Monday, October 31, 2005

Divorce and a childish ex...

Ok, most of you do not know my full story or background. So a goal of mine will be to write up a summary soon. In the meantime those of you who have read my blog know that I am a divorced father of a terrific 12 year old son. He is the joy of my life and I am a better person because of him and what he means to me. I have been divorced for approximately 1 1/2 years and I have many a true tale to tell you....another time.

Ok, I was 'officially' divorced in August of 2004. At the time of my divorce I agreed to pay my ex a monthly amount 42% higher than child support alone, for a fixed period of 12 months, at which time the issue of chid support would be re-visited and settled. So, that meant that the 'unallocated maintenance' that she received from me would cease at the end of this past August and I would then pay to her the appropriate amount of child support as dictated by state mandate.

Over the past year, my ex and I were able to talk and be civil to each other. After all we have known each other for half of our lives and we also had a child to raise so why not be civil. Also, whenever a friend or relative was in the midst of a divorce and we heard about arguments or the couple not being able to talk to each other and come to agreements, she was always the one to say "Why can't they act like adults and talk to each other and come to terms like reasonable people".

Well, I guess whats good for the goose is not at all good for the gander. Let me explain.

In Illinois we have a straight forward approach, a schedule based on the number of children that are being supported. In my case the schedule calls for a flat 20% of income with allowances for reasonable expenses including taxes (state and federal) and the cost of health insurance for the child(ren).

So, back in July I called her and asked when we could meet to discuss the issue of child support. Well she did not give me an answer and I continued to request a sit down meeting. Finally in early August she advised that she wanted to sit down with me at 'her' attorney's office to go over the options. I advised her that there are no 'options', the state has a mandated formula and asked what were the numbers that her attorney had come up with? She advised that the attorney had developed some various possibilities and she had set up an appointment to meet and discuss at the end of August.

Now you can imagine my skepticism at saying that her attorney had developed 'options'. My first thought was that they had developed a plan with me continuing to pay her a higher amount than the mandate amount in exchange for allowing me to claim it as 'unallocated maintenance'.

Now, another thing to mention is that as part of the divorce, my ex had voluntarily agreed that after the initial 12 month period she would forever waive the right to contest and look to me for relief in the form of maintenance. Meaning that she would not receive nor could she ever come after me for alimony.

Some might say that I am uncaring, but let me premise this by saying that during the 18 years that we were married she had earned either a full or part-time income for 14 of those years. The only thing that had prevented her from continuing to bring in a paycheck during the final years of the marriage was her own depression and her unwillingness to get help. (Even though I had made every effort to help her.) For the past year she has been working either full-time or two part-time jobs to earn a living.

Now a lot of these issues will be topics for future blog entries so I will not go into greater detail right now.

Suffice it to say that I had advised my ex that I would not meet with her and her attorney alone, but would have my attorney get us a date in court to get the child support issue resolved. After all I was now into my second month of overpayments and wanted to get the issue settled. She had no reason to rush this as she was getting a continued elevated amount as it is automatically deducted from my check.

My attorney advises me that when the judge sets the revised amount of child support that I am entitled to a refund of the amount overpaid to my ex. I think, ok that is fair, I am helping to support my son, not subsidize my ex's income.

Fast forward to 2 1/2 weeks ago. This is our day in court.

I show up early, and having previously been a police officer and also growing up with respect for the law, I am dressed in a suit. While waiting in the hallway for the attorneys to arrive, I am approached by my ex, she is dressed in gym shoes, workout pants, a sweatshirt and knit jacket. (Not surprising...depression leads to low self-esteem, low self-respect and also a lack of respect for others. I know as I went through my own period of depression, however I got help.)

As I said, my ex approaches me in the hallway and knowing that she had been sick with the flu the week before I ask her how she is feeling? She gives me a sarcastic look hold up the court summons and says "Thanks for this (shaking the papers), this proves to me why I don't need you! Then she walks away.

Move forward about 2 hours. Both attorneys have met with the judge in chambers and have come out to tell us that we have one hour to resolve the child support issue or he (judge) will get involved and niether of us will be happy with the outcome. I am fine with this as all I have wanted is to agree to the mandated amount, agree on terms for the monies that have been overpaid and get my ex to sign the paperwork. After some discussion between the attorneys my ex agrees to not play games and the paperwork is signed. She even agrees to a payment schedule to repay the overpayment (which is only a few hundred dollars) over a period of a year.

Final forward to this past week. My ex was supposed to have the first overpayment check for me according to her own agreement the week prior. So I send her a polite e-mail asking her to please have the check for me when I pick up our son for visitation on Tuesday. Well the chek is not there on Tuesday. So on Wednesday I send her a second e-mail asking her to please have the check either taped to the inside front storm door or the storm door in the garage when I pick up our son for visitation on Thursday. Well on Thursday evening after taking our son shopping at a pet store for some things he needed and dinner out, I return him home to my ex.

Now I am not going to ask my son about a check as this issue is between me and his mom and he should not be involved. I walk him to the door in the garage and after giving him a hug and kiss goodnight and making sure he gets inside I notice no envelope on the garage storm door, I walk out front and notice that there is also no envelope on the front door either. So I think that I will have to send another e-mail on Friday. The e-mail server at work had been having problems and possbly she did not receive my previous messages. Well even though she never answered my e-mails nor acknowledged my alternative offers of one or two household items instead of the money, she must have received them.

As I am walking down the driveway my son comes running up to me with a check and says 'This is from mom'. I take it and put it in my pocket without even looking at it, and once again tell him goodnight and that I love him.

I get into the car and start to head home and when I pull into a gas station to fill up I take out the check and look at it. I start laughing out loud, the check is for the correct amount but has the following written in the memo section:

D.H. A.H. F.H !

Knowing her as well as I do I can deduce that they stand for 'Dick Head' , "A** Hole" and finally 'F**k Head"....

Very mature of her, so much for 'Acting like adults' and 'talking to each other to come to terms like reasonable people'....

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A notable quote to live by

Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.

Rosa Parks, who passed away this past Monday at age 92.

I know...where the hell have I been???

Sorry all. I have had a few comments asking me if I am going to post again, or basically where the hell have I been???

Fear not, I am still here. October has been an interesting month with many varied activities happening in my life. Which are the things that I have been writing about. The problem is I have been writing all of them at the same time and finishing none.

That and the White Sox have been in the playoffs and the World Series....I digress, they have just WON the World Series. ( Note to Steinbrenner: Hopefully when you come calling with your wallet open the White Sox players will tell you to stick your cash as they still have some integrity and know that the ballclub will do right by them)

So, consider the past couple of weeks like my own Johnny Carson style vacation, except I didn't go anywhere or get a tan.

Talk to you all this weekend.


Saturday, October 08, 2005

A quick post...

First let me apologize to anyone who may be going through withdrawal from the fact that I haven't really been posting lately. (I know that's hard to believe, but hey it could happen..)

I have been very busy with both work, and being a single dad to a 12 year old son. What little time I do have left over has been spent either sleeping (kind of necessary..) or working on the political, nay socially conscious blog created by my myself and my best friend Kemp. In case you have forgotten, the address for that site is if you have a few moments take a look. You may not agree with everything that we have written, however it will most definitely make you think!

While you're at it why don't you also take a look at Kemp's own blog I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Kemp offers opinion and perspective on life, family, parenting twins (not an easy job..), sports (as long as the teams have St. Louis in the name) and pretty much anything that he feels like. Go ahead take a look, you know you want to.....that's it, nice and easy......sorry got distracted..

Well the other reason I am posting is to smile about the White Sox and their 'sweep' of the Red Sox last night... What a game, a 58 minute long 6th inning. I only hope that their appearance in the World Series is just as intense.

Well, I have a fire in the fireplace, a hot cup of coffee and thoughts and contemplations to write up and get ready for posting.

Enjoy the rest of this fine fall day, I am certainly going to try and do the same.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Quote of the day

"Of this job,I don't think so highly.
But hey -- it beats hangin' out with Charles Nelson Reilly."

Author, Comedian, Entertainer- Nipsey Russell who died yesterday at age 80.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Quick movie review....

I just saw "Lord of War" with Nicholas Cage.

Cage plays an international arms dealer and the movie looks at his characters life and how the lives of his family and those around him are affected by his career choice.

This movie has a political message, without acually being political, and is based on true facts and occurences.

If you are looking for a good movie that will make you think without being preachy, then this is the movie for you.