The Ex-Files – You Made Your Point

CP never sent us a dime when we left him behind. I didn’t care. I didn’t want his money. What was sad was that he made my daughter feel so bad that she sent him a quarter! He had sent her a card in the mail and told her in the card that he may not be able to write to her anymore because money was tight. She asked me what that meant and I told her, “It means he may not have the money to buy a stamp.” The cost of stamps that year was .29 cents. I guess she figured he could at least come up with .04 cents to get a stamp. When she wrote him back, (which was basically just a picture she had drawn because she was just 6 years old) she taped that quarter to the paper. He never wrote her back after that. He never ever attempted to write to my son.

One time, prior to the above-mentioned occurrence, he had called to talk to the kids. They were excited and if I remember correctly, they babbled on and on about how they both had the chickenpox and they were speckled with ‘cammamine’ lotion. That’s what they called it. After a bit, CP asked to speak to me. Yippee-ki-yay! I don’t remember why but before hanging up I asked him to please call them more often. Do you know what he said to me? “It hurts me too much,” he said. “It hurts to talk to them but never get to see them.” “Really?” I said. “How the hell do you think it makes them feel when their father doesn’t care enough to call them? They’re just kids. You’re an adult.” He refused to talk about it anymore and we just hung up. What a pathetic piece of dogshit, I thought.

For the first 5 years or so after we left CP, I made it a point to send him school pictures, crafts made especially for him, and copies of the kids’ report cards from school. We sent Christmas cards, Easter cards, Valentine’s Day cards, and even St. Patrick’s Day cards! Each time his birthday rolled around the kids each made him a card. Sometimes we bought small gifts to send him along with the handmade cards. One year, we sent him a bandana filled with candy stuffed in a super large coffee mug for his birthday. He never thanked the kids for any of the gifts or cards. He never even acknowledged receiving them. I stopped encouraging the kids to do these things for CP. I would have gladly helped the kids do whatever they wanted to do had they ever mentioned it. They didn’t, so I never sent him anything again.

About 10 years after we had left California, the state of Missouri finally got a local attorney to handle the child support cases for the county. I had been called into several different offices in different counties prior to that to give information for the collection of child support, but they never had enough manpower. I never expected to see one red cent anyway because CP had always told me that he would just quit his job and find another if they caught up to him and then it would take them more time to find him again. Anyway, the local attorney was on top of things. Before I even got the paperwork, CP called me. Oh, you can imagine how that went!

CP: “You’ve made your point.”

Me: “What point?”

CP: “I can’t afford to pay what the state expects me to pay.”

Me: “And this is my problem, how?”

CP: “If I have to pay that much I will lose my truck, my job, and the $100,000 life insurance policy I have on myself for the kids in case something happens to me.”

Me: “I’m not going to fall for that bullshit. I know you better than that. You don’t have any such policy for any amount for the kids. You’re just trying to manipulate me.”

CP: “We can work something out.”

Me: “I don’t even have the paperwork back on this yet.” (I had no clue how much they were trying to get from him, he didn’t say and I didn’t ask.)

CP: “Let’s work something out!” (With a little more desperation in his voice now.)

Me: “It’s too late for that. It’s between you and the state now.”

CP: “You made your point! What do you want from me?”

Me: “You should have thought about this day a long time ago. You’ll have to work it out with the state!”

CP: “You won’t see a nickel if I lose my truck and can’t get to work.”

Me: “I can’t do anything now; you’ll have to work it out with the state!” I was getting more and more irritated because he wasn’t getting this through his thick skull. I couldn’t intervene because the state was involved. If he were to work something out with me, the state would still expect him to pay the figure they had requested. I hung up because I was sick of listening to him.

The next week, I received the paperwork from the attorney’s office. They were sticking him for $945 per month! Of course, this figure included arrears. I just laughed at his predicament.

Before long, I received papers from a paralegal, which had been filed with his county’s clerk’s office. My memory is a bit foggy on the exact details but…CP was requesting that his payments be reduced because of hardship and…GET THIS: He was demanding that I pay his legal fees! Can you believe that shit? I contacted the clerk’s office and I was told that no judge in his right mind was going to make me pay CP’s legal fees, which I figured. She suggested that I send a certified registered letter to her office, to counter his ridiculous demands. I did. I stated in the letter that a reduction of CP’s payments was entirely up to the judge and I would be fine with whatever that was. (Frankly, I didn’t want a dime from him. We were just fine without his assistance.) I also stated that I was in no position to pay anyone’s legal fees.

Eventually, I received papers indicating that his payments were reduced to $334 (and some change) per month. He had to pay his own legal fees and I’m sure he was pissed. The thing is, he wanted his payments reduced so bad and then he wouldn’t even pay them! His wages ended up being garnished, and I was sent $167 every pay period for a few months.

Then one day his mother called me. She called me every so often so it wasn’t really a shock to hear from her. It was also not a shock when she told me that CP was fired because employers don’t like the paperwork involved when wages are garnished. I told her, “He may have told you that he was fired, Ma, but I know him better than that. He QUIT his job so he could avoid paying child support. That was something he told me he’d do and it was something he had done before, with his first wife’s child support case.” She was shocked, of course. I never heard from her or CP again after that.

He ended up living with his mother and I’m pretty sure she regretted it after she saw his manipulative behavior and bad habits, including coming home drunk with the cops on his tail. I felt bad for her but couldn’t help think, “I’m glad it’s not me.”



The Ex-Files – Child Support

When we first moved here to SW Missouri, I was on State Aid. When my youngest child started school, I entered the work force. I was on State Aid for about 3 years. After a few months of moving here, I was called in to interview with Child Services regarding the collection of Child Support from my ex. The State of Missouri wanted to recoup what they were sending me each month, rightly so.

A few years later I was sent for another interview in a different town, for the same reason. They hadn’t collected a penny from my ex but not for the reason I thought.

A few years later, I was called in again, in yet a different town for the same damn reason. I asked why, since this was 3rd time I had to go through this process. I was told that there were too many cases and my case had never even been touched. It had been 10 years since we moved out here at that point! This time, the case was handled by a local Family Law attorney. It was handled quite quickly this time but I didn’t know this until one afternoon when the phone rang.

I was outside washing my car when my daughter brought the phone out to me. I asked her who it was and she said, “I don’t know. Some guy.” It was my ex, her father. Imagine a man who supposedly loved his children so much that he couldn’t even say hello to his daughter and ask her how she was, or even tell her who he was! But I digress. He had quite the nerve calling me since I hadn’t heard from him in years. The conversation went something like this:

The first thing out of his mouth was, “You made your point. Can we work something out, please?”

I knew right away who it was and I asked, “What are you talking about?” At this point, I had no idea the state had even caught up to him yet.

“The state of Missouri wants Child Support that I can’t afford. Can we work something out?” He almost begged.

“I didn’t initiate this. The State did. It’s out of my hands. I don’t know what you expect me to do. If you’ve got a court order to pay that amount then making arrangements otherwise isn’t going to negate the order.” I explained.

He emphasized, “I can’t afford to pay this much.” I could almost see his face when he spoke. I had no idea how much the state was asking because I hadn’t even received any paperwork yet.

I told him, “You should have thought about that before…perhaps 10 years ago? If you had been making an effort to support your kids I would have reported that and the amount wouldn’t be so high. Now there are arrears to pay plus regular monthly payments.”

He said, “I’m going to lose my truck and then I won’t be able to get to work.”

“Not my problem,” I snapped.

“It will be when you don’t get your damn Child Support,” he snapped back.

I said, “No, that will still be your problem. Not mine.”

He continued to try to persuade me, “I have two $100,000 Life Insurance policies and the kids are the beneficiaries. I’m going to lose those, too.”

I said, “Still not my problem. You’ve made your own bed here. I can’t do a damn thing about it.” That’s when I hung up.

I know this man well enough to know that he did NOT have any insurance policies of which the kids were the beneficiaries, let alone for $100,000 each. He had accused me so many times about being “all about the money” as he put it. He thought the mention of a high dollar amount would sway me! I have never been one of those women who think only about money! Yes, money was a big problem in our relationship because we didn’t have enough to live! But if I was “all about the money” I would have never even dated him in the first place!

And the fact that he couldn’t afford to pay Child Support was absurd. When I received the paperwork from the state, they had listed his income. He was a truck driver and made good money. When we left him in California, he was making about $900 every 2 weeks and he was making even more at the time of this court order….more than double that amount, in fact. With arrears, the order was for $900some dollars per month. High? Yes, but his own damn fault.

Did he ever pay the Child Support? Well, yes and no.

About 2 or 3 weeks later I received from him, a document that he hired a paralegal to draw up, demanding that I pay for his court costs because he had to go to court in order to get his Child Support reduced to a lesser amount. The legal terms here escape me because it’s been a long time, so forgive the layman speak! I was in total disbelief! How the hell was I supposed to pay his court costs when I wasn’t getting any Child Support? I wasn’t even working at that point because I had started my own home business. I made some calls and was given the mailing address of someone (can’t remember exactly who now) and I sat down and wrote a nice, to the point letter. I explained the situation and said that I had no objections to him receiving a reduced Child Support payment. (I really didn’t want anything from him anyway, so I didn’t care.) I also made sure they knew MY living situation and that I was in no way financially able to pay his court costs.

Not long after that letter went out in the mail, I received a phone call from the person I sent the letter to. She told me, “There’s no judge in his or her right mind who would make you pay for his court costs, so don’t even worry about that.” I was sure glad that was settled!

He had to pay his own court costs and he got his payments reduced to an amount I can’t recall now but he didn’t pay it willingly. His wages were eventually garnished, and I started getting $334 in two payments per month.  He lost his job after a while because “his boss didn’t like the paperwork he had to go through to have wages garnished.” That’s the story his mother told me when she called me. Yep. You read that right. She called on his behalf. I’m sure he put her up to it. That’s the story he gave her. I don’t hold it against her though. He is her son, after all.