Category: Child Support


The Nerve!

I am spitting angry right now.

I can’t believe the gall! ….the nerve! …..the ….the…..ARGH!!!!

Just who in the world does he think he is?!?  Huh?!?  HUH!?!

In case you’re wondering….it’s Flotsam I’m grumbling about….

I know better – I really do.  I know better than to comment about things being quiet when he’s involved.  Remember me saying Buddy hasn’t spent any time with him or spoken on the phone more than 5 minutes at a time with him since September?  Well – that’s obviously changed now – things are definitely NOT quiet any longer.

He called two weeks ago to exercise his visitation rights – 30 minutes before they were supposed to happen.  I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this fact on my blog or not, but when I requested change of custody, I put a couple of hoops in there for my benefit and sanity on top of safety concerns for Buddy.  The major condition is that visitation is now “supervised” (library or other public place) and only for 2 hour stretches on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Sunday of the month.  The exact day I’m willing to be flexible on (I’m fine with Saturday’s if plans allow for it), along with the exact time, but nothing else.  One of the hoops Flotsam has is he’s supposed to call 72 hours in advance of the visitation schedule to confirm his intention of exercising his visitation rights.

Now, this may seem a little harsh on my end to make him jump through this hoop, but please believe me when I say I put it there for a reason.  Just like two weeks ago, Flotsam would always drop out of sight for weeks and months at a time and then show up out of nowhere demanding to see his son.  Regardless of what our plans already were, he would insist we drop them and allow him to see Buddy simply because “it’s his fatherly right to see his son”.  So, to save my sanity, I requested from the judge and was granted the stipulation that I had to have notice – as long as I was willing to be flexible to a certain degree.  Done.

When he called two weeks ago and spoke with me, he understood immediately that visitation wouldn’t happen.  I’m pretty sure he was trying to make a point to Buddy that I’m the one being unreasonable with this hoop.  I’ve had enough discussions with Buddy that I think he understands why this request is there – he’s been on the receiving end enough times of his dad NOT showing up to know why I did this.

Two weeks ago, plans were made that he would see Buddy this coming Saturday.  I figured the first call this morning from Flotsam was to confirm that.  Work is stressful enough, so I never answer calls from him while there.  Two more calls and a voicemail message later told me that something was up.  But I restrained myself from calling until I left work.

That’s when he dropped his “Plan” on me.

Flotsam is currently not working – hasn’t worked in quite some time.  How he survives is a mystery to me and a small source of frustration (after all, why am I the shlub that works and he gets to go through life not?).

Flotsam is currently behind in child support by a fairly respectable amount – according to him around $3500.00 – or around 14 months.  That amount is nothing to sneeze at for sure; but in the grand scheme of who owes the most back child support; he’s not even a blip on the government’s radar and I know that.  I gave up keeping track of what he owes years ago when I had the state take over our case.

Flotsam is also currently behind on his house taxes – according to our conversation today.

Flotsam – according to him – can’t work to make any of these payments, so he’s come up with a sure-fire way to solve both problems.

I need to just give him back the money he gave me to hold for Buddy’s benefit – a savings account of sorts from his dad.  Flotsam will use that money to pay me the back child support amount and catch up on his taxes and everything will be right in the world!

See?  Simple!

Except for the fact that he wants me to give him his son’s money to pay for his debt by paying off the child support owed to me.

I didn’t even let him finish his thought before I let loose on him in grand fury saying I would not participate in any way, shape or form of him “stealing” money from his son to basically pay me off!  That any debt Flotsam owed was his and his alone, and I would not allow OUR son to pay for HIS responsibilities!

My how Flotsam stammered and stuttered; told me how wrong I was and then grudgingly admitted that I was right, but he would make it better – PROMISE!

Yeah……right……

He went on.  Stating he was trying to save his son’s inheritance (the house Flotsam currently lives in that he claims is worth around $160K – I’m guessing the true reality is more like $80K) and that $5K is a small price to pay for the chance at the true payout – the value of the house when he finally dies.  If only it was that easy.  I told him he was crazy if he thought I would allow him to piss-away his son’s money on such a scheme.   He showed his true colors though when he yelled at me to shut up and listen to him and try to understand what he was trying to tell me.

Telling me to shut up typically has the exact opposite effect of actually getting me to shut up….just an FYI.

At one point, he told me that I would look horrible to the courts if I didn’t cooperate with him, mark his words – he’ll see me in court as soon as he gets on his feet.  I dared him to take me to court.  A few sentences later, he was trying to appeal to my rational side and again, I told him to take me to court if he disagreed with how I was handling Buddy’s money.  He claimed he never brought up going to court, that was my threat.  The short phone conversation ended with me telling him in no uncertain terms that he would not be seeing any money from me or Buddy.

My last question to him was if he was still planning to see his son on Saturday and at what time.  If the ice in my voice didn’t pound home to him my true feelings, the sound of the phone clicking as I hung up on him after he answered surely did.

Now I just need to worry about what sad sob-story might be said to Buddy on Saturday to try and manipulate convince him of what an awesome plan Flotsam has come up with.  I’ll have to think about this…..

Does it ever end?

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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!

Morning everyone!! 

I have taken some much needed time off away from everything for the last week.  Doesn’t mean the drama that is my life has slowed down any though….

Dharma and Greg were married last weekend and are returning from their honeymoon today.  I have been so tempted to blog about the pre-wedding adventure – I even had their approval.  However, based on everything that happened between the players in my family, I figured it was best if I kept my mouth shut.  I still love everyone and it appears everyone is still talking to each other, so I’ll just leave it at that.

One thing that I am going to blog about – just because I find it so hilariously funny is Dharma’s comment about their destination choice for the honeymoon.  They went on a Carnival Cruise to the Caribbean – Greg has been before, but this was Dharma’s first experience.  Her biggest fear in getting on the boat/ship is that they would be hit by an iceberg.  An ICEBERG…..in The CARIBBEAN.  

She knows it is an irrational fear, but a fear none the less.  I guess she got enough flack from everyone about the iceberg that she changed her fear to being shwashbuckled by pirates – after all, Captain Jack Sparrow was in the Caribbean!  Hey!  It could happen!!

Subject Change:

Flotsam is still pulling his tricks.  A couple of weeks ago, he asked if we could change days for visitation due to the heat.  We’ve done this in past summers as it just gets too hot to visit outside so we move visitation indoors to the library.  The weekend he asked about changing was the weekend before the wedding and I was busy with preparation plans.  Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem, but he literally waited until the last minute to ask – Saturday morning at 10am for a 1pm start time.

Now, over the last 15+ years, I have learned with Flotsam that if you give him an inch, he’ll take a mile in what he can get away with.  My answer to him was the weekend was booked and I had planned on visitation being on Sunday, not Saturday and we needed to wait until the next visitation to change the date.  He said that was fine, he’d just visit with Buddy the next day like originally planned.  Until the next day that is…..he called at 11am and told Buddy he was too sick to come to visitation.  {Rolls eyes}  Yeah…I believe that….whatever – he probably had something else planned that he preferred to do other than spend the time with his son.

And then, this week he called to make a deal with me.  It seems he is wwwaaayyyy behind on his child support for Buddy (I’ve given up keeping track of it and turned it over to the state to keep track of).  The only thing is, Flotsam’s still under probation for domestic assault/violence so every aspect of his life is examined, which means being up-to-date on his child support.  I’m sure the probation officer is getting on to him about this little tidbit. 

What was his deal?  To paint my house for me since it so obviously needs it (which it does, but that’s beside the point).  This man supposedly cannot get a job because he’s in so much pain…..but he can paint my house for me?  Whatever.  He insisted I think about it before giving him an answer.  I told him I didn’t have to think about it – child support is now recorded by the state and doesn’t allow for easy reporting of bartering situations.  He wasn’t impressed by my logical reasoning, thanked me for my time and then hung up on me.

I’m heartbroken I tell you.

New Subject:

Jetsam provides all sorts of endless heartburn in various forms and fashions.  There are days I wonder if she does it on purpose…then there are the days that I can’t help but wonder if she really is as dense as she acts like.  This last week is no exception.

The kids spent 2 days at her house for visitation and Monkey came back with bites all over her legs and stomach.  The same type of bites that Rowdy came home with on his feet whenever he spent Memorial Day weekend with her – only at that point he insisted they were chigger bites.  Instead of arguing with him (as they didn’t look like chigger bites to me), I just let it go.  Now, Monkey insists that Jetsam’s house is infested with bedbugs! 

ACK!!!!

I set the kids down, explain how serious an infestation can be and what we have to do to protect our house from getting infested as well.  Nothing they take to their mom’s house can come back into our house until it’s been washed, cleaned or otherwise de-bugged to the best of our ability.  They should limit anything they take to things that we can clean easily until the problem is corrected – no blankets, no pillows, limited amounts of cloths, etc.  Monkey’s response was – Can you call my mom and tell her this, she doesn’t know what to do to take care of them.

Double ACK!!!!

Why oh why should I be the one that bails Jetsam out of her issue?  Oh, that’s right, because I care about my house not being infested.  Called Jetsam up to discuss the issue and she claimed she was taking steps to correct the problem.  Dousing the house in bleach was her solution.  She claimed that she got the suggestion from her sister and from checking the internet.

{Sigh}

Based on my own very quick search on the internet that brought back over 240 million hits – bleach is a poor solution to bedbugs and doesn’t address the main problem of getting rid of them.  I explained to Jetsam what she needed to be doing to get them out of her house.  After every suggestion, she responded with a comment of, “I had thought about wrapping the mattresses up in plastic, but didn’t know how effective that would be.”  Or, “I had thought about vacuuming the area, but there is no carpet, so I didn’t think that would work.”  Or, “I planned on bombing the house; I didn’t realize that just drives them deeper into the cracks.”

{Double Sigh}

Now I’m tempted to clean her house myself just to make sure my own house doesn’t get infested (if it isn’t already….).

(Begin whiney mode)  I don’t wanna clean her house!  I don’t wanna have to buy the correct items for her to ensure her things are taken care of to protect my house!!  I don’t wanna be the responsible one anymore!!!  I don’t wanna have to deal with issues like this in my life!!!!  I shouldn’t have to!!  This isn’t fair!!  I’ve got enough problems in my life without a dense ex-wife adding to them!!!  (End whiney mode)

Is it any wonder why I need a break from life?

Flotsam strikes again.

No surprise there – he oozes contempt and superiority whenever I have to talk to him, which is approximately every 2 weeks – like clockwork.  Funny how that works when it’s based off of court ordered visitation.

Visitation between Flotsam and Buddy and I has been a source of contention ever since the judge signed the order for me to have sole custody w/Flotsam having limited, supervised visitation over 3 years ago.  Flotsam insists that his rights as a father trumps anything signed by the judge….the law be damned.  He also truly believes that money equals face-time when that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Last week was no exception – with a twist.

Flotsam actually paid child support!  Dun dun dun……

Getting child support at our house is like winning the lottery or the money fairy visiting – especially from either Flotsam or Jetsam as they allow their income tax returns to be seized or other such bulk payments to be made.  Hun and I are both supposed to receive child support for all of our kids – $250 from Flotsam (1 child) and $150 from Jetsam (3 children) – $400 per month for 4 kids.  Both Flotsam and Jetsam are around a year behind in payments at the moment.  We’re lucky if we see anything in any given month – it’s a good thing we never rely on this money to pay bills or to get the kids what they need/want.  Not receiving child support payments has never stopped us from allowing any of the kids from seeing their other parent, ever.  So, with this back-drop, here’s the long and short of things:

Flotsam called, left a message asking about visitation for the weekend and waited on me to call him back.  Once I called him back, he started right in:

Flotsam:               I’m glad you called back, how about visitation this weekend?  Also, did you receive a payment?

Me:                        What payment?

Flotsam:               You should have received a payment – did you not get it?

Me:                        I don’t know……I haven’t checked lately.

Flotsam:               Well, you should have one waiting – you’ll have a VERY good Christmas this year (several months worth of child support it turns out).  Being behind has really been weighing on my heart – so I get to see Buddy this weekend right?

Me:                        Technically, it’s not your weekend – visitation was supposed to happen last weekend.

Flotsam:               Oh…well, I’m sure we can work this out; after all, you OWE me a visitation with my son since I missed last weekend.

Me:                        I don’t owe you visitation, it’s your responsibility to remember when you are supposed to be visiting your son, not mine.  However, I have been thinking about the fact that you’re unable to keep track of 1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays and would like to figure out a better solution – possibly going to every other weekend.

Flotsam:               So you’re telling me I can’t see my son this weekend even though I made sure you’ve been paid?

Me:                        Visitation has nothing to do with child support – we have plans this weekend when we had  planned on Buddy visiting you last weekend and next weekend, not this weekend.

Flotsam:               Well – you talk it over with your husband and see if anything can be done about this.  If you can see it in your heart to make accommodations to make this work, call me back.  I guess if I don’t hear from you, visitation isn’t happening.  <click>

At least I didn’t have to get into a long drawn out argument with him like I have been drawn into in the past.

On the bright side – the Money Fairy did visit us and was very generous.  While child support is supposed to be for the kids’ benefit, Hun and I have already supplied them everything and anything they might need in the last year – including a brand new band instrument for Buddy that Flotsam refused to help out in purchasing.  So….look out  world!  Momma’s going to buy her a new pair of shoes!!

I love the Money Fairy.

For those keeping track:  Vacation Count Down Day 24…….