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Forgive $38K in Back Child Support?

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This past Sunday, the New York Times ran a Motherlode article that incensed me. Entitled “Forgiving $38,750 in Child Support, for My Kids’ Sake” by Kimberly Seals Allers, it smacks of the popular divorce narrative that eating shit sandwiches is ennobling.

The author’s ex-husband for some sad sausage reason, could not pay his $600 a month child support. So she “creates a new currency” and allows the guy to do chores instead.

I negotiated new currencies such as additional time when I needed child care, meal preparation, haircuts and even helping with home repairs, instead of acting as if a cash payment was all he had to offer our children. The look on their faces when he came to pick them up was more than worth it.

First off — him watching his OWN CHILDREN is not “child care” — it’s called visitation. And having your ex in your house to make meals and fix things is keeping some weird family cake alive. Different strokes for different folks, but I’m sure this would put a crimp on one’s dating life.

“Who’s that guy in the kitchen?”

“Oh, that’s my ex, Bob. He just cooks here.”

How nice for Bob to have a place to play family without the financial entanglements that the state requires.

We’re supposed to pooh-pooh the idea that men are more than their paychecks, but I’m sorry I don’t buy that. Real men financially support their children. Period. If my husband were writing this column, he’d write Real Men Have JOBS. (Don’t start him on the “value of work” rant.)

My heart goes out to every guy chump who gets half time with his kids now, and the injustice of alimony. (Which I think should be null and void if you cheat.) But child support? Damn straight you should pay that. It SUCKS that it goes to support the household of the ex-wife (and perhaps her affair partners), but we don’t have a better mechanism to ensure children are financially cared for. And visitation is never supposed to be tied to support. Screw the parents who play that game (called “pay per view”).

But this idea that forgiving a financial debt to your children is BEST for your children strikes me as the worst sort of spackle. One commentator said it was akin to bribing your ex to be in his kids’ lives.

Allers writes:

Studies prove that school-age children of involved fathers have better academic success, higher grade point averages and go on to have higher levels of economic and educational achievement. We focus on money, when “child support” also means emotional support, academic support and the supportive power of a male influence in a child’s life. Negating that value is dangerous to our children. Regardless of what I think of him, my children love their father and doing my part to keep that feeling alive is priceless to me.

Studies PROVE? Seriously? Look, I’m all for involved fathers (and mothers), but not everyone gets two committed parents. That doesn’t mean our children are doomed to academic underachievement. HellOoo, President Barack Obama didn’t have an “involved father”! Abraham Lincoln was apparently estranged from his.

Fathers have not historically been all that “involved.” They migrate, fight in wars, die young. Some leave. But — OMG, consider the grade point averages!

The author’s ex, while grievously behind on his financial obligations, does appear to have enough money to move overseas and remarry.

But last June, my daughter graduated from middle school. She wanted nothing more than for her father, who has moved back to his native England, to attend her graduation. (Our children spend 6 weeks there with him every summer.) He could not travel to the United States to attend, he and his new wife said, because of his child support arrears and subsequent arrest warrants.

So she goes to court to forgive the debt, reasoning that she wouldn’t see the money anyway.

Yes, it mattered to me, especially during those difficult years after divorce when money was tight. But I have scraped to get by, and I view him as having been unable to pay, not unwilling. But our broken system lumps both kinds of fathers together in the same prison-bound barrel.

Oh, I see. You have the Better Sort of Deadbeat. If he’s “unable” — the law has a remedy for that, called child support reduction.

What is too heart-breaking to consider, however, is that yes, he is “unwilling.” That he makes choice after choice after choice signifying that you and your children are not a priority in his life. Haircuts notwithstanding, he chooses to not pay a modest amount of support and is perfectly okay with you struggling. You refuse to connect those dots, Allers.

I was a single mother for years. I figured out how to raise a child on my own with my sole income. His father had a fraction of the responsibility and expense and could not manage.

I have zero sympathy for dead beat parents. None.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Conversely, you have the hellbent on 50/50 parents. Both my exes fought tirelessly for equal and shared custody with no or minimum support, and the equal parenting died with that exhaustive effort. Over the years, despite my facilitating things, paying for everything, keeping my mouth shut, the whole half and half thing dwindled over the years to no visitation or a few days a month. I was fine with that, as it allowed both children to have a far more stable life than trudging back and forth like human versions of the Stanley Cup.

    But sometimes I think I should have fought harder and forced them to pay. When I think of the thousands the kids and I gave up so that Tom and Jerry could follow their bliss, their addictions and their Schmoopies, it makes me a bit regretful.

    • The 50/50 thing is such a common ploy to not pay support. I’m sure from the court’s POV it’s hard to parse the people who sincerely want half time with their kids from the ones who just want to skip support payments.

      FWIW, my lawyer used to say he wouldn’t give that arrangement to a dog.

      In my experience, it doesn’t last. Kids get sick of the back and forth.

      • Don’t be too quick to judge. It works both ways. My cheating wife took the kids and reduced me down from seeing my children every single day of their lives to a third. The children are desperately upset that I haven’t got 50/50. And I have to pay her £380/ month for the privilege of them living in a disordered environment. Makes me sick.

        • I think chumped men deserve 50/50 or primary custody. It’s making the best of a bad situation. But 50/50 is also prone to abuse. I have some sympathy for the courts sorting this stuff out.

          I’m sorry for your situation Matt. Are your children old enough to have a voice with the court?

          • Not yet. They are 8 and 10. I’m still licking my financial wounds from the last round of court appearances. The children didn’t particularly enjoy being interviewed by social services and have asked not to go through it again. I will try again when they are 10 and 12.

            • My problem is that after paying 26,000 a year in after tax dollars and after cleaning up all the debt my Xw incurred , I can only afford a two bedroom condo.
              my kids are 1214 and 16 and I think would like to live with me, but coming g up with the down payment and the increased mortgage for a house is not easy.
              it is so unfair that my Xw got primary custody just because she stayed home, where she did almost no housework , cooking or laundry.
              but, that is the way courts here see it, apparently.

              • Arnold, i always thought the court considered the behavior of parents when considering custody. And I believe your children are old enough to decide. Children this age need a supportive environment, and cheaters cannot put a child’s welfare first. Character should matter especially with teens involved. It’s just not right.

              • I don’t know about that, your comment above says you didn’t try to get custody so there is no way for you to now say “that’s just the way the courts see it”.

        • Matt,

          My cheating ex-wife gets £1000 per month in spousal and child maintenance and I have 50/50.
          Her affair partner stays over most nights I’m told by the kids, and yet she is not cohabiting according to her. My solicitor says that I can’t do anything about it — they need to get married for me to stop paying spousal maintenance.

          One of the many shit-sandwiches I have to swallow, is that I pay for her to have the children. My perspective is that if she was smart enough to have an affair and implode my family, she should be smart enough to earn her own keep and not rely on my money.
          My 2 holidays in the last 18 months were with the kids. She has been on 10 trips abroad in the past 12 months and counting… the last one was two weeks ago to Bali for 10 days with her AP. That makes me sick. But I’m a great believer in karma.

          • Matt, I feel for you and hope you get to at least 50/50 soon.

            TLC,

            I am in a similar situation. I am asking for a 65/35 or 6/40 arrangement (me: >60), but I know it could end up 50/50. I don’t want the kids going back and forth all the time, so hopefully the 60/40 thing will work out.

            My cheating stbx has not been a very good mom, and I have done 90-100% of the parenting for the last 3 years – but that isn’t easy to prove even if you have lots of evidence.

            For this privilege of surviving betrayal and losing my kids 40% of the time, I am looking at paying $2500 a month for four years, plus almost half of my pension value and half of the house equity.

            But it beats staying married to someone who has lost and abused my trust.

            • Guys I dealt with this in my job all the time. What you have to do is document, document, document. It doesn’t matter what court, criminal or family, you still have to have proof. Some judges stink but those with a modicum of common sense figure out what is going on. Sometimes their decisions are tied to legal issues.
              I know a woman who ran around, went to church every Sunday and kept her poor husband half crazy over her very disordered behavior. In our state a child can choose at 14. Like bullets shot out of a gun, one by one, they went to their Dad’s and their mother is still bitching about it years later. He never even asked for child support he was so glad to get them. They are much closer to him and have a distant relationship with her. BTW, she is still as self centered as she ever was proving that BPD, NPD, HPD are permanent. I try very hard to be where she isn’t.

              • My daughter now spends the majority of her time with me. We go to the gym together, we are now training for a 1/2 marathon.

                I think she likes the more orderly approach at Chez Dad compared to the “What guy is living here this week” approach of mom.

                Honor roll student, three honors courses, all while working a part-time job, 4 hours a week climbing team practice, etc.

                I won’t bother trying to diagnose my ex. I really don’t communicate with her. I don’t trust her. If she wasn’t open and honest about how she felt, how can I trust that what she is telling me is the truth. I’ll let my daughter tell me what she needs and wants. No need to have it pass through the filter of my lying, cheating ex-wife.

            • I have no respect for women like this. They are the ones who cheat and then go after there husband’s money. Gross! I have no choice but to go after my cheater’s money. I put my own career on hold to be a stay at home mom for many years and wouldn’t trade that for anything. But now I’m starting almost from scratch and need to be able to live until I can get totally on my feet. Plus my husband hid $80,000 of credit card debt from me and wants me to pay half of it. The evil never ends in these people.

              • I am hoping your name wasn’t on the credit cards. My x never even mentioned his because of his porn and whore addiction. However equitable does not mean you are responsible for things he purchased. X ran up a lot of hotels on his since 2010.

      • “The 50/50 thing is such a common ploy to not pay support.”

        My ex actually wrote to me that if I wouldn’t agree to the low amount of child support he wanted to pay, he would fight for 50/50 so he wouldn’t have to pay anything. What a charmer. My attorney couldn’t believe it.

        • Get ready for this entitled doozy- My STBX told me that he might fight me for 50/50 to get his payments down but even if he didn’t and I got primary custody (which I did) that I might have to pay HIM.
          Yep, he went in to our domestic relations hearing convinced that I’d end up paying him spousal support/alimony while having our child 80% of the time because he thought him attending college (even though he had failed out by this time and didn’t think I knew…I had the letter from the Dean with me at court that day. Surprise!) would get him out of providing me with child support.

          I laugh every time I think of how delusional he is/was. He also still vehemently denies to this day that he filed for support from me and denies that he also filed for me to pay ALL his legal fees. Yet it’s right there in black & white on the divorce papers. Not only did he want to abandon his family, cheat and have me pay him to be a deadbeat but he also wanted me to pay for all of it!!! Oh the irony.

          Ahhh….good memories….

          • Any tricks on getting 80% custody? I would like to get this for my children’s sake but live in such a strong 50/50 state.

            • Nicole, I obtained it because Gollum was more concerned with his personal life than being a responsible parent. He actually volunteered the 80/20 split and claimed it was our daughters best interest to be with her mother. He was right, it was in her best interest but that’s not why he did it.
              I was very lucky, he could’ve asked for 50/50 and easily gotten it. PA loves “involved Dads” and since there’s no determining what their motivation is for wanting 50/50 the courts assume it’s purely from a non selfish standpoint.
              But now that he’s voluntarily given up much of his time it’s unlikely it’ll ever get to 50/50 in the future, should he change his mind or decide that there’s a place for her in his life besides a weekend trophy to refill his ever depleting kibble supply.

              The only general advice I can give on anything with a narc is to utilize your own manipulation. If I want to plan something with my daughter on his day I appeal to his uncontrollable desire of image management and I display the options so perfectly that he thinks he’s making the choice all by himself, when in reality I’ve lead him to it. It’s a terrible way to have to deal with a person but I learned these tactics for survival while we were together. They have to think they’re winning something and they have to think they were the great mastermind behind it.

              • Example so it’s easier to understand:
                He had her for Easter this year (Saturday morning to Sunday evening) and also had her the Saturday before that from 8:30-5 (per my work schedule). So I was able to get out of work early to take her to an egg hunt that Saturday the week before Easter but I know he often thinks it’s fishy when I ask him to give up a day with her because he doesn’t want to look disinterested in her, even though he is. So I sent him a text saying this: hey, would you like to have this weekend to yourself and some time to relax? My parents and I would love to take baby girl to an egg hunt since we won’t be seeing her for Easter. Do you mind giving up that time with her so we can do this together?.

                It was all true, zero lies, but it’s all in how I worded it. At first he said no, he’d miss her. Then, like I figured, 3 hours later he had “thought more about it and really thinks it would be good for her and he knows my parents would love that”. I presented him with an out that would keep his superdad image intact and the possibility of looking like a hero to my parents that loathe him, all while he wanted the weekend free of responsibility anyhow but wouldn’t dare admit it.

                Sad but true….this is how I’ve learned to operate with this nut. But only when it coincides with his time. Otherwise it’s NC.

        • Glad,
          Mine wanted to settle ‘ out of court ‘ He wanted the divorce papers to reflect 50/50 custody on paper because he didnt want child support to affect his debt to income ratio. Verbatim. He said ” I will give you money each month and she wil live with you. I just need it to reflect something different on the divorce papers so it doesnt affect my credit. I cant buy a home or anything if child support is on there. What dont you fucking understand? ”
          When I wouldnt agree to that( with a long expalnation on how it would potentially create further break down in the trust between us( what the fuck was I thinking trying to talk to him)! He assaulted me…. And told me” there are ways to deal with you outside a court room. I will kill you. You wanna play, lets play” all in front of our daughter.

          • I’m sorry TheClip, it’s what they do in privacy when the usual control tactics do not work. Escalate to physical violence, it happens and it sucks your daughter saw that. Jedi Hugs!

            • No. And if I had a do over… He would be behind bars. He is the law. All i could think was… Just what I need him out of a job… I am certain he would kill me. He told me many times’ Call the cops… Who do you think is gonna come? ” and ” there are ways to deal with you outside a court room. ” my favorite…. ” i know how to twist words. They will never believe that you are doing anything but trying to pin a false claim against me”
              He is a scary mother fucker and I have no doubt that he would kill me if i crossed him. That I have no doubt. He can look you strait in the eye… With a giant shit eating grin… And thru that false smile and clenched teeth… In almost a whisper… Telling me he is gonna kill me.
              The monster i married is a chameleon.

              • Clip, the more I hear about your ex, the more I’m convinced he is a bona-fide sociopath. And the more convinced I am that you are a total warrior woman. If you haven’t already, please read The Gift of Fear. I’m re-reading it (on vacation), and realizing that a restraining order would probably backfire in my case, and it sounds like it would in yours as well. Sure wish we lived closer.

              • Don’t second guess yourself TheClip, it is just as likely he might have gotten you thrown in jail (like my ex did) or he might have killed you. I think your gut gave you good advice, you got out alive. Jedi Hugs!

          • I read more and more about men who kill women over child support over the last five years than in any other time in history.
            history.
            In most cases, the man killed the woman not over not wanting to support his children, rather the man killed over being denied access to his children and the support collection unit being heavy handed with his freedoms (i.e. license, passport, threats of jail time).

        • My ex also told me originally that he wanted 50/50 until I informed him that any and all child care that he might need on his time with the kids would have to be hired out. I would not “babysit” for him. He changed his tune really fast; while he loves his precious money and likely loathes paying some out to me for CS every month, the idea of having to care for our kids for all of that time every week freaked him out even more.

          He and the Owife have a cushy little situation going now– her two kids are both in school and then attend after school and summer programs that keep them out of the house even longer (she’s a SAHM– it’s not like she has to have the child care because she works), and when my kids are with me, her kids are with her ex, so they get every other weekend off to play carefree, romantic couple. The thought of having my kids for one overnight and EOW makes me feel ill, but since ex-cheater is all about his selfish needs, it suits him to a T since he can “play” at being daddy and then send them back to me for the real parenting that occurs the other 90% of the time. I’m sure that the 50/50 split would have deteriorated pretty quickly if I had consented to it.

      • My EX’s first suggestions regarding the kids came with a specified number of days that he HAD to have them each year. My lawyer quickly pointed out that the number was the required minimum to enable him to qualify for paying almost no support in my state. I never thought I’d get money out of him anyway, so I only argued for time with the kids (requested no financial support for any of us), and what do you know, he was amenable to “giving” me nearly sole custody. (I think this qualifies as: You Know You Are a Chump when your EX loves his/her bank account more than his/her offspring.)

        The thing I hate about the people “forgiving” thousands of dollars of support is that it seems to reinforce the argument that custodial parents are routinely given a lot more than they need, support-paying parents are always screwed, and that Moms can live the high life if they just get a divorce. Each case is different, but women and children are a lot more statistically likely to be impoverished by divorce than men.

        On the other hand, I’d agree to forgive my EX practically anything if he’d move to another continent and never return. Maybe the author of the piece is more clever than we are giving her credit for!

  • I guess it meant more to that chump to get attention for her “good deeds” rather than having her cheater pay what is due. Oh, but isn’t she awe inspiring? I can almost see her halo.

        • Lots of kibbles in a nyt article. Sort of a mt Whitney of kibbles. Just saying. Deadbeat dad and narc mom?

      • I have had IMMENSE pressure to forgive the $90,000 plus owed to my children as their cheating, deadbeat POS “dad” has paid about $3,00 in 7 years, despite me being an at home mom with 2 preschoolers when he left, and him having a great job, jetting around the world with OW and both of them driving new Mercedes he paid for with cash. By the time they are both 18, that number will likely be almost a half a million $.

        Every time the courts catch up to him, he threatens to kill me/them, or sue for custody (since courts love dudes who leave their kids for another country and don’t speak or see to them for 7 years, but ya know, he’s charming and an “awesome dad” – just ask him). Anyhow – I have a protection order, and the advice of several great attorneys and counselors who have told me 2 important things.
        1) It’s not MY money; it belongs to the kids. Sure, the ideal is that a non-custodial parent pays monthly, and that money is used for the daily expenses of rasing the children. Never had that – never will. If and when they ever see a lump sum, they deserve to have it – it’s not mine to decide. I had to work my a** off to pay for college and a decent life, and it would be nice for them if they didn’t have to struggle quite so much. When they are grown, if they choose to “forgive” that debt, or take it and donate it to charity for single moms (my daughter’s intent if she ever sees it), that will be their call.

        2) The other thought was that folks like this respond to enforced boundaries. I was a total chump during my marriage, and he knew it. Not anymore. He filed 2 years ago to have C/S reduced, and he lied. I told the caseworker he was lying, despite him threatening me. I got the CPO extended – same deal. Forgiving the arrears is just one way of saying “threaten me, and I’ll fold; keep doing it.” Sure, he could snap and kill us; but he has lots of other issues (back taxes, several felony fraud cases, etc) that get the same treatment, so it’s not like dropping this one thing will keep us safe – or I would have long ago. Anything that goes wrong in his pathetic,fake life is cause for threats to me and the kids; that’s the game.

        We pray a whole lot, and his life continues to be a lying, cheating disaster. “Forgiving” what he owes his kids will not change that; it just shows him that his actions don’t have consequences. That’s not a lesson I’m going to help teach anybody – not anymore.

      • Yes, and think of what $38,000 can provide in terms of health insurance (for those in the U.S.). medical and dental care, clothes (and not fancy stuff–just the stuff they grow out of every 3-4 months). Child support is supposed to meet the needs of the kid. I’ll give Jackass this–his XW#2 got big buck in child support because she timed her case right and maximized the amount. He always paid. But the kid ran around in shoes with holes in them and shabby clothes. She wouldn’t replace the kid’s computer. If the kid got a gift card, XW#2 would lock it up. So aside from having your kids raised in a house with revolving “boy friends,” some men end up paying and watching the kids get nothing from it.

      • I think the kids are the only ones that can forgive this debt, as others have said. The mom cannot do this.

      • He cheated his children and the system. And what is she modeling for her children? Yes your dad is a slug so instead of accepting his responsibilities as a father I will pay HIM to do the chores. Poor daddy still thinks he’s a teenager. I wonder if he’s a basement critter.

  • That lady is a terrible mother. Newsflash: the money wasn’t for her. It was for her kids. She gave away $38,000 . . . that belonged TO HER CHILDREN. Which isn’t far from stealing it herself. What? So she could feel more evolved? F*ck that. That won’t pay the kids’ college tuition. You know what would help with that? $38,000 cash money. “Thanks, Mom. You’re right. You getting to do the Morally Superior Promenade on the Internet for 5 minutes is waaaaaaaay more important that me getting an education or living the first half of my life without an enormous student loan hanging over my head!”

    And as for Lord Grantham? That Limey bastard who chooses to mince about on the other side of an ocean from his kids? Who has to be bribed to be in their lives at all? Bugger that wankstain right in his irresponsible arse.

  • Ugh, this whole article makes me sick to my stomach. X doesn’t have to pay anywhere near $600 a month like in the article, and yet he racked up a pretty sizable back child support debt by working under the table jobs and just not working. Could he get a job? Yes. Does he want to? No. And any time he sees the kids (for his visitation) he considers it “watching” the kids. Like it’s a favor. To me.

    I’ve got to wonder in the story, WTF is up with the new wife in the story? If BF told me he owed $38K in back child support and had arrest warrants out against him because of not paying child support, there would be a Kira-shaped hole in the door, I would be out of there so fast! Not taking care of your kids and being a deadbeat parent is so unattractive.

    • I wonder if there isn’t some narrative about his Horrid Ex-Wife. (Who is pick me dancing and spackling her heart out to forgive.) I’m sure the $38K isn’t His Fault. State made a mistake. Whatever.

      There’s also a chance he simply didn’t tell her. He can’t be extradited for back child support.

      • Yeah, my exH’s sparky new wife thought he was a “great dad” – until she moved here with him (she lived overseas with him) and found out he owes $$ to everyone. Now she parades into C/S Enforcement every couple months dragging his sorry ass like a disobedient puppy. She must have figured out she can’t trust him with that $300 of her money to make the payment – she has to chaperone. Sounds like an awesome time. Snort.

    • It’s interesting because being a deadbeat parent is really yes, very unattractive and I think most of society agrees. But remember when being a deadbeat spouse was very unattractive? Not anymore, many people don’t care. Is this where we are headed with deadbeat parents? Someday it will all just be OK. I’m so tired of having low standards of people in general.

      • Nicole S, I was just thinking the same thing. I don’t have to deal with the custody situation as my children are adults. I feel for chumps having to navigate custody with these entitled assholes who think with their dicks. X was never fussy about what he screwed and thankfully my kids want nothing to do with someone who abuses their mother (on video). Awaiting the final order to have the stumbling drunk loser and his bipolar bar whore out of my life. On a positive note I am finally going on a date with an intelligent human being. I finally have a cheater free life! I am happy!!

  • The ex pays his child support because it comes straight out of his check and goes to my bank account. Thank you Illinois for getting something correct. He and the mistress have both complained to mutual friends how he doesn’t like paying it. I’m sure he thinks I’m spending it on myself (that’s such a common thought) but I’m definitely not. My child requires a roof over her head, heat, food, a taxi service to school, etc.

    After living this nightmare of chumpdom, I do now think that if you are the cheater then you give up the right to be the primary residential parent. That’s only fair. When the ex was out schmoozing with the whore, he would go days without seeing his kid. It’s easy to conclude that the cheaters put other people before their kids and that’s something I could never imagine doing.

  • I am confused as to why this is an either or situation. When you decide to have children you are supposed to be not only emotionally, but also financially responsible. I’m sorry, but that is what you sign up for when you have them. Should he be an involved father, yes simply because that is the right thing to do, but that doesn’t mean he can fiscally dip out. It’s called parenting and accepting the responsibility for what you created.

    • Stayin Strong, I totally agree! In my case, my children are both legally adults so child support isn’t an issue. My STBX makes about $138,000 per year. I make less than $25,000 in large part because I’m working after 20+ years of being a SAHM. I am supporting my daughter while she’s in college and helping my son during the winter when he is unemployed (his job is seasonal) while their dad gives them nothing. And when, as part of a settlement proposal I asked that he continue to keep them on his employer provided medical insurance policy as long as the law allowed or until they could provide their own health insurance, whichever came first, he refused. He said he was willing to “do what he can” for his children (which up to now has been nothing) but he was not willing to have anything put in writing in the agreement. Since I am done running interference between my kids and their dad and pretending he is a stand up guy, I told the kids what he said. They were both terribly hurt by that which made me feel bad but they need to see him for what he is. My daughter sent her dad an email telling him if he didn’t stop jerking me around financially she was going to permanently cut off ties with him. In typical narc fashion, his response was that he was sorry but really, it was ALL. YOUR. MOM’S. FAULT. Luckily she’s too smart a cookie to fall for that nonsense.

      • Daisy, you were right to tell your kids what he said. These narcs always try to triangulate. In fact, that’s one of the obvious holes in Ms. Allers’ article. She said she decided to forgive the $38K because her kids cried to HER that their father couldn’t come to the US because of what SHE did??!! Why weren’t the kids calling Dear Ole Austin Powers International Dad of mystery and crying to HIS sorry ass about why he screwed up so badly that he coudn’t set foot in the US w/o being fricking arrested? Lame.

        • Exactly Muse! And lets see… Why was there a warrent out for him? Somebody????? Had to have ratted him out…
          If she was the all enlightened human being that she claims she would not have made the missed support claims… Sounds like she is a different kinda dog fucker. Liar.
          As Nomar said… Swapped out her kids future for 5 mins of fame.

      • Yes your children should know the truth. In some states there is a continuation act of healthcare benefits to protect children’s benefits Many states provide this for children currently on a parents healthcare. Additionally the spouse may remain on it since he would be keeping a family plan anyway. It would have to be written in the agreement and may not cover all health plans.

  • Mwah, mwah, mwah on the spending it on yourself thing. My daughter’s dad pays 35.00 a week, and used to get all Yosemite Sam and call CSEA and ask if my purchases could be audited. All those riches! I might buy a doughnut!

    I showed him my paystub once and he shut up. His daughters health insurance alone costs far more than his pitiful pittance. The other day she asked me, “When can I be old enough to tell Dad I don’t want to stay at his house anymore?'”

    This is the price these deadbeats pay. And they don’t care. They have new mates and families. Snap, snap, snap! Old Legos out, new Legos in!

    • Luzianne,

      It’s crazy how they bitch about $ that doesn’t even pay for socks.

      They have no idea how much things cost. Just to shut up my exH (in case he ever tries the “she spends it on herself”), I keep meticulous records on the bills, and put his measly $3000 total that he’s paid in a separate account for college savings and braces.

      Because what he’s paid in 7 years wouldn’t even coverage groceries for one. They suck.

    • My ex tried to get me to itemise my spending so he could see ‘where it was going’. Fuck him. I told him to get a court order telling me to do it or fuck off. Because the little he’s forced to pay doesn’t cover all that much. And since the kids are with me most of the time it’s not like he’s picking up the tab on any kind of regular basis.

      • In most states, the court wants no part of complaints about how mothers/fathers spend child support. However, if the child is neglected (shoes with holes, no winter coat, clothes too small), that can be brought back to adjust custody.

    • Luziana: In my state (Texas, not necessarily known for enlightment), my X has to pay health insurance for my daughter. You should check into that.

      [He was a bit miffed that I pay the insurance out of my paycheck pre-tax, and he has to pay me back post-tax. “Actions have consequences” I tell him.]

      • Ex makes so little that the cost to go to court would cancel any benefit. The less he pays, the less he says, and I only have eight years to go.

        Believe me. Daughter knows who is taking her on vacation to Key West and Jamaica, and who is taking her to…Kentucky.

        Not that there’s anything wrong with Kentucky.

  • What does this teach the children? Don’t follow the law because someone will always bail you out if you don’t like the terms the law set. Is that setting them up for success?

    Plus, they are the ones who suffer because of his selfishness. I call it selfishness as he found money to move back to England and remarry. That is not cheap. Choices–poor ones–were made. She seems too willing to cover for his bad choices. To actually be honest–i.e. we were struggling financially because your father refused to pay his legal obligation to support you–is sacrificed. That does not set them up for a healthy moral education either. But hey, he’s involved with them…i.e. whenever he feels like it….

    And I agree, CL, I think the law ought to minimally cancel any alimony hope for adulterers/adulteresses. That only seems just. Sadly, we live in an unjust world, though.

    • As a Chump Kid, this one really gets me. In a way, the mom is narcissistic herself… look… her kids aren’t suffering from her foolish choices, and I’m a forgiver!

      “I don’t have any money” is such a control move. My dad said this to us his whole life, and we, as children, made our needs smaller as to not make any demands on him. And my mother would say “it wasn’t so bad” because she had the lifestyle she wanted. (didn’t want to be a single mother).

      It seems at some point, the guy had enough of it together to work, to the point where the court awarded child support. Now they are all tap dancing around his inability to cough up any dough. Not working is a choice, and she is making the kids eat the shit sandwich, plus, she is probably insisting they be grateful that he is at least doing something, because that works for her.

      I think this teaches the children that some people are not accountable to anyone. No money? I’ll twist myself into a pretzel. No money is a sign of a loser. Their father has chosen to have no money!!! It’s a mindfuck/

      It’s a sign of a sociopath that they want you to feel sorry for them, and this example of the kids should be forgiving that he as no money is abuse. Actions, or inactions, have consequences. I feel sorry for those kids because they are trapped in the drama of their parents crappy marriage, and there is no end in sight.

  • Mental health professionals have a name for people like Ms. Allers – delusional.

    First of all, most of the things that she cited that her ex did for the children he was supposed to be doing. It’s called, hello!, parenting. To paraphrase Chris Rock, you don’t get special credit or a medal for doing what you’re supposed to do. Years ago with my oldest child, when I was reluctant to go after child support because her father was an asshole (I should have had therapy back then), my attorney emphasized that child support was for the benefit of the child and had nothing to do with me and how I felt about him. He pointed out that her father could win the lottery and that his daughter was entitled to share in that money. I will also say that while she was growing up, he never paid the money, but the meter kept running. I spent about a year or more running back and forth and talking to people in two states (he lived in a different state by then) in order to get them to enforce the order. Every time they would catch up with him and garnish his wages, he would quit his job. When she turned 18, that was the end of the court ordered support and he thought he was safe and started crawling out of the wood work. Nope! I returned to the child support office and had them file a judgment against him for back child support (with interest), which is currently in effect.

    That child is now fully grown and in her 30’s and I am finally collecting the support which I should have collected then, Could I have used the money when she was growing up and I was robbing from Peter to pay Paul (and listening to the long-term Asshole Cheater complain about money) in order to provide her with the things I wanted her to have? Of course. Was I fortunate that at least when I was married to Asshole Cheater that we were a two income family which lightened the load somewhat? Of course. However, I do feel that the her father access to her but I never felt it was my responsbiility to facilitate nor manage his relationship with her. He was an adult, not without resources, and I felt he should be able to figure it out. He never did so now he has no relationship with her. His loss.

    I totally agree with Nomar when he says that she actually stole money from her children to which they were entitled. Just as bad, she has made her children believe that the attention or time their father gives them is some wonderful gift he is bestowing upon them instead of something to which they are entitled as just because they are his children. She may have wanted to come off as “enlightened” and “evolved,” but to me she sounds “delusional” and an “ass.”

    • Chump Princess, I would use the “child support” money you get now and spend it all on yourself! You waited over 30 years and went without…now it’s your turn to have your fun on his dime.

      • Actually, Brave, it’s HER dime, because she’s been underwriting his debt all along, so it’s just re-payment. So she can do whatever she likes with it. And I too hope she spends some of it on herself!

      • Brave and Karen,

        I have actually used the money (which I don’t totally rely on because who knows when/if he’ll decide to up and quit working again) to offset expenses since I had to leave Cheater McAsshole No. 2. It has come in very handy, to be sure. I am the one who earns less money (even though he quit his job to pursue his “best life” with the past(wh)or(e), but I am the one who is still financially supplementing the adult children from our marriage who are working toward fully getting on their feet. My daughter knows I am now receiving the money and sometimes when I take her out for coffee or breakfast I tell her that I’m using some of that child support to do it. She always laughs and tells me how she always had everything she needed and most of what she wanted, so I should be spending that money on myself.

        If you live your life with integrity and let your guiding force be “protect myself and those I love, but do no harm,” even if there are obstacles and setbacks on the path which you travel, things always seem to work out as intended. God’s (or whatever deity in which you believe) time is not our time and his ways are not our ways, but they are always working for our higher good as long as we maintain our morals and our character.

        My advice for those of you who are dealing with these deadbeats who are hiding money, etc., is to do what you can to ensure you can get whatever you can whenever you can. It can be tedious and time consuming to be sure, but you never know how things will circle back around to you in the end when you least expect it. I remember the story about the struggle of the woman whose court case against her deadbeat ex-husband is the reason why the statute of limitations for filing for child support was modified (removed?) in the US. Her struggle was real and she never gave up.

        IMHO, Ms. Allers is aiding and abetting her Ex in financially abusing her children, as well as modeling poor boundaries and compromised self-worth for her children.

        • The other thing is that state-awarded child support and alimony/spousal support counts on the payer’s credit, as a debt. One reason cheaters hate these payments so much is that they can’t borrow money to buy a house or a fancy car if their income to debt ratio has been adversely impacted. But if they worked out reasonable settlements before it hits court, that support will not show up on credit reports. And if they don’t pay, that kills their credit for a very long time. Just another reason to hold these idiots responsible, and if they don’t pay, let the court sort it out. That doesn’t pay the bills at the time, but it levies a huge consequence on the deadbeat. (AND–just another reason for a couple contemplating marriage to pull up both of their credit reports).

          • LAJ….My Idiots reason to beat the crap out of me…’his credit report’
            All of this would affect his credit report…
            Dont negotiate with the disordered…

            • “Dont negotiate with the disordered…”

              And try not to marry the f*ckers to begin with (note to self).

              • Tempest, my therapist told me there would be no negotiating with X as he is disturbed. That is sound advice. This time I SAW him. For some reason his latest bimbo brings his personality disorder to the surface. It was always there but subtle. He was always able to maintain the good guy image to others while he was the ‘family guy’. Now it’s like his protective shield melted away he is Unrecognizable to his children and people that have known him for years.

                And when I get married again i want an adult man. No more narc’s.

    • “She has made her children believe that the attention or time their father gives them is some wonderful gift he is bestowing upon them instead of something to which they are entitled as just because they are his children.”

      Exactly. The problem is, Ms. Allers is doing the pick me dance from afar, whether cheating was involved in her divorce or not.

      Ah, the joy on the children’s faces when they are privileged to actually have their father convinced to “babysit” them for pay (these poor children are obviously being trained young to be chumps for Mr. Sparkles who by the way manages to be a bit of an underachiever now, doesn’t he?).

      Oh, the delight of being a truly nice and evolved ex-wife, the kind who consciously uncouples (don’t you SEE how PRETTY and COOL I am ex-husband, not like other dreary ex-wives, I’m really sort of all sparkly and fabulous too!?!); as opposed to us unevolved types who drag ourselves along screaming and sobbing with snot-stained faces through divorce, custody and support proceedings because our foremost instinct and goal is to survive and protect our young.

      Because of course this was a special sort of father, not the dim and common sort of father who would manage not to pay child support for long enough to amass an arrears of $38,000.00, for instance.

      Not the sort of father who would allow his ex-wife and children to struggle to make ends meet as he fails to contribute to their ability to survive; and manages to re-marry and move ACROSS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN. (Because nothing says I love you like moving a continent away and failing to pay even court-ordered child support).

      Not the sort of father who manipulates his ex-wife into giving up money which is for the maintenance, welfare and safety of his and her own children, for goodness sake.

      No, THIS father is not that sort….by golly, he is the kind of guy who is willing to disappear from his children’s lives, does not pay what he owes, and then wants to SHOW UP AT HIS CHILD’S GRADUATION and bask in the glow of her achievement (of course after having been forgiven from paying significant amounts of money he owes to that self-same child and her siblings),

      ….But wait….we all know that type of parent, in fact, he is just like so many of our exes here…gasp!

      • “No, THIS father is not that sort….by golly, he is the kind of guy who is willing to disappear from his children’s lives, does not pay what he owes, and then wants to SHOW UP AT HIS CHILD’S GRADUATION and bask in the glow of her achievement”

        PREACH, KELLY, PREACH!

        And don’t you know that my daughter’s father did EXACTLY that? After not paying child support ever, when she graduated from a prestigous high school, he requested (through his parents) to attend the graduation. My daughter said, “No, my dad will be there” (referring to cheater turd peeper – who I can’t say didn’t attempt to be a decent father within the parameters of his ability). Mr. “I’m Not Gonna Pay and You Can’t Make Me!” showed up anyhow. She said to him, “I told you that you weren’t welcome. All you’ve shown me today is that you don’t respect me or how I feel.” Then everyone proceeded to ignore him. He was not included in any after graduation celebrations and had to make the drive back from whence he came.

        I did not bad mouth this man to my daughter. I told her that we got together young and he did not treat me well. I also explained to her that the best part of whatever he had to offer he had given to her. She figured out on her own by me not accepting nor in any way supporting his reprehensible and unacceptable behavior that is was reprehensible and unaccetable. If Cheater McFlaming Turd had not been the covert version of her father, mostly from a relationship standpoint, I might have wised up to him a lot sooner. I pretty much ended up with the same psycho twice, which is why I am sharpening my picker and retrieving and honoring my intuition.

        That’s one of the reasons this article in the Times is so disturbing – this woman is giving her children the wrong message about their value. She has placed getting along with her Ex and his feelings above the best interests of her children. I know I have probably frequently placed my children over and above everyone and everything, but they were my children for Pete’s sake! Where should they have been placed in the hierarchy of my life if not at the top?

        • CP, I did it twice too.

          Once for ten years with my kids’ dad. Then for sixteen with Cheater #2. My therapist said: “Muse, you have GOT to stop hooking up with freeloaders!” No prob now since I will never be in a relationship again. Cheating Deadbeat Dad H#1 showed up uninvited to my own home for a graduation party for one of my sons.

          • Yep, me too. Fortunately I refuse to play anymore. The last flaming narcissist who put out feelers about taking me out was shot down immediately. He heard…. I am not dating right now….besides, I expect my partner to be a grown-up….You would probably wind up hating me. He backed down pretty fast.

        • Of course you ex did that Princess. These guys have a playbook they must read. They are pitifully predictable.

          Thanks to Chump Lady, we can recognize these disordered types even when they are once removed (or more), as in this case. I also have no patience or use for a custodial parent who would rather protect her ex at the expense (quite literally) of her children, and then to add insult to injury go on to brag about it. She made every decision for her ex’s best interest, but then pretends to justify it as best for her children. I have always had a hard time understanding what a co-dependent really is, but it occurs to me this lady may fit the bill.

  • I don’t think you can waive support that belongs to your children. You can’t in CA.

    There must be more to this story.

    I do have an ex story that saved my ass. HB#1 was a contractor and I asked him to finish a garage into a studio for me so I could rent it after HB#2 left and was not paying child support. I had no additional funds to do this myself with a paid contractor. The income from the studio more than paid for the missing child support from HB#2.

    I did not waive the child support, but sometimes a gal’s gotta do what a gal’s gotta do in order for the bills to be paid. I was completely at “meh” with HB#1. He never asked anything of me and was happy to do the job.

    I know this isn’t every one’s story. I do believe you can put your pride aside when you gotta put food on the table.

    • You can agree to pay below guideline support in CA. The court has to approve it though. My ex and I did. She gave me a break of about $100/mo (to not “screw me over”… she was happy to be with her affair partner, stbh), and I put the rest of the balance below guideline into their college funds, which the courts don’t count as support. I told her I would stop contributing if I had to pay her the full amount, and it was up to her to do so with the money that would then go to her. Strangely, she wanted me to keep doing it. I honor my word and I do, and sent her proof, so she knows I’m honest. Other than that, I pay a few hundred/mo to her and also their medical insurance (which counts towards support). We have joint custody. Based upon her neglect of them before she moved out, I think if I were the mother, I may have been able to get majority custody. I tamped down my emotions (epecially mad that I had to lie to me kids when they kept asking, “where’s mommy?” over and over again. Well, the then 3 year old. The baby stopped “asking” after a while and was just happy to be with the one parent who didn’t neglect them.

      While I agree that the support goes to the kids, money (a budget) is fungible. She spends money to go out and have fun with her affair partner, even taking a trip out of the country for almost two weeks, abandoning our pre-schooler and baby with me for that period.

      • Yep. Court ordered, but in the meantime, I had to survive. He never did pay everything he owed. He was able to hide his commission income, but he came into some money and helped pay for their college expenses.

        I kinda knew he would do this because higher education was very important to him and it made the image of who he thought he was look good. If he had not done this, I would have had his ass back in court with forensic accounting.

        So all’s well that ended well with Diablo.

  • Deadbeat is not the term I would use for my XH. He does pay over the required amount of support, but for what end I can’t figure. He has our girls 48 hours a fortnight and sees our son when it suits him, other than that he makes a big deal about showing up to our daughters oncology clinic visits once a fortnight, but that has only begun now she is on maintenance, he never can when she had her central line in and would have to sit there for hours hooked up to IV chemo, it use to shit me when she had to have a general anasthetic because she required numerous lumberpunctures last year, he would never come and sit with her while she waited ( having to fast) but as soon as she went under I was expected to message him so he could be there when she woke up. And when I got my back up over it I was seen as being a bitch to him. But although he would never take our kids on a 50/50 basis as it would hinder his new lifestyle he expects a 50/50 split on the property settlement.

    No amount of money replaces being a parent of integrity. My son summed it a a few months after d’day when I asked how he felt about how things where at home with his dad being gone. Hi response ” it’s fine nothing around here has really changed, there is just one less body in the house”. And he was right.

    • i just posted that on my fb…..from what your son said. i found a poster that says “Everything is different, but nothing has changed”…..

      very well said from your son. i will try to remember that because nothing has changed in our house either. only i am poorer and more stressed. and of course the one less body in the house.

    • Sorry to see what you have gone through Thankful. My oldest son said something similar: “We are still a family. He is just not in it anymore.”

  • Ugh, the whole CS system is screwy and is so stressful. Finally, TWO YEARS after XH walked out on me and our 14 month old, I got my first half of my first CS payment. Now that she’s old enough to basically be out of diapers, he finally is “helping” and that is because the state is forcing him to. Since I got that first check, every interaction with him has had some sort of mention of how broke he is. I mean, come on! So, I finally have the short lived relief of the help, with a dog-shit pile of guilt because my life has actually gotten a LOT better since he left (and I’m in charge of my own finances instead of cleaning up his messes), and his has done nothing but circle the drain (schmoopie was a psycho, go figure, he’s lost 2-3 jobs, is literally broke).

    Ugh.

    • Oh, Tired, don’t talk to the asshole. Figure out how to hand off visitation, communicate by email and ignore side comments. You made it through the system and got your child support! You rock.

  • I’m a bit confused. How the hell is she supposed to take advantage of these newly minted “currencies”, e.g. child care, hair cuts, home repairs WHEN HE’S LIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE OCEAN? And I love that he would have come to his daughter’s middle school graduation but for the threatened arrest warrants hanging over his head for non-payment of child support.

    So he can afford a $1500 ticket to fly across the pond and back, but can’t pony up any money toward the arrears? Besides, I really don’t think a local arrest warrant for that would show up when he checks in through immigration anyway. How many trips is he going to start taking now that the monkey is off his back? I’m betting on none. At least not to see the children and help out the ex. My guess is, if he comes at all, he and the new wife will simply be on vacation and visiting other friends.

    Yeah, and as Nomar said, that $38,000 was the children’s money. Medical bills, braces, tuition, clothes, food. From now on whenever he offers to fly over and help she should say thanks but no thanks, just send me the cash you would have spent on the plane ticket. Would at least knock a little bit off the debt.

    • He won’t be flying forever. Federal law says that if you owe over $2500 (it may be $5000) n past due child support that your passport can be revoked and will not be renewed. If he’s a US citizen, once they take it/don’t renew, you have to pay your ENTIRE BALANCE DUE to be issued a new one. Happened to exH this past November and he went nuts. Tried the “my mother is dying” game again (she’s been dying for 15 years now), and the case worker laughed and told him to bring in translated, notarized copies of her medical records, and she’d consider a waiver. They almost had to call the police to the caseworker’s office – he got so crazy. It didnt’ help that she also pointed out the fact that he’d had himself declared “indigent” and poor folks dont’ have the cash for $1000 plane tickets oversease at Christmas….lol.

      • Wow, I didn’t know that. My ex owes $41K in support and has left the country twice on vacations over the past couple years. He has never had any repercussions from the child support agency in our county — in fact, they helped him get his support order lowered.

  • I’m a 50/50 parenting Chump dude. This article matches a lot of sloppy intentioned in-denial divorced couples’ approach to whatever the hell that Gwyneth Paltrow does. Abstractly the idea of sharing that kind of parenting stuff is good, but when it violates basic healthy adult boundaries it is bad news. As you pointed out CL, it makes for a shitty dating life and an inability to move on… amongst other things. The author of this article pretty much threw all of that away while pretending to be enlightened. It’d be interesting to know why the marriage broke up… but seriously, fuck that guy for being such a useless baby.

    The boundaries thing his HUGELY important for Chumps. We gave up our boundaries, sold out our trust to let our crappy narcissists completely use us. My sparkly charismatic narcissist ex is a “good” (you know, ignoring the double life she led) parent who contributes more than her share and is easy to work with as an co-parent. I have had to walk an interesting line with her.

    Her party line is that we’re all cool with what happened. It’s been a joy reminding her that being good co-parents is not a passive endorsement of her awful behavior, and that is essentially the message she gives out to her friends.

    Good fences make good neighbors, and good 14 ft. razor wire enclosures make good co-parents.

    • “Good fences make good neighbors, and good 14 ft. razor wire enclosures make good co-parents.”

      Just spewed my Coca-Cola! This is PERFECT!

        • Lol, so true. I thought a good parent was committed to their family. I think we are talking about a good-at-image-control parent. I have no interest in co parenting with my STBX. My kids are teens, they get it.

    • I think you have an interesting point from the male Chump perspective. My Ex also tries to be an involved parent, especially in our kids private school (great base camp for social climbing). The other day the principle called to say that my son had been in her office and was sad that the four of us do not do anything as a family. The principle then went on to advise me to plan some events with the ExW and kids. It took every ounce of strength not to tell the principle for FUCK OFF! But in the end I realized the principle probably has no clue what happened between the ExW and I, or why I might have had to establish very strict boundaries with my ExW.

        • Oh My goodness! way to stick her nose into a place it does not belong. Totally Clueless!! You did very well. I’d be furious and probably go over her head to complain.

          • I’ve been in elementary education for a long time and would never say something like that. That principal needs to buy a clue. You really should say something to her/him.

      • Cletus–I hope you enlightened the Principal so that you don’t have to listen to that drivel again (and I might have a word with son so he understands that you can’t be friends with someone who emotionally stabbed you in the back).

      • As an educator, here’s my take on what you might say to that principal: “I know my child is sad that his mother broke up the family with an affair. But it may be helpful for Son to talk with a counselor or therapist about that.”

      • I’m dying to know what you DID say, Cletus! I think I’d have been tempted to point out that the “four of us” are NOT a family anymore.

      • Wow Cletus, you experienced one of the many insult to injury parts I run into also. That’s one darn presumptuous principal.

    • “being good co-parents is not a passive endorsement of her awful behavior”

      YES, Chumpion.

      This one is a bit hard for me still. It seems that just because I don’t spit in stbx’s eye during kid exchange, he thinks we’re friends. Gross.

      It’s just another part of his delusional thinking I have to deal with. Sigh.

  • I’m almost afraid to post because I’m afraid I won’t be able to stop writing. My cheating first husband and father of my lovely successful three grown children contested my divorce in 1995 costing me over $10,000 in legal fees to have a full trial with him acting pro se.. and he’s not a lawyer. That was a huge amount of money back then and a huge amount for me, working 25 hrs a week while in school myself. The kids and I were poor and lived on mac and cheese and hot dogs for years while he dragged me through two more custody challenges over the years, even subjecting the kids to an in chambers interview with the judge where he reportedly (because I was not allowed to be there) asked them to “now tell the judge who you’d rather live with.” Did he love them? In his way, I suppose, but what form of “love” of a child means pure financial irresponsiblity is ‘cool’ and ‘noble?’

    He reluctantly paid court-ordered support over the years but still owes $10K. When our youngest turned 21 he yet again petitioned the court to forgive the arrears, costing me even more in legal fees; I offered to settle with him for $7500 if he would get 3 cashiers checks fro $2500 each to each of the kids student loan lenders so he could be certain none of “his” money was “going to me.” Guess what? he refused. He has not paid a penny of their college education costs.

    Ten years ago he relocated to another state 1000 miles away while two of the kids were still in HS. All assets are in his new wife’s name, of course. And all this time he has missed so much of their growing years, that his relationship with them now might as well be that of a distant uncle — his CHOICE as I never deprived him of contact with him, spent years driving them 120 miles every weekend both ways so they could see him on the weekends when he had no job and lived with his mother.

    Honestly, I’m not bitter about any of this because from the moment they each were born I never questioned my duty and responsibility for them. Narcissistic parents consider children to be a form of competition, I guess, and don’t have those same nurturing, protective feelings.

  • One thing I have to say about my children’s father who is a self professed selfish asshole albeit not a cheater was that I could count on him to do right by them. I remember the first Christmas after we divorced and my funds were low. I figured he’d do the Disney Dad gift giving just to look better in their eyes. He did but he also did something that brought tears to my eyes. The gift tags said “Dad and Mom” on them. His love for me was iffy at best so this was a total shocker. I’d show this to him but his head is big enough, LOL!

    I always wondered how my life had turned out if I had stayed with X1 and had children. Would have sucked big time.

    • last year was the first christmas after we divorced. exhole did not bother with sending gifts, he also wasnt worried about calling the kids or coming to see them. The look in my childrens face is something i will never forget.

    • Thank you, Donna! Being a good role model to them, to counter the bad one he provided, was all I ever wanted for them.

  • As my lawyer so eloquently put it during my divorce proceedings: “child support is not your asset to negotiate away. It belongs to the children. ” I’m sure Aller’s kids would kill for that almost $40,000 when they’re obtaining enormous school loans to pay for college. You think they’re even going to remember deadbeat Dad sitting in the bleachers at MIDDLE SCHOOL graduation when they’re first loan payment is due of $500 a month on their first job out of college? ??

  • I’m sorry, how is he doing chores if he is in England? Are there two different losers here? How is he an involved parent in his kids lives if he doesn’t even come to middle school graduation? I know my Ex hates the monthly child support he sends to me. But he has new house, new wife, new cars, new TVs, new pools, yearly beach vacations, I find it hard to sob for him. On the other hand, he is a very involved Dad and the kids are doing well.

  • I echo what others have said, it is for the kids! It is not money for the ex spouse.
    I was still a chump post divorce; just a couple of months post divorce ex quit his job and moved away, new one was not to start for 6 months, plus it paid less, etc, etc. (an aside, ex has always paid the shared child expenses, but I have to constantly remind him to check the spreadsheet and pay his half)
    So, I sucked it up and agreed to keep child support the same. Eight months later, I am really feeling the cost of 2 kids with me full time. and THEN, I finally get his tax return from the previous year. He had lied about his salary, and even if he was unemployed for 4-5 months. he still earned much more than he said he would. End result: next week we are in court, modifying child support.
    I still feel a tiny bit chumpy (kids and I can survive without it after all, but there would not be any extras)
    but as my attorney and friends point out– this money is for the kids! This support helps to cover food, gasoline to take them to activities, etc. I will then have “extra” money to start college saving funds, etc.

    Note to all parents out there: child support is FOR THE KIDS.

  • My fought for 50/50 custody, heck…I wish I could have had full custody. My ex fought for 50/50 custody as she thought it would look bad on her if I got full custody. As I predicted she neglected our kids during the shared custody and as soon as she found a new chump and she moved out of state to be with him and I’m the primary parent.

    As for the article, that woman is delusional and wears her chump crown proudly.

    • How disordered do you have to be to wage a custody battle over impression management? I sue because I care.

      (Yeah, I was married to one of those wingnuts.) Mom of the Year you’ve got there. Glad you got the kids.

  • Fuck that. Even if I won the lottery tomorrow, I would STILL legally pursue my ex for the currently $41,000 he owes me in child support. He CHOSE to be unemployed/underemployed. He QUIT his $100K job to pursue his “dream,” which has paid nothing over the past five years. He blames ME for his financial problems.

    The one area where I am not anywhere near meh is child support. That still pisses me off and always will. My ex has spent the past five years bragging on Facebook about what a wonderful father he is, and how he is a true inspiration of everything a man should be: just quit your job and follow your dream! Meanwhile, I have worked as hard as I can to keep the lights on and food on the table, dealt with the shame of the social services department, struggled and worried and prayed.

    The woman who wrote that article is a fool. Her ex was undoubtedly laughing at her inside his head. She not only let him get away with being a deadbeat, she rewarded him. Her actions not only cheapen fatherhood, they actually cheapen manhood, IMHO.

    • Glad–my worry is that the only way you’ll get that $41,000 out of your deadbeat is if they harvest his organs.

      • Love that Tempest….

        But what if after they harvest and transplant the recipients start dressing up like a Sasquatch, have intense desires to quit their job, or steal suitcases and donate half-eaten cartons of Cream of Wheat???

        • Lol, Kelly! Though if I needed a kidney, I might be willing to have as a side effect a desire to dress up like Sasquatch on occasion.

  • Hilarious. Cl, you had me at “who’s that guy in the kitchen”. Maybe it was her way of humiliating him.

  • Started to read the article, bailed when she played the Walter Scott card. (I am saving my ex’s life by doing this!) This post hit home on a lot of points for me. I chose not to legally pursue child support because of my STB’s threat to go to court and fight for full custody if I did. I knew his pockets were a lot deeper than mine, and didn’t believe that the children’s best interests would be served if he won, especially considering that he had zero-to-no interest in regular visitation, and that the kids routinely went to the pantry and started packing food along with socks and undies on the rare occasions when they went over to dad’s house.

    I felt that was the best choice out of a range of not-very-good choices. I tried to negotiate a reasonable support between us a few times, and got some pretty scathing replies, so I let it go. And I made the deliberate choice to go into debt. When I paid for tuition, gas, food, clothes with plastic, I felt like a loser, but just decided I would pay it later. Later has been here for quite awhile, and I’m still paying it off. I cringe at posts here that describe disordered ex-spouses as being poor money managers with massive amounts of unsecured debt, as that’s how I feel about myself. STB, when he saw my debt load, tried to make me feel guilty about it, until I looked him in the eye and said that if he’d paid child support, I wouldn’t have had that debt. He hasn’t brought it up since.

    Oldest child has graduated from college, younger from HS, and is headed off to the military in the fall, and I recently filed for divorce and am asking for a settlement. My husband was shocked, and asked me why I didn’t just talk to him about the money, why I felt I needed to go to that extreme. We tried negotiating a settlement between us. My proposal was $500 a month from the time of separation to the time the youngest graduated, whether I had one kid in the house or both. That was a fraction of what I spent supporting them, but he didn’t have a say in what it was spent on, so I felt that was a fair compromise. (Oddly enough, it came to $38, 500.) He was wavering towards acceptance, when I added, “plus interest,” and told him the rate was negotiable. He never even tried to negotiate the rate, just bailed. I’m guessing that paying interest would have made it a debt he was responsible for, not an act of generosity on his part. (“If I gave you this money, what would you do with it?” was one way he indicated that.)

    We are headed for a pre-trial hearing tomorrow, and supposed to go to court on Monday to let the judge work it out. The settlement offer that recently came from his lawyer was, “You go your way, I go mine. You keep your debts and I keep my money.” I asked my lawyer if she’d ever seen anything like it, and she said she had not.

    Early on in the separation, I proposed that he do something similar to what she proposed. Work on my house, cars, etc., in lieu of child support. I said it would have to be something we talked out about, and tracked. He never said yes to it, and did a couple of things around my house upon request. Screwed in a coat rack, replaced a door knob. Later, when he tried to get a zero-payment divorce settlement from me, he wrote “I know you worked on my house over the years, but I worked on yours, too, so we’re even.”

    There was no way to make that work with him, and I wish I hadn’t tried. He didn’t hold a steady job after I left with the kids until the youngest turned 18, and then he went to work and worked for over a year until he was served with divorce papers. He had asked for a few weeks off, and just never returned to work. Hasn’t held a steady full-time job since then (stress, you know), and one of the reasons that his lawyer cited for him being let out of paying anything in the divorce was because he was unemployed. Huh?

    When he was trying to show that he’d equally supported our kids, he put a $50 donation to my daughter’s ROTC organization at college on the balance sheet, among other equally irrelevant items. She had to borrow money from him (I recommended not) to buy a computer to finish college, and he didn’t want to lend it to her (and has been on her since about repayment). That was kind of the end of the line for her. He was complaining to her recently about how this divorce will impoverish him (it won’t), and she let him have it with both barrels about and how we struggled financially.

    DS, on the other hand, buys into his poor-sausage line completely, and has asked me not to go after a settlement, and said that when he gets a job, he’ll start helping me out. Ouch.

    It’s a mess. Where am I going with this long rambling reply? I can’t even tell. Just to say, I guess, that this post ticked a lot of hot topics for me. Moral of the story? Sometimes there aren’t simple answers, but sometimes there are and we just don’t see them at the time. Simple doesn’t mean easy. I wish I’d gotten the child support when it would have made a difference for the kids. it will make a difference for me now in clearing up debt, but that doesn’t bring back what was lost.

    My son’s private school required dress clothes be worn once a week, and my son was making do with thrift-store and EBay second-hands while his well-to-do classmates dressed in style. One day I just snapped and took him to a local low-rent department store and helped him select four shirts, two ties, and a pair of dress pants. He was over the moon, and then I told him he was getting dress shoes, too. Had to enlist the help of an older patron there to convince him that there really was such a thing as dress socks, and that he needed to wear them with black shoes and black pants. Spent a walloping total of $200, and you’d think I’d given him a new car. I still cringe to remember that. He still has most of those clothes. Does a kid need to wear Brooks Brothers to feel good about himself? No. But it still hurts.

    I think my husband is going to get slammed for a lot more than I would have settled for during this divorce, and if that happens, I’m torn between telling the judge that it’s too much, or just letting it roll. Rough week ahead.

    • Why is this “your” debt load if you’re still married? That is legally BOTH of your debt load. Why are you trying to negotiate ANYTHING with this bully? Why is he not paying temporary support orders if he moved out and you have minors?

      Enough, I don’t know all the particulars of your story, but it sure seems like you’re operating from fear and being used to accommodating him. I think you need your own lawyer and to get what you are legally entitled to under the law.

      I for one hope he is slammed by a judge and ordered to pay his children support and half the marital debt. What you’re describing is nuts.

      • I have my own lawyer, and she’s good. She has suggested going after him for part of the debt load, but we really haven’t pursued that. My husband is very good at getting people to see him as a great guy. Kids are no longer minors, now 23 and 20, graduates from college/HS respectively.

        I bought a house and moved out more than seven years ago, and we are dating the separation from that time. I have a pension that has increased in value quite a bit since then, so I don’t want to split that with him. I don’t have a lot of equity in the house (boiler failed about four years ago, and the cost of replacing it has been prohibitive and reduced the value of the house by quite a bit as the whole system needs an upgrade, not just the boiler. I forgot that part. Have heated with firewood in a cold, cold climate since. That was pretty tough for awhile.)

        I have been operating from a fear-base, big time. I left because of abuse issues, mostly to protect the kids. I have no idea how the judge will react, but my husband has assured me that if she assigns me anything he will fight it until we are both broke. One of the great gifts of CL and CN to me has been a vast reduction in the fear I have been letting control me. I still trigger sometimes, but it’s been a vast improvement.

        Will keep CN informed on how things go.

        • Also, I am done with negotiating with him. Started out trying that after we filed. Went like this:

          Small offer on his part. I accepted. He then said, “Well, what’s in it for me?” I said huh? He said, “You’ll have to sign off on my house.”
          Okay, fine.
          “And you’ll have to sign off on my pension.”
          Okay fine.
          And you’ll have to promise to put the money in the bank and save it in case we get back together so we can use it to work on the house.
          Okay no.

          Now the lawyers are in the negotiating stage. Not going well. If they don’t work something out by Monday we go to court.

          • Enough Already, I am sorry about the wretched experiences you are having. I hope you can go into the next set of negotiations or court hearings with your own interests firmly in mind. You’ve worked hard for your kids, but they need to be their own primary providers now. Everything you work toward legally should be to enhance your own financial stability and security.

            It also sounds like you shouldn’t be talking to the STBX anymore. Work out what you want with your lawyer–something she sees as feasible and reasonable given the laws in your area. Then make STBX send all communications to the lawyer. Stupid crap like telling you that you have to promise to bank and save monies you get from a settlement will get shut down fast by a lawyer. Your STBX knows how to pull your strings–sometimes you probably know it and sometimes you may not. Your lawyer needs to be doing more to prevent this silliness. The STBX is trying to take his portion and set stipulations on yours. Everything you’ve said suggests he works from a “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine” world view. Negotiations need to done professionally from here on out to keep that philosophy from tainting every discussion.

            I totally agree that for many of us the choices are always between two or more bad options. Pat yourself on the back for doing your damnedest to raise your kids well, and march on. (I took a child to Goodwill to pick out a dress shirt for a big school event last month, too. He liked it. Unfortunately, he told his girlfriend about the cool stuff he got at the thrift store, and now he thinks it is less cool given her scorn for such purchases. I can’t protect him from learning these lessons, but I know how heartbreaking it is to see kids struggle with them. Maybe after this girlfriend he’ll pick one a little less concerned with labels and more with character.)

            • Thank you for that reminder, Eilonwy. I’ve been trying to do that for some months, and just get sucked back in. A recent condolence call to him when I learned he’d lost his brother devolved into, “Well, you’re certainly getting your revenge.”

              Kids attended a private school STB picked out for DD. He paid one year of tuition for her, and I paid the rest and DS’s as well when he started there. Some years ago when DS’s grades were poor at the private school he attended. He saw the report card, shook his head, and said, “I can’t believe that I’m spending my money to send him there.” I was unable to reply to that, just stared at him in astonishment. He hadn’t paid a penny! We were separated and I was covering all the tuition at that point. It just astonished me to realize that, yes, “what’s yours is mine,” was really the way he saw it.

              I will be so glad to have this behind me.

    • EA–if there was a canonization process for custodial parents, you’d be on the list. You know we are all behind you tomorrow at the pretrial hearing. If the judge gives you MORE than you asked for, you take it–then use it to get your kids computers, and yourself a nice spa vacation (hardly recompense for what you have been through). Do NOT forgive that jackass if he has to suffer consequences; that is how people learn (not that I’m sanguine about him learning anything, but consequences are his only chance of having that potential).

      Hang tough; your lawyer sounds superb (and I’m willing to contribute to a pool of how many times your STBX shoots himself in the foot during the process.)

      • Thank you, Tempest, for your continued support. I was just ping-ponging the pension valuations back to the lawyer, and am a little tense about that as I don’t agree with the methods used for valuation. (In one pension, the valuator used benefit years rather than hours, not taking into account that a non-marital year in one case was 2300 hours, and a marital year was 381. Not equivalent!)

        However, I was thinking about distributing these funds, assuming I come out ahead in this divorce. DD23 still has a $1400 student loan, and owes her father about the same for a loan he made for a computer. I thought it might be a nice late graduation present for her to give her enough money to pay these off. And get DS a nice indestructible, Kevlar-cased laptop or tablet. Seems appropriate to me. It’s fun to dream, but I am not counting my chickens just yet.

        • Please reconsider paying off your daughter’s loan to her douchebag father. Given the facts, she owes him NOTHING.

    • Enough Already, Settle for fair. Any parent should be proud to support their kids (narcs are poison though!). That means your lawyer needs to go to bat for you and you need to go to bat for yourself. At that hearing make sure you know what IS fair because you have been doing all the financial work. Let the judge ruling know exactly what you sacrificed! Kids these days are a big expense and college costs are needed to get them off to a good start IMHO. Your kids have two parents. They need support from both.

  • I’m not sure forgive is the right term. You can discharge a debt but putting the forgiveness on it – Nah. No mama (or papa) bear I know would allow her/his Cubs to be cheated out of resources.

    I’ve said it before – the amount of justification our society allows on this topic and the cheating topic astounds me. Need an uptick in your self esteem? Cheat. Child support cuts into your groovy new lifestyle? Don’t pay it. Or worse, engage in all kinds of trickery to hide income.

    Very sad.

  • I would encourage everyone to comment on the NY Times piece. A lot of the comments are commending the author for her enlightened viewpoint. (A lot are not as well.) Please make your voice heard!

  • I work with documentation for divorce and child support and custody every day. I have heard the bitch and moan from divorced dads about “all that support” they are paying, and then learn they pay less than $100 a week — which won’t cover daycare so Mom can work, much less food and clothing. It seems there is an imaginary world where things for children have no cost — it exists only in the mind of the non-custodial parent. It also has special housing and care sections where the children can stay whenever Dad doesn’t feel like coming that particular visitation day, because he has other things to do. I am sure there are custodial dads that have these same complaints, but by and large the majority of the cases I see are divorced, primary custodial moms.

    I have had to borrow from Peter to pay Paul the entire time I was raising my children — even when I was married to their Dad. He has always hidden cash and assets. I recently saw a self prepared “summary” of his annual worth that extended back to the time when we were still married. Strange how I didn’t see any of that when we were filling out the papers for the attorney to process our divorce and calculate the child support. I was working, and I didn’t ask for alimony — but even if the child support had been paid in full and on time ( it wasn’t) there was no way my children had the same lifestyle they could have had with the extra income. I worked “free” for years managing multiple things that were designed for the “future” of our family. I have never seen any of the returns on any of the “investments.”

    Now, truth be told, I wanted not to be married to him so badly that I probably did not do what I should have and hire a forensic accountant and a private detective. I knew more than enough not to want to be married to him anymore. I accept that my “picker” was very broken, and I made a bad choice using him as a sperm donor — but my picker responsibility should not have hurt the quality of life my children had. Any spouse that hides assets and doesn’t WANT to spend time with the children should have their parental rights revoked. I absolutely love the few states who will put those who are past due on their child support in jail.

    I do not dismiss alimony as a thing of the past — I’ve known too many women who worked while their dear one went to school or received training for their career. They were supposed to get their payoff in the future, but in the future their sweetie wanted a new younger version of “wifey”. A little on the Stepford side, if possible, please. So how else can the one who worked and paid UP FRONT get reimbursed? What if the agreement was to be a SAHM? Are you not entitled to compensation for being part of the “team” for all those years? It certainly comes back to bite you at retirement time.

    If you found out after the fact that your “Soulmate” had a NPD or other type of disordered personality (I didn’t even know what that was when I married) you have paid a very dear price, in currency other than money. The children should have their own advocate — they should not suffer emotionally or economically because one of their parents is incapable of love, incapable of being responsible, incapable of being a functioning human being.

    The crux of this issue is not about child support — the crux is about supporting your children in a way which helps them to grow into caring and responsible people. The dollars of child support is just a means to try to provide the basic needs of the children. I have never seen anyone get wealthy on child support, perhaps it could happen, but I am doubtful. Even in those families which have both spouses working there never seems to be enough money. Hard choices have to be made, and young hearts sometimes have to be broken because you cannot afford everything they desire. Would I “forgive” the debt? NO. Child support that is owed is a public testament to the character of the non-supportive parent. It should appear on every credit report and background check. It says more about how that person views responsibility than any other question you can ask them. If they won’t support their children, what kind of a person could they possibly be? Not one I would want to have any association with, that’s for sure.

    • This! I can not wrap my head around the popular new narrative either. It’s not okay to cheat on your spouse and it’s certainly not okay to walk out on your kids financially. But if you are a loser go right ahead!

    • Portia, I just copied your post to my journal. Powerful and true. I think I’d be more on my way to meh if my X would stop being such a selfish dick about money for our kids. He disgusts me like no other human ever.

  • “Studies prove that school-age children of involved fathers have better academic success, higher grade point averages and go on to have higher levels of economic and educational achievement.”

    Oh, I must have missed that study !!! The marking period just before my X left? My son had C’s/D’s and FAILED 2 subjects. Now that my X is gone 16 months; this past marking period, he missed the Honor Roll by only 1.5 points (in his Language class). this marking period!!!

    I guess we are the exception 🙂 !!!!

    • oh and just for the record. my kid #4 has dyslexia and has struggled all thru school. interesting enough now that dear old dad is gone, he is getting mostly A’s, a c and the only f is in math. the littlest one has always done well. and now he is struggling. going to get him tested for dyslexia also.

  • And a belt, almost forgot the belt. He spent that evening trying on variations of this shirt with that tie, and he looked great in all of them. Handsome kid, very athletic, quick wit. Those things helped. But ouch anyway. Picked them a little on the large side, and wore those clothes on dress day for the rest of high school.

  • I think this topic is heartbreaking–for the faithful parents who get cheated twice–first by betrayal and again because Cheaters can’t be bothered to support their kids. And there are no words, really, for the kind of CheaterXWives who go after alimony or spousal support and allow the minimal visitation while shacking up with the AP. The Karma bus can’t come too soon.

  • I’m all about supporting my child. It’s having my cheating ex-wife in charge of what happens to that money that really bothers me.

    There needs to be a way to protect the betrayed dads who are not primary custodians of their children from the deceit embodied by some single mothers.

    Ditto for men being stuck with CS obligations for children not biologically theirs.

    One way I suggest is if you cheat, you don’t get primary custody of your children. Make fidelity part of the parental fitness test. If you betray your spouse, you ARE NOT a fit parent.

    If you just leave without proving any sort of fault, you are not a fit parent. If you can’t prove your spouse is a beater, or a cheater or an addict, if you are just unhappy and want to quit, you may not be a fit parent.

    Probably won’t fly with this crowd, but that’s the way I feel. Too many Eat, Pray, Love single mothers out there who were just unhappy and want to take everything and find another partner.

    I’m not for keeping you in an unhappy marriage. If you are unhappy, you shouldn’t be kept against your will. But your betrayed or abandoned husband shouldn’t become a non-custodial parent simply because you decided you are not happy.

    If you can’t prove marital misconduct on his part, why should you be able to take his children from him?

    You’ve already proven you can’t be trusted to honor your vows, why should you be trusted with a child?

    • My therapist would not be happy that you have characterized this as a “single mothers” issue–he (and thousands like him) were the single dads trying to get child support out of a deadbeat mom. Let’s keep that in mind in our language.

      Secondly, unfortunately, laws do not support our position. 10 days after D-day, I was called for jury duty for a custody case involving infidelity (the irony), and they drilled into us as prospective juries that infidelity was not a cause for determining custody, per the law.

      • I guess it depends on where you live. In my jurisdiction, the cheating ex-wife would have to be doing the rugby club in the living room with the child watching and a kilo of coke on the coffee table to even have the judge consider giving dad custody over a formerly stay at home mom who can’t stay true to her vows.

        Like I’ve said elsewhere, I won the battle that matters and my daughter, now 16, chooses to spend the majority of her time with me.

        • I just do not understand why infidelity is a non issue in custody. I would think anyone could see it speaks volumes about character and integrity. The stay at home parent who cheats has all the cards in this fight.

          • Arnold–I agree. Cheaters abandon their kids, typically, as well as their spouse, during affairs. And we know it is linked to character issues. Yet the law, at least in my state, explicitly states it should not be used to determine custody.

            • That is very common, Tempest. I think most states view infidelity as a non factor. One just has to accept this and hope, like in uniballer’s case, the kids see through the cheating ex and decide where to stay when they are old enough to decide.
              Unfortunately, that seems to be around 14 and a lot of brainwashing and damage can be done before they get to that age. You give a lying, cheating disordered spouse access to the kids for a number of years, and they can be turned against you.
              In my case, for whatever reason, my kids can see through their mom, as well.

      • Tempest, if you take a moment and read what I wrote, it wasn’t against Single Moms as a class. It was against, as I clearly said, those “Eat, Pray, Love single mothers out there who were just unhappy and want to take everything and find another partner.”

        If you are not in that category, rock on! But one has to recognized that there are those who simply bail out, betraying and abandoning a faithful husband whose only “crime” is he doesn’t fit some Prince Charming image that she has, but is unwilling or unable to verbalize.

        So she leaves him, takes his kids, and blames him for something he didn’t even understand, even after asking her time and time again, before and after the affair to spell it out for him.

        Him asking are you, are we ok. Her saying yes when yes was not the true answer.

        It’s those single moms with whom I have a legitimate complaint.

        • Uniballer–I agree Eat, Pray, Love moms suck. And so do Eat, Pray Love dads. They all suck.

          My X was not so much the “self-fulfillment” type as the “novel sex seeker” type who thought he could just do whatever floated his boat at the expense of the marriage & children, justifyng his “self/sexual fulfillent” with “marital problems.” He launched his multimonth affair, and 3 months into it, sat me down to tell me what I needed to do to make him happy. Was he interested in why I had become less affectionate and less trusting of him? No, all one-sided, as usual, which is the characteristic of Eat, Pray, Love types, whatever their stripe (and whatever they decide to eat ant love). Don’t know about yours, but mine was a notorious serial cheater, and they can ALWAYS come up with Eat, Pray, Love justifications for their actions. Because they are special.

          I do think we need to be careful bandying abut the “single mom” label though, because iit is burdened with many connotations that I do not think are fair.

    • I disagree with this completely; “If you can’t prove your spouse is a beater, or a cheater or an addict”

      Ex was abusive but abusers are secretive and the cops liked him so I couldn’t prove anything. He was an abuser and an addict. The latter proven, if two DUIs in a year “proves” it.

      • But if you don’t require any sort of proof, you end up with a system where someone can just decide they are not happy, and because they are the mom, they get the children.

        I’m not saying it’s easy. But the current system that ignores behavior and character puts a good number of deserving dads on the outside.

        Our legal system was founded on the idea that it’s better to let 100 guilty people go free than to have one innocent convicted. A betrayed father doesn’t have odds that good.

        The system needs to change.

        If your spouse is an abuser, a cheater, an addict, No-Fault-Divorce let’s them quietly slip out. Sorry, society needs to know in a big public fashion about these people.

        It’s a win-win. Innocent betrayed spouses keep their kids, their assets and so forth and society is made aware of the behaviors of the abusive, the adulterous and the addicted.

        • Sorry, the odds are not stacked in Mom’s favor, study after study has proven that it’s because Dad doesn’t fight for his children that women end up with 50/50 or end up being the custodial parent. You want to be the custodial parent you have to fight for it. 50/50 has become the default most states and I personally think that is too hard on the kids. Your assertions that fathers are fighting an uphill battle are archaic. Doesn’t happen that way any longer.

          • Actually, since her adultery isn’t a factor in custody, and being the sole bread winnerIis not considered to be an integral part of parenting, the working dad is at a serious disadvantage when his unfaithful stay at home wife seeks to be primary custodian. The court discounts his contibution and doesn’t allow her affair to matter when determining custody.

            Maybe it’s better for some, but for others, it is very much stacked against dad getting primary custody of his children.

        • It is quite hard to prove abuse of any kind and puts all of the burden on the victim. And abusers are sneaky weasels who are often charming with others. Addicts too. Proving a personality disorder is damn near impossible. Having to prove these things for justification purposes is actually an insult to victims who often barely escape with their lives. This kind if ignorance unempowers abuse victims.

          However I will assume that your goal is to look for what is in the children’s best interest and the courts do currently have two epic fails in that regard. Dat is right about the statistics on men not fighting for custody as often BUT those men fighting for FULL custody against a mom who is abusive, neglectful or an addict face an impossible battle. It is true that the state will go beyond reason to the point of danger and sometimes death in the face of overwhelming evidence to let a mom keep the kids. Conversely because of “Father’s Rights” it’s almost impossible even with proof of abuse etc to deny a father visitation. Sometimes women actually lose custody or are punished for trying to protect their kids. I’m expected to let my one year old have seven day in a row overnights with a man who by choice stayed out of his life. It’s extremely traumatic for a child under five to be away from their primary caregiver. Seven nights in a row in a strange place with no mommy is abusive. Judge does not care because of father’s rights. The movement was extremely important but is now being abused.

          IMO this standard of 50/50 is a good thing to fight the idea that dads don’t need to see their kids as much as mom’s. But it’s stupid as hell in any sort of practical way. Kids in general are not being served in family court because of both old ideas and progressive ones.

        • The same man who cheated on me also physically abused me. The only reference to this physical abuse is a note in my medical file when I had to see a doctor about an eardrum he ruptured by shoving me through a wall. If I wanted to prove abuse, I’d have a hell of a time. We don’t like to convict innocent people in this country (for good reason), and it’s hard to get enough evidence to win a criminal case. It honestly scares the hell out of me that so many people judge single mothers (even on this board of all places) when you really have no idea why they got a divorce. Your comment is insensitive, triggering, and is a great representation of why women don’t leave abusive situations.

          Sorry for the rant. Maybe you meant well. I’m just hard pressed to see it.

          • My beef is not with single moms per se. However, it is with the assumption that all single moms are virtuous mothers who were dealt a bad hand due to no fault of their own.

            Like any such statement, it’s true in some cases, and not true in others.

            Let’s take my ex-wife. She’s a single mom. By virtue of being a single mom, there is some automatic sympathy given to her for no reason other than she’s a mom and she’s single.

            No one asks how she became a single mom. She decided marriage wasn’t her bag, but before she told her husband (me) she decided to repeatedly fall on the penis of a man old enough to be her father.

            You see, she volunteered to be a single mom. Did she have valid complaints about the marriage? Of course. The thing is, I did too. The difference is, she didn’t use her words and have an adult conversation, spelling out in clear details what was right, what was wrong and what she wanted. She simply went out and had an affair. Anytime I tried to bring up a complaint, she shut down. Didn’t want to talk, and certainly didn’t address it.

            Did I go out and have an affair because I wasn’t happy? No. She did. Now she’s a single mom and somehow, we should feel sorry for her because she’s a single mom.

            Like others have said, she’s like those who shoot their parents and then want sympathy for being an orphan.

            What was my experience?

            My pastor asked what I did to force her to have an affair. I should say former pastor. My lawyer told me what others have said, it’s pointless to fight for primary custody. She was a stay at home mom and it would be assumed that she was the better parent. That her choice to have an affair has no bearing in a custody hearing.

            Let’s add on to that the differences in sermons heard on Mothers Day and Fathers Day. On MD, it’s how moms can do no harm and walk on water, just like Jesus. On FD, it’s you are no where near being Jesus, you fathers need to step up your game. Stop leaving, stop cheating, etc.

            I hear things like men have more affairs. Really, with whom are they having affairs? Other men? If men are having affairs with women, how can men be having more affairs than women? Are not they equally represented in the affair playing field?

            Some might say those women may not be married. Perhaps. However, it’s unlikely they don’t know he is married.

            Not to mention, if you hear this sort of thing in your church, somehow, his sin of an affair is ranked worse than her sin of adultery. My Bible reads they are all bad, so your marital status as an affair participant really doesn’t matter in the calculus of sin.

            But somehow, we don’t critically examine single moms. They are given an automatic pass, regardless of if they volunteered to be a single mom by having an affair and divorcing a faithful husband, or if they are widowed by some unthinkable event that takes their husband from them.

            It seems that today, character doesn’t matter. All that matters is how things look.

            When you see a single mom who was previously married, there is as much if not more chance that a faithful husband was discarded as there is a man of bad character was removed from her life.

            So I simply don’t automatically assume a single mom is a virtuous creature who is a victim of a bad circumstance. Many are volunteers, many are “self-made” single moms. Made at the expense of a good man betrayed.

            • That’s weird — I don’t think that “singe mom” automatically equates with virtuousness. I usually think that people somehow infuse the phrase with negative stereotypes such as “didn’t use contraception while fucking around.” So I don’t like the term applied to me, even though that’s what I am now….and certainly not by my choice (nor by my refusal to responsibly use birth control). I was the one abandoned by Dr. Professor Cheaterpants while I was madly dancing to keep him.

  • That whole dumb article sounds like something a OW and deadbeat dad put out to shame single moms for taking child support. If not, I would hold nothing this dipshit said as weight. What an idiot.

  • I find the concept of child support a bit too cookie cutter, and perhaps not fitting or meeting the needs of every situation, especially divorced couple who both have ok income. It’s a different story when there is a job/income struggle for one of the two parties.

    Nobody argues that it costs money to raise a child and that both parents have to foot the bill. Seeing several of my friends go through this, I often wonder the alternatives.

    Would a better alternative not be one where there is a join credit card used specifically for the kids expenses, and the bill is split down the middle at the end of the month? Given both parties can be trusted to pay up their half. And can be trusted to use it only to pay for food for child, activities for child, clothes and supplies for child, and nothing more.

    I find that a lot of the fighting usually comes from the parent that has to give the child support saying it doesnt go to the child specifically but to help fund another household, which is a fair statement.

    It seems that living in such an electronic age, there should be a way for child expenses to be digitally accountable, and the bill almost completely detailed to there is no guessing as to where money is going. No it won’t cover everything, but I think it would go a long way.

    • I see some pragmatic problems with that. Gas went into car that transports kids to school and parents to work? How is that split up? Car needs oil change? Separate meals prepared for custodial parent and child(ren)? Who determines what clothing is appropriate for children? If parents have difficulty working together to make good decisions on behalf of the children, why would that change if they are apart? And upon whom does the burden of paperwork/proof fall?

      I know of injustices on both sides of the fence, and agree that there are often not easy answers. But I’m not confident that this is the solution.

      • @EA; I knew someone would say that. Charging 1 tank of gas a month to the kids credit card should suffice to justify the periods of times the car was used for the kids (or whatever amount justifies). As I mentioned in one of my other replies… oil change… thats car repair, you would still have a car with or without a kid, it isnt about finding a way to nail everything as a kid need, though much like when you expense something for work there are logical ways to do things, charge 1 oil change a year to the kid card. It’s all about logic. And I am a numbers person.

        Meals may be prepared all as a family, but its pretty obvious what stuff is “kid snack” only, the kid obvious food goes to the joint credit card, along with X amount of the other stuff. It’s pretty easy to figure out what quantity of the whole is ballpark consumed by one person.

        It sucks, but divorce sucks, and im just saying, if one parent (usually dad) is complaining about child support…. then there are other ways to have it be obvious what exactly he is paying for.

        • Quantification can and often is confused with accuracy. As long as we put numbers on something, we don’t have to look at how accurate the computing process is, or whether it’s founded upon good reasoning. (I had a hunch you’d say that about the oil change, btw.)

          The problem with numbers is that there’s a difference a difference between data and information, and even getting an accurate handle on the data is tough. Put a meter in the shower when teenage son goes through his two-shower-a-day phase? Log another trip into town when DD forgets her math book at home? Prom night? Sports? Vet bills? (Whose dog is it, anyway?) And again, if one parent feels that mac-and-cheese and hot-dogs are good enough, and the other parent wants to buy fresh foods and chicken, who pays the difference?

          The other problem that I see with this is that there may be inequities in earning power that are not addressed by the 50/50 split, and the parent who has custody is more limited in the time available to work because of time spent in child/household care.

          Two parents in complete accord could probably make your system work well. To impose it on all families because it would work for a portion of them seems unworkable. OTOH, I would have been happy to get anything for child support, even the system you describe, although I know it would have resulted in nit-picking argument about every expenditure.

    • I agree with EA, and would note the logistics of it. I am now a single parent, who admittedly is still not at full-work-capacity because of the emotional trauma of D-Day & pushing through a rapid divorce. My record keeping skills are not great at the best of times, and if I had to account for every dollar spent on child care to justify child support, my kid would end up without child support. I can’t drive her to volleyball lessons, feed her (with a special gluten-free diet), help her with math homework, work through her adolescent issues & issues of abandonment because of the divorce, work my own job, try to heal myself, AND keep records of every time she wants an after-school snack.

      Custodial parents have it tough enough without adding “accountant” to their list of chores.

      • @Temptest; read my response to EA above.

        The entire point of my idea behind using a joint credit card for kid expenses is exactly that; the credit card does the record keeping for you, you get a statement, it’s all there. No thinking required. If you had to keep a log of everything paid with cash, that would in fact be a nightmare.

        • I know, J, but it won’t work–my child uses electricity in the house; I use gas to cook her meals. I can’t use the child support credit card to pay portions of those bills. We can’t stay in our neighborhood unless the grass is cut to homeowner associations standards (and I’m only in that house because it’s in a good school district). Can I charge part of the lawnmower to the child support credit card? Her violin teacher needs cash or a check–again the credit card won’t work.

          I see your point in suggesting the credit card, but I suspect it would be a way to penalize good-parents who have greater than 50% custody and make them justify every expense even when they are the ones doing all the heavy lifting with raising the child.

    • There is no “one size fits all” that is going to cover all situations fairly. Division of property is hard enough, but division of time with your children is another case entirely. I was primary residential parent because my X was barely capable of getting himself to work on time. To hand him the task of getting the children to school on time, arranging for care after school, and on holidays from school and arranging for transportation to and from all extra curricular activities, doctors and dentist appointments, etc etc — That would have been an overwhelming task for him!!! Our incomes were not equal — so how do you split bils 50/50? There were many things my children could not have had if I had to bear 1/2 the cost — because I didn’t have it.

      I have often heard the statistic that women earn 70 cents for each dollar men earn. I don’t know how accurate that stat is — but I do see tax returns in my occupation, and I can tell you that my observation is that most of the men I see are compensated a lot more than the women are. I don’t know all of the qualifying reasons why — but I do know I have always worked in professions where there has been a “glass ceiling” that the women could not shatter, in terms of income. I think that is slowly changing — but I had to raise my children in the times I lived in, not in the “what should be” times. This is a very frustrating fact that women have to deal with — a huge cause of concern when your cheater earns much more than you do, but you are the one who is competent and responsible , and who has always born the primary responsibility for the care of the children. Daddy may have funded the home and the dinners, but Mommy had to keep the home clean and prepare the dinners and clean the kitchen after, and bathe the children and get them into bed. Daddy came home and relaxed and watched TV while Mommy came home to her second job. No money for Job#2 — but lots of wonderful moments with the children. That was the reality of my marriage, and if he hadn’t been a serial cheater I could have lived with the inequity of the distribution of tasks. I could endure his lack of interest in being “fair” — I couldn’t endure the lies and the cheating. I do not see a court of law ever being able to make that right. I was the primary caregiver for my children while I was married. Even the cheater had to admit that when he approached me for “joint” custody. I asked him what would be best for the children and started giving him a small taste of what my daily schedule was. He quickly agreed he could not do “that.” He couldn’t even keep to the visitation schedule where he saw his children 2 out of 7, then 2 out of 14 days. He had 2 weeks of vacation time to spend with them. Couldn’t do that either. There was always something more important — his work or the new OW du jour. Much more important to get laid than to spend time with his own children. So can you understand why some of us on this site get fed up?

      I have also seen some fathers who were the chumps and who did not want to leave their children to the tender mercies of their cheating mothers. These guys have altered their lives to spend time with their children, and to see that the children’s needs are met. If they are adamant about it, the courts have been responsive. This divorce action resulted in a complete change of their lives, and their children’s lives. If you are willing to do all that — then go for it. I only warn you to be careful what you wish for. Being the primary caregiver for children is not a task for the faint of heart.

        • Horseshit. Direct quote from Forbes, based on AAUW research, with ALL statistical controls in place:

          “The report controls for occupation, major, hours worked, parenthood, and many other factors to reveal that college-educated women working full time were paid an unexplained 7% less than their male counterparts were paid one year after graduation. To clarify, this analysis looks at men and women who have made the same educational and occupational choices and still finds a gap.”

          and:
          “Plus, women fall further and further behind the eight ball over time. AAUW’s research report The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap found that women are paid about 90 percent of what men are paid until age 35, when women’s median earnings typically drop to 75–80% of men’s.”

          full article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeswomanfiles/2014/04/07/the-awful-truth-of-the-gender-pay-gap-it-gets-worse-as-women-age/

              • Then hiring an inferior candidate is it’s own punishment.

                I know, not really rewarding. But it’s akin to remaining with a cheater. It may not be fair that they cheated, but you are better off without them.

                If someone makes the short-sighted choice to hire an inferior candidate because of gender, you are better off not working there.

            • I can also provide citations to studies showing that, with equal qualifications, men are preferred for many jobs & rated more competent (this is based on providing people with identical resumes with either “Joan” or “John” at the top.

              Also check out stories from women turned men, like Ben Barres (Nature, 2006) on how much more respect they get as men than women.

              And work by J. Eccles on how women get socialized out of higher-paying STEM fields starting in junior high.

              • Part of the problem is that most of the discrimination is not conscious or deliberate. Bosses don’t realize they’re paying men more for equivalent jobs, that the ‘average’ guy in the job is making more than the woman w/the same training, experience and job evaluations. And teachers (btw, it starts in primary school) aren’t aware they’re discouraging girls from ‘liking math’ and going into the STEM fields ….

                But the fact that people aren’t aware they’re doing it, or, often, how or why, doesn’t make it not real.

              • Maybe I should weigh in on this. FiRast though , let me get this out of the way: “Fuck you, Arnold, you fuck faced misogynistic cretin asshole.”
                There, the standard recitation/ rebuttal prelude is taken care of.
                I agree with uniballer. Check out Dr Warren Farrell on this issue. He has very good statistical evidence on this.
                Again, ” Fuck off , Arnold. You are a piss poor subhuman patriarch etc.” Okay, got the sign off statement taken care if, too.
                Anyone heard of Chanty Binx?

        • And, when you control for number of hours worked, etc., it ignores that women are taking on the majority of the child care responsibilities (which is why they take more sick days, may work fewer hours, or like me, take a significant demotion in job status & pay).

          Thus, the statistical controls for other factors are necessary, but may actually HIDE the fact that women are still behind in wages.

          • @ Portias initial comment; this may be the slight feminist in me coming out, but your comment is basically saying that because women (in theory) make less, the ex husband has to pony up more money. I am sorry but that doesn’t make sense. At the end of the day divorce sucks and everyone is responsible for themselves, and everyone suffers, and when you had kids that was a responsibility you signed up for. Overcharging someone because you make 70% then them (in theory) seems a bit wrong to me, I am not sure I am ok with penalizing someone and saying “take more care of my bills even though we are divorced because I as a woman make less than you”. The money is for the kids, and everyone works hard to get the kids ahead, it isnt about penalizing anyone. I think anyways.

            Like I said, I’m a numbers person, and my comments stem only from brainstorming other possible solutions to the child support problem which doesn’t seem to meet the needs of everyone.

            • Let me tell you my own scenario as a reason why women making 70% less IS relevant to child support, esp. when a woman sacrificed career goals/money to tend to the children.

              I moved 13.5 years ago so my then-H could take a much more prestigious, higher-paying job. I gave up tenure (still on one-year contracts), and $15,000 per year in pay. I then did 90% of the parenting so that he could advance his career. His salary has increased 70% in that time period, mine about 12% (and I am still making less than I was 14 years ago). Once child support ends, I am screwed in terms of salary. And it is not just a matter of, “hey, get a better job!” As a result of doing the child-care and being in a non-tenure position, I am no longer marketable for most tenure-track positions. I didn’t think I would have to be, as Mega-Successful H was going to care for us.

              The most I could have obtained in settlement was 52%, according to my lawyer, which in NO way made up for what I have lost financially due to his cheating. (I just took 50% as I kept most possessions in the house.)

              I think the stats on women making more are directly relevant to this debate (though I agree cheater wives are not owed alimony under any circumstances–consequences).

            • Courts are the ones who determine child Support guidelines, presumably they have done research on what is reasonable, necessary, and in the best interest of the child.

              • Yup, and in my jurisdiction, where 50-50 shared custody time is the default, the child support option is NOT based on assumed 50-50 responsibility for expenses. The calculation is based on how much time each parent has the kids, AND how much money each parent makes. The idea being that THE CHILD should not be overly penalized financially if they live part of the time w/a parent who has a lower income. And while this system takes into account the fact that women often made career sacrifices when the children were small and frequently make less money than men in similar jobs, it applies no matter what the gender of the higher-or-lower earning parent.

              • That makes sense, Karen E. I do believe for the most part that what the courts do is for the children. And I will also say that no matter how much you love your child/children, it is a gigantic task taking care of them by yourself. Especially when that what not how it originally went. That is why most cheaters don’t take care of their children like they should. It is hard work. But some do, so we can’t include them all.

              • “The Courts” make the decisions about child support…and “The Courts” are typically older white men…

            • I don’t think I said that because women make less men have to pay more. What I said was splitting the bills for the child 50/50 is not realistic when the incomes are not equal. Often times plans are made, homes are bought, routines are set in place while the couple is married. Differences in income are considered part of the package. Why then, after the dissolution of the marriage, should the spouse with the lower income be expected to pay 50% of the bills? Just as I did the majority of the child care while we were married, with no paycheck from him to compensate me for my time, it is part of the deal. I cannot be expected to pay 50% of each bill for the child (which would be hard to calculate, anyway) anymore than he can be expected to pay me for the majority of the childcare I take on being primary parent.

              What I am trying to say is splitting things 50/50 may seem reasonable and fair, but it is not, when incomes are not equal. The child should not suffer a loss of lifestyle if the parents cooperate — doing whatever it takes to let the dissolution of the marriage have as minimal effect as possible on the child. Unfortunately, when dealing with an entitled personality disordered X, you cannot count on them paying for anything, or paying on time. My X made a lot more money than I did. Any child support I received from him helped me provide a better life for the children. Anything he bought for the children in addition to his regular support made a better life for the children. Anyone who deludes himself that I was “raking in the free money” needs to check out what housekeepers, nannies, drivers, personal shoppers etc etc charge. I raised my children in spite of the fact that their father was not reliable. Put a price on that.

              • What nobody is saying here is that there’s no reason to expect that a child of divorce, or a child who’s primary custodian makes far less income than the non custodial parent (statistically usually a single mom) should be less expensive to raise or deserve less support than a child from an intact marriage. Realistically divorce is expensive and even though it’s law it probaly is unlikely that the child will live in the exact same standard of living. But kids are expensive. And child support was designed to help meet their basic needs.

                The whole 50/50 responsibility thing makes no sense especially once you’ve lived it. I sacrificed my career to provide free daycare for my stepkids. Then I agreed to get pregnant at my ex’s request with the agreement that I would be a stay at home mom. My ex makes FIVE times what I make. Long story short I found out he was cheating at seven weeks pregnant. I later found out he was a narc serial cheater who gave me an std. One year after giving birth I am suffering serious health issues related to pregnancy and have not been able to work. My ex makes six figures. I get four hundred bucks in child support. That doesn’t even cover half my kid’s basic basic needs. And don’t get me started on how expensive day care is.
                Plus my kid’s needs are worth less than ex’s other two kids ording to cs calculations because he is from my ex’s second marriage. My ex thinks this is fair because it’s the standard. I fail to see how it’s ok for my kid to not have diapers, a carseat or formula because he’s from a second marriage.

                I know there are sahm moms who have worked the system to their advantage in an unfair way. But they are far and few between. I am expected in bad health to go to school and work full time and pay a portion of daycare as calculated by cse. And the school thing is not a la de da I think I’ll change my career because it sounds like fun. It’s because if I don’t I will never be able to support my child. And then being a single mom becomes indentured servitude with a rigged system.

                I used to think feminism was being equally responsible too. But it’s being equally valued. Yes, theoretically we can go out and earn the same income as a man. But that DOES NOT mean that we should not be valued and given compensation for our investment in the home and children. Feminism is being treated equal and empowered no matter where we choose to invest our heart, soul and time.

                All things being equal if we get to keep what we earned and worked for in the relationship without having to somehow share or contribute to even out the disparity when divorced then fuck my ex when it comes to visitation. Hey, eggs are a lot rarer than sperm and I carried and nurtured my child for nine months and then attempted breastfeeding, was with my son night and day and sacrificed my health and body. My ex…oh yeah, he made a small donation. But now that we’re (almost) divorced he doesn’t have a right to the fruits of my literal labor. Unfair? Well yeah, but he made the decision to have the kid so even he though he won’t get to have anything to do with him it’s on him for making that decision to have kids and then get divorced. That same argument is used against child support and alimony.

                I don’t believe that at all of course. I want my ex to stay the hell away from my kid cause he’s disordered, not because of my egg superiority. Custody should be directly related to who’s the good parent and alimony should be completely non existent to a cheating spouse.

    • J, a couple of things:

      “Given both parties can be trusted…”: when there are cheating partners (in my case, there’s a pathological liar who cannot be trusted to accurately report the color of the sky), this is an impossible requirement.

      “I find that a lot of the fighting usually comes from the parent that has to give the child support saying it doesnt go to the child specifically but to help fund another household, which is a fair statement”: if by “fund another household,” you mean that the parent receiving child support uses support dollars to keep a roof over the child’s head, then I wonder what you actually think child support payments are supposed to cover. It doesn’t sound like a “fair statement” to me at all.

      • @StrongerEveryday; I agree that some people can not be trusted, my comment was simply geared to the idea that if both parents want to put aside their own feelings about their ex partner and concentrate on the dollar organization of the situation it woudl probably make life a lot easier, obviously some people can’t be trusted.

        AND I think you are misinterpreting my comment about “funding another household”. People get divorced and move on, regardless of who is at fault, the ex (regardless of why they became an ex) shouldn’t have to carry the burden of the other person’s living expenses, especially once a new partner has moved in, and they are building new lives.

        Personally I think child support payments have to cover the expenses of a child, meaning food, activities, clothes and supplies, I do not think it needs to cover ‘fixed costs’, meaning somebody’s mortgage, yes I realize the kids have to live somewhere, but so does that primary care giver should they not have kids with them, and the marginal cost (for the most part) is not huge, so to an extent that primary caregiver does also have to be responsible for their own living expenses to what can be attributed to themselves should they not have kids to support. EXAMPLE: I still need to pay for a house to live in regardless of if kids lived with me or not. I still need a car, regardless of if I have kids or not, and I may feel like a new car, and my ex shouldn’t have to pony up for that.

        And I might be talking from a certain income perspective, but the expense of that house; meaning size of home, mortgage, property taxes etc, would not change much if there was 1 or 2 kids living with me, or if i lived alone. WHERE I live, the smallest house you can get is a 3 bedroom townhouse, so single or with 2 kids, I would still be occupying that same size home. If I moved a new husband or boyfriend in, I now have a new life, so to what extent is it fair that my ex-husband pays for sunk costs of that home, i would prefer the money go to variable expenses that directly impact the kids and anything extra to a savings account for them for college.

        Personally I have a hard time having my ex pick up my own bills, and prefer it be kept strictly for kids needs.

        My initial posting stated that my comment might be more fitting for ex-couples of a certain income level and obviously who can somewhat work together to try and get through these situations as best as possible. NOT everyone can do that.

        • You are certainly talking from a certain income perspective, because not only would I not be living in a house if I didn’t have kids (a condo would be great), i wouldn’t be living in this neighbourhood (good schools!) and wouldn’t own a car! (Well, actually I don’t own a car, or a television, but I’m weird …) Oh, and I wouldn’t be working a second job either (and that’s with generous child support; supporting two households is a lot more expensive than just one, as my cheater ex hadn’t figured out before …) And I’d probably move to a warmer but cheaper place to live ….

          So you’re proposing a system where two people who trust each other to keep good track, and honestly, of all the child expenses (unusual after divorce, certainly if from a cheater), and have a high income, should go to a lot of trouble to assure the other parent that none of the ‘child support’ money is being spent on anything but the child. Hmm. Doesn’t actually sound very trusting to me. What happened to assuming it’s being spent to the child’s benefit, directly or indirectly, and letting it go at that?

        • J, you’re right: you and I do have a difference of opinion about what types of expenses child support should cover. The “marginal costs” you refer to are not insignificant when you are the resident parent in the school district, and you are, in fact, maintaining shelter, heat, water, and electrical for multiple people. If my children resided elsewhere more than 1.5 days every 2 weeks, my household costs would be far lower.

          It’s too bad I’m not already in that “certain income level” you refer to. I would far prefer it if I could place all child support money in a college fund or to pay for extras. Wouldn’t we all? That will be the case when my income increases…oh but wait…at that point child support will decrease anyway because of my improved circumstances. And I consider that a good thing!

        • I can see why that might make a lot of sense from the perspective you described. If both parties make a comfortable income and have no accrued debt from failure of the other party to contribute to their children’s expenses, I think most of us would feel as you do. You would not want child support to go towards things that could be conceived as being used by you, and your proposal of having a credit card tracking system to ensure that only child-specific expenses would be shared would be one way to approach this.

          Another way to approach this is to ensure that the child-support asked for, and sometimes paid, would be only a pittance of what the custodial parent spends on their children. While not being as precise as initialing each dollar that goes out towards child support, the general outcome would be the same: a non-custodial parent would not have to worry that their contribution was going to support another household.

          When both of my children were in attendance at the private high school my husband selected, I was paying around $11K a year in tuition. (He paid for daughter’s freshman year only, and I promised her she was not going to have to switch schools during HS, nor was I going to keep her there and send my son to a different school when he started HS.) Throw in another $1500-3000 a year for sports, school-related travel, etc., plus food, transportation, clothing, utilities, auto insurance, and so on, and it’s reasonable to think that the $300 a month I asked for at the time, and did not get, were not going to fund my hedge fund and tropical vacations. (Oh, wait . . .) I’m sorry. That was snarky, and you are approaching this in a level-headed, not-mean way. But I am growing irritated here nonetheless, and I’d like to understand why. I’ll leave the snark in for transparency’s sake, and explore this a bit more.

          If you are in an income bracket where your ex’s child-support payments generously cover half of agreed-upon expenses of raising your children and still leave enough slush to sock some away for college, consider yourself fortunate, but atypical. I may the one being presumptuous here, but I think that is not true for most of us. I have the impression from posts that I’ve read that few of us get enough child support to worry about whether our own expenses are being covered by them.

          My children learned a long time ago to ask, and still habitually ask, “How are we doing financially this month?” before they ask for anything. My son needed a $4 tool today to work on an old motorcycle he’s rehabbing for transportation, He called and asked if he could spend the money on it. Four bucks is not a problem, but the habit is ingrained at this point.

          Lets say I did get the $300 a month I asked for. That amount would have hit my bank account and evaporated like water on a hot stove. I realize that your system of split costs for the children would have brought thousands more a month into my household, but if $300 was not going to happen, $2300 was surely not going to happen, no matter how carefully I accounted for the dollars. If the position was reversed, as a non-custodial parent on a budget, I would have felt extremely nervous about my expenses for the children being both out of my control in not having a cap and in not having a say in what those expenses would be. I would much prefer to have a fixed amount for which I could budget.

          Even my young-adult, semi-employed, out-of-school son runs up expenses here substantially. When he’s out of the house, I plan on downsizing radically, and will probably pay $1K a month less in housing costs, about $500 less in utilities, another $500 less in groceries, and with my children’s dogs out of the house, a few hundred less there as well. DS’s phone, car insurance, gas, are expenses I’m still helping him with as he transitions into being fully employed. Throw in the $1250 or so I’m paying to service debt accrued while single parenting, and it starts to add up. I’m not sure what income level it would take for $4K a month to be marginal, but I know I am not yet there.

          I’ll need to work longer than I had hoped to pay off the debt I rang up while single-parenting and to save up a nest egg for retirement. I’m years behind where I hoped to be financially, but have two amazing children well-started in life. I would say that the “marginal costs” of having children with me ran easily $3K a month even without housing and utilities, well upward some months, and they didn’t stop when my children hit the legal age past which child support can be required of a parent. I think that’s why your post brought out a cranky streak in me; it seems naïve. You sound comfortably well off, and that’s to be commended. However, to assume that for most of us, the extra costs of having children around are “marginal” is naïve.

          There have been posters participating in the forums whose spouses are definitely living in that stratospheric range where my expenses would be chump change. Several of these ex-spouses mentioned having great difficulty getting money out of the non-custodial parent for their children’s sake while they are living an expensive lifestyle with a new partner. Assuming that being of a certain income level (whatever that cut-off is) will make people immune from that outcome is also naïve. I really don’t think you said anything to deserve my crankiness or snark, but I still wanted you to see the impact that your words had. I genuinely hope you’ll accept my apology, and agree to disagree with me on this one.

          • Let’s just put this damn debate to rest once & for all by PAYING ATTENTION TO THE RESEARCH. Virtually every research study conducted supports the following statement:

            “Economic Hardship: Divorce typically results in a severe decline in standard of living for most custodial mothers and their children.52”

            The quote from one of the foremost sociologists in the field (Amato):

            Journal Issue: Children and Divorce Volume 4 Number 1 Spring/Summer 1994

            Life-Span Adjustment of Children to Their Parents’ Divorce
            Authors: Paul R. Amato

            and:
            “According to George Mason University Sociology and law professor Lenore Weitzman in her book “The Divorce Revolution,” a typical woman endures a 73 percent reduction in her standard of living after a divorce. Her typical ex-husband enjoys a 42 percent increased standard of living.

            That’s largely because raising children is expensive and time consuming, and mothers still raise children more often than fathers do. According to a 2009 analysis by the U.S. census bureau, just 17 percent of fathers have sole custody of their minor children.”

            from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brendan-lyle/after-divorce-women-rebou_1_b_1970733.html

            No, I’m not irritated…..

            • Thanks for those citations, Tempest. I agree that it should be a clear case here.

              I suppose I’ve gotten a little tetchy over the implication that I’m somehow floating my personal expenses off on stbx, when the CS I receive hardly begins to cover even half of the basic shelter, food, and clothing expenses I provide my kids.

              But the whole proposition is a non-starter for me anyway. The idea that I could somehow “work together” on any financial matter with stbx, who committed years and years of financial deception on top of everything else, is laughable. I guess I’m just not one of the enlightened.

              And no, I’m not irritated either.

            • Not in my case. Xw has a good job, gets 26K tax free from me, has a husband with a good job to help with expenses. She drives a nicer car than me, has a bigger house, nicer clothes, gym membership and summers off every year.
              I am always strapped. I pick my kids up each morning for school, and buy them breakfast and clothes and pay for their phones. I take them o vacations with me etc.
              if I had the kids and 26 k flow g toward ne, that is a 5th difference and we would live equally as well as her.

              • Arnold–I commiserate with your plight, and you sound like a good father.

                Again, I will simply say that the plural of “anecdote” is not “data.” These studies are based on hundreds of cases.

              • Arnold, I am sad for you. And I’m sad for me. Dr. Professor Cheaterpants was clearly worried that he would be in the situation you are in, because he complained to me, shortly before he moved out, about such a thing happening to someone he knew. I guess that’s why he fought so hard. Well, he’s a lawyer on top of all his other sparkles, so he won, hands-down. I am certain I am one of those ones that Amato wrote about, in Tempest’s post. X lives in a fancy apartment downtown with girlfriend, who also has a good job and pays half the costs. I live close to my daughter’s school so she can walk there and not because I enjoy the neighborhood, and I go to graduate school so I can hope to be able to support myself in this expensive city after giving up my career to support his career and care for our children for the last 15 years. And I can barely make ends meet. It really does take two incomes to live decently well in Denver, or really anywhere else I’d like to live. But a double income is not gonna happen for me anytime soon. But for him, well — life is a bed of fucking roses. I just hope the thorns scratch sometimes.

              • Your situation is horrible, and I commend you for your commitment to your children. This might be an excellent illustration of where J’s solution would create some equity, and even if you were compelled to continue paying at that rate, you could require that any excesses be saved for college.

                However, private schools/music/riding lessons, designer clothes, vacations could be argued to be necessities in some circles, so even then you could be hurt by this system. Wouldn’t know; I don’t breathe that rarified air. If we had received a fifth of that, our lives would have been radically different.

          • Um, rent or mortgage payments IS the biggest increase in cost with having kids. Child support SHOULD be used to pay for it. If I was single I could support myself ok. As a single mother if it wasn’t for subsidized rent my son and I would be homeless. My ex lives in a five bedroom with motherfucking granite countertops.

            • Kat, this is terrible. Did you have a lawyer’s help in working out your settlement and child support?

              • It’s calculated through the state guidelines by the office of child support. Children from second marriages get far less in the calculation. That’s standard. WA doesn’t have a tender years law which means they impute income because they expect you to work even if you just gave birth. And there’s no break in that imputed income if you’re going back to school because they expect you should work full time during that. It was meant to keep people from quitting their jobs and using school as an excuse not to pay child support. It’s unrealistic as a single parent especially of a child under 5.

                Settlement means jack if the marriage is considered short term. I had a lawyer for divorce and custody but child support was handled in the state where he lives. Ahole had to pay a minimal amount but he challenged that and we had a hearing. Judge awarded him every discount and allowance. It was nuts. Once I’m in better health I may revisit but I don’t have the resources to hire a lawyer. I would never have another kid or get remarried unless I had a prenup including an established amount for support. Someday the shit will hit the fan for my ex. Everybody thinks he’s a good dad to his other kids. He basically abandoned his responsibilities with mine. That isn’t gonna look good.

                Whenever I see your moniker it reminds me of the movie Enough with Jennifer Lopez. She had a scary abusive husband that she ran from to protect herself and her kid. But in the end she gets all bad ass and has to take him out. I’ve always wanted to learn Krav Maga which is the fighting style she learns to finally beat him.

              • That seems insane and punitive to me. I wish I had something better to offer than my sympathy.

                I go to court today for a pre-trial hearing for our divorce. I have no idea how this will play out, but this conversation could not have been more timely for me in helping me go in this to win; he has stated that he plans on doing that.

            • I cannot see courts getting involved in how the custodial parent spends the support. It would just be a nightmare to supervise.
              I think the betrayed men are facing this more than the women ,as we so rarely get custody. Basically, the court gives custody to who is considered the primary caregiver, regardless of infidelity and that seems to , often times be the stay at home parent.
              Seems strange to me that working and earning money to support the family is not seen as equally to the day in day out care of the kids at home. Both roles seem primary to the child’s well being/care. Why is not paying for things considered primary caregiving, as well?
              This is why I feel that agreeing to one parent staying home, sacrificing a career etc is a bad idea for both parties. The stay at home parent gets the kids, even if he or she cheated. But , if the stay at home parent is the betrayed one, unless the marriage is long term enough, he or she will have impaired future earning capacity.

              • Arnold, you got so so screwed in your situation. Sometimes the system is fair and screwed up based on gender and I can see how in your case you didn’t get any of the biases in your favor and the fairness stuff was further used against you. I too ended up with a similar situation where I got none of the breaks and my ex also got all of credits. In my case it means literally being unable to buy diapers or clothes for my one year old. And while I am bitter about the health effects of the stress and pregnancy (just had to have gallbladder out after months of excruciating pain), I am more depressed than anything by the financial unfairness.

                If however I was in your shoes and had to pay that massive amount of income to my ex because I had been a hardworking guy who took care of my family I would be bitter as fuck, fucking bitter, bitter as wormwood and bitteralicious!!!!!!!!!And it wouldn’t help to hear how unfair it was because you KNOW how unequal the situation is. And it happens every day with added insult of the assumption that the mom is the best parent. You got screwed for being a good family man. I’ve known other guys in the same situation. Is the alimony indefinite?

                It’s also just plain mean that you or any of the chump guys here have had to hear insinutions about your manhood because of a cheating wife. It would take A LOT of conscious effort not to hate the female gender. I struggle every day not to express hatred for men. Anger sometimes sure. But I’ve got a son and he deserves to grow up without hearing there’s something awful with his gender.

                Hopefully my body will eventually heal. And some day my situation is going to change to something better. My heart goes out to you as a loving parent and as a guy who’s situ would make me fantasize a lot about murder for sure.

        • For the record, I wouldn’t take a penny from the ex if I didn’t have to. I know everyone is going on about how child support belongs to the kids….but if I had a choice and was completely able to provide for my son’s needs I wouldn’t even bother. Having my ex totally cut off from our lives would be awesome.

          • Thanks, Kat. It is unfair. I asked my lawyer re the chances of getting custody and was advised I would go broke fighting for it and never win.
            My lawyer was one of my classmates and had written the most used and respected treatise on family law in Minnesota.
            Her exact words to me were ” ARNOLD, YOUR WIFE COULD HAVE BEEN GIVING GUYS BLOWJOB ON HENNEPIN AVENUE AND YOU STILL WOULD HAVE NO SHOT
            AT WINNING CUSTODY”.

            • And that is the point all the studies show. Fathers do not fight for custody of their kids, Mothers do. You can’t claim that the system is fixed and fathers have no chance of custody if you don’t even try. Did you even ask for 50/50? Did you consult anyone else besides the great classmate and treatise writer? Lots of chumps on this site and that I know from elsewhere fought for and won either major custody or 50/50 and the latter was not difficult for them to get. The former is difficult for everyone.

              • I bet most father’s are advised similarely by practitioners re the likelihood of success and the cost. So,why fight if you have no shot?
                My lawyer knew her stuff. She was very highly regarded in our legal community. Others confirmed what she advised, yes.
                Dat , if you want folks to tame you seriously, perhaps you should research this stuff. I rather doubt you know many men who successfully fought for and won custody from a stay at home mother. I suspect you make a lot of your bullshit up.

    • A primary custodial parent (chump or otherwise) has to pay a rent or mortgage, utilities, transportation, food, clothes, medical, and school expenses. There are school lunches to buy, childcare expenses for after school, and things like computers that are more and more necessities for school work. Child support language in many states is written to acknowledge that supporting the child is not just buy what the child need to wear or wants to play with. How do you divide up that turkey dinner to pay for a child’s share? Or the gallon of gas in the tank it took to take the child to the doctor? It’s aggravating to see kids go without and the custodial parent live it up with Schmoopie using a chunk of the child support for whatever they want, but remember that the child will always know that Dad or Mom paid support and what was done with it. Karma will be coming.

      • Weird thing about paying child support in my case, it seems to not register with my kids. They see mom shelling out $$ for something and fail to realize that the majority of the $$ originated with me. They ask me to buy something, like clothes ( which I still do a lot) and if I claim to not have the money, they point out their mom’s purchases. I tell them that I helped pay for those purchases, but they ignore that.

        • Bites, indeed. I think if someone were paying $52K a year for my upkeep, I should know about that. May be time to sit the kiddo down and pull out the bank statements that show that you’re sending mom $4K every month. Then ask them if they understand how much money that is, in an age-appropriate way. “That’s like giving her enough money to buy a pony ever month,” you could say, if you were inclined to find a way to annoy her. “That’s enough money to take the whole family to Disneyland every month.” “That’s enough money to buy enough Legos to fill a swimming pool. Every month.” If they’re little, they don’t really get it, but they might go home and ask where the pony is, and what mom’s doing with all of their money.

          If they’re older, I hate to say it, but they’re playing you. “Mom buys us whatever . . . ” and the fact that they’re giving you the la-la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you routine would be the diagnostic clues.

  • So, he doesn’t “do” anything or “pay” anything, but he’s NOT a deadbeat? Wonder what Ms. Allers Would consider deadbeat?

  • Sooooo how exactly does he help around the house and “equalize” his financial debt to his family by being a child care provider, when needed, and a handyman when he resides overseas and can’t legally enter this country?

    • I’m guessing his ex wife spackled yet another wall of excuses for that when he chose to move back to England?

      • Lol, Tempest.
        I just can’t imagine how he can be helping in any shape or form, aside from monetarily while living overseas. That dude is likely laughing right now thinking of all the ways he skated out of his responsibilities. She enabled him the entire time and I have to think there’s more to why that was happening in the first place.

  • I am amazed at how many stories here have deadbeat spouses. Texas is not usually known for enlightened policies, but my X’s child support comes directly out of his paycheck (and he had no choice in the matter). Do other states not mandate direct withdrawal from paychecks?

    • Tempest, I believe they all offer this option, but the deadbeat has to actually have a job for the pay to be attached. Also, it requires some sort of court order or state child support agency to order the attachment. In my case, this order was part of my divorce agreement, and supposedly now the state child support agency does the same thing, but my ex only occasionally takes part-time jobs and only stays a few months, so by the time the agency finds out he’s employed and attaches his wages, he’s already about to quit or has quit.

      Lots of deadbeats avoid the issue by working under the table. My ex did this as well, probably still is doing it.

    • Pennsylvania does it the same way, right outta the paycheck before he even sees it. We also have a system set up where if he goes into arrears (which he is) and you make a call to the domestic relations office about it, boom, their account is frozen. No money is permitted out until that arrears is paid.

      One way the deadbeats of PA have found a loophole (you know if there is one they’ll find it!) is by paying a small fee to get their checks cashed, so as to avoid that money going into their account and then being given directly to their support arrears. The state is currently working on a way to detect these people when they try to cash their checks. They’re hoping to have a universal database that’s linked with the welfare/support system that’ll alert them that this person owes back payments for child support, spousal support, whatever…then they would not be permitted to cash that check.

    • WA does take it out of paychecks but you have to go through a song and dance to get it that way. Plus some of those workers can be pretty biased And it’s the company that complies with the process. So that doesn’t guarantee success. My ex is a month behind. By order child support is due on the first of the month. Employer doesn’t take it out until end of the month and then processing puts it into next month.

      MT does it by payrole deduction automatically for all those who go through child support enforcement.

      • My exH works several 1099 jobs and is dumb enough to have several websites showing how much he works and how successful he is. One employer has outright told the caseworker to go f herself; he won’t withhold. So employers are not always helpful. Ugh.

        We are part of a C/S caseload assigned to workers with domestic violence issues. Difference being that I get some degree of say in the enforcement actions she takes so that we can stay safe. Our caseworkers have been awesome. They use the internet to track and document his income and assets (his fancy new house paid for in cash of over $300K for example); but there is a fine line between documenting and taking legal action. When his passport was revoked for example, she tried to time it so he would be trapped overseas and not able to return to the US. It didn’t work, but she did try. He makes a small payment about every 4 months, and that’s enough to keep him out of jail. At this point, I know I can’t count on him paying, so that $ is in an account for braces and maybe toward college…but my point is that if he ever dies or there is a way that the kids can get the $$ owed them without putting us in danger, the framework is there and ready to go. Until then, the caseworker and I have a plan to make sure he understands he owes the money, but not do anything to push him over the edge.

        • I think people who work with domestic violence issues have an edge in understanding the narrative with deadbeats, finacial abusers, etc. They recognize it for what it is, more abuse. The child support worker in my state is a great guy. The one in my ex’s state has done some shady things in my ex’s favor. WA actually takes any deliquent child support out of tax returns. Don’t know how the other states do it.

  • I hate that the betrayer gets to destroy our lives and just move on with theirs leaving us to pay with our futures..I am also one who is looking at giving up half of her retirement..I was the main/sole breadwinner who trusted in the institution of marriage and family..No more marriages or cohabitation for me..I no longer choose to have my livelihood destroyed by a spouse who doesn’t know what it means to be a safe partner..
    @Gladit’sover, isn’t this fraud? Sure seems like it..

  • I’ve been separated for 8 months and still no child support. I applied for it in January so part of that is on me. I thought I needed to wait until the court awarded me primary custody. He was ready to pay up until he found out he also has to pay for son’s health insurance. He balked. Tried to convince me to tell the state I would waive that. I said NO to that because then it’s my responsibility. He doesn’t seem to get it. He leaves me with the mortgage, our only car payment, electric bill, lawn maintenance, child care costs, doctor visits without insurance. He WILL pay it and it will come out of his paycheck so I am just being patient.

    He’s going to shit a brick when the courts also require him to take over a marital debt as well. Ass. He did give me the house. Now I can hopefully sell it and move into something more affordable and near civilization. I am excited about the prospect…even though I need to finish our screened porch because he didn’t. Maxed out our credit card then had to stop. Pain in my butt.

  • This has come at the perfect time for me!!!! i dont know why but i was struggling with the thought of getting the Child Support Enforcement involved. he hasnt paid a dime since last fathers day, he also hasnt seen or called the kids since then either. he disappeared and i have no phone number, no address and no way to contact him.

    recently i found out he just bought himself a new truck. special rims and fancy stereo and speakers. he cant pay child support but he can buy all that shit. i also noticed he has new shoes and clothes, while his boys have holes in their shoes and shirts. he is going out to bars and cruising around or traveling to visit his family member (who live in my town but obliviously do not include his children) while i am struggling to feed his boys, keep the electric and the water on, and pay the house payment. we used to go on vacations, and camping, and family outings…but now we cant afford the gas or the hotel room. my littest one recently asked me when we were going to stay in a hotel like we used to. i had to tell him i cant afford it. we havent been able to do any of the things we used to do while he is now running around and having the time of his life.

    and STILL i waived at getting mean old Child Support ENforcement involved. in fact yesterday, i sat in my truck crying about not being able to buy food after paying the electric bill and i PRAYED to God to guide me to the right path. i was so stupidly worried that turning him in to CSE was because i was being hateful and mean and wanted to make his life miserable. i honestly struggled with that knowing that he will NEVER get out from under the child support if i turned him in. He was court order to pay 1200/month. i was okay with him just paying something, 500 whatever but of course he would rather quit his job, go into hiding and work under the table then to pay anything at all. AND here i am feeling GUILTY that he will be quickly become buried in debt for the rest of his life. the arrears are already at 12k easy.

    SO God heard my prayers and chumplady wrote this post and i am in the process of filling out the CSE paperwork online right now. THank you Lord. THank you Chumplady. and thank all of you for sharing your stories and giving me a reality check.

    • Yeah, Mrs. Vain!!! Fill out that paperwork and get the jerk to start funding his children instead of buying new stereo equipment for his car.

      • You BET Tempest…..it just took a while for me not to feel guilty for doing it. i dont know wtf is wrong with me.

          • He had to provide proof of income for that truck. CSEA will kindly need that same info. You are WAY too kind to someone who has shown over and over he does not deserve it- this isn’t about you and him. It’s about your children’s birthright to have both parents contribute to their needs.

            • thank you Luziana, you are RIGHT!! i am to kind!!! (you know that song where it says my kindness is taken for weakness? huh, thats me) and i am willing to bet he bought that truck under the table too. he and his oompa loompa are ghetto rats and shady.

          • I have had writ of garnishment papers for 10 months now, its just that right when i got the paperwork, he quit his job, moved to another town and is working side jobs or under the table to get money. he is doing brick work so he is getting some good money. of course he is not spending anything on his kids. Writ of garnishment papers only work if he is employed by a company or business.

      • now that would be funny!!! wouldnt it be GREAT if he got on that tv show. ahahahaha

        and of course it will be MY FAULT if it happens

    • It is not hateful to expect a parent to pay child support. And you shouldn’t have to cry because you can afford to buy food and pay the electric bill. You think he’s feeling guilty as he tools around in his truck? I think not.

      We should all stop feeling guilty because these stupid cheaters face consequences for what they do.

      • i know i know. i am a fool.

        i know he is NOT THINKING OF ME at all!!!! somehow i went from supporting him for 14.5 to nothing. SHE is the one HE is listening to now and SHE is not a good person.

        and i am working on NOT feeling guilty. i think it was because he is so good at manipulating people, always the poor widdle sausage, cant do anything by himself because he doesnt know. (if i had a dollar for every time he said he DIDNT KNOW i wouldnt need child support i would be rich) hes just such a nice guy. its not his fault you know.

        *sigh* i have mentioned that i loved him unconditionally. my love was not condition to HIS behavior or lack of behavior or stupidity even. i loved him anyway. now i am paying the price for loving a soulless, stupid ghetto rat.

        • mrsvain,

          Don’t beat up on yourself. We have been conditioned for years to see our lives through the lens of these disordered pieces of hyena shit. We have real hearts and real feelings and it is difficult to undo this conditioning. The one thing that has always been able to embolden me to stand up and fight a bear if necessary were my children. With this issue, keep focused on your children – don’t even think of yourself. Look at your children and what they need and what you think they deserve. No matter what your ex says or does, keep focused on your children. It will strengthen you and give you courage.

          • Thank you Chump Princess. i think i am finally done wallering in my own self pity. I dont owe exhole a f*cking thing. i was a good wife. HE was the one who thought our marriage wasnt worth it. HE was the made bad decisions and ran away.

            i am finally getting my head together after my daughters death in 2012 and my asshole left in 2013. divorce in 2014 and now 2015 is my year to COME BACK!!!

  • The thing that gets me about the article is this: “I view him as having been unable to pay, not unwilling.” I wonder how she got to that view? Was he unemployed and living in a cardboard box while sending out resumes daily? If that was the case, then he truly had nothing, but gosh darn it, he was trying. Barring that, was he working and supporting himself AND showing her his financial details so she could really see that he had nothing left to give his kids after buying himself bread and water to get through the day? Because, you know, generally speaking, dating, getting married, and moving overseas are all things that cost money. So unless he was sending out resumes from that cardboard box, then see…he had some sort of disposable cash. And he WAS unwilling to put it toward support of his children.

    • Again, a positive word on Jackass’s behalf–he always paid his child support, every dime, even when he changed jobs and had to send in his own payments while payroll caught up with the garnishment.

      • Dontcha hate giving him credit for anything? 🙂 But at least there all the other bad behavior to show the true balance. Mine is terrified of his employer finding out that his wages have to be garnished; I think that’s the only reason he pays on time.

  • When I start to google chumplady, the first google generated option is chuck norris. Coincidence? I think not.

  • I (jokingly) nicknamed my daughter The Backseat Money Pit. You know, she’s always wanting something, like food, or shoes and clothes that fit, a movie from the Redbox. In my state, I think the guidelines for child support is 21% for the first child. So for a $2500 income, you would pay $525. Custodial parent is gonna party hard on that. That is $17.50 per day….

  • Since when is supporting your children some sort of “prison bound barrel”? Who is this flake? She lets this idiot off the hook so he can come to her daughter’s graduation? Did he help with the daughters homework, pay for her school lunch, senior fees, cap and gown, etc? Hell no, but let’s let him and the new wifey sit all smiles in the bleachers and glow with pride! NOT! He didn’t do a damn thing but create a child then he bailed! Then to add insult to injury “mommy dearest” who busted her ass to raise the kid, has some sort of brain fart, goes all soft and drops the ball! Who suffers? The daughter!

      • This hits home for me! I live this crap everyday with my grandkids. Two daughters with deadbeat daddies! What kills me is the amount these asshats have to pay is minimal compared to some of the numbers I have seen in these posts, but I suppose it doesn’t matter what the amount of the child support is if you never see it! I have a grandson who is now 12 years old and his “daddy” is a petty, nasty bully! He’s constantly behind on payments, but bitches about everything and anything! Nobody wants to hear this blowhards opinion and he shouldn’t have one if he isn’t willing to come up with the court awarded support he’s supposed to pay! Not to mention the fact that the Commonwealth of Virginia is totally incapable of going after these guys! Oh and by the way, this asshat is supposed to pay the mandated 330.00 a month for one child! Break it down, you can’t even buy a happy meal at McDonalds for 30 days on that! When he was a baby it was difficult to keep him in formula and diapers on that paltry sum! Forget paying child care so Mom can work and keep a roof over his head! Lord, just don’t get me started, the total mess that child support has become in this country just makes my blood boil! It’s a national shame!!

        • And while I’m venting I want to add that my sister had to raise her grandkids with no support from the parents. Yes, the court told them to pay, but they didn’t. They were total losers. Luckily my sister and her husband are fairly well off and these kids enjoyed the care and love and support for necessities every child is entitled to. Long story short, once the kids reached 18, my sister helped them hire a lawyer and take their parent to court for the arrears! They were awarded lump sums and the “deadbeats” we’re compelled to finally pay! Did they bitch? You bet! Too fucking bad! Pay monthly on time or pay later, your choice!

          • Roberta, every time I read your feisty responses I am in awe. Are you a financial whiz or just gifted because you are probably one of only a very few who actually signed a good settlement. And your support for your children in crap circumstances is awesome! In my county family court was crap, a good ol’ boys club. If you were a SAHP a generous settlement was 200 in alimony for those in long term marriages for FIVE years. I got a generous settlement 6% of my ex’s 100k/year. Yeah. Six thousand dollars. Hey that and my 17k in teacher’s pay sent our three kids through high school/college. Tuition was covered by a variety of Financial Aid/work study. Did I pay for out of pocket expenses, books, travel, food, clothes, and medical (copays)? You bet. Did he? Nope. Once in a great while he does something nice, he gave my son $350. for his first semester at University (I paid 13k and my son paid 3k) but at this point in time, who the fuck cares!?!?

            • I’m no financial wizard, but I had a very good handle on the finances and he was just stupid with zeros!! As in NO interest in our finances. He fancied himself “extremely well off” when in reality we were comfortable because I was the “planner” and worked my butt off to maximize the money that came into the household. Believe it or not when he told me cheated one of his reasons he gave was, “you are always clipping coupons!” Seriously asshole?? He was grasping for straws because he was just an asshole, but couldn’t actually admit that! I think I got a good settlement cause I knew what I needed to secure my future and I did not back down. And I think he was so ignorant of his actual assets and income that he truly believed he would have enough money to keep me supported and his loser paramour. As we speak, he owes me money for crap that was part of the settlement he signed and the IRS is already sending him notice that he needs to pay them by mid May! Basically, old boy is broke ! But he told me his “new love” is loaded and she has, in the past pre-divorce, paid for a lot of his needs. But there must be some trouble in paradise cause she hasn’t run to her bank to give him the money for his taxes!! I guess now that he’s divorced it isn’t that much fun supporting him anymore! Oh well, she wanted him so she’s got him and his bad habits with money too! She’s going to find out he’s an expensive “hobby”!

  • This is a timely article, as I was just “awarded” $3K of the $10K owed in arrears for child support. I prayed to the gods that I would find a job where I didn’t have to give a flying fuck whether or not he ever paid again. That would be freedom to me. To tell him to take his measly deadbeat dad child support portion and shove it up his ass.

  • Story of my life CL. X is currently almost $3,000 behind in support for 4 kids. He is trying to reduce his cs again( already lowered it 6 months ago) because poor sausage’s unemployment checks ran out. Instead of getting a job, he wants to pursue his hobby, but wants the court to think he’s trying real hard to get a real job !!! Yeah right !! IHe isn’t trying, just doesn’t want to pay. Oh and of course he now wants 50/50 custody, but it has NOTHING to do with child support….rrriiiiggghhhtttt……

    • Same here, Free. X came into a half-million inheritance when his mother died and scooted right over to the bimbo’s lair so she could take care of him. He hasn’t worked a full-time job since our divorce decree, but still feels entitled to decide whether or not he will pay for things like school trips, college applications, etc. If he pays for any portion, he expects genuflects in return from them. The kids are so starved for a bit of dear old dad’s attention that they’ve come to expect it.

      Talk about child abuse.

  • I am so glad the asshole cheater did not get 50/50 custody of our daughter. I remember one day not long after his cheating confession I was in her room and I realized everything she had was something I had gotten for her. Same with everything she had done. On the rare occasions when he “played Daddy” ( you were right on that one fucker, cause you certainly weren’t a real one ) he just fed her a can of something and plopped her in front of the TV so he could email or text the whore. And complain about how Bored he was. What kind of desperate ass slut wants a man like that???

    Trick or Treat, school functions, parties, church, he always had something Better to do. Jerk. I can imagine what life would have been with her if she had to spend 50% of her time with this pissant and his slimy whore.

  • Studies prove that school-age children of involved fathers have better academic success, higher grade point averages and go on to have higher levels of economic and educational achievement.

    My daughter finished secondary school last year with a score of 97.6, 2nd highest in her school, had her pick of universities. Her younger sister is headed the same way. Finished year 10 with $500 worth of awards and accolades. They have ZERO relationship with their father EXCEPT he does pay the school fees (in leiu of child support….and wont chip in for anything else). My girls attitude is that he tried to fuck up their lives but they werent raised to put up with that shit! In the end his presence was irrelevant, and his financial support which ensures they can keep attending their school is probably irrelevant too because I’m sure they would be high achievers where ever they went.

    Mmmmm!

    • Last year, my 11 year old daughter earned a wonderful school award. There was a big presentation, and the next day, I was sent the picture they took. It made me cry. Of the eight award recepients, 6 were being raised by single parents. 75%. I put that out on my FB; I am so sick of hearing all the gloom and doom about children of divorce. Yes, it sucks. But there are mighty single parents out there raising awesome kids, and it’s time we hear THOSE stories. The last Olympics was inspiring too – lots of Olympic athletes were raised by single parents. Maybe all this makes our kids stronger – that’s my perspective. But when there is good news, lets celebrate that, instead of making folks believe they have to stay in dangerous, abusive, unhealthy marriages “for the sake of the kids”.

      • I was in fear of those statistics as well: children of single parents are less likely to graduate from high school, or go to college. More likely to become sexually active, pregnant teens, use drugs and alcohol. My kids have degrees and life plans, and haven’t fallen down any of the rabbit holes that a lot of kids do. Agree–we need to get those other models out there to ease the fears of people who want to do the right thing for their children.

        I think my kids would have been healthier and less wounded if we got out earlier and I had insisted on child support from an early age.

        • Just to assuage everyone here (including those still trying to make decisions about whether to leave their cheater or not):

          -the stats on poor outcomes for single mothers/fathers are HEAVILY confounded by (a) teenage pregnancy; and (b) maternal education. Those statistics are NOT based on divorced parents (in most studies).

          Is your child doomed if you had him/her before age 20? No, but you’ll have to work harder at parenting well because you (typically) don’t have the wisdom or self-control of someone who has their first child later.

          Don’t have a bachelor’s degree? Same thing–work hard to educate yourself on parenting skills & how to inculcate learning in your child. These are correlational studies only.

          • What about folks without a BA but who are highly skilled, as in the trades. Wouldn’t their parenting skills be at least equal to someone with a bachelors. After all, they often out earn college grads and have no student loans hanging, demonstrating they may have more on the ball than someone who incurred a lot of debt to garner a lower earning capacity?
            many of the skilled trades folks we test for retraining have higher IQ’s and aptitudes than the college grads we see in my business.

            • The studies correlate gross factors with child IQ/academic success. That means they need quantifiable variables–number of years of education, Socioeconomic status, age at first child’s birth, etc.

              There is not a single research in the area who thinks ALL highly educated people make good parents, nor that ALL teen or non-BA parents make bad parents. The research simply indicates a strong correlation.

              By way of example–High SAT scores do, indeed, strongly predict college success. Medium SAT scores have a lower correlation with academic success–some of those people DO succeed mightily, others do not.

  • STBX and I earn about the same amount of money, but he hides income. He lives with his girlfriend who makes about twice what I earn.

    I have paid for 100% of everything for our child that has come along since his dad ran off 4 years ago: trips, camps, school lunches, child care, lessons, etc. His dad has paid a few things that took place on his 50/50 timeshare, but perhaps 20% of what our child has needed or enjoyed.

    I am now paying child support. This puzzles me, but when your ex is a liar… they can swing things their way in court. I pay it each month automatically on the 1st. It’s a relatively small amount, and I hope that some of it ends up being spent on my child when at the dad and girlfriend house.

    Wondering how many other women are paying child support? Really, it must make STBXs gonads shrivel to raisins each time he cashes that check… just hoping that some of it reaches our child.

    • I think he would probably have to have some gonads for them to shrink. Most of them don’t. Cheater of mine also downgraded a lot financially and acted like he would try to get child support from me, but didn’t thankfully.

    • I have no kids but my ex did try to get alimony from me because he had not job. He had no job because he drank every day and lost it, then complained he couldn’t get one because of the protective order (utter lie). found out later he has been trying to get SSN disability. Fucker just does not want to work.

  • My cheater was brilliant….he left when his youngest turned 18 so he wouldn’t be legally required to pay child support, and just in time so he wouldn’t have to pay college tuition.(which is not legally required.) So I got stuck with four years of college tuition all by myself. Then he told my child that he was giving me money for his school tuition (which he wasn’t).

    • I hope you set that record straight with your child!

      That’s bullshit for him to take credit for something that cost you that much money!

    • Gosh, Onward, were we married to the same ass?!? My ex actually took our youngest daughter’s college money out of her account and walked out on paying for her sibs (in big universities at the time). He finally paid it all back the year she graduated college. If it weren’t for my kids’ hard work and mine they would not have even gone to college! Two have graduated now. My family (parents, aunts, uncles, cousins) pitched in so I could funnel a majority of my income their way. Asshat does show up for graduations (kibbles) but my best guess is that in five years he will not mean anything to those kids we raised together.

  • People who are disordered have no problem cheating on or screwing over their spouses financially. Why would this be any different for their children?

  • This article made me want to vomit. I couldn’t articulate why and let me tell you- I was so happy to open my browser to Chump Lady and see this terrible piece being addressed. You nailed it, CL. Thank you. Thank you for giving us all a voice.

    You know, we think our kids won’t know these things, will never find out these things- like that their Dad was a total dead beat, never paid a dime to support them, and considered time spent with them “child care” rather than parenting. But they do know, or rather- WILL know. I see it every day on social network sites, children of divorce saying how their Dad (or vice versa) never paid their Mom a dime. What message does this send our kids if we allow it? If we write bullshit op-Ed pieces like this saying IT WAS OK? Are we telling our daughters, our sons, to go ahead and settle for a shmuck that can’t take responsibility for anything? For his own KIDS? Little beings he chose to bring into this world?

    Listen, what got me to finally pull the trigger and serve my sperm donor with divorce papers was the message I wanted to send to my kids. It was about the role model I so desperately wanted to be for them. When I didn’t have my own sense of worth, I relied on the enormous worthiness of my children. I did not want my daughter to end up marrying a cheater, a liar, a drunk. I did not want my son to feel it was ever okay to treat a woman this way. I wanted to break the cycle. And so I served him- I did it for my kids. Because they deserve better lives. And now, here I am, having grown from this devastating experience and dammit- I did it for myself, too.

    I guess what I am trying to say here is that this mother is setting a terrible f&cking example for her kids. They should not think this is ok. They shouldn’t settle for this. Now. Or when they are, potentially, in a similar positon. They, like us chumps, need to know their worth. They are worthy! And it’s not just about the money, it’s about responsibility. It’s about so much more.

    And I’m sorry– I, too, hate seeing that look of dissapointment on my four year olds face when her Dad dissapoints her (which is too often). But I’m not about to spackle and shine just so she doesn’t feel dissapointment in life. Life is a messy brew of all emotions and that’s real. Chumps are real. My mantra: I am real. My kids are real. We are the truth. Excusing this behavior to protect your kids from dissapoinment seems like a surefire way to raise your own little narcissist. I see how my sperm donors mother talks to him– “Oh honey, it’ll all be okay…it’s ok, kiddo.” Yeah? It’s ok? It’s okay that your son led a double life for eleven years and had unprotected sex with multiple women and then had sex with his pregnant wife, exposing his unborn baby to diseases? Sure, lady. Keep telling your son it’s ok. You know what? I’m not telling my kids it’s ok. And I could write a list of 100 more things that are, for the record, NOT OKAY. I’ve barely skimmed the surface. But this article: Not okay. excusing this deadbeat loser: not okay. And so my daughter, my son, will feel dissapintment. That is ok with me because life is dissapointing sometimes. And Id rather my kids be dissapointed then think it is ever okay to settle for a liar, a cheater, a drunk, a double-lifer, and a guy who can’t even take care of his own flesh and blood. I don’t want them ending up in the land of chumpdom, like me.

  • I read this wonderful piece of advice: “Daughter, grow a backbone, instead of a wishbone.”

    I shared it with my beloved daughter. She loved it! Pass the message on to the next generation. It it real wisdom.

    xox

  • Anyone know what I should expect? I make a lot more than my cheater does but he still makes 52k, which I think should be plenty for him to live on. I want as much custody as I can get but he claims to want 50/50 (although nothing about our parenting has ever been 50/50 so why start now?). Will I end up paying HIM child support? Right now I pay for everything for the kids and really have no problem doing that indefinitely. How does that usually works when mom is the breadwinner?

    • Interview some good lawyers, ones who have had some experience under their belts, ones who don’t have a let’s-get-the-bastard approach. Ask them what to expect. If you ask three and they say the same thing, you’ve got a pretty good sense of the answer.

      Document as much as you can to demonstrate that you’ve done most of the childrearing.

    • I think it varies from state to state, but there is a formula which factors in both incomes and custody time. Pretty simple and gender is not a factor.

  • My wife’s ex owes her and her two boys over 30K in back support. The boys are now 28 and 26, so I doubt they will ever see any real money from the deadbeat. If he makes a payment of any amount (usually less than 100.00) in a 3 month time span, he is not in trouble with the courts. But the deadbeat still lives with his mommy, and doesn’t earn a paycheck. I wish they could get a lump sum, so they can maybe put down money for a place of their own. The state of Maryland sucks.

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