As a general rule, I try to keep my private my personal business...well...personal. I don't like to talk openly about my private life. This is especially true when it comes to my divorce. I don't like divulging information about it for several reasons. One of these, of course, is that it hurts. I imagine it probably always will. He was my soul mate and I never expected it to end, especially after so many years. Mostly, though, I don't like saying anything, no matter how true, that casts a negative light on him. It's not that I feel protective of him so much as I want to protect my children. I don't want them to hurt. More and more, though, I am realizing that they hurt from all of this anyway. My attempts to protect them have, in many ways, allowed them to remain confused and conflicted at times. So, lately, I have begun being more open and honest (in an age appropriate manner, of course) with the children about our divorce.
As an unintended result, I find that I am able to be more open with others about it as well. Now, I still don't bash him, nor do I ever intend to...even though the hurtful things he says find their way back to me. But, I find that I am now able to speak matter-of-factly about the realities of the situation when I choose to. There are some details, though, that I still try to keep mostly to myself. However, as I sit here, drafting court papers, I realize that this whole mess is about to become an ugly legal situation...and a matter of public record. We wanted to avoid all that, for the best interest of the children, so we came to an agreement and filed for an uncontested divorce. However, a year later, nothing that was agreed to and ordered has been done.
So, I'm a bit overwhelmed with emotions, as I sort through legal forms and draft subpoenas in preparation for litigating my own case. It's the middle of the night, so I don't want to burden my friends with all this. However, it I don't get it out, I might explode. So...I pray my readers will bear with me on this... At least you guys have the option to stop reading...rather than trying to figure out how to awkwardly end a phone conversation with an emotional nutcase.
I would like to point out, though, that I would not be revealing such details if it were not about to become a matter of public record, when I file these documents with the court.
He was ordered to pay child support and alimony. He agreed to this because the child support was based on the last job that he had while we were still together, which paid about $10/hour less than the work he has been doing since. The alimony ends after I pass the Bar Exam, and was agreed to by us because we both believed that it is in the best interest of our children for me to finish law school. The alimony brought the amount up to around what he would be paying if his child support was based off his actual pay, so I agreed. I figured that, once I passed that Bar, I'd be making more money so I could more than make up for the amount we'd be losing. Our agreement was that neither of us would seek to modify the agreement, so long as the other upheld their end of their bargain.
Now, here we are, a year later. He is currently behind $13,643.44 in combined support, interest included. There hasn't been a full payment made since November of last year. He has not attempted even a partial payment since this past May. Supposedly, he tells other people that he has been paying. When I ask, he says he can't afford it. I guess he's forgotten that I know that he gets paid $30-35/hour on the construction jobs he works. Yet, he refuses to pay the mortgage, knowing that he still has me listed on it and is wrecking my credit, too. So, even with very few bills that he's actually paying, he can't afford to help support his children...even though he makes more money now than he was when I was stretching it to support 5 of us.
Does it make me angry? Sometimes...when I'm looking at a stack of bills that I know I would be able to pay if he'd just make one lousy payment...but especially when my children have to do without because I can't afford something. I will never forget how it broke my heart last year, when I had to tell my little girl that she would have to drop out of dance classes (she's been in dance since she was 2) because I couldn't afford the gas to take her, much less the cost of the tuition. Mostly, though, it makes me sad...
When I'm up at this time every night...doing homework...putting away the toys that the children inevitably forgot...preparing things for the next day... I look at them, sleeping soundly and am overcome by bewilderment and sadness. I don't understand why their father does not want to be any more a part of their lives than he does. It is by his choice that he only talks to them by phone once or twice a week (if they are lucky). It is by his choice that he doesn't see them but once every few months. Quite simply, I do not understand this. How can this man, who was so excited to add each child to our family, now not seem to care to be an active part of their existence?
I see his refusal to pay child support as just another symptom of this. I don't know why he is behaving this way. Perhaps it's a phase. Maybe he's trying to punish me because he's angry at me, especially since I had a baby with another man. I really don't know. But, damn it, my children shouldn't have to pay for it! I do my best to make up for it. I listen. I try to help them process their feelings. In the end, though, I can't make him do the right thing. And, honestly, that just sucks!