I have been divorced for 13 years now. When I first got divorced my children were very young, not quite 7, 4, and 2. And we had already been separated for 6 months. So, we were in the thick of a very traditional Mommy stays at home marriage at the time. My then husband had an executive level job with good pay and traveled a lot.
So when we set up our divorce agreement, he agreed that because he travelled so much with his job, I would mostly raise the kids but that I should get a part-time job as they started going to school. The child support I did get was no extravagant amount, it barely covered the bills. I thought that was fine because I was no freeloader. Now thinking back, that was stupid, I should have made it easier on myself.
That was one school of thought, go for more money. However, over the next few years he had a few slips of being late with money. And eventually 7 years into the divorce, he disappeared and stopped paying all together. The advice I kept getting from my family at that time was that I was stupid, all along I should have not been counting on his money. i.e. I should have set myself up financially so that if I did happen to get his money it was a bonus. At first I did feel stupid, I should have known. Everyone had me guilted into think it was my fault for not being prepared. How could I be so irresponsible?
But then as my life started to turn around, I began to ease up on myself. I thought yes, they are correct, from here on out I should not count on his money but back then I had every right to depend on him for money. Jesus Christ, we had been married, he had a good job, we had 3 small children, it was his freakin’ responsibility… how does that become my fault? What was I supposed to do drop everything with raising pre-schoolers and go out and work 60 hours a week to hoard money because I might not be able to trust him? What world are you living in?
Sure I can see if you are someone that already works a good full-time career and you are getting divorced from some deadbeat who does everything he can to not pay like hide income and assets. So through his adept hiding, the judge only manages to justify his portion as a measly $200 a month… then yea, don’t count on it but it’s a nice bonus if you get it. Me? Basically I had been hired to raise our children by him. Really, that was the deal. So, it’s my fault for counting on my employer? I tried to be responsible for a little cushion, but how does one safeguard themselves against hallf their income?
As a strong independent woman, I’ve always tried to take responsibility… yes I picked him, the divorce was partly my fault. Yes, I should have been independent and worked or moved back home away from the kids Father, the money issues were partly my fault. Yes, I should have been more welcoming and alluring at home, his infidelity was partly my fault.
Wait, what? No! Ya’ know what, screw this! I’ve been guilted into everything being my fault. Why can’t I blame him? Jesus Christ, can someone give me a break and tell me “That’s awful, I’m sorry that happened to you, you didn’t deserve that” instead of “You should have known, you should have been prepared”. Who the fuck foresees everything in life? Yes, you all have such great hindsight. But give me a damn break. The people around me were so focused on always being responsible and not being a victim, that it came 180 degrees to feeling guilty that you are to blame for everything. That’s not healthy, and it’s not fair.
At what point do you say, “I should have been able to count on that person” or “I should have been prepared to do it all myself”? From here on out yes, I am being cautious and trying to budget so I’m not depending on things that may not come. But don’t tell me I’m an idiot for trusting someone I had a long standing economic and living arrangement with when we were in love and created a family together. That’s just mean.
Bberry Wine says
I feel your pain. I have four kids. Their dad doesn’t pay what he is ordered to pay. When people tell me I need to get a second job, so I can provide better. I want to scream. Really? This is your solution? I didn’t create this children all on my own! It took two of us, so why is it 100 percent my responsibility to raise them, provide for them and ensure they become successful adults. Something is wrong with our court system and society because that is how they view things.
The custodial parent is the one who is solely responsible for everything. The non-custodial parent (in a lot of situations) is given a get out of jail free card that excuses all behavior. It confuses me. Since they made one bad choice, it excuses all future bad choices.
I am sorry you were wronged and continue to be wronged. We do have to pick up the pieces, however you shouldnt’ have to.
Madge Madigan says
Exactly, that’s always my thought… this isn’t what I signed up for, I didn’t create them alone. The enforcement laws? Please, what a joke they give them every opportunity in the world to skate. They give them months and months and months, years in fact. And the whole, we’ll take your income tax and your license… that’s bullshit, they’ll wait months and only if all sorts of paperwork and searches and appeals are done. It’s always stuck on the mother. I’m sorry you’re going through it too.
Stephanie Quinn Jackson says
I get it completely! When DH and I told our boys that we were separating, he sat there and promised them that Mom wouldn’t have to go back to work unless she wanted to, that he would continue to pay for the life we’d built where Mom stayed at home with them, and that he would still see them regularly.
After five months of no child support last year, before the court order went into place, I had to go back to work. With no logistical back-up from him, who has now moved out of state and sees the boys every 6 weeks or so, I’m working three part-time jobs and going to school full-time. It will be better in the long run, but I have every right to be angry at him for renegging on the promises he made to our children. This version of DH is not the man I married. He’s not the man I chose to father my children. He’s just an asshole.
Madge Madigan says
This sounds all too familiar. I went through the exact same thing. I’m sorry you have gone through it too. And you are right, that’s not the guy I married. But mine’s not an asshole, he’s just a coward. (ok maybe a bit of an asshole lol0
Dame Yankee says
It is not your fault. It is his fault. How dare he stop supporting his kids. What kind of person does that? What’s wrong with a society that condones that?
Yes, you should have been able to count on him. Your kids should be able to count on him. You are not an idiot. He is without honor.
I would write more, but this whole subject makes me crazy.