December marks three years since D-Day with the 21-year-old babysitter (among others).
We had been together for 5 years, married for 2. I was 2 months pregnant at the time of discovery, and we also had a beautiful 2-year-old boy (hence the need for a babysitter a.k.a. shiny new kibbles).
I have since escaped the abuse cycle, lawyered up, and I’ve gotten on with my new life. Of course that sounds a LOT easier than it actually was. I am at the point now that I am grateful for the “hard blessings,” and I am doing my absolute best to be the sane, responsible, consistent parent. I’m doing a damn good job. The ex has moved on to his next 22-year-old Hooters girl, and although they are not married (yet), they have had two more children under 2.
In the eyes of the public, my ex was Captain America. The reason I want to reach out to you today, is because I now know I can’t be alone in this. My cheating, lying, financially abusive ex was a Fireman, and a Military Veteran. It was hard enough to speak up about what was really going on, but the judgment I got from former friends and family for saying a negative word about a “hero” was un…real. Sadly, this untouchable “hero” persona carried over to the court system as well. (Try convincing a judge that Captain America would ever leave his former wife and children high and dry! He would never!) Nothing but an uphill battle every which way.
Years later I am still fighting for child support, and still perceived as the angry, bitter ex of a true Hero. Captain America started a pool cleaning business on the side, and has so many ridiculous business expenses that he claims a negative salary to get out of support (despite being a Fireman and receiving VA disability from the military every month).
I can’t make this shit up. As crazy as it seems, I know there has to be another person out there that has experienced this perceived “hero” bullshit? The last time I checked, the cheater was the bad guy. Why is it different if the turd wears a uniform?
Don’t Call 911
Dear Don’t Call 911,
Enforcing child support is an absolute travesty in this country. I believe you that he skates, certainly with friends and family, with his Captain America persona. But child support is based on a formula, which has nothing to do with his square jaw line. The problem here is not a singular fuckwit — it is systemic injustice. (82 percent of people owed back support are women.)
According to 2013 U.S. Census data, only 43 percent of people owed child support received the full amount they were owed. Yes, you read that right. Less than half. 25.9 percent received nothing at all.
Oh, but that was 2013. Since then we’ve really invested in child support enforcement at the state level and…. hahahaahhahaahahaha, I’m sorry. I’ve collapsed into a fit of cynical laugher and can’t come to the blog right now.
There are many workarounds for the deadbeats who don’t want to pay. Working under the table, moving states, running out the clock until your child turns 18 and the state won’t enforce it.
This leaves you with the option of getting the state enforcement agency to schedule a hearing (Good luck! Do you enjoy automated phone queues? Soviet-era waiting rooms? Paperwork and notarized court orders? Sending missives into an empty bureaucratic void? Did anyone change addresses? Start over! Please leave a message.)
Or the expensive option of hiring your own lawyer to enforce support, or prove “voluntary impoverishment.” (I once wrote a story for Washington Lawyer magazine on unpaid child support, and was told by a lawyer — whose retainer was $20K — that financial discovery, including subpoenaing paramours’ accounts, tended to settle over 90 percent of her cases.) Now do the math, how much it costs to enforce your order, versus how much you’re owed.
I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice (the actual lawyer I am married to insists on this disclaimer). Newbies to the divorce process please heed the advice from the $20K retainer lawyer:
O’Rourke builds strict language into the order that if someone is unable to meet his or her legal obligations, there is a mechanism to address the breach. “This works very well,” she says.
Emphasis mine. When you work out custody and support WORK IT INTO YOUR ORDER what happens if they don’t pay. That you get legal fees. Or their head on a plate, or something. DO NOT ASSUME THEY WILL UPHOLD THEIR OBLIGATIONS.
God, if I could go back in time. Now, I’m not saying you won’t have to chase down THAT money, but having the penalty written in, could sure help, in my opinion.
Excuse me, Tracy, are you saying my support court order isn’t worth much if I don’t have another original court order that assumes my support order won’t be adequately enforced?
A moment for everyone’s heads to collectively explode.
Back to you, 911.
My advice — yes, tilt at that windmill and try and enforce support, but never, EVER count on it. It’s an epic shit sandwich and grossly unfair (clearly, I’m still pissed off and totally un-meh on the subject).
Most people pay support and do it gladly. Because they love their kids and know it takes more than $200 a month to raise them. Another subset of fuckwits, who work straight jobs, can have their wages docked.
And then there are the motherfuckers — I had one, sounds like you have one, who enjoy the power trip of getting away with not paying. Who will devise any workaround (a pool service business that never earns a profit, huh…) to deny support.
For these motherfuckers I say — document, document, document — and go it alone. EXPECT NOTHING. Quit making yourself miserable and being broadsided every time you expect baseline human decency.
Cold, hard grey rock.
A faith in a Higher Order probably helps here too. A fire and brimstone God who will send them to roast on an eternal spit in Hell.
“He abandoned a 2-year old and an infant.”
MORE LIGHTER FLUID, Beezlebub!
Now to your original question. Everyone loves him because he’s a hero. A fireman and a veteran. And you’re bitter, because you expect, I dunno, food for your children and other outrages.
the judgment I got from former friends and family for saying a negative word about a “hero” was un…real.
Right-o. Maybe you should stick your children in a burning building or a war zone and see if he gives a shit?
(Sorry. My Gorgon is unleashed.)
Cull these “former” people from your life. Who cares what they think? You know the truth of who he is and what he’s done. If they want to dress a turd in a uniform and salute, that’s their business.
despite being a Fireman and receiving VA disability from the military every month
How’s this guy on disability and doing physical stuff like putting out fires and cleaning pools? Is he committing disability fraud?
I know there has to be another person out there that has experienced this perceived “hero” bullshit? The last time I checked, the cheater was the bad guy. Why is it different if the turd wears a uniform?
It’s not. People believe what they want to believe, and it’s generally not that deep or based on evidence. It’s based on how they want to see the world. (Firemen good!) Or how a person makes them feel. (He’s always nice to ME.) Or how they look. (Solid citizen!)
You’re three years out and you’re rocking this sane parent gig. For your future sanity, I implore you, don’t waste your mental energy getting mad at people for liking your ex.
You need all your strength for child support enforcement.
And here, I’m not being cynical. Figure out what battles are worth fighting. Your children’s dental coverage? Yes. Take Captain America down. Focus on what you can control. Stupid people’s hero worship? No control. Your own sane parenting? Great investment.
You’re the show-up parent here. The white hat, the good guy. I’m rooting for you.