eager to get the process started after hearing horror stories that it could take years to be free. Anyway, once Henry received the divorce papers, he decided that this was no longer about the kids, it was about me and him, in other words his inner jerk kicked in. He paid $300 in child support in December 2009 and then $300 only in Jan, Feb, Mar 2010. Bearing in mind that my son’s daycare alone was costing me $1100 per month, rent was $1650, car payment $340, food $400, outstanding hospital bills etc etc .. all in all I was paying about $4000 a month, JUST ME! and he paid $300 in child support. Needless to say my credit cards were carrying the bulk of the expenses in caring for my children. With the help of court documents, motions and my attorney, we managed to get another $550 from him in April, May and June 2010. Once I had paid my attorney, there was nothing left. At the time of our divorce hearing in June 2010, he was $7000 in arrears of child support. My attorney and I negotiated a quickie divorce (thankfully) and we were left with a pendente lite motion on custody and child support which awarded me with physical custody, decision-making authority and $1300 in child support per month. Luckily in my state, there is a child support calculator that is used to determine the award and the Attorney General’s office represents the child in child support hearings. Once the trials and hearings were over in Dec 2010, we waited for the permanent custody order which was sent in Feb 2011. Nothing had changed, child support stayed the same at $1300 per month. Henry has his own construction business with reported earnings in excess of $397,000 for 2009 and $297,000 for 2010. He has yet to report his earnings for 2011. Nevertheless, he can more than afford to pay the $1300 which the court ORDERED him to pay. Instead of providing financial support for his son, he used it as a way of getting at me as if I am to blame!! It’s very bazaar, that this jerk would try to blame me for all of his mistakes. Firstly, I offered to have a ‘private agreement’ with Henry to keep the courts out of the financials. I knew all along what role the court would play and what it meant long-term to involve the courts. Henry has always been one of those street rats who think they are above the law and could get away with anything through compulsive lying which he does very well (learnt from the best, his mother)! Nevertheless, Henry told me that he was not signing shit when it came to our private agreement on child support. He also told me that we’ll see how smart I was if I could make a court order him to pay what he hasn’t got. I guess I am pretty damn smart then huh!! Henry continued to pay his $1300 in Dec 2010, Jan 2011, Feb 2011 then it all stopped. That’s right, payments came to an abrupt end. Henry had filed a motion in Dec 2010 via his attorney (oh yeah, this was his second attorney, he had money to pay them but not for his son). So he filed this motion to reduce his child support payments, the motion got denied in our Feb 2011 order. In March 2011, he filed another motion to reduce his child support payments, this time on his own because we had a new judge assigned to our case. In the meantime, he paid NOTHING in child support for 3 months whilst we waited for the hearing in May 2011. At the hearing the judge blasted him that in the last 6 months he filed 2 motions for the same thing even though it was already denied by a judge. This new judge denied it again and a contempt hearing date was set for June. Just before the contempt hearing, Henry paid $3900 to clear the arrears. He was warned by the judge to support his minor child as it’s a legal obligation. Henry claimed that his business has suffered with the poor economy and that he is working in a bakery earning $10 an hour. The judge didn’t believe him, he had no proof and she denied his request to reduce his child support. 3 months later, Henry picked up another attorney, this time a public defender (because he is so poor) and together they drafted and filed a bogus motion to reduce child support again. This was the 3rd such motion in the space of 9 months. Henry had only made small payments and not his obligation. So he was back in arrears of $4000+ when we had the Sept 2011 hearing. The judge denied his motion (again), held him in contempt of court and gave him a 7 day jail sentence (stay review) hearing date for Nov 2011. At the same time, I offered to lower his payments to $1000 because I wanted to stop running to court every 2 months for non-sense. Anyway, Henry still didn’t make his payments even at the lower amount and was in arrears by $4000+ again. At his contempt hearing, the judge gave him yet another chance to stay out of jail. He had to pay $1000 a month plus $500 to make up some of the arrears and she set another hearing date in May 2012. Do you know readers, that this JERK still didn’t pay what he was asked to pay in Dec, Jan 2012, Feb, mar, Apr 2012. He paid less than a third each month and then only paid the full amount that he was asked to pay just before the hearing, otherwise he was going to jail for 7 days minimum. I asked my son’s attorney to keep the contempt and set another date because of his pattern of payments. So we went back in July 2012 and again, same thing. He paid a third of his payments only and by July’s hearing he owed approx $4000+ which he paid in full just before the hearing. The dude is so predictable! In other words, unless he is in front of a judge, he does not pay child support for his only son, his only child. He no longer works for the bakery (surprise, surprise) and business has started to pick up again (he said this under oath in court, so I have it on record) so you would think that after 20 months of child support hearings, denied motions, contempt hearings, a contempt record, 7 day jail threat/warning and a no non-sense baby mama, this dude will pay his damn child support??? NAH, he is a total JERK!
I would love to hear about the Jerks in your life. I know I got some money but I shouldn’t have to put everything on hold to run down to court every 5 mins to get it. I can’t accumulate food for 3 months then feed my son all in one go!!! or don’t pay his daycare for 4 months then pay them in one go or in instalments?? Life goes on for us all, but not for these Jerks that get away with endless delays!!!