Some of you may have heard (because I mention it frequently) that I'm a single mom. I have been one since Andrew was a wee lad of just three years. His dad has this unique view of parenting-one where he believes if the child is with you, you take care of him/her in every way...monetary, love, EVERYTHING. When the child is not with you, you are not responsible for any of these things. With that said, he believes that child support should be optional and certainly not something that the government should regulate. These are things that he's told me in the past and thus far his actions show that he still believes in all this. I'll end with stating the obvious: he is not a great dad. He isn't even trying to be good...I could go on for hours and days and weeks about how heartbreaking this is but I will let you just imagine.
The issue on my mind lately is child support.
I went a couple of years with no predictable monthly child support. At the time, it would take the state about three months to process the payroll deduction to be able to automatically deduct it from his dad's paycheck. I am pretty sure that what was happening was this: My ex would quit his job (working at his friends business). The state would stop the payroll deduction. My ex would then start working again (same place). A few months later, I would get a small amount of child support-yay. And then soon after, it would stop-boo.
This was just for a handful of years. Three maybe. It was just an unfortunate coincidence that it was three years when I was putting myself through college (working two jobs). Whatever. He did sleep in his van a number of nights, so it wasn't like he was living large either....but still....
ANYWAY, a few years ago, I took the step to get my meager child support amount increased for the first time ever. After 15 years of barely any money, I was awarded a 60% increase. Yay. And let me point out that even with this increase, it still barely covered food for a teenager, clothing and school expenses each month, much less have any impact on helping with housing costs - teen boys take long hot showers and leave at least two lights on every morning. And don't get me started on the amount of dirty clothes...
And now here we are, with just four months until Andrew graduates. And with graduation, comes the end of child support. Which is probably a time of great celebration in my ex's life, but is a pain spot in mine. Because for me - nothing changes when Andrew graduates. I will still have the same bills for him. Do our courts really expect that my son will start paying his own share of housing costs immediately at graduation? Is he really expected to buy his own food? All his own clothes? And I'll be helping with costs during college, so it's not like all my expenses end when he leaves for school in August...
A little added info for y'all: Andrew has been working for three years. He bought his own car. He pays for his own gas. He pays for his own insurance six months out of the year. He sometimes buys his own food. He will pay for half his shoes twice a year. Oh, and in addition to working a regular job, he tutors two students in guitar lesson.
Point being: one could never say that Andrew is mooching off me. Nor will he ever be. He's wonderful.
Yet, his other parent is not morally bound to help his own offspring be happy and succeed in life beyond the state obligation of age 18 and/or graduated from high school.
**And for what it's worth - I would have given up child support the last 7 years if my ex-husband made the effort to be a father to his child.
Though I feel like the amount I got for child support was not nearly enough to offer much beyond basic support...it will be a hard transition to have to go without.
Have any of you gone through this, or know someone who has, and have anything enlightening to share?
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