Resolution

Thank God! The support saga appears to be OVER! I got a text this morning from Jerry Lee letting me know he had received his pay stub and Mississippi had NOT garnished him this time around. Hallelujah! I will have my money as ordered on Tuesday.

Again, he was very nice. I told him that he should be getting the garnished money back within the next 30 days or so. Get this- he offered to try to get the money to me even sooner, before he got all of it back. Told me he didn’t want me to be in jeopardy because of all of this. Say what? When has he ever cared what’s happened to me? Um…. NEVER.

I don’t know what’s happened to him. I think maybe someone has taken his phone and I’m being punk’d. Or he really did get a lobotomy. Or he’s on some really good drugs after losing in court and having to sign his life away for the next 3 years. Or… maybe that kid they discarded somehow hacked into his phone and is promising me the moon in order to fuck with them. Maybe he is honest to God scared he’ll end up in jail. Truthfully, I don’t care what it is. I don’t want to give the impression I’m spending a lot of time trying to untangle the skein here. I simply find it curious and a little unnerving. As I’ve said before I know how to deal with him when he’s being an ass; when he’s being nice I’m totally thrown. Don’t worry, dear readers. We’re not being buddy-buddy. I’m being civil to get this shit done. I’m almost certain we will not have another conversation anytime soon.

I also received an email from the caseworker. She got permission from her supervisor to send me a paper to sign to close the case on Indiana’s end. She emailed and snail mailed the paper to me. I didn’t check my emails until late Friday or it would already be signed and delivered. As it stands I’m signing today and my mom will take it down to the office tomorrow. Done!

I was a little off put though because the form she emailed included the phrasing, “Please review and sign the attached case closure form by no later than 9/25/20. If you fail to sign and return the form, we will send a request to Georgia to enforce the order out of Virginia.” Say what? I told my mom what it said and her exact words were, “Tell them to eat your shit!”

I don’t know if “sending the request to Georgia to enforce the order out of Virginia” means they would take my new order and have Georgia enforce it, or if they were somehow planning on having Georgia modify my freakin’ order without me ever going through another interstate meeting. Regardless it pissed my mom off that they’re requiring me to get something done in 16 days when it’s taken them over 18 months to get him garnished (and then did so when they had no jurisdiction) and they generally can’t even reply to an email any sooner than 8-10 days. I’ll do it, of course, because I want this over, but the sheer hubris of giving me a tight deadline… it boggles the mind.

Anyway, it’s done. It’s over. It all worked out, which I figured it would. I’m deliriously happy that it only took approximately two weeks to get it all sorted once we found out they could really garnish him. I was truly expecting this to be an absolute nightmare that would take months to resolve. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Let’s hope it’s smooth sailing from here on out.

Oh, Mississippi

Is anyone curious as to what has happened with Virginia and Mississippi vying to garnish Jerry Lee?

I know I had a few people tell me not to worry about it; it was his problem. Take the money. Yeah, that’s not really how it would have worked. While I think he’s plenty scared of our judge I don’t think he would have continued directly depositing the agreed upon amount into my account if Mississippi came along and garnished him. And if I took it to court to complain he had stopped it I don’t think our judge would have been very sympathetic to my plight, especially when Mississippi was garnishing him at a higher rate (barely).

Come Monday or Tuesday (the 17th or 18th) I called DHS down in Mississippi. I got the automated system at first. Just for shits and giggles I went ahead and typed in my social security number as asked so I could see if they had any garnishments on the record. Yep, they sure did. And it was for a LOT less than what we had agreed to. In other words, if Mississippi took ahold of this I would be getting screwed out of a lot of money. It was also apparent they were only counting child support arrears. I would still need to go through Virginia for all my legal fees and for the spousal support arrears.

I finally got through to a customer service rep who asked me how she could help. After giving her my information she told me that because it was an interstate case she couldn’t give me any information about it and that either Jerry Lee or someone from the state would have to call.

Are you fucking kidding me? This is MY case! I am the one that is supposed to be receiving money and arrears but no one can tell me how much I’m getting or how they figured the arrears? That’s just dandy! Of course, I shouldn’t be too surprised because they couldn’t tell me how much he was making when I filed the interstate case. They like to keep you guessing! It’s all a big surprise- kinda like the big reveal on those home makeover shows.

At this point I’m panicking. There is an amount listed for arrears. I have a case apparently although no one can tell me anything about it. I am looking at losing around $15,000 and I could possibly have to go through the hell of getting a new order.

I called the caseworker. I told her I had already emailed her and I needed her to call Mississippi because they wouldn’t tell me anything. I needed to know for certain that Mississippi had indeed closed this case because I already had an order signed by the judge.

I finally heard back from her this past Wednesday or Thursday. She said that Mississippi had closed their case and they (the state of Indiana) had not received anything in the way of garnishment from Mississippi. She offered to call Mississippi again to make sure. I let her know that would be delightful. I don’t know how long that’s going to take her, though.

So, for now I’m not worrying. Anymore. I was very worried for a couple of days. Now I figure it’s been handled. I doubt he’s going to try to stop the direct deposit. I’ll be able to tell on Friday. After calming down I’m not sure how on earth Mississippi would have any kind of case to claim jurisdiction. The notice to Jerry Lee was dated August 6th. Our court hearing was July 15th. Virginia beat Mississippi and even if it hadn’t, he no longer lives in that state.

I’m crossing my fingers that the caseworker knows what she’s talking about and I no longer need to communicate with Jerry Lee. Well, except for the $1100 therapy bill I just received.

Yeah, they told me it was $22 a session. That’s what I’ve been billed since January. Apparently at some point my insurance company finally decided to get back to them and said, “Nah, we’re not paying that.” If it was only the $22 I wouldn’t bother with asking him for reimbursement. But we’re now talking approximately $1100 and it’s looking like each session is going to be around $100. $400 a month for therapy because his father abandoned him, or at the very least, passed along his mental health issues to him? Yeah, he’s going to help pay for that.

Thankfully this new court order states quite clearly that he’s responsible for something like 67.5% of the bill. I’ll give him time to pay up but I’m definitely going to make him help pay for it. It’s the least he can do for the son he hasn’t seen or spoken to in more than four years.

He Doesn’t Disappoint

Apparently Jerry Lee is going to take this all the way to the bitter end. It is after 9 pm on the 24th, the day he was to have his “lump sum” of $2000 paid to me. I said I wouldn’t be surprised if he waited until 11:59 to pay it. Looks like that’s exactly what he’s going to do.

I’ve already called my attorney; I waited until 5:30 and then took the plunge. Technically, he’s not late but why let him play these ridiculous games? She said to update her on Monday and if he hadn’t paid she’d put it back on the docket. Or, as she put it, “I’ll haul his ass back to court.”

Whenever it gets down to the wire like this I always start to worry. My daughter just filled out her application for an additional student loan. I told her I could pay her rent so she only took a loan out for the balance of her tuition. If he pulls some shit then we’re both fucked.

All I can say is he is one stupid motherfucker to sign a consent order and then turn right around and ignore it.

UPDATE: He finally sent it at 9:23 pm. Wow- 2 hours and 36 minute early!

Still Celebrating

Sorry I’ve been absent lately. I have no excuse. I’m just reveling in my victory. I still find it hard to believe I won.

Okay, maybe that’s not all that difficult to believe I won but after the last two years… it’s hard to believe it’s finally over. I’m enjoying the sweet, sweet victory. At least until he tries to do something else shady. Hopefully that suspended jail sentence will keep Jerry Lee on the straight and narrow.

A little over two years ago he couldn’t slash child support in half fast enough. I tried to tell him. I gently asked if he had talked to an attorney about getting it modified. He ignored me, then talked down to me, and then called me a cunt. In the end? He had to pay $1800 for the month of June 2018 (and July 2018-July 2020, but who’s counting?) instead of the $200+ he sent my way for her.

I remember him sending me that first post graduation child support, after I let him know it didn’t get slashed in half. He called it revisionist history and insinuated that I was only going after more money so that I could meet up with the mobster. Your attorney has not given me the new $$$ required… When that amount is determined… then the amount will change. So fucking smug. I should have written back, “Take your time. Until the order is modified you owe me $1800.” He wouldn’t have believed me, of course. Now I have the satisfaction of knowing his pomposity came back to bite him in the ass.

I think back to the first time my lawyer emailed him the new figures and how condescending he was. No, he didn’t agree. No, he wouldn’t pay the legal fees. He didn’t have any control over my business affairs. He didn’t tell me to hire a lawyer and he had no control over how long it took her to do her job. He didn’t want to use those numbers. He wanted to use whatever my new pay rate might be. It all needed to be “proper”. Health insurance seemed to be way too much. To be fair, Jane did calculate health insurance incorrectly and it was going to cost him about $200 more than this newest figure. But… $200 more for 3 years versus $900 more for just over 2 years. Hmmm… I think he should have taken the deal.

For the last three and a half years he’s been able to pay support whenever he wants. Schedule? What schedule? Let’s wait until the last day of the month to finish paying what I owe! Let’s not pay anything until the second half of the month. This will be fun!

He has one more chance to mess with me and then I should be paid directly from his employer. He is supposed to pay me the small lump sum of $2000 by the 24th. If anyone was wondering if he’s paid it already, he hasn’t. I’m willing to bet he won’t pay it until around midnight on the 24th. He’ll stretch it out as long as he possibly can because it will be the last time he gets to do something like that.

For almost three and a half years he’s harassed me with snide stamps on my envelopes and obscene emojis and nasty messages in his Venmo transfers. Now that is over. Like I said, he’s got one more chance to make some smart ass comment and then his employer does all the work.

And let’s not forget the God awful saga of going through the state child support enforcement agency. That was an absolute nightmare. First it was going to take 60-90 days. That turned into it will take 60-90 days to go from one state to the other and back again and then another 60-90 days to go to the next state. Then that turned into, “Oh, once the second state gets your information then the county has another 45 days to review the case and decide to file.” Not to mention two moves since March of 2019. Just as we were almost there to take him back to court in Mississippi he up and vanished again.

I suppose in the end it all worked out. While I may have still received the $900/month back support where he didn’t modify the original order, I’m not sure I would be receiving as much child support as I am now and I get that for another eleven months. I was also told by Jane that the garnishment would have only been in effect as long as there was child support to collect. Not to mention I wouldn’t have tax free spousal support.

I walk around and I’m not sure how I should feel. For the past year and a half I’ve been begging people- my lawyer, my caseworker- to help me get him garnished, to make him pay what he owes me. I’ve spent so much time sending emails, doing research, crossing my fingers, and pushing this along. Now it’s done. I won. I can’t say it enough. I won. There’s nothing to do now. Except finish paying my lawyer.

I’m really hoping this brings me to Meh. I’ve been over him for years. I’m slowly coming to terms with this new life I’m leading. I think I’m fairly happy except for the job situation. But even after kicking his ass in court at the divorce trial he has messed with me non-stop since December of 2017. It’s hard to be completely at Meh when someone is messing with you, and that someone holds your financial future in his hands. Now that I’ve got a suspended jail sentence hanging over his head, and the money will be automatically deducted from his check and deposited into my account I am hopeful that I won’t ever have to deal with him again.

Picasso is 18. He wants nothing to do with his dad. I could send him the bills for his therapy, and in many ways I really think he should pay for that because he’s the reason the kid needs therapy. But my peace of mind is worth more than that. I’ll pay the $22 each week and not ask for him to kick in $15.

God willing Picasso will graduate eleven months from now. At the rate we seem to be going who knows if they will even hold a graduation next year? They’re already pulling back from having the kids start in person classes. Picasso has already told me he has no desire for his dad to be there when he does graduate. This time around I will stay out of it. And after graduation day I’m deleting him from my contacts. I could probably do it now, not that we communicate much.

That’s where I am. Just wandering about, pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming, but also wondering how exactly he’s going to fuck this up for me as well. Good thing I’m a fighter.

Patience While Riding a Roller Coaster

Whew! Do I have a story to tell you all. Sit down, buckle up, and maybe pour a stiff drink (or not so stiff) before we begin because this is a long one.

When I last left you I was playing a waiting game. Nothing was progressing. They’d seemed all gung ho to get this over and done with; Jerry Lee’s lawyer was constantly playing “Let’s Make a Deal” with no actual deal offered. Then- radio silence.

Monday afternoon, around 3:30 or 4:00 I got an email from my attorney’s legal assistant. She was asking for my pay information going back to July of 2018, which would have been the month after Rock Star graduated. What’s that you say? I lost it! It was one of those moments where I wish I had been wearing a mask at work because I was muttering under my breath left and right. Motherfucker!

Here my lawyer had not balked one bit at calculating arrears at the full amount of the court order. Now all of a sudden I’m being asked to submit every single one of my pay raises, you know the big fifty cent ones, back to July 2018. Now it seemed that perhaps they were only going to go after the difference between what he should have been paying and what he actually paid. Really?

Of course my phone was almost dead so I couldn’t return the phone call. I had to wait until after work and until I walked to my car so I could plug my phone back in and begin to charge it. To say I was on edge for the next 60 minutes was an understatement.

Once I talked to her legal assistant (let’s call her Sally) she quickly put my fears to rest- mostly. She said according to the law Jerry Lee should have to pay the $902.90 difference but the judge did have discretion in this case. She wanted to be prepared with all of the numbers in case he decided to do it that way. She didn’t want him to have to continue the case and have me have to drive back. She did say that more than likely that’s the way he would rule (for the entire amount, not the difference) but better safe than sorry.

I also got an email from my attorney (let’s call her Jane) letting me know that Jerry Lee was claiming poverty- only $2000 to his name. Funny, because according to his bank records he (they) just rented a vacation home for $1800… His best offer was to continue paying child support after Picasso graduated from high school. She also told me he was going to claim inability to pay seeing as how I take over 50% of his take home pay. He has no way to pay towards the arrears or towards the lawyer’s fees. I’m going to refer you to the sentence above.

He’s got money to pay for an expensive vacation rental. He’s got money to rent another amazing house. Oh yeah, we found that, too. At one point I thought he might have actually cashed in his 401k to put a down payment on it but I believe he’s still renting. They’ve got $900 to blow at Better Homes & Gardens. They got a stimulus check; yeah, he wasn’t making nearly as much as I thought he was at the second job. If you deduct the spousal support he paid he’s under the threshold needed to get a check. He gets a tax refund each year. In other words, he has money he could pay towards his arrears and legal fees, but he chooses not to. It’s more important for Harley the Hillbilly Whore to live in a better home than she’s ever lived in in her life and for them to go on vacation than it is for him to fulfill his obligations.

Essentially, we went from me getting a lump sum, plus an additional $500 and him continuing to pay that amount until all arrears and fees are paid, to him being willing to continue to pay child support after Picasso graduated- which the courts would make him do anyway. I let her know I was not feeling charitable and listed all the different means from which he should be able to pay, or could have been paying more towards all of this- his stimulus check, bonus checks, tax refund, 401k. I also reiterated that it seemed to me staying out of court benefitted him more than it did me.

I went to work on Tuesday a little dejected. Even though not going to court was more his benefit, I do get nervous about it. You never know what will happen. I was hoping we could reach a deal that I could control and stay out of court. Plus, I would be able to drive directly to the mobster instead of making a layover in Harrisonburg.

I left at noon on Tuesday. I got a phone message from Jane about 20 minutes before I was due to leave. I was pretty much finished with everything I needed to do so I returned the call immediately. She conferenced in Sally. Basically, Jerry Lee’s attorney was doing his best to reach a deal. The offer was now a lump sum of $2000 (all the money he has to his name), an additional $1000 a month towards arrears, and he would continue paying support after Picasso graduated (a given).

That’s nice but it’s not enough. I decided to go for it. I asked Jane if I could get it ordered for him to pay me through direct deposit from his company. I am done playing these games with him. I’m tired of never knowing when I’m going to get paid, how much he’s going to pay, if he’s going to pay… This way I would know exactly when to expect the money. I also wanted it put in there that the spousal support arrears are tax free for me. If he gets to pay me over a long period of time instead of coming up with a lump sum then he doesn’t get to deduct that from his taxes. Even better I don’t have to pay taxes on them. She balked a little on that one but I assured her it was definitely possible if he agreed. She said she’d put it in there.

Then she added in talk of interest on the arrears. I had completely forgotten about that.

Finally I mentioned when Picasso graduates next June. I told her I knew it was small potatoes compared to everything else but I wanted to know if we could put something in there about how to calculate that last month’s child support instead of going through him prorating the amount down to the half hour once again.

“Oh, we’re going to have him pay the entire amount for June.”

How you like that, Jerry Lee? Fuck me over and prorate support down to 8:30 the night your daughter graduates? Now you get to pay for the entire month of June when Picasso will actually graduate sometime between the 7th and the 11th.

She said she was going to email Jerry Lee’s attorney and try to get this done. I let her know that I had about 2 hours once I got on the road to make a decision as to which city I would be going to.

Problems ensued. The log I was supposed to send didn’t get delivered for some reason so I had to resend it while on the road. We still hadn’t heard back by the time I was supposed to exit to go to Fieldale so I continued on to Harrisonburg.

We stopped in Ohio to eat lunch. While we were eating I got a call from my attorney. He had agreed to everything! She was literally hanging up with the other attorney to take my call. His lawyer point blank told him he needed to sign or he was going to go to jail. My own attorney couldn’t believe it. As she said, “What an idiot!” I’m not sure if she was referring to Jerry Lee or to his lawyer. She said she would have never agreed to what we asked for.

I was breathing a sigh of relief. Thank God it was over! I couldn’t believe it either. I was almost giddy as the tension left my body. Onward to Fieldale- even though I was now about an hour, maybe an hour and a half, off track. We exited the toll road and headed towards the mobster. Sadly my victory celebration was short-lived.

Around 4:30 I happened to see another email from her. She was forwarding a message she had sent to his attorney. Apparently they were just now figuring out that the child support arrears were not being calculated at the difference between what he should have been paying and what he was paying, but the difference between the original amount ordered and what he had been paying. I thought it had been too good to be true. I was shocked that Jerry Lee wasn’t fighting me on that. His attorney was trying to argue that it wasn’t fair for him to have to pay support for Rock Star because she had aged out of support. Jane went on to point out to him that she had told him there was no Motion to Modify; that was why we were now modifying the child support. More importantly, I was agreeing to modify it now at the same time we were getting this crap done instead of making him file his own damn motion. She was much nicer about it, of course, but that was the gist of it.

I had just finished dictating a response to my mom when my attorney called me. She told me the lightbulb had finally gone off for them (maybe just Jerry Lee?) and he was balking at signing now. He claimed we had an agreement. I told her we had never had an agreement. She was able to pull up all of our correspondence and see that that was true. He refused to accept the numbers she threw out in early December. By January I had decided to go with the state because it was free.

The difference between the two amounts was approximately $20,000. She wanted to know what I wanted to do. Did I want to secure the deal by taking $20,000 less? When I balked at that she offered potentially splitting the difference as well.

I had pulled into a gas station so I could take the phone off of speaker. A million different thoughts were running through my head. I could take the deal. Screw myself and my kids out of $20,000. You all know I’ve been back and forth about whether or not I was truly entitled to that money. It should have been modified. At the same time, he dug his heels in and refused to do so, putting it instead on me. The pro to the deal is I would have the money directly deposited into my account. The $11,000 in spousal support arrears would be tax free. That would be huge. I could also give a little and split the difference. Same pros, same cons. I took a deep breath and told her I wanted to go to court.

Fuck that! I’ve already made enough concessions. I was supposed to have $25,000 by the end of 2018. He never paid and he made it very clear he had no intentions of doing so. His email response to my request was a blunt, “I don’t have it.” Period. No offer to work with me. Not to mention he didn’t even bother to sign his damn name. If I went to court the judge would more than likely order at least 25% of the arrears. Even though my attorney pointed out that they would only calculate the actual arrears and not the legal fees, he would still be ordered to pay a minimum of more than $4000. He was offering up $2000. I had been as gracious as I was going to be. I knew that if I went to court I would lose the tax free spousal support. I knew there was a possibility he wouldn’t bother with ordering Jerry Lee to pay me via direct deposit because, as Jane always pointed out, a Georgia company doesn’t need to follow a Virginia judge’s orders. I had given as much as I was going to give. I might lose some things I wanted by going to court, but I wasn’t going to face an ass chewing either- or potential jail time.

She told me she was going to call his attorney and tell him we would see him in court. I wasn’t going to budge. She would call me back after she had talked to opposing counsel; in the meantime, I should set my GPS to Harrisonburg. I love a change of plans; don’t you?

I had the directions to Harrisonburg on my phone while my mom had the directions to Fieldale on hers. I was still hoping his attorney could talk some sense into him. At the moment the course we were on could take us to either Harrisonburg or Fieldale, but at some point that path would diverge and I would be forced to take one path or the other. Onward we drove.

6:00 I get another call from Jane. She had been talking to his attorney. She had forwarded him all the documentation proving that we never had an agreement about child support modification. She point blank told him she was going to show he had money to pay towards arrears. She was going to ask for jail time. She wouldn’t be offering to modify child support at this hearing; he would have to make a separate motion. The legal fees she had computed would also be going up. After her phone call to him she said he had told her he would be telling Jerry Lee to sign the papers or risk going to jail. Apparently his attorney knew this was not looking good for Jerry Lee. She told me she would call back and let me know if he followed his attorney’s advice but she was confident he would agree.

At 6:45 I get another phone call from her. He was refusing to sign; he was going to fight it. His attorney told him if he wasn’t going to sign then he needed to get in his car and get up to Virginia. He had to be at the hearing. No excuses this time. Damn! Even my lawyer sounded dejected.

I have to say I was pretty calm considering I had gone from an incredible high of getting pretty much what I wanted, down to a low of thinking there was no deal, back up when it looked like he was being advised to sign, and now once again being told I was going to have to appear in court.

As I told Jane I still remember going to court and having the judge modify spousal support back to June when Jerry Lee didn’t make an effort to modify it until November. I knew it wasn’t a sure thing. I knew there was a possibility that child support modifications could be scaled back by $20,000. I wasn’t going to get tax free spousal support arrears. I probably wouldn’t get my money via direct deposit.

As I drove on I practiced what I was going to say if his attorney asked me about my efforts to get child support modified. I was terrified the judge would say I knew it needed to be modified and I had somehow agreed to take on that task by starting the process. I was dreading being interrogated on the stand once again, although Jane had told me all I would be doing is going over my support log and answering the question, “Did you want legal fees from today’s proceedings?” Sounds simple enough but it was terrifying nonetheless. I told myself to buck up. I’m a goddamn warrior. If I was going down I was going down fighting. I would drag that sonofabitch through the mud. I hoped that at least I would get to witness the judge throwing the book at him. I wanted jail time!

Meanwhile, because of all the twists and turns during our trip the drive to Harrisonburg took an additional hour, at least. Plus I was driving state highways instead of toll roads and interstates. Why is that important? It’s important because instead of driving to the hotel from a nicely lit, straight interstate I was driving around a dark mountain from approximately 11 pm until 12:30 am. I am going to lobby to have mountains and countryside roads well lit! We counted at least 6 deer grazing along the side of the road, with one of them deciding to run across the road in front of me. Delightful! We finally checked into the hotel at 1 am. I made notes for court until 1:30 and then set my alarm for 6 am so I could get up and run 3 miles.

I didn’t run after a mere four and a half hours of sleep because I’m an exercise fanatic. I ran because I needed to alleviate my stress. Get it all out! I sweated for a good 50 minutes before heading back to the room to shower and get ready.

My mom and I arrived at the courthouse about 8:40. Court was at nine. We were sitting on the bench waiting for Jane. I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths. I dreaded seeing Jerry Lee. I didn’t think he’d bring Harley along. He’d waited long enough that I didn’t think she could reasonably accompany him if she had a job. Plus, even if she could have got the day off she probably didn’t have childcare for her youngest. He’s probably around 12 now but I still wouldn’t leave him home alone while I traveled 8 hours away. Then again…

We finally saw Jane coming towards us. She said she saw Jerry Lee’s lawyer enter the courthouse but she hadn’t seen Jerry Lee. We went on in and headed to our courtroom.

Inside the courtroom sat Jerry Lee’s lawyer. No Jerry Lee in sight. Maybe he was meeting him there.

He looks at Jane and says something about the signed Consent Order. She looks at him and says, “What?”

“I told you last night we had a deal.”

Uh, no. No you didn’t. She told him she must have misunderstood because she had been working on exhibits for court from 8-10 last night because he had told her Jerry Lee wouldn’t sign.

I’m a bit fuzzy on the details but I do know he mentioned something about Jerry Lee turning around and heading back to Georgia. It sounds like Jerry Lee was planning on fighting it but then decided it wasn’t worth it, or the pain that the judge was going to bring down on him wasn’t going to be worth the $20,000 he was going to save.

My lawyer apologized profusely and told me she didn’t charge me for the time she spent working on the exhibits. Hopefully that would offset the amount of money I had to pay for the hotel room.

By 9:45 we were out of there. The judge went over all the details of the Consent Order and made sure Jerry Lee was not claiming inability to pay. He did remember him from our trial almost 3 years ago. The case remains on the docket to follow up and make sure Jerry Lee is complying with the order.

Oh, and while I was reading the order I asked Jane if we were beginning the new amount next month or this month because the order said July 2020. She realized that was a typo and should be July of 2021. At that point she whispered, “I wish you lived closer. I would hire you in a heartbeat and I would pay you a lot better than what the bank is paying you.”

That’s my story. I WON! AGAIN! I didn’t cave. I’m so happy I didn’t take the reduced offer. Hell, I’m glad I didn’t take the “split the difference” offer. I don’t know and I don’t care what his thinking was. Maybe he figured he could bluff me and I would eventually back down and go the easy, surefire route. That might have worked if I had just as much to lose as he did. But I didn’t. I was willing to go to court and let the judge decide, even if it meant I didn’t get everything I wanted. I kept reminding myself that not going to court benefited him, not me. I was already being more than flexible. I was willing to let him pay me back $60,000+ over a period of years instead of having the judge order to him to pay me immediately, or at least a much greater chunk immediately. If he couldn’t see the allowances I was willing to make, well, he could try his luck with the judge. No. More. Concessions.

Now I get the entire $23,000+ in back child support plus interest. I get tax free spousal support arrears. I get an additional $1000 per month for the next 3+ years. True, it’s all going into savings, but I get it. Best of all he can no longer mess with me. I get that money directly deposited into my account every time he gets paid. No more nasty messages. No more obscene emojis. No more not knowing when or how much he’ll pay.

Oh, and I forgot. There is a suspended jail sentence in the order which means if he fucks up and decides to play games again he goes to jail. Jane told me to text him my account information and if he gave me any attitude to let her know. She also said that all the arrears were calculated through this month so I won’t receive any spousal support but I will receive the $2000 lump sum he’s supposed to pay. That’s okay. I have money set aside and it will only end up being an $800 difference. She told me to let her know if he doesn’t get it set up because she will haul him back to court.

I’m also very glad I advocated for myself and asked for the things I wanted, like the direct deposit and the tax free spousal support. I stood strong. I refused to take less than my kids and I deserved. I put my big girl panties on and I marched forward even when my heart was pounding out of my chest. It wasn’t fast.  It took a lot of patience and a lot of determination. God knows I have dealt with roadblock after roadblock.

This saga began back in June of 2018. He refused to modify support and refused to pay any more towards Picasso. Then he refused the numbers my attorney gave him, being an ass about it all the way. I’ve been trying to garnish him since January of 2019. What was supposed to take four-six months took over a year and then just dead-ended when he moved out of Mississippi to Georgia. I never heard from my caseworker after I last emailed her in March. Jane took over a year to get through all of her pending divorce cases and finally work on my contempt case. But dammit, I just kept pushing on; I saw it through. I didn’t quit. I never gave up. The asshole tax is real and Jerry Lee will be paying it for at least three years.

I didn’t get the life insurance clause added in there like I wanted. I didn’t get as big of a lump sum as I wanted. We also didn’t bring up him needing to pay me bonuses and tax refunds to reduce his arrears and fees sooner. I’m sure he has the ability to pay; he just doesn’t want to. According to their bank records they bring home over $14,000 a month. That’s more than when we were together and he was the only one working. Even with the $4000+ he’ll be paying out for the next 3 years he’s got as much income coming into the house as he did when we were together. I’d say they’re doing quite well for themselves. I don’t feel a bit sorry for him. I’m sure he’ll spin it to whoever will listen that I’m a greedy, gold digging, vindictive bitch that has poisoned his kids against him and tries to take every dime from him. I’m sure it’s all my fault that he owes this because I lied and told him I’d take care of it for him. Guess what? I don’t give a fuck. Go be happy with your whore. Leave me alone and make sure that direct deposit is set up.

This saga is over finally! Thank God! I’m going to say it again: I WON!

Now We Play the Waiting Game

Things were moving fast earlier this week. Jerry Lee was getting pay stubs to me, or rather to my attorney. I was submitting my information. My attorney told his attorney that I wanted a suspended jail sentence put into our agreement…

Now everything has stopped. I’m not sure what’s taking so long. It’s pretty damn simple. He agrees to pay $X amount of money in a lump sum. We modify child support according to my new pay rate and new insurance premiums. He pays that and an additional $500 per month to start bringing his arrears current. He agrees to use any bonuses and tax refunds to pay chunks of his debt off. He understands that my new legal fees are being tacked on to his “bill” and that failure to pay in a timely manner will yield a jail sentence. Additionally, I’d like for it to be ordered that he set up direct deposit so that I am paid when he is paid. It’s not difficult.

I emailed her Friday and asked her what was going on. I also told her that seeing as how court was scheduled for Wednesday and I was leaving Tuesday afternoon if he and his attorney wanted to wait until Tuesday to send me an offer it was going to be too late. This is ridiculous. Maybe my attorney is waiting to see what the all of the requested information tells her.

Speaking of the requested documents… Perhaps you remember the infamous job loss of 2019 which led to the equally infamous spousal support modification of 2019, which lasted until a few months ago when he realized I was planning on taking his ass back to court. Here’s a refresher for those of you who may be new to this sage.

Back on March 7th, 2019 I texted him to remind him that he still owed the second half of his spousal support for February. I asked him if he had a plan for catching up. His response was that he was busy searching for another job because his position had been eliminated. A few weeks later I emailed him to tell him he needed to send me something; although I didn’t say this directly to him I was not going to have a repeat of 2016-2017 where he paid no support for 10 months. I told him that if he had indeed been laid off that he should be receiving unemployment and a severance package. Much to my surprise he actually sent his self-modified child support that month. No spousal support but the child support definitely helped. In April he began sending spousal support again but he was paying me $700 a month less than what he was court ordered to pay. At the time I didn’t realize he had a job so I was thankful for any little bit he sent my way.

Now to present day. It turns out he was not lying about his position being eliminated. I think that’s a first! The not lying part, not his position being eliminated. His last day was two days before I texted him. Here’s where it gets interesting. He couldn’t pay the other half of his February spousal support because he was being downsized and yet he was paid the entire month of March (and February, as well). His last regular check in March was almost $2000 less but he got paid the entire month of March. So in March, when he sent nothing for spousal support, he was still getting paid. And in April when he decided to modify spousal support on his own? He already had his new job AND he was getting paid his entire paycheck from his previous company.

That’s right. He did indeed get severance pay. It wasn’t long- 6 weeks apparently- but he got it. And he chose to fuck with me instead of doing the right thing. He’s taking in almost an additional $8000 per month and he can’t catch up on spousal support. Hell, he couldn’t manage to pay what the judge ordered him to pay and instead shorted me $700 a month. He also couldn’t manage to begin paying the legal fees he was ordered to pay and for which he had an entire year to come up with the funds.

The income information from his last job and his bank records should prove interesting. I’m waiting to see what kind of a tax refund he got and why it never crossed his mind to use some of that to catch up on his obligations. We’ll see if he got two big moving paychecks as well, and what he did with all of that. Maybe there were bonuses. At the first company, the one that has already forwarded his records, he got small bonuses- like $2000. I wouldn’t sneeze at a $2000 bonus but I don’t make shit. This man, however, used to bring home a bonus check of over $30,000. Hell, I can’t remember the last time since he first started getting bonuses where he took home less than $10,000. Now he’s at $2000? Must be disappointing.

Meanwhile, I wait. That seems to be all I do.

The Beat Goes On

Happy Independence Day! I think I may almost be free of Jerry Lee’s stupidity. Here’s an update for anyone interested.

I did write my lawyer back and informed her that Picasso had not graduated from high school yet. I asked, “Doesn’t he have to pay until Picasso graduates from high school?” Yes. He’s going to have to wait to prorate child support down to the half hour until next June.

She wrote me back and let me know, to no surprise of my own, that what his lawyer was offering up was something that would happen anyway. In Virginia if your child has been emancipated and you still owe arrears you continue to pay those arrears in the form of your previously ordered child support. So whether he offered to do so or not, he would be ordered to continue paying child support until the arrears were paid off.

She told me that if we went to court he would probably be ordered to pay at least 25% towards his arrears in order to stay out of contempt. Why that would be acceptable is beyond me. He was given a year to pay the attorney’s fees; he was reminded at the one year point and his response was, “I don’t have it.” That was it. No, “Can we work together to come up with a plan?”. No offer to pay extra to meet that obligation. Certainly didn’t think to pay me a chunk from a bonus if he got one, a tax refund, or a stimulus check. Now it’s going on two years since it was due and the courts will only require him to pay 25%? Hard to believe, but that’s the information I’m being given.

With that in mind my attorney suggested we work towards getting a lump sum paid towards spousal support and then tacking on an additional $500 to his current obligation. Plus, he will continue paying child support and the extra $500 until he has caught up. By my calculations even if he begins paying the extra $500 in August it will still take him over two years to pay his arrears.

I let her know my problem with this is that Jerry Lee doesn’t follow court orders very well. I think that’s being generous. I told her I would prefer to see what he’s actually making and if there are any bonuses. I wanted to know if it could be written that he would turn over any bonuses and tax refunds to get his arrears paid off more quickly. I really do not like the idea of him having more than two years to play games with me.

Yes, the extra money would be nice but it’s not really extra money. That $25,000 was supposed to go towards paying off my remaining bills and going into a savings account to go towards taxes and possibly a house of my own. The $10,000+ he owes in spousal support will need to be set aside as well for taxes. And the child support? Well, that is extra money. It’s money I can use to help Rock Star while she’s in college. It’s money I can use to help Picasso buy a car once he gets his license. It’s money for Christmas gifts. It’s money for savings. It just seems to be easier when you collect it in one lump sum to put it away and do with it what you should. Getting an extra $500 a month requires discipline. Not that I don’t have it, of course. But, it’s also a matter of things taking longer as well.

Anyway, this is the best part. My attorney let his attorney know that Picasso was still in high school so his client would still be paying child support for him. At this news the opposing counsel  asked if it would still be possible to work out a deal and have his client continue paying support after his obligation would have ended. He asked about his client coming up with either a lump sum or a little extra each month for the next year and then putting the plan into place. So my attorney writes back and lets him know that currently his client owes me in excess of $50,000 and that’s BEFORE attorney’s fees related to this latest show-cause hearing. She even put before in capital letters. She gave him a proposal and told him that she did not think the judge was going to be happy with Jerry Lee seeing as how not only has he made no attempts to pay the original $25,000 he was ordered to pay, but also he has accrued more arrears.

For those keeping count, this would be the THIRD time he’s behind in support. He’s a goddamn West Point military graduate. They pound honor and duty into their heads the entire four years they’re there. Yet he regularly puts his cousin and her children, also his cousins, ahead of his own children and neglects to pay his support obligations in a timely manner.

She went on to tell him she thought that a negotiated settlement would be much better for him than facing the judge. As Bill Murray said in “Stripes”, “That’s a fact, Jack!”

Finally, she mentioned Jerry Lee potentially paying off larger chunks of his obligation with any bonuses he may receive, and suggested we exchange income information so that we can finally modify child support. Of course, Jerry Lee will be paying for this because he’s paying the legal fees for this latest go-round.

We’ll see if he takes the offer. Really I think I should have hit him harder but my lawyer jumped the gun a bit. I should have gone ahead and told her my proposal was that he pay the $25,000 in a lump sum. I would allow him to pay the back child support in regular payments after Picasso graduates. As for the spousal support he could either pay me in one lump sum, or he could pay me in payments with the caveat that if he chooses the payment plan, he will take the hit on the taxes, not me.

That would have been a much better plan, although I don’t know if he has $25,000 sitting around. Probably not because Harley likes to spend it as soon as he makes it. I try to be prudent instead of vengeful. I could demand the full payment but if even the courts wouldn’t make him pay it all in one lump sum I don’t know what good it would do. I’m just trying to get this done with the least amount of anxiety and money as possible. Of course, I’ll also be asking about some sort of clause we can put in there that says if he defaults on this for any reason something horrible happens to him- whether that’s we automatically go back to court and there will be no settlement talks, he goes to jail, or he faces an automatic fine. I’m tired of him playing these games and deciding on his own that he’s going to switch up the rules. Hopefully this puts an end to it.

Here’s What I’m Willing To Do For You!

I have court in a little less than 2 weeks. Supposedly Jerry Lee and his new lawyer were going to write up an offer. I haven’t seen one yet. I did get an email from my attorney today, though.

Apparently in reviewing his client’s file he “realized” that Jerry Lee was due a reduction in child support because Picasso had turned 18. Jerry Lee is generously willing to continue paying what he’s already paying and apply that to the balance owed. That’s his amazing offer so far.

Never mind the fact that yes, his son did turn 18 yesterday, but he just finished his junior year of high school. Never mind the fact that he won’t begin his senior year until next month. Never mind the fact that he doesn’t graduate until June of 2021. He’s 18 now so he’s on his own as far as Daddy is concerned. Oh, and never mind the fact that a quick Google search clearly spells out that child support stops at age 18 UNLESS the 18 year old is a full time student.

His big offer is he’ll stop paying legitimate court ordered child support on his son who has not yet graduated from high school in order to make up for the two years where he self-modified child support the moment his daughter graduated. It’s a two-for, if you think about it.

One, he gets out of child support actually being modified and reflecting what he should be paying for his son. Two, he gets to forego actually supporting his son and instead get a head start on those arrears he built up by being a stubborn, know-it-all ass.

Yeah, no. That’s not going to happen. I emailed my attorney back and informed her that Picasso was not due to graduate until next June. I’m not taking some half-baked offer to make his life easier. That man knows his son did not graduate, and he knows it’s not because he flunked his senior year. He is perfectly aware of the fact that we delayed sending him to school for an additional year. I cannot believe how stupid he is sometimes.

No, I can. He’s “conveniently” stupid. He doesn’t bother to research the law when it might not benefit him. He’ll just play dumb instead and see if I’m as dumb as he’s hoping I might be.

I am a little nervous about court. You never know how it will play out. I feel like I have the law on my side. Jerry Lee has not done the right thing at any point in this. But you never know. Cross your fingers for me, say a prayer, put it out into the universe, light a candle, meditate, do whatever you do to bring peace and luck to someone. Please and thank you!

Ug!

I had a horrible thought! The stimulus checks are based upon your adjusted gross income. I completely forgot that Jerry Lee gets to deduct all of his spousal support paid to me. If he hasn’t filed his 2019 tax refund it’s possible his income would be under the $75,000 threshold. Fuck! Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me!

In 2018 he worked the entire year at his $100,000 a year job. Not only did he pay full spousal support all year (hooray him!) he also paid me another $16,000 in back support, which is why I got totally screwed taxes last year. Even if his income was a little above the $100,000 mark he would definitely be below the $75,000 threshold. Harley might be a little bit above it, but between the two of them I think they would be under the $150,000 threshold to get the full amount, and they will definitely be under the $198,000. Plus, she will get credit for at least one kid.

So that sucks. Despite the county enforcement agency having my case for over a year I don’t think there’s anything official on the books. Which means no stimulus check is going to be diverted to my bank account. I also know that Jerry Lee is too fucking stupid to put any of it aside for when court plays out. And, he’s not going to try to catch up on anything either. So looks like those two jackasses will get to play with approximately $2900 while I continue to wait for my day in court.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed that their 2019 taxes were already filed so everything was based off of that! He might still get some but it won’t be the full amount. I don’t know why but that makes me feel better.

As Joe Kenda Would Say, “My, My, My…”

My, my, my… what do you know? When faced with a contempt hearing it turns out he can pay what he’s been ordered to pay. At least as far as spousal support goes. He’s still holding out on modifying child support, of course, but he is paying the court ordered amount of spousal support. For now.

Life is so full of mysteries. Like, how even though he’s making more money now than when the original order came down, he couldn’t seem to come up with enough money to pay what was owed. I wonder if that’s because he doesn’t take into consideration his court ordered obligations before he decides where to live or how much he (they) can spend. Or, how he’s suddenly able to pay the full amount now that a court hearing is on the horizon. Do you think I would have seen that full amount unless he found out he was going back to court? I don’t.

I would have loved to have seen the look on his face when he found out I was taking him back for the missing spousal support AND $19,000 in back child support where he hasn’t modified the order. Even if I don’t get it just the thought of what he must have looked like when he found out is enough to make me smile. That doesn’t even include the legal fees he has yet to pay.

Thank you to everyone who mentioned the possibility of me getting his stimulus check because of back support. I don’t think that’s a possibility for several reasons, the main one being he makes too much money. He supposedly made $100,000 at the job in Kentucky. I would bet dollars to donuts that he got quite the nice raise when he made the move to Mississippi and yet another nice raise when he went to Georgia.

Then I started thinking about the possibility of them filing a joint income tax return so perhaps the stimulus check would be based upon their joint income. I don’t think she makes enough to disqualify herself from getting a check but I do think she probably makes over the $75,000 threshold, and together they make more than a couple can make and still get a check. I did think that would be hilarious though if they did get a stimulus check based upon the fact that she might qualify and then I turned around and got their check. I mean, I would find it hilarious; I’m sure they wouldn’t think it was anywhere near as funny.

Plus, I’m not even sure he’s on record as being behind. I really have no idea the status of my case, or if they’re at the point where they could take tax refunds and stimulus checks. I submitted my garnishment papers and have stated he never modified child support which makes him, oh, around $19,000 behind, but I don’t know that anyone at the state has actually entered that anywhere. In other words, I don’t know if any official enforcement office considers him to be in arrears.

Speaking of the glorious state of Indiana… I still have not heard from my caseworker. I emailed her close to a month ago, maybe more. I don’t know if she’s still working there, been fired or quit. I don’t know if she’s ignoring me. I don’t know if she told others to ignore me. I don’t even know if she knows at this point that he no longer lives in Mississippi. If she does she sure as hell hasn’t informed me. Maybe she’s hoping I’ll just go away.

Quite honestly, she may be getting her wish. My lawyer can’t understand why a judge in whatever state needs to be the one to modify the court order. I’m not going through this shit again. I won’t be able to get anything in place until December or January at the earliest. Picasso graduates in June. I’m supposed to go through all this crap in order to get less than six months of a garnishment? I don’t think so. My plan right now is to sit my lawyer down once I get the new order and have her help me fill out the forms I’ve printed off. Then I’ll send it directly to his place of employment. Once I know how to fill out the forms I’ll just keep a set handy for the next time he decides to switch jobs and I’ll send them to the next place as well. I hear the turnaround for that is pretty damn quick compared to the six freaking months it took to get… well, nowhere really. All that time only to finally get to the finish line and find out the motherfucker has moved again and no longer lives in Mississippi.

Oh well, in a world where people are being laid off left and right I still have a job, he’s still got a job, and he’s at least smart enough to continue paying.