I will never see eye to eye with my ex-wife. She turned my late-payer ass over to the collection agency of the state, and all hell has broken loose in my life ever since. There really is no forgive and forget in that situation. It was NOT “in the best interest of the children.” It was not even in the best interest of my ex-wife, but if you spoke with her today, I’m sure she’d disagree.
See I WAS behind. But that was due to employment, not willingness to pay. And since then, I’ve paid her 1/3 or 1/2 of every dollar I’ve made. But the AG’s office of the state of Texas still has a whopping lien on my ass. I can’t get a used car, I can’t rent an apartment, set up new phone service, nothing. I’m not only a deadbeat dad in the eyes of the state, but I’m a 400 or less on my credit score. See how far that will take you.
Somehow, I’m still negotiating just taking the AG’s boot off my neck. The good news is I’m negotiating with my ex-wife’s new husband. He sees things in a more business light. Still, he too is convinced that as an accounting system, the AG’s office is fine to have in our relationship. I disagree, but it’s not up to me. My ex-wife holds all the keys. And that’s how she wanted it. She grabbed the power stroke by putting the AG’s office on her side and against me. Call them up for any information and you quickly get the idea that as a non-custodial parent you are a lesser citizen. In fact, you wouldn’t be contacting them if there wasn’t an issue. And if there’s an issue the non-custodial parent is the only party that could be in the wrong. Simply put, according to the AG’s office, you owe her this money. It is a debt. What are you going to do today, how much money can we have out of your checking account today, to take care of it.
So I have to begin seeking serenity within myself. I have to forgive myself for the job loss, the employment struggles that are so common in our current economy. I have to give myself a break first, even if the AG’s office won’t.
I’m hopeful that my ex-wife’s husband can be a man about the situation and realize ONE MAJOR FACT: I cannot, am not, will not, ask for relief from the money I owe my ex-wife in back child support. That’s the law. There is no need for the AG’s office to be involved unless the dad is trying to skip out on his obligations. I am not. There is no need for the AG’s office unless the dad is hard to track, bill, or find. I am not.
I cannot get satisfaction from her new husband either. He sees the AG’s office as a convenient accounting department for the rest of our contract. That’s bullshit, and he’s spouting her rhetoric, but again, the healing is up to me. Here’s what I can do.
- Pay 1/3 of every dollar I make to my ex-wife until my kids both turn 18.
- Keep seeing gainful employment that would put a nice cash flow system in place for everyone.
- Ask for the removal of the AG’s lien.
The outcome is not up to me. I am responsible for my actions. I am responsible for nailing one of the next three job interviews. I am responsible to explain to the potential employer that contrary to my credit report, I am NOT A DEADBEAT DAD. (That’s a bit of a harder sell, but I don’t think we’re going to get relief any time soon.)
I may not reach serenity with my ex-wife and her new husband ever. That’s okay. The serenity is within me. I am doing, have done, and will do the best I can to support my kids and keep my relationship to them above the fray my ex continues to keep seething around us. The AG’s office is not your friend. If you sick the AG’s office on your ex I sincerely hope you are doing it as a last resort.
More from The Postive Divorce section:
- 8 Lessons from My First 2 Divorces
- The Kids are All Right: A Dad’s Divorce Reflections
- Having A Positive Divorce is Up To You: The Two Levels of Healing
- The Hero’s Journey of a Divorced Dad
- Focusing On the Other Person is a Trap
- Seven Strategies for Winning Divorce
image: piñata, creative commons usage