I have been seeing a lot of articles lately, warning mothers to guard themselves against basically deadbeat fathers who do everything possible to get out of paying child support. I havew read the parent paying child support can clearly pay with no problems at all, because the court calculations allow for the parent paying support to live quite a good life. While this may be true for the privileged, for many, it is not the case at all.
I also think custodial parents SHOULD have to produce receipts for money spent on children.
I feel I need to tell my story, and then tell the story of my boyfriend, who is also a non custodial parent paying child support.
When the judge gave primary custody to my soon to be ex in the provisional hearing, I had to start paying him child support. During the 7 months between our separation leading up to the hearing, he would not pay a penny for anything related to Grant or Kristy. I paid for a keyboard and $130 a month in music lessons for both Grant and Kristy. I had no choice but buy wardrobes down to underwear for both kids, paid for soccer for Grant, and school supplies for both.
After I was ordered to pay child support to Ted, I could no longer continue to pay for the music lessons, so both kids had to drop out. Ted would not pay.
Jump ahead 5 years. I am a non custodial mom. I have to pay considerably more in child support now, although Ted makes a great deal more than I do, and has no house or car payments. I am forced to pay half of the expensive private Christian schooling because Ted won that battle too.
Ted has a fun game he plays…he waits until the last minute to see if I will pay for a need of either Grant or Kristy. If I do not purchase this item in an effort to calm our nervous child, Ted waits until well past the time they need said item to purchase it. The following are just a FEW of the things I have paid for since the divorce:
- Coats, and usually gloves and hats EVERY year. Ted will continue to send Grant and Kristy to school in lightweight jackets well past freezing temps.
- Hair cuts. Up until about a year and a half ago, Ted would only take Grant and Kristy maybe 1-2 times a season for hair cuts at a strip mall quickie hair salon. I have no problem with this, except Grants hair became so long, when he caught lice from a school camping field trip, I didn’t see it for about a month. Kristy would be in tears every time she got her hair cut because it was so uneven. I now cut Grant’s hair to his specifications, keeping it short, and have had to promise Kristy to only take her to my friend and stylist (as inexpensive as a strip mall chop shop) for her very stylish layered cuts.
- Last basketball season, I tried to make a deal with Ted, I would buy Grant’s basketball shoes since he would be playing varsity, if Ted would pay the $50 basketball fee. Ted waited until I bought the shoes, then told me to take them back because they might be “too heavy” for him to wear at 13. I refused to take back the shoes Grant picked out himself, and still had to pay half the fee.
- Ted has not bought jeans for Grant for 2 years. After 2 months of seeing Grants socks last fall, I couldn’t stand it any longer and bought some.
- Grant had to carry (hugging as not to lose papers) a backpack with broken zippers for over a week until I dug around for one of mine from college. He has been carrying it for two years now.
- Kristy is obsessed with dancing. She was invited last year to try out for competition team but I can only afford one class. I have paid for classes, leotards, tights, shoes and recital costumes. Ted refuses to help with any of it, and would not even buy recital tickets last year because Kristy was “only” in one dance and she didn’t dance until the end. He only saw her dance because he was able to sneak in.
I have struggled to say the least, since the divorce. My boyfriend sends me home from the farm with a cooler full of meat every time, and my parents loan me money when I can’t make ends meet, which is quite often. My dad has 2 jobs and my mom has 3. They are retired and should be enjoying their time, not working so they can send me money.
My grandma called me very excited a month ago because she pawned some old jewelry to be able to give me gas money. My grandparents barely exist on only a social security income. I still cry every time I think about it. I get very mad at God sometimes.
OKAY GOD! I understand I may need to go through this hell for some reason, but my family should NOT have to sacrifice for me.
Now, I feel I need to speak from one man’s perspective, my boyfriend.
About 9 years ago my boyfriend decided to do the right thing and marry his girlfriend of a few months because she “oops” got pregnant. They were both in their early twenties. When their son Bradley was 10 months old, Dane found texts from a “friend” of Dina’s talking about “fucking” (the literal quote) her in the cemetery near her parents home when she spent the night with them the week before. She denied the affair. A few weeks later he found texts from his 16 year old cousin to her “really really really needing another 4 wheeler ride” she told Dane she was confused about their marriage, then emptied the house while he was at work the next day.
Dina would not let Dane see Bradley until their provisional hearing. Dane worked many hours after their divorce to pay his high child support. Dina kept taking Dane back to court over and over to do everything she could to take away his parental rights and constantly raise his child support. Dina has worked maybe two years in her entire life. Dina had another “oops” when Bradley was around 2 years old and married that child’s father. Dina constantly badmouths Dane. Her parents have told Bradley he can change his last name to match his mom’s when he turns 12. Last year Bradley earned a special sports award and had his picture on the front page of their local paper. Dina told the newspaper to list Bradley’s parents as her and her current husband in the caption under the picture. This is not the first time something like this has happened.
After multiple times of being drug to court, Dane decided to work for his family farm, lives on his great grandparent’s property, and drives only old beat up farm trucks. Without her high income from Dane, Dina has not taken Dane to court for about 2 years now.
Everyone is always so quick to shame and put down non-custodial parents and the child support they pay. Unfortunately, too many of us know there is another side to the child support game.
DivorcedMoms Editor says
Bella, I don’t think this is a child support story. It sounds more like an asshole ex story. My ex had a very high income when we divorced. He was ordered to pay 13% of that income in child support. Hell, over the course of my children’s first 18 years my ex saived a lot of money by getting a divorce. The court ordered him to pay far, far less than it would have cost him to raise them if our marriage had remained intact.
What did 13% mean for the children of a mother who had no marketable skills and had not worked in14 years?
Their Dad drove a $48,000 truck while we drove a 15 year old station wagon that had an exhaust leak. We had to keep the windows cracked whether it was raining or freezing cold. Their Dad could have easily done what was right and offered to fix the car his children spent time on the road in. He didn’t. I doubt seriously he gave it a second thought.
He NEVER purchased a winter coat, paid for an extra-curricular activity, a music lesson. Hell when they visited he wouldn’t even take them to McDonald’s for a burger because “I have to pay your mom child support.” In his mind I was supposed to send money with them during his visitation to pay for the expense of him taking care of them.
My oldest son didn’t go to his senior prom because we couldn’t afford to rent a tux and all the other things the kids were planning. We were also HOMELESS at that time and living in a motel. His Dad thought it was funny that I couldn’t “handle money.” According to him he was sending me child support money that should have afforded us a luxurious lifestyle. I don’t know about you but $1200 a month is not going to pay for much, especially not a high cotton lifestyle. His Dad wasn’t concerned enough about it to offer to pay the expenses for his son’s prom.
For the first five years after my divorce my children and I would have been lost without my parents to help financially. When my son wanted a band jacket, Granddaddy purchased it, not his Dad who made nearly $10,000 a month AFTER paying his child support. Oh, and the $4,000 Bassoon my son played darn sure wasn’t provided by his Dad.
His Dad was too busy spending his money on his new 400 acre horse farm and state of the art barns and his new wife and step-daughter. He couldn’t care less whether they had a roof over their heads, let alone a jacket to wear when it was cold outside.
I could go on and on and on but won’t. I will tell you this, if my ex had been given custody of my children I’d have paid whatever I was ordered to pay. I’d have done whatever they needed me to to, just as you have. On the flip side of that coin is the non-custodial parent who feels whe owes his or her children nothing beyond what is order and as someone who is VERY familiar with state child support guidelines and how much it cost to raise a child, child support is a drop in the bucket when it comes to providing any child what they need and deserve.
If your ex and my ex had behaved as parents instead of juveniles using their children’s needs to strike back at their ex, neither one of us would have stories to tell.
Like I said though, your story, your boyfriend’s story and my story are not child support stories, they are asshole ex stories. It’s just too bad there aren’t guidelines and legal ramifications for asshole exes like there are for child support. That is why I the family court system should be reformed, not the child support system.