Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Archive for the day “December 14, 2014”

A Time To Answer Some Questions


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Under normal circumstances, when readers offer comments to my posts, I simply hit “approve”, and they end up posted.  I very rarely reject comments, unless they are clearly not constructive, regardless if they are positive or negative in tone.  Up until this moment, I have chosen not to publish comments from either my ex-wife, or her family because their comments have generally not been constructive.

In my post, “One Last Try,” I made one final attempt to my ex-wife to seriously consider the ramifications of insisting that I be put in jail for support payment arrears, a strategy used to convince parents (notice, I am implying both), who willfully neglect to pay their child support.  To avoid incarceration, the parent (usually referred to as a “deadbeat”), pays the arrearage, and avoids jail.  A parent who willfully does not make their payments, then avoids jail by making the payment, does not usually create irreparable ramifications, especially for the children involved in the case.

But for a parent who is unable, and doing everything in their power to correct the support situation, having any other interests than that of the children involved is wrong.  In my post, I presented my reasons that I felt my ex-wife should consider the ramifications that will occur, not might, should she continue to press efforts to send me to jail for support arrearages that I am unable to pay at the current time, but am doing everything I can to correct the situation.

As expected, I received a comment to the post, signed as “Wendy’s Family”.  Rather than post the entire commentary, I will objectively post their questions, and give my answers to the best of my ability (they actually answered their own questions with assumptions which clearly is not constructive for the purposes of this blog).  I must admit, since it was written as “Wendy’s Family,” I do not know which family member it is, or if it is Wendy herself.

I will not dodge any question.  There are seven of them, and one comment.  Most of the questions have already been answered in court, and if there is anything that has not been discussed in court yet, I will defer.  But here we go…

1.  When I lived in Pennsylvania, why did I not pay child support?

This is unfortunately a complicated question.  Technically, I moved from PA at the end of May of 2014, and up until the official support hearing, I was not only never ordered to pay support, but living in the house I was not going to be required to pay any support.  But the fact is, I was helping to support the kids.  In the beginning of the divorce filing, I gave Wendy a certain amount of money, each week, which actually was double the amount that we spent on the entire family of four of us.  I did this each week, as long as my paycheck supported the amount, I gave that whole amount.  But due to other circumstances which I will address in a future question here, there were a few weeks that the full amount was not given.

And I made sure that I dedicated  this amount each week, because Wendy had lost her job, and therefore we lost half of our income.  But then I discovered that she had cashed in her 401k and was using that money for various purposes, none of which were going to household expenses in the beginning.  So I admit, once I found that out, I did stop giving that money.

One side note to this, on at least two occasions, Wendy made claims that I was not giving money for food the children and gas for her car.  Knowing that I did in fact give her the money, unfortunately as cash, there was no paper trail.  I got the idea that I would instead give her the money I was setting aside, in the form of store and gas “cards.”  This would force Wendy to use the money for which it was intended.  This was not received well by Wendy and her family, which resulted in an obscenity-laced threatening voice mail, which I still have on my cell phone.

But yes, in spite of not having been court ordered to pay child support, I did pay various amounts of money that I could afford.  In fact, an accusation was made by Wendy that I had not paid any support including since the support hearing, and I had relocated, which was not true and was recognized by the Department of Domestic Relations.  While not the full amount, for the first three months of the order, I was making at least some form of payment while I could afford it.

2. When you lived in Pennsylvania, you never paid the bills.

Again, this is partially true, but to no fault of my own, rather the result of losing one complete income of a two income family.  For the purposes of simplicity, with two incomes say… $4000/month from each parental unit… and expenses being $8000/month, it is simple math really that if you lose one income, you cannot meet the expenses created by both husband and wife.  And when one of those parents, say the non-working one, refuses to curb spending habits, it became impossible to keep up on the bills.

Instead, and as I testified in court, I chose to prioritize the bills to be paid.  I had to pay operational expenses to keep the utilities in the house first, medical bills, credit, and home (these are general categories just for clarity).  But clearly, losing one entire income would have a drastic impact on the ability to pay all of the bills.  Wendy and her family had a different solution, that I should get another job.  I was already working between 50-60 hours a week, plus running a successful DJ business until major heart surgery in 2008 forced me to slow down the amount of hours I could subject my body to.  But of course, nothing was ever said about Wendy getting a job or fighting for the job she lost.

But yes, I most certainly paid bills, just not the ones that Wendy and her family felt I should have.

3.  What happened to money from my former employer that I received?

Unlike Wendy, I submitted “discovery” paperwork, as ordered which disclosed all of that information, and was again re-stated at another hearing about two months ago.  In the meantime, I am still waiting for “discovery” paperwork from Wendy that was requested many, many, many months ago.  Although I testified to the use of my monies, until Wendy submits her “discovery” to the court, I will not discuss exact details.  But let’s just say, I already know how she spent her monies, and it was not necessarily on household expenses.

4.  Why did I move to another state?

I have answered this several times on this blog.  But since the authors of the comment are the main reason (note – not all of the reasons, just the main one), I will clear things up for something that is not so simple as just dealing with a 72 year-old mother-in-law.  Wendy’s sister and mother have repeatedly threatened and harassed me.  I have every voicemail, text, and email saved.  Their hostility towards me, and repeated interference in my personal life and against my character, made it impossible for me to even consider staying local.  This behavior hit a climax following a hearing in October when Wendy’s mother made threats that she “wasn’t done with me by any means” and was “mad enough to get a gun and shoot” me.  Given that Wendy’s family had followed through on other threats, I had no choice but to take this threat seriously (Wendy calls it “free speech” and that her mother was just mad), so yes, when I visited my children last month, it was with a police escort called a “civil standby”.  It should be noted that police officers do not like this particular situation, and having had a couple domestic murders in our area in recent years (one involving a retired school bus driver), the threats were taken seriously.

Oh, and in case my sister-in-law is not aware, I know you spit “lungers” (phlegm coughed up from the lungs) all over my car, and that you had contemplated on spreading your dog’s feces all over my car.

These are just some of the examples of why, with the hostility, combined with employment opportunities, I chose to move to another state, away from my children.  Yes, it had to be that bad for me to move away from my children.

5.  What about the house?  What about your apartment?

Yes, the house appears to be heading towards foreclosure.  But to be honest, I cannot confirm this.  I have conflicting information than what Wendy is sharing with me.  And now with her boyfriend moving into the house with her, I kind of doubt that the house will be heading into foreclosure.  But with our final part of the divorce to be discussed yet, I really cannot comment further.  Bottom line, this was a house that we should never have been given a mortgage for as it was beyond our reach financially without working overtime, and when we lost that overtime, and eventually Wendy’s salary, we should have sold the house, when I got the final mortgage modification arranged when we had the chance, and she refused.

As for my apartment, many are fooled by the appearance of my one-room apartment.  While its setting is indeed quite beautiful, it is actually more affordable than if I were to try and rent a place back in Pennsylvania.  Because my credit rating has been in the tank since the loss of Wendy’s income and our inability to make all of our bills, I had to seek out an apartment privately instead of through a real estate company.  And by dumb luck, I found my current residence, but I assure you, as I testified in court, the rent is very modest, given its location.

6.  Did you really think you could wait to look for a job until the 11th hour?

Hardly, as I testified in court, and to other county officers, I had indeed been looking for employment as soon as I made the decision to move to my current residence.  And since June, I have applied to over 150 different positions, unfortunately with rarely an interview, and if interviewed, the position ended up being offered to someone with more qualifications.  But even as of this post, I am continuing to try.

But my in-laws are not privy to the information provided to the courts as I have requested and stated my reasons being that there is proven slanderous incidents by at least one family member in my personal business, and my concerns that such activity would occur again.

7.  There are 3 sides to the story… Wendy’s, mine, and the truth.

I actually agree with this, which is why the court had made the decisions it has so far, because the court has decided what is the truth.  But as far as the girls are concerned, the harm being done to them, is hearing their maternal grandmother and aunt cursing about me and making derogatory comments about me.  Or when the children are being involved in the divorce process itself by someone trying to be “honest” with their form of honesty.  But I assure you, their hurt does not come from me.  If they know even the slightest of the things that either mother-in-law or sister-in-law have done to me, they would be devastated.

While they were with me over the summer, and during subsequent visits, I have never discussed anything about the divorce with them, as I choose to let the children be children.  This is in their best interest, not alienating them from one or the other parent.

8.  Who is responsible for possible incarceration?

The question should not be who is responsible, because pointing the blame totally dismisses the impact it will have on the girls.  And that was the reason for my post, “One Last Try.”  It is not about blame, but rather what is being done to correct the situation, and while the remedy has not occurred as quickly as some would like, including me, incarceration has a permanent affect, especially on the children.  As an adult child of divorce, I know what my children are going through right now, all too well.  And when the damage is done to them emotionally, there is no taking it back.  And it will not be me that they resent.

But I am trying to prevent this from happening because I do know, that I have been doing all I can to get employed, and know that with an incarceration record, that will seal my fate with getting any kind of employment to support the support award, which will mean that my children will lose income, as well as health insurance, and definitely face harassment from classmates, none of these things are in the best interests of my children and I definitely do not want to see that happen to them.  Which is why, the only other person who can even have the chance to prevent this, while I continue to remedy the situation on my end, is Wendy.  The court will listen to a mother who wants the best for her children, and her “best” is not an entitlement belief.  The court will hear her request, and clearly act in the best interest of the children if that is Wendy’s request.  But since it is Wendy that filed every call to DRO, it is her that filed the complaints and must withdraw them.  So with this being the only possible remedy at the moment, it is not me sending myself to jail, I am still trying.

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One Last Try


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Wendy, I know you and your family read this blog.  Since you and I can no longer talk to each other without you attacking me, when all I am trying to do is to get you to understand, that as our divorce process gets more contentious, your concern for what is best for our daughters is taking a back seat.

I have dealt with cancer.  I have had to deal with open heart surgery.  I have had to face many, many other difficult times in my life.  But your insistence on allowing me to be sent to jail for back support, when I have no income, and have been trying to secure a job in spite of my health restrictions is among one of the toughest situations I have faced.  But the key difference between my health ailments, and this particular enforcement, is that at least, once I was treated, I was cured.  I was going to be able to move on, and recover.  The situation for the most part, only had an impact on me.

But this legal issue, while difficult, has a much bigger impact on the two most important people in our lives, Madison and Emmalie, our daughters.  You claim to want what is best for the girls, what you are “entitled to,” the money the judge has ordered.  But as the saying goes, “you cannot get blood from a stone,” and I have repeatedly shown the court and Domestic Relations my extensive efforts to get employment, and they believe I am trying.  I am not ignoring the court order, I am simply unable to pay for it.

You say that I should even accept a minimum wage part time job, which if I only had my own expenses, that might make a little sense, but with such a large support over my head, working a part-time job at minimum wage would have two large negative impacts on any future full time work.  First, sacrificing the level of income I once made for something so minimal would raise a huge flag to any perspective employer wondering what is wrong with me as an employee.  But even more difficult, the hours taken away from me searching for full time work, while working part time hours, would mean lost opportunities.  I literally am looking for work all hours of the day.  And I have it all documented, and have submitted my efforts to the courts.

What I cannot get to you to recognize, is that by having me sent to jail, that will seal any chance of me being able to get a job to give you what you are “entitled” to by the judge.  And I do not deny that.  But if I cannot get a job, then there will be no income.  You are fond of telling people that I am threatening you with this statement, but it is not a threat, it is a fact that every job application asks for criminal record, misdemeanor or felony, and that will lead to an automatic rejection.  Is having me denied an opportunity, when it finally happens, to get a job, and not getting any income really in the best interest of the girls?

The health insurance that I have been paying, will stop.  Again, that is not a threat as you state, that is a fact.  If I cannot afford to pay it, then our daughters will lose their health insurance.  How can you consider this the best interests for our daughters?

When our daughters have to deal with classmates and friends who are teasing them, because their “mommy had their daddy put in jail,” which will happen, how will that be in the best interest of the girls?  It is hard enough with them being adopted, now having the two people in their lives now divorcing causing emotional strife for them, but last week, you took it upon yourself to tell the girls that I was going to jail, even before my enforcement deadline later this week.  Why would you do that if you had the best interests of the girls?  If by some miracle, and I do not believe one is coming, I had been able to pay that amount, “jail” would never have had to be mentioned.  This was the cruelest thing you could have said to the girls.

I know what you were trying to do.  If I saw the girls and how upset they were with the thought of me going to jail, you believe I would pull some rabbit out of the hat, and then you would get your money.  And yes, it broke my heart to see my daughter’s tears.  But I cannot decide if it was because of how you hurt our daughters with that act, or how when you finally realize that I have been right all along in my efforts, which will all be taken away from me with incarceration, resulting in more emotional harm to the girls.  But please believe me, there will be no 11th hour miracle of money coming… I do not have the money.  I do not have a job yet.  I have no savings.

At least be honest about why you are pursuing this direction.  Our daughters believe in me, and that I will find a job that can afford the award and arrears.  You are the only one interested in punishing me for something “we” failed.  And with this act, you will have accomplished it, but it will come at such a high price for the girls.

Though I know your family and some of your friends will disagree for certain, because they only know what you have told them, the best thing you can do for the girls, is to withdraw all of the complaints, ask the judge not to incarcerate me, and allow me more time to secure a job that will afford me the ability to pay that award.  You will get your money, but it will only happen if I am given the chance, and yes, you have given me a chance, but it is taking more time than I anticipated.  But it all ends with a criminal record.  And that will not be at my hands, when you have the power in your hands to request this.

I do not know how else to convince you of this.  I am asking you, please, do what is best for the children.  Withdraw those complaints and allow me to get the income I know that I will some day have.

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