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'....


Blogger Kemp said...

You are the more mature one my friend. Remember that and know that it will all come back onto her in the end.

11:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are definitely the more mature person in the "relationship". Your son is lucky to have such an understanding and loving parent to confide in and be able to come to in his trials. Personal question for you. Now that you are single, are you dating anyone? You seem like a wonderful guy who should not be single and you deserve a wonderful woman who can spoil you and love you the way you deserve to be loved.

8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

peachblossom agrees with the comment from the anonymous person above me. His son is very lucky to have him for a dad. He is a wonderful man, insightful, intelligent, thoughtful, generous, a great friend (*) and very close with his family. He does deserve a wonderful woman because of these qualities.

Your ex-wife needs to get the help she so needs and to grow up would also be a great help to her, her son, and any future relationships she might find herself involved.

Everyone gets what they deserve in the end...always...just a matter of time

11:26 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

Thank you all for the kind words I appreciate the support.

As the song says 'It's a full time job to be a good dad' (bonus points if you know the song..). If you do know the song, that petty much sums up the kind of dad/guy that I am trying to be.

11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You didn't answer the question from the previous commenter, are you dating?

1:11 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

No I am not dating anyone currently...

10:36 AM  

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