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I need to vent

miranova

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I can not post this anywhere where anyone knows me because it would not go over well, but I am fed up with Dh's ex.

 

She gets almost $800 a month in child support and isn't paying the kids's bills. She is 4 months overdue on her share of the orthodontist bill (her share is only $32 a month, ours is more). The school calls us almost daily about the kids overdue lunch accounts (we have them pack so that is ALL her) and she is overdue on their aftercare as well. None of this would be overly horrible if it wasn't for the fact that she and her boyfriend just went on a 10 day vacation without the kids.

 

Trust me when I tell you, the courts don't care. We owe the money no matter what, no matter what she spends it on. If we end up having to pay the orthodontist, our only recourse is to sue her. We are legally unable to deduct any of it from child support. She also owes us several hundred dollars from a school trip from JUNE.

 

She pays for NO activities for the kids because she simply won't take them. So if we want them to do anything, we take them and we pay. Hundreds if not thousands over the years that she hasn't paid a dime of.

 

Cars and phones and college for the kids? Forget it, she will never pay a dime and we know it.

 

I am having a hard time just letting this go. I have never resented child support being paid to her, but when she doesn't use it to pay the kids's bills and they call ME back to the back of the orthodontist office to tell me they are about to stop his treatment over a payment that is about 4% of what we give her every month, I feel pure rage. This is immoral. It is theft, period. If I could adopt the kids, I would but she would never allow it because she would lose the money.

 

And there is nothing we can do about it.



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That's awful. I'm sorry. And I'm so sorry for your kids who have to have a mom like that...but I'm so glad they have a mom like you.

 

This is not likely to fly at all...but what if you offered adoption and she kept getting the $800/month? Or a lump sum? That's an awful way to put it, like you're buying her children.

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We've joked about that idea before! One time she said she was going to move out of the country (without the kids because she cant take them) and dh reminded her that she would lose child support so she didn't go. That should tell you all you need to know about her. And yes we wish we wouldn't have tipped her off but at the time we thought the children would be devastated by her abondoning them so we were trying to get her to not leave them.

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Wow. Just wow. Then maybe it would be worth it to make the offer? Does she actually enjoy being with them? How do the kids feel about her?

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She is their mom.  Kids will always love their mom.  I do think they love me in a different way and I know they appreciate me.  They do thank me for things a lot.  And I know when they are older they will remember that I was the one who took them to appointments and parent teacher conferences and made sure they were involved in activities.  But kids always love their real mom no matter what.  And if was a 3rd party observer with no knowledge of her taking our money and spending it on herself, I'd probably think she was a nice person.  She's friendly.  But I know too much.  

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How frustrating! My DD has a step DD and deals with similar issues and many many beyond just financial, with the mother, but that's a whole other story! It just doesn't seem fair that there isn't any accountabilty for how the support money is spent.

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Yes some accountability would be nice. We don't need an itemized statement or anything because that's not practical. We would be happy if she simply paid her share of the kids bills. What's going to happen is that she will be behind on the aftercare for the rest of this year and then she will stiff them. It's 5th grade so this is their last year there so she won't care that she has a balance at the end of the year. She will simply stiff them like she did their preschool years ago. She has no shame.

 

She is one of those people who thinks that if someone makes more money than her, they should pay her bills. So it's not enough that she gets child support from us, she still thinks we should pay for everything on top of that because our household income is higher than hers. Her family has written us emails calling us greedy and selfish for expecting her to pay her portion of medical and childcare. As if we are somehow profiting from her payments to these providers.

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BTDT  So thankful all payments made directly to DH's ex are over.  We pay the kids directly.  

 

We are helping DSD2 with living expenses while in grad school - Mom is giving her an interest free loan.  

 

We pay 50% of DSSs expenses.  We were court ordered to pay 60% of the girls' costs.  She didn't want DSS in that case, she was holding out for more money.  In between they declared it unconstitutional to require divorced parents to pay for college.  She is paying DSS 40%.  He is making up the 10%.  I would just pay the 60%.  It's not fair to DSS.  DH won't pay more than 50%.  She has raked him over the coals for more money for years.  

 

She has a masters degree, but says it's too stressful to work.  I'm just very thankful she got married so the lifetime alimony ended!

 

Before she married, she would have her hair colored, nails done, nice clothes, vacations without the kids, etc.  The kids wore clothes with holes worn through them, shoes falling apart.  They looked like little homeless kids.  We were paying her $2750 a month & she would have them call DH & ask if he would pay 1/2 of church camp, ball registration, etc.  When he said no, she would tell them they couldn't participate because DH wouldn't pay his 1/2 (which he didn't pay because it's included in CS).  To this day, she is furious that we got the tax credits for the kids (since she had no income).

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To be fair, her family doesn't contact Dh anymore, but they used to.

 

Katrina, I can identify with the clothes.  I sort of flipped out a couple of weeks ago when the 10 year olds came over in size 6 clothes.  I am reaching a point where my 6 years of silence in order to get along with her is going to boil over and I'm afraid I'm going to really lay into her one day.  

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I wonder if you could sue her in small claims court on a regular bases?  That is just make it a total pain for her.  Document that her lack of paying agreed upon bills is hurting the kids (lack of dental care, food when they are with her), pay her portion when after attempting to rectify, and then sue her every 6 months for a lump sum of what you have covered?  Even if you never get the money back, the kids are taken care of, you have a judgment, and documentation of her poor behavior.

 

I know that isn't very practice and you probably just need to vent, suck it up, and continue to juggle these annoyances until the kids are 18, but I still like the idea :P

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We are not opposed to taking her to court.   If for no other reason than to send her a message that we aren't suckers and won't be her ATM, at least not without consequence.  We are comfortable filing all paperwork with no attorney so it may happen if she flat out won't pay what she owes us from June and will definitely happen if we have to pay the orthodontist bill or aftercare bill.  I don't care if it's not collectible; I'm just not the kind of person who is going to be taken advantage of without putting up a fight.  At the very least, she needs to be inconvenienced slightly.

 

We aren't quite there yet, but we may get there soon.

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Are her actions actually harming the children?  If so, I believe you have the OBLIGATION to sue for full physical custody.  Period.  Of the two parents, one has to look out for the children's best interest.

 

Now for the hard part....
Did you or DH sign documents that said you would pay for after care?  If not, it's not your business.
Did you or DH sign documents that said you would pay for "hot" lunch at school?  If not, it's not your business.  Get the x's telephone numbers (work/home) and EVERY time that the school calls you to pay the lunch bill, give them her contact information and tell them that she is responsible for paying that.  If it is possible, you can ask that they call BEFORE allowing the children to charge lunch, and you can take them one from home.  Pain in the behind, not your job, but better for the kids.
 
IF you or DH WANT the children in aftercare, then request IN WRITING a bill for period covered and any payments made.
If you want them to have something other than a PB&J sandwich for lunch when they have stayed with her, then request IN WRITING a bill for dates/children covered and any payments made.  Then pay it.  I do not believe that they will go without lunch on any day, that the school will simply stop providing "hot" lunches. I think they "have" to make sure that the kid gets a lunch of some kind.
Get the same documents from the orthodontist.  
 
Having it IN WRITING by a third party takes it from the "bitter spouse" category into the "children wronged" category, and will go much further in court.  
 
Write down all your complaints.... the clothing, the unpaid debts to your DH personally, etc...  Send her  a bill for all child related debts she owes the you have paid.  Include copies of all documents.
 
Then suck it up and file for full physical custody. Include the debts that you have paid on behalf of the children as part of that case.
 
Here's the cold hard truth.... you will likely never see that money again.  Write it off in your head.  GIFT it to the kids.  There's a reason she's an x.  Your speaking to her will NOT help the children, and will likely only hurt them.  It may make you feel better for a minute, but probably not in the long run.  You have to make a decision about whether or not you want to spend the additional money on the kids knowing you will never see it again.  She's a bum.  She's a bad parent.  OK, that may be true.... but does it have any effect on how you want those children raised or the opportunities you want to give them?  Yes, she should pay, but she won't.  Period.  How does that effect what you want to do for the children?  Only difference is that anything over the $800, YOU get to decide exactly how it's spent and on exactly what.  And she has no say about it.  =0)
 
Good luck!  I understand the frustration, figure out what you CAN do and concentrate on that rather than trying to change someone who is totally happy with who she is.
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I appreciate your thoughts but I may not have been clear.  We will not sue for full custody, we have no grounds to do so. The children are not being abused or neglected, which would be the only way any judge would consider terminating her rights.  When I said I would adopt them, I meant it, but I know it is a pipe dream because it would require her to voluntarily give up her rights which I don't see happening realistically.

 

To your other questions.  We are responsible for our percentage of aftercare, and she is responsible for hers.  On paper.  As you know, people don't always abide by things that they are ordered to do in papers.  So in theory it's not our business, in reality it will become our business if they no longer allow us to drop the kids off when we need to work.

 

For the orthodontist.  She is responsible for her percentage of medical costs and we are responsible for ours.  On Paper.  The orthodontist was kind enough to make two contracts, charge us our percentage, and charge her her percentage.  However, there is still a clause that we both signed saying if one party defaults then treatment will stop.  There is no way to get around that.  So in theory her overdue bill is not our business, but in reality it will be, when they stop treatment.

 

Hot lunch calls we ignore after telling them a few times it isn't our bill.  Easy to do when they are mostly automated.  Doesn't mean we can't get frustrated when we get them.

 

We have sent her a bill for what she owes TO US at least half a dozen times since June.  She is very good at ignoring them.  As of right now, we have not paid her portion of the medical and aftercare YET.  If we have to, then we will of course bill her for that too.  And we will take her to small claims court when it becomes too large an amount to ignore.  

 

We can't sue her for the sports and activities because no parent is legally obligated to provide those things.  That doesn't mean it's never frustrating to know she happily allows us to provide her children with opportunities that she won't pay for.

 

Her not paying debts, even thousands in debt, will NOT cause her to lose her parenting rights.  It simply is not even within the realm of possibility so that's not a thought we entertain.

 

I am aware I can't change her, hence this is a vent.  I was not expecting any magic solutions, there aren't any.  If I did ever lose my temper with her it certainly wouldn't be because I felt it would help, it would just be because I momentarily couldn't take it anymore.  But hopefully I'll be able to avoid doing that.  I'm not perfect but I at least know that I have been nothing but friendly to her to her face, and that's all the kids see.  

 

I know the money is gone.  It is just more frustrating lately because as they get older their expenses exponentially increase and she will be legally responsible for none of them.  I know, we aren't LEGALLY required to pay for any college either, but we will in order to keep things fair for all the kids.  We don't "do" his and hers.  They are OUR kids and whatever some of them get, the others will as well.  I will have more help from my ex with my kids's college which is nice for us, but it means we do feel an obligation to pay both halves for his kids's expenses when the college time comes.....of course I hope it goes without saying that they will all work for scholarships etc and keep expenses as low as possible but nothing is free.

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I wish I had some magic wand for these situations, at least to knock some good sense into our exes, but it just doesn't happen.  I have complete empathy for you though.  I deal with this daily with my ex and his refusal to provide anything for our kids financially.  But, at the end of the day, like you say - it's the kids that suffer or are affected if things are withheld.  And that's just not acceptable.  So, I (like you) continue to pay and will continue to pay for my kids.  I know it, and I accept it, but it's just so frustrating.

 

I'm really sorry you're dealing with it.  Vent away.  It's hard to understand why all people don't feel the same sense of responsibility toward their children.  I certainly wish they did.

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Thanks Meredith.  For some reason your statement:  "It's hard to understand why all people don't feel the same sense of responsibility toward their children."  has really helped me tonight.  I am proud of taking care of my children.  All of them.  She is the one missing out. 

 

Sometimes I just need to vent.  I can't talk about this to anyone in real life since I'm supposed to be the better person and all that junk.  :)  I'm over it, for now.  Thanks for bearing with me.

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My stepkids are finally making comments about their mom not working, not doing things around the house, not being there, going on vacation all the time, being lazy, etc.  We just nod & try not to jump up & down and say "finally!  you see what we've been seeing".  :)

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I didn't mean to terminate her rights... that is a serious charge and usually for criminal or neglect reasons.  Very difficult to do and mostly undesirable.  Full physcial custody just means that they live with you and DH full time and visit their mom.  Rather than moving back and forth in some kind of way (other than weekend or longer visits).

 

No, debt will not cause her to lose CUSTODY.... but failing to pay for needed medical care, or clothing that fits, or after care (depending on age)... may.  It's not that she has debt, it's that she's not taking care of the children's needs.  

 

Glad you are feeling better!  Good luck.

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have you read the book "boundaries" by Henry Cloud and John Townsend? great book. check it out sometime you may find it helpful. :)

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