Bear with me as I think through this. As you all know Friday was a great day for me. I started garnishment proceedings and learned that the child support enforcement agency in my state considers his current order to still be current despite Rock Star’s graduation, because he has not seen fit to modify it. As of today the difference between what he was going to have to pay and what he is now going to end up paying is well over $5000 and it will only continue to grow.
As you also know my lawyer was quite quick in responding to me on Friday when I let her know she didn’t need to worry about modification anymore. She thought we would be finalizing the modification on Thursday.
This is my dilemma (and I can already hear my mom screaming, “No!!!! Don’t you dare!). I really do feel a little guilty about making him pay $900/month in arrears. Even more than that I feel like I’m somehow lying because I knew the order needed to be modified and knew I was no longer entitled to child support on both kids. It feels dishonest- attempting to modify the support order, my lawyer pushing me to the back burner, and then me filing a case for garnishment.
What can I say? I’m a sucker. I’m a perpetual high road taker, even at my own detriment. I did it all through my marriage. I still tend to do it. So I’m doing my best to think through this and tell myself he does not deserve my good graces. Which he really doesn’t.
My first thought after my attorney contacted me was I could instruct her to tell him to accept us using the $44 premium instead of the $85 premium I know he would insist upon, plus he would cover all legal fees. I’m a bit like my daughter when she said if there was a real purge she would get a sweet tea at McDonald’s and not pay for it. Or maybe grab some clothes. Yeah, it’s a freaking purge and she’s shoplifting. At least now I know where she gets it. I’ve got him by the short and curlies and my big thought is, “I’m going to insist on the $44 premium!”
My next thought wasn’t much better. I was going to insist he take the old offer and we could use the new figures going forward. I would have received an additional $300/month since June until December, and then child support would have been less than $200 more from January forward. He would also still be responsible for all legal fees.
I might be working my way up to vandalism in this purge, but I’m still not going for the throat.
Thought #3 was insisting we use the coverage for both kids through December, since I couldn’t take Rock Star off anyway. That would probably equal the same amount as just going with our original offer.
By thought #4 I was finally catching on that I could pretty much ask for the moon and the stars if he realized he was going to end up being responsible for the full amount of child support unless we came to an agreement. That’s when I decided I could add things into the new support order. Things like- he would agree to have Rock Star’s insurance included in the child support calculations, and that he would help out with college expenses 50/50. Plus, pay my damn legal expenses. I, in turn, would agree to the lower amount of arrears and would use all my new information going forward. I would turn the new order over to Indiana. The new order would explicitly state what the arrears were so he would no longer be responsible for an additional $900 each month.
Before everyone starts yelling at me let me say there is a reasoning behind this at this point. Three reasons, actually.
First, I am not sure what his reaction is going to be upon finding out he’s being garnished. I mean, I know he’s going to be pissed. I don’t know, however, if he would simply refuse to pay anything until the state garnished him. I can’t take that hit. I also don’t know if reason would prevail for him. Hey, Buckaroo, if you don’t pay you’re even further behind. He might not give a shit because he’s so pissed at me. Or, maybe he’ll be so close to having a heart attack when he finds out what he owes me I can point out: If you agree to this you’ll save yourself close to $10,000 in arrears (I’m figuring it will be another 2-3 months before they begin garnishing and another month before he gets a new order so 11-12 months in arrears). It’s far more cost effective for you to agree to my stipulations than it would be to continue to fight me. Maybe he would jump at that; maybe he would bite off his nose to spite his face. It could go either way.
Second, I don’t like to ever get too cocky. Right now I feel like I’m completely in the driver’s seat- he’s getting garnished no matter what, and there’s also the matter of Indiana going after him for the full support amount for arrears. I know that situation could change, or at least I’m preparing for it. I’m still anticipating him dragging me in front of a judge and having to explain myself. I’m waiting to be told he will somehow get away with this because we had started modifying the support order. I’m always waiting for the second shoe to drop with him.
Third, this is an interstate case. Our divorce is in one state, I live in another, and he lives in yet another. I know that anything that pertains to our divorce will be handled in Virginia. Child support, however, I’m not completely sure how that would work. His first step obviously is going to be modifying the support order so he’s no longer on the hook for Rock Star. Where does he do that? As in, which state would he need to go through?
In Virginia he is imputed. Our incomes are vastly different, especially when he’s imputed. If Indiana modifies the court order I wonder if they would use the same figures, or if I would once again have to prove he should be imputed. If child support was calculated at our current salaries we would be fairly close in earnings seeing as how they will deduct spousal support from his income and they will add it to mine. I don’t want to end up in a situation where I win the battle (a decent amount in arrears) but lose the war ($400-600 less per month in child support for the next two plus years). I have no idea how they would calculate it or how much he would end up having to pay if they didn’t impute his income; I’m guessing.
Let’s say everything goes my way. Either he has to go through Virginia to get it modified, or Indiana uses the imputed numbers for him. Now I’m at a crossroads because once again I’m in the driver’s seat. How do I justify not getting on that high road?
I have pretty much worked it through my mind and as long as the above is true I don’t think I’m cutting him a break. This is how I came to that conclusion, despite my desire to be “nice” and to “do the right thing”.
Part of the reason I would want to be fair is because I don’t want to give anyone the opportunity to call me a greedy, selfish bitch. “Oh, she knew the court order needed to be modified. He was working with her and then she went and did this!” Let’s face it. I will always be portrayed as a greedy, selfish bitch. There will never be any concession I can make that will satisfy him or anyone who supports him. So fuck all of them.
Indiana says the exact same thing I have been saying this whole time. It’s his goddamn job to get this modified! I told him that. I was very nice. I was completely non-confrontational. Have you spoken to your lawyer yet about modifying child support? I realize it will go down but it’s not going to be reduced by half. According to your first conversation with her it would reduce by about $350 but that’s using different numbers than what we have now. That was sent on June 28th and he ignored me, choosing instead to send his “prorated” support for Rock Star. I tried again on July 1st. While I appreciate the prorated child support for Rock Star that’s not what I was referring to. Child support for Picasso is not $900. It’s probably in the $1200-$1400 range. He finally deigned to answer me, letting me know: The decree says $1800 for both. It says there are no separate amounts for each child. Therefore $900 for each. Check your official court documents. H.13 “There is no order for separate amounts of child support for each child.
Even a broken clock is right twice a day so I called my attorney at that point. Maybe he was correct. Maybe that is what I had agreed to. Turns out I had not. He was, in fact, wrong. He now needed to get the order modified.
What does he do? He turns around and calls me a cunt. Later that month when he sends child support he sends me this: Child Support 2018 (original amount absent pending revisionist history). Your attorney has not given me the new $$$ required to keep you and the Potato Chip Squire living comfortably and able to meet up. When that amount is determined… then the amount will change.
Ah, going to dig in our heels, are we?
All that crap? Tells me he knows he needs to get it modified. He knows he’s not paying what he’s supposed to. But as always he’s going to sit there and let me do all the work. If you want the additional money then you need to do all the work. And pay for it.
Not once since July did he ever ask about a new child support order. He was perfectly happy to leave everything as the status quo. Unless I pushed it he was totally content to ignore it. Why not? At this point he had taken it upon himself to modify a judge’s court order and determine how much he was willing to pay, and so far he was getting away with it. Let it ride!
When he’s finally given the new support amount, along with the arrears, he disagrees with them. He wants to play lawyer. He is suddenly able to locate a child support calculation sheet online. He wants proof of insurance. He wants my new pay stub in case I’m making a dollar more an hour (or two dollars in my case). He wants to make sure he pays as little as possible. He is arrogant and dismissive of my attorney. He refuses to pay the legal fees that I’ve had to incur because of his stubbornness.
Once again I’m left thinking that if he had simply taken that first offer and not tried to drag it out or play lawyer, this would already be resolved. He would have a new child support order and arrears would have been agreed upon. Instead, Indiana considers the old court order to be the correct one because he hasn’t modified it yet. So they’re going to treat him as though he’s $6300 or more behind. As I said the other day he should have taken the first offer. It has been his behavior that has led to this.
That’s not even taking into consideration his other shitty texts and messages to me. Anybody remember the infamous Christmas envelopes with the Grinch and robber stamps? Or this gem: Your attorney just gave me permission to take money out of MY 401(k) to pay the arrearage. Figured I should tell you since you have such a watchful eye on MY money.
How about this?
You asked if you could pay every other week since that’s when you got paid. I agreed to that because there was no reason not to. I don’t know if you got paid on the 5th or the 12th but regardless you should have sent the support check already. When can I expect it?
Check your damn mailbox. Greedy much?
I did check. It wasn’t there or I wouldn’t have asked. If it’s easier for you I can just go through the state and have your check garnished. Then you won’t have to be bothered with texts from me.
No idea why you don’t have it. You should. Not my fault if the mail doesn’t arrive in time. By the way I never got proof that you have health insurance on the kids. That would be nice to see as well. You will have your “well deserved” funds in plenty of time before the month end. Don’t stress yourself out.
That was way back in January last year. He did an okay job of getting support to me until April.
The month is almost over and you have made one half of your child support payment and none of your spousal. Do you have a plan to catch up?
Don’t stress yourself. The money will be paid. If you absolutely must know I am catching up from funeral expenses for my mother. Thank you for your condolences and those of the children as well.
The following month he was once again behind. By the 22nd of May he had paid half his child support and a quarter of his spousal support. Once again I sent him a text letting him know there was nothing in the court order about him paying whenever he wanted. I went on to tell him I didn’t care if he paid weekly, bi-weekly or the first of the month, but he needed to pick a schedule and stick with it. If he couldn’t do that then he was going to force me to garnish his paycheck.
Rock Star graduated soon thereafter and I thought my hands were tied until the new support order had been settled.
One of my favorites was his explanation for what the spousal support was for: What’s it for? That doesn’t even deserve an answer. Everyone knows why this money is changing hands. Because the party of the 1st part needs to supplement the inability of the party of the 2nd part to live on her own merits.
In other words, he has been an ass to me at every turn. If I’m offering up a graduation ticket or letting him know about an injury a child has suffered he’s fine. If I ever have to discuss money with him he’s an ass. Is it my fault no one explained to him that affair pussy is expensive?
I’m left with the realization that, much like when I felt sympathy for him when he was testifying at our divorce trial, his own actions have brought this all on.
- He could have modified support when I brought it up and told him he should probably contact his lawyer.
- He could have done the modification paperwork himself if he didn’t want to pay his attorney. He is obviously capable of finding that information and doing that work. Had he said, “Sam, I’m doing it myself to save money. You can have your lawyer look it over if you want,” I would have been willing to do that. I would have given him whatever information he asked for, just as I always have.
- He absolutely refused to pay anymore in child support until I paid my lawyer to modify the court order. The one that orders him to pay me. He knew it wasn’t correct. He knew the moment his lawyer contacted him and he responded in a rage, calling me a cunt. I think I have been very accommodating to a person who has not deserved it. I would have been willing to work with him but he chose to cross his arms and stomp his feet like a toddler.
- He could have chosen not to act like a penny pinching jackass and gone with the first offer. As I said earlier, this would have all been over if he had. Instead he was all, “If we are updating the child support amount owed, then we need to use the actual figures from today to make everything correct and proper.” Not to mention refusing to pay for my legal fees despite the fact that he was the reason I needed a freakin’ lawyer!
- He could have paid support according to a schedule. Any fucking schedule! This is HUGE! The whole reason I even went the garnishment route was because I was tired of never knowing when he was going to pay me. I can deal with his stupid envelopes and all of his crappy emojis (which I suspect are supposed to be obscene). I don’t even really care about his snide comments. I cannot deal with never knowing when the next support check is coming. I’m beyond tired of being stressed out because I have $200 in my account until I either get paid or get a support payment, only to then get paid AND receive a payment from him. It’s feast or famine. I never know if I can go ahead and pay a big bill or not. Never know if I can pay ahead or not. Never know if I can splurge on something or not. Because he refuses to pay on any kind of a schedule. Furthermore, he has completely ignored me when I’ve requested he pick a schedule and stick to it; he’s downright nasty and condescending if I have to ask where it is.
- He is the one that decided all on his own that he was going to modify the child support agreement. He did his own calculations for prorating Rock Star’s support, calculating right down to the moment she graduated. Even when told that this wasn’t correct he dug in his heels. I cannot tell you how many people shake their heads in disbelief when I tell them those stories, and then mumble in amazement, “That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.” He is the one that believes no one can tell him what to do. That’s all on him. I’ve done all I can and I’m taking myself out of the equation.
I was a dutiful, loving wife so I heard many industry stories over the years. At his former company the hourly employees used a point system. You got so many points before you were fired. I remember him telling me how so many of the employees would “play the game” with their points. They generally knew exactly where they were so they knew if they could afford, both financially and point wise, to call in on a Friday and have a three day weekend. He would always tell them, “Eventually you’re going to mess up and I’m going to catch you, and then you’ll be gone.” He was correct. They would forget about a point, or miscalculate when something was going to fall off, or they would genuinely need to use points and they wouldn’t have them.
I liken what’s happening now to that. He’s those guys. He’s been playing with his points for a while now; however, he’s miscalculated and I’ve caught him now.