Why I Waited 5 Years For Child Support – But You Should Never

0

Divorce was a devastating blow for me, but I knew I could move on. After all, I was a strong woman, I had a great career, the house was mine before we got married so it was still mine, and while my kids were still young my ex and I had already put in places daycare/preschool arrangements.

Not only that – my ex and I were friends. So why should I worry about child support?

At first, I didn’t. In fact, I’m one of those women you love to hate: a perfect, completely civilized divorce. Actually, I don’t think Gwyneth Paltrow has anything on me; she just looks a lot better doing it.

RELATED: Being Financially Abused By My Husband Turned Me Into A Super Villain

My ex and I learned the importance of this the hard way when we first got married and my sister went through a horrible divorce. The judge thought about separating his two children so that each parent had one so there would be no support issues. Neither would move an inch.

The divorce dragged on for years, with each parent growing increasingly angry with the other. We actually thought we were going to have to take in my sister’s kids at some point because it was so stressful for them.

Needless to say, we decided that if we ever had kids and had to break up, we wouldn’t fight, we would rise above it and do it civilly. And we did.

In my state of Utah (every state is different, consult an attorney or legal aid about the laws in your specific state) getting a divorce is simple. Once the documents are filed, it can take around 10 days. (Yes, that quickly.)

My ex and I found a lawyer, saw him together, and signed the papers that day.

We agreed on everything: tax exemptions, child support (normally states automatically define this for you), community assets, everything. The only thing we had to do was take a course.

After that, the documents would be submitted and we would be divorced about 10 days later. Fourteen days later, the lawyer called me to tell me that I was a free woman. Impressive.

Since my ex and I hadn’t been living together for a while, nothing had really changed. While child support was in my divorce decree, I didn’t take it to the district attorney because I didn’t see the point. That would be a ton of more paperwork to fill out.

And so I didn’t, but it didn’t really matter because my ex was paying me what he was supposed to pay. However, it didn’t last too long.

At first, it was progressive: he “had an extra bill to pay”, “I’ll catch it with the next check”, “my friend had to borrow some money”, etc. I would dismiss it because I was trying to be the best co-parent I could be.

RELATED: The 10 Seconds That Ended My 20 Years of Marriage

I didn’t want to be mad and angry and yell at him every time I saw him. (Although believe me, sometimes I wanted to kick it.) Not to mention, I wanted to show my daughters that mom and dad could still get along even though they weren’t married yet.

It was probably the worst thing I’ve ever done to myself and to them – and maybe even to their father because I allowed him to not accept the fact that they were also his children and that he had to take care of them.

This continued intermittently for almost five years.

Ge would lose a job and find another, he would find a cash only job, he would pay me but not regularly. I soon became overwhelmed with not knowing if I was going to have money for daily expenses.

And every time he wouldn’t pay me, I’d say I had to go to the district attorney and have the salary attached, but I always found a reason not to — “the paperwork takes too long to fill out,” “I don’t want him mad at me,” “he’ll just get a job that pays him under the table” — all while not realizing exactly what child support is for.

RELATED: My Husband Asked Me To Commit To A Loveless Marriage

It’s not for me; it’s for my children. I was doing this “me and him” problem instead of what it should have been all along.

Advertising Are you tired of yelling at your kids? We understood. Sign up for this FREE course today and see results in days.

Once I realized that I went to the district attorney and filled out the paperwork.

It really wasn’t that long or that difficult and they have people who can help you. It took about a month for the attorney to send a notice to my ex’s work saying they were going to withdraw the money; and another 2 weeks for me to receive my first payment.

Since then there have been no problems with payments and I know I will have the money I need for my daughters.

I am often asked how my ex felt when he received the letter and I reply that I honestly think he felt relieved. Not only would we never have to talk about money in front of our kids again, but there were no more “excuses” as to why he couldn’t pay.

He was angry when he received the letter stating how much money he owed in child support (nearly $5,000), but it was a decision he made, not me.

All I can think of is that I let him get away with not paying that amount when that amount could have helped my daughters so much, especially when they wanted extras like horse riding lessons and I still had to raise the money for this.

Now, when people tell me they’re going to divorce, the first thing I tell them is to garnish their wages.

It’s not about being nice or not nice, it’s about providing — because that money isn’t for you, it’s for your children.

RELATED: I spoke to men who gave up on their kids – here’s what they had to say about their decision

More for you on YourTango:

The Unrelated Women’s Guild is a space to explore the millions of issues of single motherhood, but it’s also for all women – women stuck in bad marriages, the broadly dissatisfied wishing for a divorce, and the happily-coupled former single mothers. with a ton of wisdom to share.

Subscribe to the free YourTango newsletter!

This article originally appeared on Unomum. Reprinted with permission from the author.

Share.

Comments are closed.