When it comes to taking care of children, there is not an amount of money that can actually be validated as fair. Granted, there are some people who get excessive amounts of money due to the fact that they have a child or children with someone who is wealthy. Nevertheless, it baffles me how some can go to unbelievable lengths to stop support for their children even when they are not in the children’s lives. It confuses me even more how the government supports such behaviors.
Let me explain.
In 2011, my marriage dissolved completely. My ex-husband became a completely different person. He was angry and started to become physically abusive. We were married for close to 7 years at this point. He began to get more comfortable with pushing and shoving. He was verbally abusive for years prior. I left a few times but I did not have anywhere to go so I returned and finally, he agreed to move out.
Until one day in July.
He had the Durango that was purchased to accommodate the children and left me and the children with his vehicle which had an oil leak and no AC. A friend and I had a garage sale to earn money. I had to make money quickly. I stayed at home and raised the children without working most of the years we were married.
He came to the house after the garage sale demanding that I give him half of what I earned. I refused and sat in the garage listening to music. He then picked up my phone and slammed it on the pavement of the driveway. I remained calm and asked him to leave. He instead went into the house and started to destroy everything. He pushed the microwave off the counter, he smashed my printer, he slammed my netbook, he broke the landline phone, and just as the kids came around the corner from their rooms he flipped the glass coffee table over and nearly hit all three children. I rushed the children back into the room and told them to stay there. He left shortly there after; when he felt as if he proved his point.
He came back later.
The kids were asleep and I was lying in bed. I heard the garage door open and hopped up. He came in and said that he wanted to talk about the divorce. I told him there was nothing to talk about. He said, “Talk to me or I’m gonna start tearing shit up!”. I stood silent. He grabbed a knife and began to cut my sorority jacket. He came into the bedroom and grabbed my sorority bag with my purse in it and attempted to cut it up while I tried to grab my purse from the inside. He walked out of the room when he saw that I wasn’t phased by his actions. He came back into the room as I stood watching tv and said, “I probably bought that too” and doused me with bleach. I left and went to get help while he cut up and bleached all of my clothes, shoes, purses, etc.
He was arrested.
His cousin bailed him out of jail and came to see me. She then contacted his immediate family. A few days later his siblings were on Facebook making comments instructing me to “kill myself” because “I’m weak”,”fat” and “unworthy of the last name”. They have not talked to myself nor my children since. They never once asked what happened or if I was ok.
Unbeknownst to me, he was living a double life. He and I had three children together. He and his now wife (who was his then subordinate in the Air Force/mistress) had their first child during the early stages of our divorce. Although I did not find out about the wife and the baby until the baby was roughly about 6-8 months old. His wife came to my job allegedly to purchase a vehicle for him. This was just a few months after the divorce was finalized.
During the divorce, I was awarded the Durango.
I was also awarded full custody of the children due to his remarks to the judge regarding custody. He said, “I don’t want them. She can have them. I’ll pay whatever you tell me to pay.” The judge was shocked and asked him to repeat himself and he did. That is when the judge issued the permanent restraining order.
The final hearing was in April. It was finalized in May.
By October there were more issues.
The Durango was set on fired a few days after my ex posted a picture of he and I on fire with the caption “Death to Dishonor”. I later learned that he was indicted on the initial battery charges a week prior to the photo fire and was facing felony charges. He was then ordered to give me back the car he left us with before.
This is where it started to get really interesting.
While he was in the military he was ordered to pay $1200 per month for all three children. He hired a lawyer at the last-minute and pushed the final date back for the divorce hearing (TRICK #1). After he accomplished that, he was within his time frame to leave the military without losing time or benefits but was unemployed. His financial obligations were then reduced by over 50% and he decided that he would pay when he wanted to (Trick #2). He then filed Bankruptcy to avoid having arrears taken involuntarily from tax returns and other lump sum payments (Trick #3). During this process, he was also filing for disability (TRICK #4).
I have had to file orders of contempt against him multiple times in order to get him to pay. According to Section 228 of Title 18 of the United States Code, it is illegal to willing neglect to pay child support, but he seems to be rewarded more than punished.
In 2014, I received a notice from Social Security stating that my daughter’s SSI payments would be reduced due to her VA benefits she receives. I called VA and checked into the matter and they confirmed that my children do not receive benefits but their father receives benefits for them (TRICK #5). I have had to produce a letter showing that she does not receive benefits every other month or so since.
I asked VA if there was a way to get the benefits to go directly to the children and I learned about an apportionment. I filed and waited and waited and waited and waited.
I even reached out to my congressman to assist in expediting the claim.
Finally I received a response stating that my children would be denied benefits because they live away from him and he is ordered to pay child support. (TRICK #6)
I appealed There has still not been a decision made on behalf of my children. When I called into VA to determine how he could get benefits for children who are not in his care, the VA representative informed me that VA only cares about biology. They are not concerned with what the veteran does with their benefits or if they are in arrears for child support. He gets paid an extra $240 per month for kids that he doesn’t have anything to do with and is not obligated to pay the money to the children (TRICK #7).
He was over $16K in arrears and we were in the process of taking him back to court. That is when he had his lawyer contact my lawyer and notify us that he was awarded full VA disability. He agreed to pay his arrears using the money he received from his back pay checks from VA and SSA. We had to threaten court again before he followed through with his agreement.
March 2017 he held up his end of the bargain and paid his arrears up. He also agreed to start paying child support regularly. In June I received notification that my children were eligible for benefits from SSA (Social Security Administration). I completed the application and two of them were awarded back pay for benefits from 2012 to the present. My one daughter did not receive back pay because Social Security has to determine how much she should receive because she gets SSI also. They all received their regular payment in July. When August came and there was no payment for 2 of the children, I contacted Social Security about what the issue was. I was told that my case could not be discussed because he could not verify my address.
I was confused and went into the office the following business day. The rep told me that someone changed my address and the checks were rerouted to his address in San Antonio, TX (TRICK #8). I had to file a police report for possible fraud due to the change.
Then, there was the letter that topped the cake. According to the letter, my children have been overpaid child support… (TRICK #9)
Now it is time for a modification. I am not sure what tricks he has up his sleeve for this. It appears that nothing will stop a man trying his hardest to be a deadbeat if that is what he wants. It is also evident that nothing will stop a mother from seeing that her children receive what they deserve and what is due to them by any means necessary.