Saturday, May 17, 2008

Money In The Ba-Ya- Yank....Or Not

Another milestone for my little family. Melissa has been working for a couple of months now. One of the issues we have faced is cashing her check. The local grocery store will cash it, but every time she goes in there, the computer messes up. This leaves me to cash it for her on my lunch hour. The nearest branch is a few miles away from my work and it's just a big hassle.

The last time I went in to cash her check, I asked about student accounts. I didn't know a 16 year old could have a checking account. I knew she could have a savings account. I brought home the brochure, and her and I looked at it together. She can get a checking account for a deposit of 25 dollars. No minimum balance, a free check card, her first box of checks free, and free internet bill pay. Lastly, I won't have to traipse off to the bank for her EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK.

We talked about it, and this morning we got up early and went to the bank and opened her first checking account. I am so excited for her. I am excited that I get to teach her how to balance her checkbook, how to write a check, how to fill out a deposit slip. Hopefully, I will also be able to teach her some money management skills. As I apparently lack in that area. Don't get me wrong, I'm not running around charging up my credit cards, or spending bill money on frivolous items, or really living above my means. That's not what I mean.

Yesterday for example, after work I went shopping trying to find my sister something for her birthday tomorrow. I spent over an hour in the store. I didn't see anything that I was confident that she would really like. However, I found several things for myself. I didn't go in the store to buy something for myself. I went in the store to buy something for HER. As it is HER birthday, not mine.

Saving money somehow eludes me. Part of the dilemma is that I am raising two children on my own, with no child support. One of the fathers is disabled, and to my knowledge, doesn't work. The other one would rather saw off one of his arms than pay me any child support. I sued for child support several years ago. After almost A FLIPPIN YEAR, I finally got a court order. That's how long it took. Almost a year just to get the order in place. He paid for a few months, then lost his job. I have not received a dime since. That was about three years ago.

I am proud to say that I don't HAVE to have the money. However, I am aware of the burden it would relieve if I could even just get a little help. I have learned through the years that anger and bitterness only make ME feel bad. Recently, I have begun thinking about this child support thing again. I just don't understand how you can father a child, and not care about their financial well being. I don't know what makes other men not want to pay, but I THINK I know a couple of the reasons the father I am referring to doesn't want to pay.

1. He doesn't want to do anything to put ME in a better financial position.
2. Maybe he thinks I will spend the money on drugs or partying, or maybe I will use it to support a sugar daddy.(Because I have SO MUCH time to devote to a man) Or get my nails done. Or buy clothes for myself. Or take myself out to dinner. Or some other hideous activity.
3. Last but certainly not least, he is the most selfish human being I have ever met in my life. (I know, I can't believe I was married to him)

One of the excuses I recently heard about why he has no money to give me, is that he had a really large vet bill he had to pay. I am so relieved to know that his dog is taken care of. Let me tell you, it takes a load off my mind to know that he takes really good care OF HIS DOG. So basically what we have here is a man whose dog is more important than his daughter. Do you see why it's so hard NOT to be bitter and angry?

Oh, I forgot the best part. The state where the child support ordered was issued, CLOSED MY CASE. I had no say-so over it what-so-ever. They mailed me a letter and said that my case would be dropped because it was considered not "enforceable". Now keep in mind that it took me almost A FULL YEAR to get the order in the first place.

Now, I can try to open a new case here in Tennessee. He lives in another state. The question is whether or not the state of Tennessee would try to enforce the order. Will they be able to issue any court dates if he doesn't pay? The other problem is that he works for his family. Maybe even under the table, I'm not sure. If that's the case, it will make it that much harder for me to collect any money. Not only that, but he is the type of person that wouldn't think twice about quitting his job to get out of paying.

I have to decide whether or not it's worth the time and effort to fight this. I always want to fight for my children. Yet at the same time, I really don't care to spin my wheels in a fruitless attempt to make someone do what they should do ON THEIR OWN anyway. A father should not be forced to support his child. He should do it willingly. With a smile even.

Obviously, I made some bad choices in the past regarding my selection of men to date and marry. Hopefully, I learned the hard way, and history will not repeat itself. I would rather bang my head on a brick wall AND pour lemon juice into my own eyes EVERY DAY, rather than go through anything like this again.


HW said...

I'm excited for your daughter and her first checking account.
We gave our son a debit card when he started driving - accessible to ONE account that has A VERY SMALL balance. And since we can bank online, we check in on him all the time. So far, no misuse of the debit card. I think it's great to give kids financial responsibility as young as possible. I was not taught about money and I certainly hope to do better with my kids.

As for the deadbeat dad...I hate deadbeat dads.
I was just noticing how HUGE my sons arms and shoulders are getting from his football training, and he's one of the smallest of his gang. I could send them on a hunt for Mr. Deadbeat Dad and they could um...make him see things a little more clearly. They could also practice their wrestling moves on him. This would all be free of charge of course 'cause they'd be doing it for fun.

Or you could go on Dr. Phil. Dr. Phil would give him a good ole' verbal beat down.

I understand what you mean about deciding whether it's worth your energy. You have a great attitude.

Susiewearsthepants said...

mmmm....A free butt whipping. I don't think I can rightly turn down an offer like that. How far away are you from Michigan?

Mental P Mama said...

Hi Susie--Thanks for visiting. I feel for you ... the deadbeat dad id a real epidemic in out world, and it is heartbreaking. They think they are punishing their former partner, and the real victim is the child. I hope the laws are easier for you there. By the way, I grew up in Tennessee (Franklin). Where are you?

Susiewearsthepants said...

Mental P mama-Not far away! Murfreesboro.

Trudie said...

Thanks for visiting my blog.
I went through the no-support-payment from the Dad for over 10 years when my son was growing up. Things weren't rosy at times, but a bonus was that he had no say in the upbringing of my son!

Susiewearsthepants said...

Trudie-I'm with you on that. Said father has expressed interest in having my daughter visit him out of state this summer. I told him that when he starts acting like a responsible parent, i.e. paying child support and maintaining contact on a regular basis that I would consider a visit. I am sure neither one of these things will happen.

Astarte said...

My dad disappeared when I was three, and never sent a check or even a letter to me until I was eighteen years old. I guess by that time he thought he wouldn't get in trouble for the money or something? Anyway, my mother went after him then, and told him that unless he sent her at least half of what he owed her, she would drag him into court (he lived in another state the entire time I was growing up) and get it that way. He paid. So, yes, it's enforcible across state lines, and yes, you should go after him. If he honestly has concerns about how you would spend the money, there are ways around that, like a trust fund for her that will be accessible by only her, and only when she's 18. He could contribute to a 529 college program in her name. Hell, some states are even beginning to garnish wages over this stuff! But, you need to do what you can to get that money, because even if you don't need it now, she would benefit from it in the future. Also, from experience, I know that it would be better for her emotionally to know that her father contributed to her future if at all possible.

It sure sounds like you're doing a wonderful job with the girls, and congrats on that checking account!!! What a big moment for her, and you, too!

Susiewearsthepants said...

Thanks to everyone for sharing your stories. It really helps to know that I am not the only one going through something like this.

Karen Deborah said...

This is a can of worms. In Mississippi they put flake Dad's on billboards. In california they do garnish wages and take tax returns. It really send s the kids a bad message they are the ones who get hurt. I didn't get any support from my daughter's Dad. An occasional little pittance. He tried to come in an be the big Daddy Kahuna when she was grown and she saw him a couple of times and then told him to forget it. He tried to trip her out about HIS feelings. Big turkey. Personally I think these guys should be castrated. Why shouldn't they skip out if there are no consequences?
I can't believe they closed your case, are they nuts?
We helped Piglet get a checking account too. she just lost some money due to overdrafts. She didn't realize they charge for that. whew what a mess. i thought we had set it up for her savings to be connected and they wanted $5 for every transaction. We closed that account. That bank was getting greedy. Hard lesson to learn but she knows now.
Shopping and not getting anyhting extra? is there anyone out there that disciplined? It ain't me.

Susiewearsthepants said...

Karen-You are right, there are no consequences. Even with my child support order, when he stopped paying, they told me there was nothing they could do.

Farrell said...

Your story reminds me that I am lucky that my ex pays his bills on time. My mom never got a dime from my father either.

Teaching your child about money - it's never too early, and that is a good thing. My parents didn't do so hot, really...