Mar 19, 2014 - My Story    No Comments

Another Way to Execute Child Support

I have been thinking about this idea. It isn’t completely flushed out as of yet. It stems from trying to find the middle ground on child support. Getting rid of the heavy handed approach that indentures one parent to the other through the children, but still allows for legally demanded funding for the children’s well being. I am not throwing away the core principle that I don’t believe that there is a way to administer child support that doesn’t limit the freedom of one of the parents involved.

So first lets get this out of the way. Women who aren’t married and having children should not be entitled to any support of any kind. I don’t say this with malice, just as a point in fact that they know what the behavior is to get pregnant, and they are the party with the most to lose financially by that decision. If they don’t know, I don’t care, the law should presume that someone old enough to have sex is also old enough to be informed. Our schools already do a pretty good job of making sure kids know this at a young age, whether you agree with that part of education or not, it is reasonable to assume that there is a basic core knowledge imparted to kids of a capable age that they are informed. The woman by having the child has assumed responsibility for the child. The man would have automatic shared legal custody, and shared parenting time available to him. He would have the choice to exercise this right, but there should be some way for her to be legally indemnify herself if he chooses not to, so she can make decisions as the sole legal guardian. The parent caring for the child is responsible for the normal costs while caring for the child. Now I don’t let the man off the hook, because I think he bears no responsibility, but because he has no power up until the time he is allowed to participate in the child’s life. I also don’t accept that most men would just walk out on their kids. Most men are going to make sure their kids are taken care of without the threat of jack booted thugs and prison. Mom would be responsible for education and medical expenses, but I assure you that most men of character will be taking up a good part of the slack, if for no other reason that with the money goes the power. They want a say in their kids life, and not paying for things takes away that say. This is a concept lost in most discussions on child support. Child support as it functions today takes away the father’s say in most things, because he pays mom to make those decisions. This part of the idea is that women will need to be responsible for their actions. Right now they are not. Its a fact that women are the gatekeepers of sex, so they have the final choice of whether sex is going to happen. I wager under these terms, there are far fewer unwed births, and women will be more concerned with the character of the man with his penis in her, than his abs and penis length or even his checking ballence. I don’t want to hear anything about rape. Rape is a violent crime, and it should be treated as such, and it is such a small percentage of these cases that writing law to account for rape as if its the norm treats every man as a rapist. That’s un-American.

The next part of this is for married couples going through divorce. Now we will presume that they have through the contract of marriage agreed to raise the children together. One parent will get designated the responsible parent for what is often referred to as direct expenses. That parent by default should be the higher wage earner, because they are best equipped to pay the expenses if for some reason the other parent isn’t keeping up with the judgement against them. The lesser wage earner will then through the marital settlement provide for their portion of direct expenses. It could be through an unequal division of assets or a judgement against them based simply on the current costs of school and medical check ups for the remaining years the kids haven’t reached the age of majority. The assumption being that its up to the parent paying to set aside the money and let it grow with interest to cover inflation, and that in a judgement there would be interest penalties for the amount of time it takes to pay off the judgement to cover those costs. An agreement to split additional medical costs for the kids will be included in the divorce settlement. Presumed shared residency, unless the parties agree differently. Time doesn’t change the financial arrangements in this. If there is a judgement, and the lesser wage earner is unable or unwilling to pay, then seeking civil court remedies for payment would be the course. It would provide a significant incentive to have the issue fully settled during the divorce, and not have the judgement. What the parents earn doesn’t matter. Just where they live to determine the expenses for the kids.

This all of course means that Title IV provisions for child support would have to be thrown out. If you didn’t have a previous contract a.k.a. marriage contract to raise a family together, then you have no legal recourse for any support of the kids. This has two side effects; less promiscuity and out of wedlock births; no more enslaving a man for a bad choice for 18 years or more. It encourages women to seek a secure relationship before having sex with a man, and it encourages the ones who don’t to form a good parenting relationship with the father of their child. He now has a choice to be involved or not. A woman who isn’t holding him hostage through the courts is much more likely to have an agreeable co-parent. The second part just means that when the divorce is over, its over. Its all decided. There is no going back to get more from the cookie jar. The parent most able to pay has been put in the position to pay. They are jointly responsible for raising the kids, and for middle class and better families it will be mean there is no more money changing hands. The poorer will have to deal with the judgement, but it will work much like a credit debt. Which yes, means that it will be bankrupt-able. I might propose that bankruptcy laws put child support judgement at the top of the list for repayment through bankruptcy, but nothing further than that. It would pretty much eliminate the woman who has children with multiple men and then lives off child support. These women are almost always the lower earner in the couple(regardless of the income bracket), and thus will need to maintain a job to pay the judgement. Now if the parent responsible for paying expenses is not doing so, then a civil case should be opened, and the remaining judgement should be reversed and put on the higher earning parent, and the lower earning parent would now have the responsibility to pay for the so called direct expenses.

As for the time the parents have with the kids, well this should be presumed as being equal and up to the parents to figure out. The court should not maintain an open case to deal with this. If there is a problem that the parents can’t manage, it should be a new case each time, and the court should be very careful about limiting time. There would be no need to file anything with the court regarding the time parents have, because there is no money issues to go along with it. The court should only manage cases where the parents cannot.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

Mar 7, 2014 - Commentary    No Comments

Child Support Changes Everything

I get tired of the trite argument that a man needs to support his kids. First of all, why is it suddenly the governments business how I choose to support my kids. Why is it as a man married to the mother of my children, I have freedom, but if I am not married to her, I do not. This sets the stage for what no man wants to admit. We are disposable. We don’t matter. Society does not value us. Our freedom is either determined by either having no children or the type of connection we have with the mother of our children. Once there are children involved, then their mother has almost all the say in the amount of freedom we have. She can often decide the nature of the relationship you will have with your children. She can decide if you are her wage slave through the children. If you were never married to her, you have even less power in how these things are decided. I cannot explain how heavy the burden is of paying child support. If you have never had to pay child support, then you will not understand. I hope that you never do. Many men just accept it, and move on. It is the way things are. I for some reason cannot do that. I am not built that way, I guess. I cannot get over the fact that my value in my kids life is boiled down to some fraction of my salary. This is what matters most. Worst of all, none of this gets checked by higher courts. Divorce court isn’t truly a court of law, though they have been given legal authority to rule on many aspects of our life. It is also sad that so much of this revolves around the amount of time you spend with your kids. The kids standard of living becomes the business of the court in the USA. A lot of evil has come from this idea.

Lets examine CS a little bit. I will use my case for sample numbers, but I will be running some different scenarios as I use these numbers. Mom earns $57,000 and Dad earn $90,000 for this example. We have four kids where one between 6 and 11 and three between 12 and 18. We will assume that for tax estimates purposes that The dad’s tax rate is around 30% and the Mom’s is around 25%.

MOM HAS FULL RESIDENTIAL CUSTODY:

Dad Dad Totals Mom Mom Totals
Salary $7,500.00 $7,500.00 $4,750.00 $4,750.00
Estimated Taxes -$2,250.00 $5,250.00 -$1,187.50 $3,562.50
Child Support -$2,404.00 $2,846.00 $2,404.00 $5,966.50

Mom is responsible for 100% of direct expenses which currently seem to be school related expenses only.
Dad is responsible for 60% of health related costs and mom is responsible for 40%
Mom is responsible for clothing

This scenario is where most men currently land. They may have equal time, but the term given to it is liberal visitation.  Mom has roughly $72K/year to spend as she pleases. This is the equivalent of someone who earns $93K/year. Dad on the other hand has roughly $34K/year to spend as he pleases. This is the equivalent of someone who earns $43K/year.  Some people might think, not bad for a single guy. There is only one problem. He is still more responsible for medical costs than mom is.  There is also very little he can do to enforce that mom provide enough clothing for the kids when they are at his house, and he has to maintain a house that is large enough for all these kids or he won’t be allowed near equal time. Here is the other problem. She has 100% of the decision making power, because she has all the money to spend for the kids. Forget all the mess about shared legal custody. Its the person who pays the bills who gets the say in this world.  Dad has been relegated to baby sitter in his kids lives, or at least legally that is what he is.  The rest is up to mom.  It is rare, but yes the reverse could happen the following table shows the numbers if dad has full residential custody.  Mom ends of with the spending power of someone who earns around $30K/year, and dad ends up with the spending power of someone who earns around $106K/year. Its no where near the imbalance that you see when money goes from the lesser earner to the greater earner, but I would argue that is equally as unfair. The Dad then become responsible for clothes and direct expenses and the split on health care stays the same.

Dad Dad Totals Mom Mom Totals
Salary $7,500.00 $7,500.00 $4,750.00 $4,750.00
Estimated Taxes -$2,250.00 $5,250.00 -$1,187.50 $3,562.50
Child Support $1,524.00 $6,774.00 -$1,524.00 $2,038.50

MOM AND DAD HAVE SHARED RESIDENTIAL CUSTODY:

Dad Dad Totals Mom Mom Totals
Salary $7,500.00 $7,500.00 $4,750.00 $4,750.00
Estimated Taxes -$2,250.00 $5,250.00 -$1,187.50 $3,562.50
Child Support -$1,147.00 $4,103.00 $1,147.00 $4,709.50

Mom is responsible for 100% of direct expenses which currently seem to be school related expenses only.
Dad is responsible for 60% of health related costs and mom is responsible for 40%
Mom is responsible for clothing

This scenario is better.  Mom has the spending power of someone earning $71K/year and dad has the spending power of someone earning  $62K/year. Typically the man is held to account for extra-curricular activities here. Usually split or at the same percentage as health care. This is something that in the above scenario is usually true, but its not enforced. I have found that it is marginally cheaper for the dad, because there are more expenses, and now he must have a home large enough for everyone.  What we have is a major income shift for a minimal amount of expenses.  It doesn’t look like much, but spread it across the year and you have over $7K/year difference. The expenses related directly to public schooling are not that expensive. They are probably half of that or just a little more if you are paying for school lunches, which depending on your agreement and judge may or may not be considered a direct expense. It certainly is possible for mom to decide that lunches will be packed, and transfer the expense of providing lunches to the dad on dad’s days with the kids regardless of how it is interpreted by the judge.  There is a better balance in this scenario. She can still choose not to provide enough clothing, and you are left with little recourse, but to purchase clothing on your own.  What is most bothersome is that she is never actually responsible for children’s expenses.  Dad pays mom to then pay her portion, and then dad pays his portion. The expenses of the children are 100% covered by the father, and the father supplements the lifestyle of the mother’s household while also supporting his own. Shared residency in my state requires that the higher earner pay child support unless the court rules otherwise. The court almost never does, but if it did, she would $0 in child support to the father.

MOM AND DAD HAVE SHARED RESIDENTIAL CUSTODY AND EACH PARENT BUYS CLOTHING:

Dad Dad Totals Mom Mom Totals
Salary $7,500.00 $7,500.00 $4,750.00 $4,750.00
Estimated Taxes -$2,250.00 $5,250.00 -$1,187.50 $3,562.50
Child Support -$1,068.00 $4,182.00 $1,068.00 $4,630.50

Mom is responsible for 100% of direct expenses which currently seem to be school related expenses only.
Dad is responsible for 60% of health related costs and mom is responsible for 40%

It gets better. This is about the same as above with the exception you now have to buy clothing for the kids as the father.  For 4 kids this is $79/month.  This is not a lot, but realistically it would meet the basic needs for having the kids half the time. Again if you flip who pays direct expenses then Dad gets $0 in child support.  Mom has the spending power of someone who earns around $70K/year and dad has the spending power of someone who earns about $63K/year.

MOM AND DAD HAVE SHARED RESIDENTIAL CUSTODY AND EACH PARENT BUYS CLOTHING AND THEY SHARE DIRECT EXPENSES:

Dad Dad Totals Mom Mom Totals
Salary $7,500.00 $7,500.00 $4,750.00 $4,750.00
Estimated Taxes -$2,250.00 $5,250.00 -$1,187.50 $3,562.50
Child Support -$440.00 $4,810.00 $440.00 $4,002.50

Dad is responsible for 60% of health related costs and mom is responsible for 40%
Dad is responsible for 60% of direct expenses and mom is responsible for 40%

This one is the most telling. Basically it says that dad, because he makes more money is responsible for paying mom $440/month or just over $5K/year to improve her lifestyle.  In our life this is about the same as the kids typical expenses would be with extra-curricular activities. Mom has the spending power of someone who earns $60K/year and dad has the spending power of someone who earns $72K/year.  What stands out to me, is she is never required to spend any of her own earned money on the children. She gets the money from dad to spend on the kids, and then dad also has to pay.

Why Does it Matter

There are plenty of reasons that CS is evil.  There is the aspect that it indentures the father to the mother until the children are grown.  Understand this isn’t an overstatement. This was its intent. CS started in an era where women were responsible for raising the kids with the man’s resources. A woman who was divorced was not going to be able to raise the kids. If a man abandoned his family, then the state was saying he was going to be held to account for them. This was also an era where if the man divorced the woman, and chose to keep the kids, he would be allowed to, and she would have to find her own way.  None of this fits the modern era. Men are active parents. I would argue that they always were to some degree. It was only in the early years that men didn’t take an active role in the child rearing. Men and women may have had very different roles in raising children, but men were active. If they weren’t then there would be far fewer fond memories written about and shared about fathers.  CS ultimately delivers the power to the recipient. They are given the power of the other person’s pocketbook, and its enforced by the power of the state.  This is evil. For the government to decide, in a free society, that one person matters more than another is evil.   CD tells one parent that your kids are going to cost you  a specific amount of money based on what you earn, and the other parent is going to determine how to spend that. The other parent has no accountability as to how much they actually spend on the children, and a frugal woman can keep most of the money for her own use. The argument that all the money benefits the child may be true, but it is equally true that if the father kept  the money in a shared residency circumstance. Its just that the mother doesn’t benefit.  It is also evil that the party that chooses to terminate the relationship stands to benefit from the other party in the termination.

I want to play with the numbers some more. I want to see what point does her raising her income become a benefit. Just a cursory glance shows that she would need a significant jump in income to make up for the lost child support with an increase.  Since increasing her income would mean working more hours and having more responsibility, there is significant friction to her taking any action to better her life on her own. Only a woman who is long sighted enough to realize that the money falls off quickly, and they will have to live off what they earn when the kids are grown will see the benefit of earning enough to eliminate most of the child support that is paid to them. Look for a future number crunching post to show how that might play out.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

Feb 25, 2014 - Family, My Story    No Comments

Settling

Last week we had a settlement conference. Her attorney is about as done with this as I am. Before the lawyers were involved, I had made an offer to her for us to start working out the details, and then we could have had a lawyer draw it up for us to sign. This is when she ran out and hired a lawyer. It has cost me close to $10K, and I suspect that it is costing her close to the same amount. I have described the process of our separation almost three years ago. Yes, this has been going on that long. We each moved out of the marital home, and we each filled up our respective places with stuff from the marital home. We spent a day at the home and moved most of the remaining things into a neighbors house, so the bank wouldn’t auction it off wit the house. There wasn’t really any fighting. There were some things that she was not happy about, and she let me know. I didn’t offer much to her in response, but I felt the same. I figured that this was normal.

I offered her all the things in her possession, and all the things that were stored at the neighbors house, and I would get what was in my possession. I then offered her half the current value of half the shares of my retirement account less half the debt I paid off using the retirement account. We each had cars when it was all said and done as well. Pretty simple. No arguments. She was free to ask for anything specific that she was worried about. There were a couple of family items in her possession that I was worried about and making provisions for in my settlements as well. I was asking for a shared parenting plan with a shared expenses budget as well. I was willing to pay all the kids expenses. She would only be liable for maintaining her home. I had no problem with this, and was able to budget my way through it.

After a whole lot of expensive nothing, I am getting ripped off through child support in addition to kids expenses. She will get the same property settlement that I offered. The lawyers agreed that there was no way to divide property further at this point. Too much time had passed. She asked for one item, and it was already in her possessions by the agreement. She gets half the value of the retirement at the time we separated less the debt paid. This is half the amount I was going to give her in real dollars. She is insisting on a GAL, but I expect nothing to change in our parenting time. So we have very little change from what I would have offered. She gets less money in the end, and I would have agreed to the child support after negotiations because I would not have won that point in court. The court still defaults to CS whenever possible, because there are incentives for doing so.

I am finally a few weeks from having my divorce, and a few months from the battle over the kids coming to an end. I expect things to be better than most men get, because I was willing to be a little stubborn and I was patient. It wears on me. The time has taken its toll. I look older than I would otherwise, and my family is not the better for it. Pretty soon, I can pick up the pieces and help them move forward without the constant watchful eye of the courts in my life. At least until she decides to take me back, because so long as the kids aren’t the age of majority, the case is never truly closed. Its a small victory of sorts.Mostly I didn’t get my ass kicked.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

Feb 25, 2014 - Commentary, Family, My Story    No Comments

Being Non-Custodial

What does it mean to be non-custodial? It can mean a lot of things. The term is used to apply to anyone who pays child support. Lets look at my situation. Its a modern example of how the system is dysfunctional, and that the system isn’t at all about taking care of the children involved, but it is about taking care of the women. There has been a big shift in my state in the last few years. The legislature has recognized that the modern family has two involved parents and they are encouraging judgments that are in favor of shared parenting. This is a 50/50 timeshare of the kids or some approximating this. To get this, the parents need to be intentional when the process starts, because a judge isn’t going to change things much once a pattern has been established. If the mother is trying to hoard the kids time, then the father needs to take action right away to change things, or he will be stuck with what has been established. To go along with this new understanding of family, they have changed the child support calculators to include provisions for shared parenting. I give them credit for this move, but it is not nearly enough, but it does clearly demonstrate the overall problem with the child support calculators in most states. The truth is child support is too high in every case that I have seen. I know that is a small sampling, but I have played with the numbers from more than a few states to see how things could have been different, and they are high everywhere I have checked things out.

How does my state modify things for a parent in shared parenting? Sorry, I am not going to reveal which state I am in, but just understand that other states are doing similar things, and that the concepts are not unique. The new calculators for shared parenting kick in when you have near equal time share with the kids. It does not make it clear what is near enough, so the judge gets to decide. For some courts this is good, and others it is bad for the fathers seeking this arrangement. Its not really different than the old arrangement with liberal visitation. Its been common for a long time that men with liberal visitation has had near equal time with the kids, but the mother has had significant control over whether that is allowed or not. Now basically they apply a 20% discount for the non-custodial parent, and the custodial parent is responsible for direct expenses. No where is direct expenses explained. If the parents agree to each supply clothing, then there is another discount of about 4% applied to the child support. Direct expenses do not include medical, dental, or other health care costs. They do not include extra-curricular activities outside of school, and maybe inside of school. These are listed strangely under special needs expenses which are also not considered direct expenses. Medical expenses are expected to be divided based at the same proportion as the gross income of the parents differ. The non-custodial parent is defined in my states law as the parent who earns more money. That is it. Nothing else is used to determine this.

The end result is I get to pay for things twice. Pretty much everything. My child support didn’t go down, because under the old arrangement men would pay child support, and usually the court wouldn’t require any other payment from him unless there was an extraordinary expense involved. I pay $1000/month in child support for kids. I then pay 64% of health related costs and 50% of sports and extra-curricular costs. She pays the school expenses and the other portions of these costs. Before I was responsible for child support, I paid for all the kids expenses at 100%. Sometimes these reached the $1000 mark, but usually not. Typical expenses in a month are close though. So I pay her $1000 and then pay my proportions, which are about another $500-$600. If you do the rest of the math, this leaves her with about $500-$600 in her pocket even after paying for lunches for the kids, which she could decide to only do for the days they are with her. After paying taxes, child support, retirement loan for marital debt, and health insurance is I have about $3500 dollars a month to pay for my rent utilities and these kids expenses. To put in perspective to her income, she takes home about the same amount from her pay checks, and then gets another $2400 tax free between CS and other government checks.

As I have laid out above, there is an extreme imbalance in the reality of CS and the actual costs of raising the children. I might be able to accept this. We have certainly made some strides in the right direction for men protecting their rights with their children, but there is just one huge problem with this experience. I am under constant threat of court order to pay this amount. It doesn’t matter what my job situation is. I have lost my freedom to decide on these things. The activities that my kids are involved in are somewhat locked into place. I can’t decide that I can no longer afford them. I have can be sent to jail for having a budget change. I can lose my drivers license or have money removed directly from my checking and savings accounts. I am in fact indentured to my ex-wife through my children. I am her servant. I am required to work to ensure she is paid. I have less freedom than I had when married to her for the next decade, and she has greater freedom. She can continue to choose to work at a job that for all practical purposes is a part time job. There is no pressure on her to improve her financial condition. If I choose to improve mine, then I am then obligated to improve hes. This is a major disincentive to move up in my career. The only thing that is a driver to do better in my career right now, is that I need to make some moves or I will be the guy who gets overlooked forever.

As a father, I live with the constant threat of the court over my head. I live with the fear that she may win the battle for more time, and take even more of my paycheck. The slippery slope that will lead to me not being able to maintain a home large enough for them to visit me, and thus give her more ammunition to further reduce my time, and further tap my paycheck. I have to continue the fight for my kids. A fight that no father should have to fight. I have to pretend with my kids that everything is okay. That me and their mom don’t have problems. I can’t tell them how she has treated me, because that would be alienation of affection. I can’t do a lot of things. When people look at divorce and wonder why men are bitter, they need to understand that men are effectively slaves to their ex-wives for the time their children are growing up. This is why men are bitter. Ask a black man what the legacy of slavery has done to his life, and then understand that in the modern world, all men are subject to slavery through their children to the mothers of their children. This is why men are so bitter. This is why men can’t get over their divorce. It isn’t because women are emotionally stronger and more capable of dealing with the loss of divorce. Its because for the men it is never ending until their children are 18 years old.

Being non-custodial means being a second class citizen. Your children and their mother are superior to you under the law. People can argue this case otherwise, but the fact is proven in the number of men that are subject to this system. I will recommend to my sons that they don’t have children. That they don’t subject themselves to this burden of slavery that we call fatherhood. I love my children very much, and I would not like to imagine a life without them, but I would be free to make my own decisions if I had never had them. I would not turn back time, but I would protect those I love from this fate. I hope to change things before that time comes for them, but if things do not change, then I will recommend they choose freedom from slavery over this. I am not as good of a father as I might be without this burden.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

Jan 15, 2014 - Taking Action    No Comments

Charitable Organization for Men

I am contemplating what it would take to set up a foundation or organization that’s purpose is to help men recover from the economic desolation from divorce. I am not sure how to go about it yet, but I am doing my research. My hope would be to be reimburse legal expenses and other expenses related to protecting their rights in court. Paying off debt and tax bills that accumulate because of divorce. I would also like to start to put together an army of lawyers that will take on these cases and understand the sensitivity of the cases. There are men’s divorce law firms, and some of them actually get what’s going on. Others just pay lip service to men’s issues to increase client contacts. My own case is inspiration for this, and I am still going through it. I know that I will be broke for a long time, because of my divorce. There isn’t much I can do about it, but I do want to help change things for other men. The long term goal would be to change the laws in the USA to favor a system of divorce that doesn’t include court room combat, or the threat thereof, but establishes fair baselines for couples to agree to and firm defaults when the couple cannot agree on things. The system is out of control, and encourages fighting that just isn’t necessary. Most of us have had bad breakups before we were married, and somehow we managed to figure things out mostly on our own. The needs of a divorcing couple aren’t that much higher, except in system where winner can take all.

I am going to continue to blog on my life, but I am going to start talking through how to start this thing. I hope that I can get some sound advice from others about not only how to start this thing, but also in setting the direction as I move forward. It may take me years to get this off the ground, but I feel like it is important, and needed by too many men. Its time to start making some changes. Time to stop complaining, and start taking action. The status quot sucks. This is for men. This is for the children. And this is for our society. Everyone suffers when there is an underclass in society. It was true with slavery, indentured servitude, and its true in the modern cultural shift of indenturing men by proxy through their children.

I am hopeful that there are actually men out there that care, and will start to support this cause and get it off the ground. I am especially hopeful that there are some lawyers out there that see past the profits and care about what is right and wrong. I know there are lawyers that went into law to help find justice. This is a call to these men and women. Right now, I am planning. When my own mess is somewhat behind me, I will be wanting to take action, and I hope that there are some lawyers who are willing to help create the legal entity that will be required to do this work.

Comments and opinions please.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

Dec 26, 2013 - Family, My Story    No Comments

The Good Son

As this blog has covered in varying amounts of detail, my oldest son has been trouble waiting to happen. I can honestly say that I had always thought that one day he would be in serious trouble, but I had hoped that it would happen in a few years when he was an adult. I have struggled to parent him for many years. I have wavered from sympathy for him and his relationship problems with his mother and absolute frustration with his seeming inability to follow the simplest rules. I have been terrified of what call would come at a time when I wasn’t able to protect him from his own actions. Not in the sense of covering them up, but that I wouldn’t be there to stop him. I never imagined that this would be what it was though. My fears revolved around him getting in trouble because of his anger or stealing something. I never imagined that he would do these things.

I should offer a little background. For a few months we had a family live with us, who’s father moved out and abandoned them. The mom and her 3 kids lived in my walkout basement for most of the fall semester of school. She moved out during winter break before Christmas. This was when my oldest was in first grade. When they moved out, I set up the basement for our use again. I forgot to turn on the parental controls on the cable box, and my oldest managed to start watching a porn movie with the other kids. He then began acting out what he saw on one of my daughters. We found out what was going on because my other son told us. We did everything we knew to do, and had the support of many professionals who were telling us that this was likely normal curiosity fueled by the imagery of the porn they saw. He remained in counseling from then on for one thing or other relating to his behavior. We moved a about a year later into a much larger house in a small town. My son has admitted to doing things to his brother while we lived there. I was still on alert for things, and I never knew it happened until he admitted it during a police interview.

This blog has many instances of the problems that he has had with my ex. The extreme behaviors of both of them, and the pain that it has caused me to watch things unfold over the last few years. I realize that I was fully distracted by their dysfunction, and I missed the significant problems that were brewing with my son. His aggressiveness has been increasing and yet he never seems to mature in his thinking and emotional reactions to things.

Fast forward to this summer. I moved in with my fiance’ in May. We rented a place together that was big enough for all of us. There has been some struggles with my ex related to this, but that is for another post. I worked my schedule out over the summer, so that I was working from home two days a week, and going into work early the rest of the week. My fiance’ went in late two days a week as well. This made it work out that my kids were only left home alone for a couple hours two days a week, and one day a week I had it so I was home before 2 PM. I kept returning to angry kids. My son had been causing trouble with the other kids. There are 6 kids total between us. My four and her two. Her two are younger than mine. Early elementary school. I was trying to figure out how to make things work. My oldest was nearly 14 and the others were 12 1/2, 11, and 9. There shouldn’t have been a problem leaving them home alone for a while.

My oldest was sneaking food at every moment. It was accumulating in his room, and beginning to stink. I cleared his room of all furniture except his bed. He continued to find ways to sneak food. I did not know what to do. We were at our wits end. I could not get him to follow the simplest of rules. I never limited how much they could eat. I did limit the food they could eat to healthier choices. He was eating frosting and whipped topping. He would eat an entire box of ice cream treats or popsicles in one sitting. He was getting physically aggressive with the other kids. Towards the end of the summer I got a phone call from my daughter as I was pulling into the neighborhood that he had hit my fiance’s daughter hard and that I needed to come home. I was a minute away and told her I would be there soon. When I got there, he clearly was intimidating them all into changing their story about what happened. I lost my temper and smacked him hard. I knew it was a futile. I just had no idea how to get the message through to him. In my gut I knew something more was going on, but I couldn’t figure it out.

After Labor Day, we were driving back from a family dinner with my fiance’s two kids. We were talking about things, and it was announced to us that her son had been having sex with my oldest. At the time we are talking about a 13 year old and a 7 year old. We were shocked. I had told her about his history before her kids spent anytime with him. I wanted her to be fully aware before she went any further with me. We reported the incident through the county mental health organization that we were already engaged with regarding my son, and to the local police department. Through the process, I found out that my other son had caught them, and thought he had stopped things. He was trying to be the protector, but he failed to tell us what was going on. This is another pattern that I have to deal with now. My younger son has decided that he can protect both his brother and people from his brother all by himself. I fear that he is going to get really hurt soon. Charges against my son have been filed and he is currently being adjudicated through the juvenile justice system.

My ex and I have placed my son in a residential treatment facility for the time being. His time there is almost up. He will be returning to my ex’s house. He cannot return to mine at this time, and I honestly don’t see a time that he will be able to in the future. A lot has to happen before that is something that I will consider. A lot more has to happen before my fiance’ would consider it. Right now she doesn’t see that it could ever happen. He only has four and a half years of school left. I suspect that he will be allowed back for family events over time, but he won’t ever live with me again. My ex asks why I am so aggressively angry about this, when I wasn’t when it happened to our daughter. She doesn’t understand that it is the new understanding I have through the recent events combined with what happened in the past that has me so angry.

I have talked very little with him over the last couple of months. My heart aches at the thought of it. I am sad and angry. When I have talked with him, he lays blame with me for what he did. He blames the kids of my fiance’ for what he did. We did find out later that he had done things with her daughter as well, but she pushed him away and avoided him. Tonight I will have dinner with him and my mom. It will be a hard dinner to get through. He will be hurt by what we have to say, and he will be defensive. I need him to understand that his actions have changed his and other’s lives forever. I don’t know how it will go. I imagine it going so many ways. If he is truly working on changing, then it will end better than it starts. I love him, and hope that he gets the help he needs, but I see my job now as protecting others from him as much as I can.

For the coming years, I will struggle with how to be a father to my son. Many are going to judge me for my actions. Almost none of those people will have been through anything like this. I feel like I am writing the book on how to get through this all by myself. Maybe when the dust clears, I will write that book. My life has not turned out as I expected at all. It is now time to make my hand work from the cards that have been dealt to me. I am not a quitter, though there have been many times through this process that all I want to do is quit, but I keep plugging along. I have to search and see what part I play in the things that have happened to me, because life does not just happen to me, I am a part of the results. It is going to take some time and introspection to get there.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

Dec 13, 2013 - Family, My Story    No Comments

Been A While!

I have had a rough few months since my last post. I felt like my anger was simmering when I wrote, and I wanted to take a break. I have learned that my anger really is better when I write, so I am back. I get to think things through, and get out what I don’t dare say out loud to many people, especially my ex. The past months have been filled with a lot of turmoil.

I moved in with my girlfriend, now fiance’ at the beginning of the summer. The transition was a little rough with the kids. I was arguing with my ex for my time with the kids. They are old enough to spend a few hours alone at home. I had worked out my schedule so that these hours were in the morning, so they weren’t doing much anyway. My house is right by the park where swim practices are, so the two who swim could walk there, and then call me when they got home. I got home about two hours after practice was over. I was working extra hours when I didn’t have the kids, so I could take the time off when I did.

I was having issues with behavior of all the kids, most of it was rooted in my oldest’s attitude. He turned 14 in September. As it turns out, he was sexually abusing my fiance’s two kids who were 6 and 7. Her son is autistic, and was very easily manipulated by my son. I had stripped my son’s room earlier in the summer of just about everything. He was hiding and stealing things. I could not find a way to stop him from doing what he was doing, and then I find out about this. We reported it through the county mental health organization that he was already working with in a family focused case managed therapy program. He is currently at a treatment facility, but will be coming back soon. I have had very little contact with him. I cannot allow him back in my home. I struggle at my very core on how to parent him, and I just don’t know how. I believe that he needs to be in full time care, but the system doesn’t allow that often anymore, especially if one parent is willing to care for him. He is going through the legal system, and will be most likely put on diversion.

Absolutely nothing is resolved in my divorce case, and it is costing a fortune. She complains she isn’t satisfied with things, but then offers no information to determine what might make things better. She is pursuing reducing my parenting time, and has done things to try and alienate me from my children. We are currently going through co-parenting counseling and back to mediation. I hope to get this resolved soon.

I am getting married, or more accurately, I am having a wedding. The marriage will happen later, since my ex won’t let the divorce finalize in a timely manner. We are now three years out from her pronouncement that she wanted the divorce, and two and a half out from when she moved out, and I have been with my fiance’ for well over a year. Its a strange thing, I know. I just won’t let my ex destroy anything else along the way.

I will expound on some of these things in upcoming posts. I just wanted people to know that I am still around and still fighting the fight. I wish this was all over, but I am now coming to the resolve that it may never be over until the kids are grown. I will have upcoming posts on my fiance’, on my son, on my ex, and on what is going on in general. I will also be writing about reforms I would like to see in divorce law and how things are handled in court. There is no reason that things in my case are taking so long. We have no assets, and both are adequate parents. I am going to actually make the argument that the bar should be lowered from the “best interests of the children” to something that takes into consideration all the people involved. The children are not the only ones with rights involved.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

May 16, 2013 - Commentary, My Story    No Comments

I Won’t Live Alone In A Cave

All too often the suggestions I hear come down to two things. One is go fuck as many women as you can. That is fun for about a minute. I am not that guy. Never have been. The other is to go my own way. Now this is appealing in some ways, it doesn’t solve the problems that I have in my life. If I were a young man without kids, I would consider this the way to go now. Make sure I can’t have kids, and disengage from the life chosen for me, and do whatever the fuck I want to.

The problem is, I do have kids, and I like the companionship of a woman. I do have a red pill view of these relationships, but I don’t see them as being something I can’t have. I just have to understand the risks that I face as I enter into these relationships. The big solution to the problem is that I could crawl into a cave and spend my time with my kids and hang out alone when they aren’t around. This is depressing. I might get some reading and writing done, but I would be unsatisfied. I do plan on doing these things, but I want a partner.

So now I am faced with building a relationship and knowing the score. I know the female nature. I also know what I am willing to accept from a woman, and what I want. All woman in my life will demonstrate jealousy of the time I spend with my kids when they aren’t “mine”. This manifests itself usually as jealousy towards my ex. It really is jealousy of the time and that I sometimes have to get up and leave. My ex uses this to cause problems, and I do have to learn better ways to mitigate the situations. She is a manipulator and likes to create strife. There isn’t much I can do about that, because she is willing to use the kids to get her way. This is not good for anyone involved. All it does is score her a win. Its not even good for her.

I understand how men walk away from their kids. Its not fair to the kids, but there is a limit to how much a man can take. There is a limit to how beneficial his presence is, when a vindictive woman is manipulating things on the other end. When the kids come to you and are treating you like crap, what do you do. When no amount of discipline teaches them what they need to know, because the other parent is working against you, there is a time where you have to say that I can’t fix the damage under these circumstances. Its the heart wrenching decision that has to be made sometimes. These men are broken and torn apart, and society will heap more and more shame on them for this decision. As I have gone through this process of divorce in my life, I have developed a new compassion for these men. Most of them are not the man who drops a litter and runs from town to town. Most are good men, who want nothing more than to be with their kids.

I have a lot more on my mind, but for now.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

Apr 11, 2013 - Commentary, Family, My Story    No Comments

Rash Decisions Early in Separation

My life came crumbling apart. My hopes and dreams were being destroyed forever. I was being faced with a life that I never wanted for me or my children. This was a life that I had clung to far beyond its reality. The reasons and much of the process are recorded in the blog. If you are interested read them. Much of my writing come out of my tears and anger, and the process of clearing myself of these emotions to move forward to the next steps in my life. These are processes that most men have to do on their own when they face the same problems in life.

My first reaction was to cling too hard. I thought a lot of “if only” thoughts. I fought to get her to stay. This was a purely emotional response. Men need to understand that by the time she has told you she wants a divorce, she has at the very least had fantasies of the moment. She is firmly planted on the idea. She more than likely has a plan and she may go along with you for some of these things, but she will execute the plan. Mine had not planned much beyond getting out of the house with me. She went to counseling and all the other things I asked, but she still moved out on her original schedule. The right thing to do when she says she wants a divorce is not to panic. It is simply to ask what her plan is, and remain as disinterested as possible. It is unlikely anything that you do at this point fixes your marriage, but if there is any hope of re-capturing her heart, it is in showing that you are going to be just fine without her. Marriage counseling is generally for chumps. It isn’t effective, and the advice you will usually get comes down to you aren’t doing enough things she wants you to do, but if you look at your lifestyle, she determines what you do most of the time. Man up and do what you want to do. Set boundaries while you are still in the house, and take charge of how your family is going to split. If she is truly determined to leave, then you will have some control of the process. If she is not determined to leave, then you are showing the masculine traits she needs to see to be attracted to you.

We lived twenty miles outside the nearest suburb. She wanted to move into the suburbs when she left. She changed the kids schools and moved. I probably could have stopped her, and maybe I should have. That doesn’t matter so much as I didn’t even evaluate what was best for me and the kids. I could have made a lot of choices here. Changing schools is a joint decision. I could have immediately gone to court for temporary orders to require them to stay in their current schools. Maybe I should have. I won’t know the answer to that, but I didn’t even think about it. I was responding to her plan and actions. I saw some value in the move. All the kids activities were too far away from home. We had talked about moving before we talked about divorce, so it was reasonable. Boy what a trap that can be. Try arguing with a reasonable suggestion. Its tough. Its hard to argue that because of this change, I don’t want to do the other thing that we already agreed might be good.

I tried parenting from this town, but it was hard. I was scattered, and she spent the mortgage to move without telling me. I could have negotiated a new deal with the bank, and maybe I should have. I would have a house that is large enough for me and my girlfriend and all of our kids. They could all have their own room, which is an amazing thing. I loved the house. It fit my personality. If I had known she would move again a year later, I probably would have. I should have guessed that she would, but I wasn’t thinking much about things. I was just reacting. The bank would have offered me a new loan that is cheaper than anything I can rent now.

I tell you this, not so much because I regret the decision, but because I want men to think before the act. Stop reacting, and start making decisions based on the new circumstance. Don’t get railroaded by a woman who has been plotting for six months or more for this moment. She has the edge because of this, so slow down and really think about it. It is too late to save your marriage, so don’t run down that path, because it wastes precious time. If there is a chance to save the marriage, it will happen by you being assertive and direct in handling this circumstance. She says she wants a divorce, so go get a lawyer. File temporary orders that grant you equal time, the house, reasonable child support payments or none if you think you can make that work with her. Take charge and get the ball rolling. Don’t play softball, be a man. The divorce ball doesn’t need to run any faster after that, but now you have sure footing guaranteed by the courts. None of this prevents her from false abuse allegations, and if she is of that low of a character, then good luck. You can only hope that she is terribly inconsistent and you will prevail in court.

Once you have the first pieces in place, then take your time and do as much as you can without lawyers. This will save a fortune. I didn’t get those things in place, and when she filed, she tried to extract a large amount of child support. Thankfully the courts don’t respond quickly, so even though the orders were in place we negotiated a different deal that will hold from here on out. In the final orders any arrears can be cleared with a court order.

She had the first choice of stuff as she moved out. She didn’t take the newer furniture, and is pissed she made that decision, but we each got enough stuff. I don’t care if it was fair or not. There was no making both of totally happy. When I moved there was a ton of things left at the house. We took our time and took things as we saw the need. Ultimately she took more than me, but on the first move, I got what I cared about. Our stuff is thus divided with no real arguments. A few complaints, but no arguments. We will codify that in the divorce decree and its done.

I have written this over a course of a few days. It may not be totally congruent, but I am going to end it here. Slow down fellas, and make sure you are acting not reacting through the end of your marriage.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

Apr 9, 2013 - My Story    No Comments

The Letter I Will Never Send

Dearest Ex Wife,

I married you under the pretense that we would walk through the ups and downs of life together. We promised that through good times and bad, that we would maintain this bond. We promised to be faithful to each other. We did this not only for each other, but for the future children we would have. We would build a family and live our life the best we know how. I entered into this union without an exit plan. I took vows before my God, my friends, and my family to proclaim that intended to spend the rest of my life with you as your husband. I had dreams for what our life would be like, but I also knew that things could change and that times could be hard, and may be forever, but I took those vows intending to keep them.

You married me under the pretense that we would walk through the ups and downs of life together as well. When times were good, you were not there by my side, you chose the company of others. When times were bad, you blamed me for the problems we both played our part in. You promised to be faithful, yet you were not. You thought very little of our children as you chose to leave my home and make a home for yourself separate from me. You entered our union knowing that you always had an exit plan, and you continually reminded me that you could pull that trigger anytime you wanted to. You had dreams that I would support you financially and emotionally in all that you do, whether it benefited our family or not. You were prepared to break our union when things became hard, and so you have. You took these vows hoping to keep them, if they weren’t too inconvenient for your current dreams.

I offered to pay for every expense for our children. Your only obligation would be to provide a home for them when they are with you. I told you I did not want to pay the state to pay you in my stead. I was preparing to have civil papers drawn up for your review, so that we could finish our broken union peacefully. You chose to go to a lawyer and demand child support that would of put me out of my home, and have run up lawyer fees on my side alone that far exceed anything we would have spent before. You have sought every advantage to take my money as your own, not just now but for the future. You have made me desire nothing more than for my children to grow up, so I can be done with you. Every dollar that I have to give to you is a reminder of the pain that you have caused me and our children with your selfish actions.

I cry for our son, who you have no empathy for. You treat him as if there is something wrong with him. I do not miss living with you, but I do miss the opportunity to act as his shield from your rages. You have made him the bad guy of the family. The other kids do not treat him well, and this is a direct result of the way you cast him to them. I regret that we ever adopted our children, because of the pain that you have and will continue to cause them. I cried with my father before he died about this very thing. It is a horrible day when you realize that your children would have been better off, if they had not been brought into your life. The destruction you leave in your wake will live on for generations, and there is very little I can do to fix this. I can only hope that my presence and actions will give them hope as they grow up.

You will never understand these things. You believe that you have done nothing to cause others harm. You were a miserable wife, but I would have stood by your side throughout the decades, because that is the promise that we made. You have changed me forever. You have stripped me of hope for my future. My life still remains subject to your whim. You know that I will do little to manipulate you, because I try to do the right thing, and this gives you freedom to do as you please. If only you could give me the same courtesy, but I will not have that courtesy from you. You are one of the most selfish people I have ever met, and sadly I thought I could build a life with you. I should have left you the night you told me that you cheated on my after a homecoming football game. I was stupid and overly committed to our marriage to do that. Now I must pay that price.

You left me to seek happiness, but you will not find it. You will constantly be dogged by the advantage you didn’t take. You will be the victim of people who won’t put up with your behavior. You will never understand that whatever advantage you take of me, I will be more content than I have ever been. Happiness will come and go in my life. It is not a state that sticks to anyone because their life is on the right track. I will live my life to love the people who I choose to have in it, and I will be content in the fact I value them more than I have in the past. For this, I thank you. Without knowing how hard things could be, I would not understand the value of these people in my life. Without the trials that you put me through, I would not know who would stand by me. Without your willingness to walk out on me, I would not know that most people do not walk away so easily and that most people do not hang the threat over my head for advantage. Without this, I would be a slave to those people who would, but now I will not put up with it.

Your last act is your worst. You chose to interpose the state into our relationship. We could have made things work without state interference. You know have made me subject to the state to pay you for the privilege of being one parent of our children. What you do not understand at this time, is you have also made yourself subject to their authority. You have taken away our ability to just work things out, because now that the state is there, they will remain there. I would be foolish to negotiate with you without the state involved. They are now an agent in our relationship. You will not feel the impact of this perhaps for years, but feel it you will. There is a reason that most divorced women end up on the loosing end of the financial game after the kids have grown up and moved out.

I wish this was good bye, but I will have to deal with you for the rest of my life. You will be a thorn in my side for years to come, and will most certainly manipulate my children against me as you already have. It is not fair to them, but it doesn’t change that you will do as you do. I wish you find your happiness, for it goes better for my children if you do. Any ill will I have to you must be suspended, because my children’s lives are also tied to your fortunes. You are selfish, manipulative and mean. These are the things I will remember you by.

Warm Regards,

Ex Husband.

There is more I could write, but I just needed to vent a little of what I would like to put in a letter to her.

Ten-Fourend,

JeD

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