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If you get a random group of divorced men and women together and then bring up child support more than likely everyone is going to get irritable. There is something about child support payments that brings out anger in frustration in people whether they are the supporter or the supported.

I have spent nearly this entire year in court. I have written checks for over $5,000.00 to my very good, very expensive lawyer because the State of Texas took my ex to court over non-payment and then there were modifications to be done. It was important to me that the kids were well represented but the financial and emotional toll that it took was way beyond what I expected. Here’s the funny thing -- I didn’t even start this thing and the ex is still determined that I am the root of all evil in the universe.

Over the past year I have had the opportunity to talk to others, to watch others in court, and to read about issues on the Internet. In nearly every divorce child support becomes a battle at some point.

Here I Am Working My Tuckus Off

If you’ve read my posts very long you know I was a stay at home, homeschooling mom for three decades prior to my divorce. If anyone was unprepared to be a single mom it was me. The divorce was not in my plans and it took me by surprise. It also scared the bejeebers out of me.

Here I was, six kids under eighteen, with no work experience in thirty years. I had no clue how I was going to keep things going.

Obviously I did. I worked long hours getting clients, promoting myself and my work, and writing and rewriting articles so that they would be exactly what my clients were looking for. I didn’t turn down anything, even if it paid badly, because every penny counted. I ended up putting the kids in a charter school because I was on my way to a mental breakdown from working 16 hour days and trying to keep up with their education, too. 

During that first nine months or so after the divorce I wasn’t getting child support. I had to take on more clients, work longer hours, and cut an already tight budget to make it. Meanwhile, the ex went on a cruise with his girlfriend, went on weekend mini-vacations, and lived the life of a single guy. He had moved 2,000 miles away so it wasn’t like he was getting the kids on the weekends and giving me a break, either.

Hey, I’m Not Headed to Vegas with Your Child Support, Buddy

Eventually I did start getting child support because the state put a lien on his wages. Now all of a sudden he has this attitude like I am going to take his money and head for a spa somewhere. Believe me, I’d be lucky to be able to buy a bus ticket to Galveston on what I was being sent. 

For some reason he completely forgot that for 30 years I had stretched his income to take care of the family, always putting the kids and him first. Every dime that I got went toward clothes, food, and school supplies -- and there wasn’t much left over. 

His attitude, though!

You would think that I was taking his funds and playing on the Mexican Riviera wearing Prada and eating caviar. I don’t even like caviar.

The Grass Is Always Greener

The really hard work of establishing myself is over. I have a great client list and I can name my price an awful lot of the time. I am blessed that I get to work at home, too. I had a fantastic book deal last Spring which allowed us to take a family cruise that included the grandkids -- something I had been dreaming about but never expected to happen. 

The down side of being successful is that now various people, including my ex, think I am taking his child support money to be vindictive. After all, can’t I afford to take care of the kids without taking his money?

While I probably can the honest truth is that the child support is not about me. It is about a father contributing to the support of his children. Period. Even if I was making five million dollars a week he still has a responsibility to help take care of the kids.

At one point he told the court that he had only a little money in his account but I was on a cruise with the kids. How fair was that?

What he didn’t say  was that he had been on cruises as well. In fact he had been on cruises when he wasn’t paying child support -- how fair was that?

The Tightrope We Walk

When it comes to child support we are definitely walking a tightrope. It’s important to be able to make sure that your ex follows his court orders so that your kids can be provided for in the best way you can afford. At the same time you have to guard against getting so caught up in making him “do the right thing” that you are obsessed with it. You’ll find that you are right back in the same old patterns with him that you have always been -- trying to make sure he does the right thing. You don’t want to go there! 

Let the court do it. Find a balance between following up and letting go. It’s hard to find but you can do it and once you do you will find a place of peace.

You Aren’t the Only One

Do you feel like you are the only one that deals with this silliness? You aren’t. It’s very common for men to feel like they are handing their money over to their ex wives and boy, do they resent it! It’s even worse if they are in new relationships. Join First Wives World and get advice, affirmation, and encouragement from women who have been there.

Image Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, User: Dustin O’ Donnell Design 

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  • Comment Link Erica Tuesday, 15 November 2016 06:23 posted by Erica

    You are talking about the ex wives side of the child support. I agree that both parents should contribute to the support of the children but it seems to me that the non custodial parent gets raked over the coals when it comes to support or at least with my son that is the case. He pays so much in child support that he can barely even afford rent and it is the cheapest rent he could find and still be close to his children. She however does not work. She makes more than he does from the State of California because his oldest boy is mildly autistic and she is his so called caregiver. He is in school and not with her during the day. On the weekends she sends the boys to her parents when they are not with my son and when she does spend time with them she is calling him saying she can't handle his son. The house is filthy when he goes to pick up the kids. He does not have a problem with paying child support but he needs to at least be able to pay his bills. He is a hard worker and a great dad. Now she has convinced the boys that he is a bad father and he is in tears thinking he will never get to see his kids because of her. What is he supposed to do? He can't afford an attorney.

  • Comment Link Angry mom  stepmom Thursday, 13 October 2016 20:01 posted by Angry mom stepmom

    Let me tell you the other side. Keep in mind that I, also have an ex that pays an agreed amount of child support before I start. My husband of a year separated from the husband ex 2 years ago. She is a total nightmare. From turning his kids against us both to saying to her daughter that she won't go to her wedding if I go (and of course, the younger daughter dropped from maid of honor, and she pulled the youngest son) to calling her own child a "slut". Her latest trick is stating my husband has not paid her ANY of the 41k in child support for two solid years. She is now receiving TANF, food stamps, and Medicaid at what is now our cost since a withholding order was issued without any prior notice for an additional 500.00 per month. We have receipts for every single payment and health coverage, and prior medical reimbursement for her expenses totaling well over the 41k. We also have about 10 emails stating she herself, is paid up. This isn't a destitute woman. As a matter of fact, she is a director and professor with a phd, knocking down 6 figures alone, receives 2100.00 per month (now 2500.00 while we are in works with the attorney general and have hired an attorney), and we have never missed a payment EVER. She has lied so much, even his own mother turned against him. She went to the point of going in cahoots with MY ex to collaborate false stories against me. This is real, and why fathers behave the way they do. Not every man out there is a deadbeat. She's committed several fraud felonies and has been reported. Hopefully she goes to prison!

  • Comment Link Stacie Sunday, 03 April 2016 23:31 posted by Stacie

    My definition of a dead beat parent is some one that wants controll over others but doesn't want to take responsibility. The courts need to implement a new law for all dead beat parents"Pay or sign all your parental right over to the parent that has proven suitable to raise the child/children. Keep it simple stupid!! Get a job or get out!

  • Comment Link Mike Saturday, 28 November 2015 06:51 posted by Mike

    I refuse to pay child support when my ex wife to be is still receiving my sons child support which the state admitted they screwed up on doing when I obtained physical custody in 2008. since our separation she has dipped in to his child support leaving me with nothing while I am a 24/7 dad since she left to have her affair over a year ago and has wind about money several time but has falsely put restratinng order never served and I some how violated them and now have pending felony charges which Bantam CT Court has been shown proof by Stamford COurt I was served 5 days after the arrest. she has lost thousands in back support because I've won the argument that I was falsely arrested by her actions. she hems and ha's and the judges say STUFF!!!

  • Comment Link Amazing Wife and Mother to Yours and Mine Monday, 23 March 2015 22:51 posted by Amazing Wife and Mother to Yours and Mine

    Honestly, child support needs to be case by case. This is getting ridiculous that hard working mothers and fathers are categorized with worthless baby machines. My husband and I are 50/50 parenting time via COURT DOCUMENTS but this worthless bitter hag finds time to ruin plans, keep the children from us even when cops are involved and through her children try to break us up. Really?!!! Get a life. She even has a boyfriend (together for many years) with 2 MORE children who she can't support but does through US. You're welcome for all our money, time spent on your drama, support and understanding while you do nothing but manipulate and guilt these beautiful turning into you children. Sincerely, ME - the best thing to ever happen to your children after your hideous Divorce. Let go of him, he hates you.

  • Comment Link SharP Monday, 15 December 2014 14:36 posted by SharP

    You speak the truth as I have experienced it. The money belongs to the kids. But a narc thinks his money is his money and everyone else's money is his money too. They confuse or equate money and love. And I was to have neither.

  • Comment Link Carilee Thursday, 11 December 2014 04:30 posted by Carilee

    How dare we get pregnant or adopt? They apparently had no say or did nothing to bring these children into a family. Out of site, out of mind. You give up years of earning potential. Years of building a career and a retirement fund or spend money on things like childcare. All so the ex can have what they want. Nicer car, vacations wherever. You may have even been passed over for raises and promotions because you couldn't "go the extra mile." Child care centers close at 6:00. You have to take all your time for a sick child. Then Ex insists you risk your job to take time to go with them on the cruise they scheduled without consulting you or spending some of their time off taking care of the sick child. Whatever the reason the marriage is over. It doesn't mean that one party is absolved of all monetary responsibility and the other assumes all of it. Funny how easy it is to not pay until ordered and even then not have to pay for the time between separation and the court order. Unless it is specifically asked for. It's the double standard that gets me. You spend a disproportionate amount of your income for years on the kids because you love them and they come first. It is what a good and responsible parent does. You're not "buying their love." In the Ex's eyes, it is only because "you want to." They are purposely blind to the fact you are personally going without necessities not wants. When you do get a little ahead or remarry. You are supposed to use the difference on the kids so they don't have to pay what the law considers their share. It is a no win situation with some people and often one of the main reasons for the divorce in the first place.

  • Comment Link FreeSpirit52 Tuesday, 09 December 2014 20:33 posted by FreeSpirit52

    Hi Marye and thanks for such a wonderful insight to your world. Like you Child Support was supposed to be paid to me for both of my teens and until they left University. My so called being not of this planet then had a gross misconduct charge thrown at him and bang not money at all. So I had had to fight for support due to my own health problems and get the kids and myself through such a terrible time. He had to leave work or get charged. Next minute he's off on holiday with this other being not of this planet. Makes you very bitter that you have been put through so much and they seem to have the last laugh or maybe not! So glad you are doing so well and life is treating you with the kindness that you deserve as well as 'Child Support'. Take my hat off to you for such determination and strength. Lots of Hugs