Okay – I’m bored.  I don’t want to do any of my chores, so I’m blogging instead.

Wait….what?  You could tell?

Oops…I thought I was being more covert than that….

Anyhoo…..

I promised in my last post that I would talk about how Jetsam is “technically right” about Hun refusing to pay more in child support (CS) when it came up for review.

I’m going to attempt, to the best of my ability, present both sides of the issue – based on what Jetsam has said to both Hun and I regarding this issue.  I realize that I cannot do the appropriate job at this since I’m not inside her brain, but I’m going to try to present facts only as I know them.  Since the details from Jetsam are only what she has said to us or what we personally observed, I will start with her version:

Jetsam’s Version:

Hun left her for me.  He only wanted/wants to buy his kids love instead of showing them love in the exact same way she does.  He did everything in his power to repress her and keep her from achieving any success by leaving the kids with her, forcing her to take minimum wage jobs as those were the only ones that would work with her having 4 kids.  He purposely paid her a low amount of CS to start with because he was greedy and didn’t want to pay more.  She’s not sure why the judge agreed to such a low amount of CS, but is positive Hun had something to do with it – either that or it was because the judge was a man.

Because she was paid so little, both at her minimum wage jobs and with CS, she had to do one of two things.  Either move in with her parents (who are divorced and remarried) or accept help from the guys she met.  Her parents made her life even harder by not accepting the guys she lived with, so when she had to move in with the parents, she lost the extra income the guys were bringing in as her parents refused to allow the guys to move in too.  The parents were also horrible people because after approximately 6 months of her living with them with 4 kids, they made her move out for various reasons.  She had to repeat this cycle over and over again because of all of the difficulties in her life caused by Hun.

She finally had a glimmer of hope by receiving a letter from the Attorney General (AG) offering to review and raise what her ex-husband was paying her for CS.  She attended the meeting and really loved the AG representative (a woman) who threatened Hun with all sort of problems if he didn’t sign the increase in CS right then and there.  Hun instead went and talked to that woman/wife of his, came back and refused to sign the papers.  If only Hun had signed those CS papers, nothing that happened since would have happened and her life would be just fine.  He only asked for custody so he wouldn’t have to pay more in CS, he doesn’t actually love his children enough to have them live with him, he wants all of that extra money for himself only.

My and Hun’s version:

When Hun and I first met, he was still married to Jetsam and didn’t have the approximately $2500 to file for divorce that an attorney told him it would cost.  As I had recently completed my own, self-divorce, with the assistance of an Aunt who was a legal secretary, I offered to type up the divorce based off of mine, changing the pertinent information.  The filing fee would only be ~$150, assuming Jetsam agreed to everything as written.  He presented the documentation to her and she agreed with it and signed everything (yes, she knew I typed it up, she asked me and Hun several questions about different passages in it).  The documents included her having primary joint custody (where the kids lived with her), him having joint custody with standard visitation rights, him paying a set amount of CS every week based on his pay schedule (calculated to the best of our ability based on our state’s rules), him providing all health insurance for his kids and everything being null and void if the two of the ever reconciled and got back together.

The court date in front of the divorce judge had them each representing themselves with the judge reviewing the documents I typed up and they both had signed.  The judge asked Jetsam if she agreed with everything in the documents, including specifically asking about the CS amount.  She said “yes, she agreed with everything.”  The judge signed, stamped, approved and filed the documents as written.

Three or four years went by where we saw the kids based on the visitation schedule outlined by the divorce papers.  During this time, we were getting reports from Jetsam that all was not well in her house.  She was bouncing from her mom’s house to her own place (with boyfriend) to her dad’s house, back to her own place (with boyfriend) and repeated the cycle multiple times.  We have school records that prove the kids transferred school districts 6 times every 6 months in a 3 year period.  LaLa, being the oldest and the furthest along in school, was falling further and further behind from all of the moves.  Jetsam told us after LaLa’s 2nd grade, 3rd grade and 4th grade years that her teachers were encouraging summer school for LaLa to help her out, but since she was “technically” passing, it wasn’t required, so Jetsam never sent her.

Jetsam would tell us the boyfriend was doing drugs, getting drunk and “disciplining” the kids hard enough to leave bruises.  But she had it under control as she was going to kick the boyfriend out.  He never was unless she moved in with a family member.  The day she told us she was afraid her house would be “visited” by his drug dealers and the outcome wouldn’t be good – I called CPS to report the issues.  Nothing came from that report.  Hun and I were increasingly talking about if we needed to step in and request custody based on what we were seeing.  Hun was hesitant, he didn’t want to “rip” his kids away from their mom (what he felt like he was doing by considering it), but he was having a hard time watching what they were going through.  I told him I would support him and his kids in whatever he decided to do, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to encouraging him to seriously think about it.  What I have typed here is just a quick overview of what we witnessed happening and doesn’t include details upon details upon details.

One day, Rowdy refused to go home with Jetsam because of issues with her boyfriend.  The three of us adults talked and it was decided Rowdy would move in with us.  We readily agreed and never modified CS because by that point, Hun had received several raises and we knew it was only a matter of time that it would be adjusted.  That custody change was short lived and after less than 5 months, Jetsam insisted Rowdy move back in with her even though nothing had changed in her life.  As we had no formal change in custody, there was little we could do to stop her.

Around this time, we finally received the letter from the Attorney General (AG) saying it was time to review CS.  At Hun’s request, I went to the appointment with him, but was not allowed back to the conference rooms (which I was fine with).  After what seemed like a very short time, Hun came back out and said he needed to talk to me.  He was informed his CS was being raised by around $60-75 per week or he could go in front of the judge and argue his case for it not to be raised and he wanted my opinion on that and what he should do.  My response was along the lines of, “Regardless of what you would like to do, the State is raising your CS no matter what; you make too much money.  What you need to decide is….will the extra money actually HELP Jetsam to raise your kids in the way you want them to be raised or….will it just contribute to the problems we’re actually seeing?  If you don’t think the money will help the problems, I think you need to seriously consider going after custody.  I’ll support you in whatever decision you make.”

He came back out of that conference room with the words, “We’re going to court.”  Well….okay then…..  To be honest, at the time, I was shocked he chose not to sign and to go after custody.

Hun told me later that when he went back to the conference room and told the lady AG representative that he would not sign and would instead go before the judge – a choice she gave him – that she was infuriated.  I’m sure she told Jetsam all sorts of things about how horrible Hun was after we left for selecting the “forbidden” option.  I think, based on the responses and reactions of Jetsam and the AG rep’s once we actually showed up to the court hearing 6 weeks later, that I can logically assume both she and Jetsam assumed the judge would hand Hun his head on a platter for daring to refuse to sign the papers.  That didn’t happen.

A week after Hun refused to sign the increase in CS, he commented that he thought he made a mistake and should have just signed the papers while going after custody.  He was afraid it would come back and bite him and make him look bad to everyone.  I told him that we couldn’t worry about that as we couldn’t change the past, just do the best with what we know in the present and attempt to make the future better.

What we did in that six week time frame was to pull together all of the documentation; find a highly recommended lawyer and file for custody.  When we presented in front of the CS judge (a male), he told both the AG rep and Jetsam that the custody case took precedence over the CS case and we were dismissed until it was resolved.  A year later, we were seated in a different court room, with a different (lady) judge, a different AG rep (a guy), a woman social worker who did the home study in both of our houses, our lawyer (a woman) and Jetsam’s lawyer (a guy).  The judge awarded custody to us based on the facts presented by all parties.

The one reprimand the (lady) judge handed down to Hun was that he should have signed the CS papers at the time of the CS increase instead of forcing the mother of his children to suffer with less.  She then ordered that as a result of him making that choice, all CS to Jetsam would cease, but Hun was forbidden to request CS for at least 9 months after receiving custody to make up for the amount he should have been paying her the whole time.  Hun gladly complied.

When he finally asked for Jetsam to pay CS for her kids while they live with us, he only asked the lawyer and the judge to agree to $50 per child, per month – or $150 for 3 kids.  But yet, we routinely get told we only asked for custody because of the money angle.

So….technically Jetsam is right, Hun refused to pay her more in CS.  Whether or not it caused her life to be harder and the cause of all of her woes is left to the observer of our story to decide.

I won’t ask you to decide for yourself who is/was right and/or wrong.  I’m only giving you one side of the story, and not even completely at that in the interest of word count (I do value your time, I don’t want you getting bored with my blog!).

However, that said, feel free to leave any comment you want – I welcome the feedback!

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