I figure if I write down the thoughts circling round in my head, then maybe it will all settle and I'll get some rest.
Why does money make us act so crazy?
I have a bit of a backstory, but the ending is that I'll be $1,100 poorer over the next few months.
The end…. *snore*…. I wish ;)
1-2 years ago my firstborn's father came to me seriously to 'talk' about our son… this was code for 'give you a sob story and ask you to forgive me all backed child support'. After some thought, I came up with some noble reasons for doing so, namely, this is for my child, I want him to have a dad who's not so stressed out with money. Anyhow… 3 trips to court later, (complete with finding childcare, giving up complete days, and gas money) the judge decides to honor my request to waive the arrears (backed support) and I forgive my ex over $6,000 in backed support.
We leave the court and I wait for it, wait for it… then I say, "You're welcome?" ???
I think my ex viewed this as me 'making things right' because I shouldn't have gone after him for backed support when we initially set up the payments. But it's ok! I did this for my son.
Over the summer, my ex wanted our (very athletic) son to do an expensive one week soccer skills camp. He asked me to go in halfsies, which I consider fair. We then agreed for me to buy the shoes and he'd buy the socks. He did reimburse me for his half of the camp, but never got the socks. These things are a bit too minor to let spoil your day or relationship, so they slide.
At the end of the summer, we went away on vacation to visit family and I got some frantic calls from my ex asking me if I'd gotten his tax return and would I please write him a check for the money… Well, I didn't think we HAD gotten the money, but after a careful perusal of the bank account, we realize that the money came in the week we miscarried and we have disbursements going in and out all the time from child support, so it didn't raise any flags.
I think about it and decide that after forgiving over $6,000… I'd like to keep the $1,100 and again consider this fair. Decision made, I decide to ignor the ex about the money.
Well… the court hearing was in Febuary, and taxes are filed in April… so eventually the computer systems caught up and realized that I had gotten his tax money (when a parent owes backed child support, any income like a tax return is automatically rerouted to the parent owed). As of April, my ex owed $0 because of the court date end of February.
I got a letter stating that I owed the government $1,100 and how would I like to pay it? The lovely child support lady at the government office was outraged for me and told me that my ex had just been re-issued the check and I should call him right away before he spends it. She seems to think that he'd hand it right back and I'd hand it over to the government and we'd all call it a day! I told her that there was no way that he'd just give me the money… my only recourse was small claims court.
This is not a legal issue in my opinion. Yes he paid this money to the government before the backed child support was forgiven, but… at the court hearing, a certain amount was forgiven. so, in April he owes nothing. When this kind lady told me to take him back to court and not only ask for the $1,100, but the full $6,000 I smiled and teared up. I can't handle court again… it's not worth even trying for $1,100 because again this isn't a legal issuer, just a moral one. I don't think morality is decided in the courts, just legality. Legally, the money is his.
A couple weeks go by and the ex has made no motions to hand over the money. I call him and ask why he never showed to pick up my son over the weekend and did he receive the check from the government yet, because if he decides to keep it, I will be upset. (exactly that, no extras… also first phone message checking in about the money since I told him what happened)
My phone has blown up this evening with his texts. "I appreciate it if you don't contact me anymore… very upset that u putting the blame on me for money that was mine in the first place…" "I have nothing to say to you anymore.. ever as long as I walk this earth" I ask if he's still planning on seeing his son… "Unless I can see him without talking to u or seeing u then yes if not then no" and there's more.
An hour mulling things over tells me that he's entirely in his 'rights' to keep 'his' money. It's not on my head whether or not he has no honor. I also have decided that he specifically needed to fight with me in order to feel justified in keeping the money.
Now, I can't help but feel aweful for my son. His dad has never really 'been there' for him. I don't want this to be the end of his relationship with his father. I want to make things right with my ex, but don't know how to approach it. Also, if I can get him back in his life, I think I'll let the single man do all the driving instead of me toting 4 kids across town, and if he wants his son in a camp, then he can bloody well pay for it.
This is me, letting go of $1,100 and I guess we'll dip into savings. I should be ever so thankful that we have savings! I can't see us cutting into our budget that much these next 3-4 months. Awe well, I think this is another one of those life lessons that I was supposed to learn :)