posted on Nov, 20 2009 @ 02:11 PM
I’ll know December 10th. I’ve been in the Family Court system for over 17yrs. During that time I’ve spent a great deal of time with my two
kids (every weekend when they were young) and always paid child support. Over those years I’ve been able to increase my income from the mid $50s
into the six-figures. My child support has gone up all along as well. When I was doing well, I was paying $2400/mo plus their health insurance and
every odd expense that came up. Also over those years I’ve driven to get my kids and then bring them home on the weekends we’ve been together.
That’s 4 trips each weekend. Conservatively I estimate I’ve driven over 136,000 miles or just over half way to the moon.
Over this same time my ex, who graduated with honors and later went on to get a teaching certificate (which she has never used), reports that year
after year she earns about $16k. In our state the first $20k doesn’t count on the mother’s side. Financial documents came to light in late 2007
showing that she makes this $16k by working about 30hrs a month at $42.50/hr. That works out to about $88k if she worked fulltime.
As the economy took a dive between ’07 and ’08 my business suffered mightily. By this time I was only paying for one child at the rate of $800/mo
(plus health insurance) on annual income in the $30s. By late summer of ’08 my daughter was preparing to enter college. Her mother refused to help
her and I was on the financial ropes. But I was able to sell some assets to free-up my credit and able to qualify for a Parent PLUS loan whereby I
could pay for her first year (except for what her Stafford loan covered). So I was paying about $18k or 87.5 weeks of child support. This covered
room, board, tuition, fees, health insurance…
By Spring of ’09 my wife and I were losing our home (and my business). I explained to my daughter that she would have to convince her mother to
help her with school since as much as I wanted to I was without options. My wife and I desperately waded through the government’s homeowner
assistance programs, spoke regularly with our bank and I worked non-stop to find work or new business to stop the bleeding.
My ex refused to help my daughter and she was forced to withdraw from school. The two of us worked on her resume and finding her a job. A week later
her mother relented and cosigned a loan for her. A few weeks later my wife and I got a letter from an attorney saying our home was in foreclosure.
Not many days later the sheriff is at my door. Naturally I’m assuming it’s about the foreclosure. It’s not. My ex has filed a contempt of
court complaint over non-payment of child support. And alleging that I had not made payments (in 2007) which I had and for which I had provided her
attorney with copies of the checks in question. She was alleging $20k in back support since the money I had paid for my daughter’s college didn’t
I went to court on November 5th. I gave the judge chapter and verse about my payments, my having paid for my daughter’s college and my current
financial peril and impending foreclosure. He took it under advisement. The same day my wife and I finally learned that we had been approved for the
mortgage modification program and that our foreclosure had been stopped, I learned that I had to pay $2500 by Dec. 10th as partial payment against
arrears, enter a weekly job search program at the court and do two days of community service each week (you know, the guys picking-up trash on the
highway). Not to mention the 300 miles of driving each week and the gas expense involved. Otherwise, I go to jail.
Had I not paid for my daughter’s college she would have been off child support and there would be no arrears. But because I did what I sincerely
believe to be in the best interest of my child --- get her into college --- her support would continue and I would be punished.
So now I’m faced with a desperate decision. Do I take the money that my wife and I had set aside to pay our (now modified) mortgage and go to jail
on the 10th? Or do I pay the $2500 to my ex and see my wife’s and my home go back into foreclosure?
Is it just me or does the family court system just not get it? Why am I run through the wringer yet my ex, who is entirely capable of working, gets
to skate and do nothing financially for the kids? Just since 2002 I've paid over $140k in support (not counting what I paid for my child's
college). During that same period she has only earned about $130k.
Merry frigging Christmas...