Post # 1
So my FI and I had a huge fight the other night about his ex wife. Here’s a little background….. My Fi lost his job earlier last year, right after we got egaged. He has a 8 yo son who he pays child support for but due to his lost of income he wasnt able to pay. He and his EW has a verbal agreement about the child support details and so far she has been very understanding.
So the other night I asked him did he start back up paying his child support payments and he told me that she said not to worry about the rears and to just pay what he could. I told him that he should get that in writing just in case the changes her mind later on down the line. He tells me that he trusts her and that there is no need to get anything in writing. This starts a HUGE fight between us b/c for the life of me how would trust a women who singled handedly destroy their marriage? My whole point of the argument is to be pro-active dont wait for her to get pissed and react.
FASTFORWARD- A couple days later his ex saw me at their sons game and of course I am sporting my new engagement ring. Needless to say she wasnt happy she told him that she didnt think we were that serious and someother “catty” crap. Again I tell him to go get your agreement in writing b/c things is about to get crazy and that its not going to affect just him but us a couple. He tells me that this is not going to affect us b/c this is his problem and has nothing to do with me.
So now we are both at a place that neither one of us wants to budge. How do I get him to understand that this is not only about him and her anymore? That if she takes him to court, it affects our household as a whole. Or should I just say F*** it!! She is his problem let him deal with it!!
Post # 3
@soon2bnixon: Or should I just say F*** it!! She is his problem let him deal with it!!
Unless you’re talking about walking away from the engagement, I dont think you can just let him deal with it. Once you marry him and have joint accts and house together or anything, she can get to it. The only way I can think of doing it would be to keep YOUR money and account totally separate. This would totally not fly with me, your concerns are valid, dont move forward until there’s a resolution to this.
Post # 4
I think he’s right, this is his problem and he should deal with it. Take the high road until something happens (if it does) and address it only if she goes back on her word. As much as possible, stay out of his disputes with his ex regarding child support, etc. I’ve been on both ends of it and it’s not easy for anyone. But as long as everyone conducts themselves as respectful, mature adults it can be worked out. His child is the most important part of this equation. He is a father first. The ex isn’t important other than her role as his child’s mother. I think you should try to stay out of it as much as possible. All that said, I wish I could give you a hug! I know it’s not an easy situation to deal with. But remember he loves YOU, is engaged to you, and you can afford to be the bigger person now. Just ignore the snarky comments from the ex.
Post # 5
Been in your shoes. GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING. AND I MEAN EVERYTHING.
Guys are so naive!
Post # 6
@soon2bnixon: I would sit down with him one more time and try to reason with him. If he will not listen, then get your own separate checking and savings account without his name on it. That way it is your’s and she can’t get to it.
Post # 7
Depending on what kind of person she is I would be a little worried that asking her to sign something about the child support would cause her to lash out and make him pay it, maybe that’s what he’s afraid of? I’m sorry girl this situation sucks all around.
Post # 8
@LuvMySailor: I agree with this! I also agree with the above comment to get EVERYTHING in writing. Even if its just an email that he sends to her that says “Just so I understand/to confirm from our conversation earlier, you are not going to pursue arrears from the time period I was unemployed”. However, even if she says she’s not going to pursue and puts it in writing and then does, a judge may not even consider the agreement and would make him pay anyway.
Post # 9
Yikes. When she does take him to court, which there is such a good chance that she will, he will owe 8 YEARS in back payments because he didn’t get it in writing. That could be a MASSIVE amount. Hopefully knowing that he would most likely owe her over 20K in child support would be enough to get him to a lawyer.
Post # 10
I’m not even sure if getting it in writing would make it binding. I don’t practice in family law, but I’ve read/heard that some courts will not uphold parental waivers of child support because CS is for the child’s benefit, not the parent’s.
I was a step-parent in my previous marriage. The question I had to ask myself every time my ex and I had an disagreement stemming from child-related issues was “Is this the hill I want to die on?”
Post # 11
I am no expert in family law, so take this with a grain of salt, but I am not sure getting anything in writing will make a difference. Child support is for the child, and the fact that the mom says (and puts in writing) that she won’t go after back support does not mean your fiance doesn’t have a legal responsibility to pay it. And I do not think “I promise not to sue you at some point in the future for back support” even in writing, is legally binding.
Child support is not like paying back a loan, where debts can be forgiven. It is money the courts have decided your fiance’s child is entitled to from your fiance, and it really isn’t up to the baby mama to say he doesn’t have to pay it (from a legal standpoint. Obviously if he doesn’t pay and the mom doesn’t report him, the courts won’t know or care).
So, I don’t really think this is an argument worth fighting over as I’m not sure it matters. It would be a good idea though, for your FI to run it by a family lawyer.
ETA- Sportsgal you totally beat me to it!
Post # 12
I TOLD the judge that I didn’t even WANT child support. He could take his money and shove it. They granted child support anyway, tellling me that people can’t just go arround having children and not taking responsibility for them. he was to send the money to the state office and they sent me a check. He stopped working and they went after him-hardcore. Last I heard they took his Driver’s Lic. All for $100/mo. that I didn’t even WANT. Ugh.
He will owe weather she likes it or not. You guys can’t buy a house until that’s payed back. Get seperate accounts and get up to date ASAP
Post # 13
Ok I probably will not be popular for my opinion but here it goes….So my knee jerk reaction is to put myself immediately in the ex wifechild’s mothers shoes because thats the position I used to be in. My first thought would have been “so he can afford to buy an engagement ring but cant afford to pay what he is supposed to be paying in child support?!” and then I would immediately have felt bitter about being so nice and saying “dont worry about it pay what you can”. I would have felt like I had been lied to about his financial situation. Not that its completely my business but if im being told you cant afford the child support that you legally owe me than I would feel completely slapped in the face over seeing an engagement ring (presumably expensive even if only in the hundreds). Again this is my knee jerk reaction. Kind of a side note but something to consider when thinking about her reaction. Not that it makes it ok but knowing what I know about being in her shoes I can see where it might come from.
With that said, I also feel like your feelings on it should be respected. In the end you cannot tell him what to do though. Even if he respects how you feel dealing directly with her and how far he goes with her falls completely on him. I agree he should have gotten this in writing as a safeguard to himself and if there are financial hardships he should have gone to court to have the amount he pays amended. A verbal agreement is nice and all and can sometimes work but for both parties involved its always better to handle these things legally. But again, only he can be the one to take action directly. If I were you, I would decide now what I would be willing to tolerate as far as the financials go. It may be wise to keep your accounts separate and let him know your expectations of him financially when it comes to your household and relationship and leave it at that and see what he does. its never wrong to give your opinion and as your partner he should value that and keep it in mind when making choices regarding her and child support. But again, I do think that over all he is correct that its ultimately his choice in how he handles her and their situation with child support.
ETA: something in writing will not trump whats already in place legally. However, if they agree on lowering the amount, his attorney can file a motion in court to get it legally lowered due to financial hardship and her attorney can agree to it. I know this is how it worked for me. Now if she is against it when it comes to making it legal, unfortunately there is not much he can do. I dont necessarily think its right or wrong, there are two sides to it, but the courts generally do not care about unemployment and whatnot. they expect you to pay regardless.
Post # 14
Oh, should have added, even if it IS in writing, she can go after him at ANY point in time for back payments. No matter what she says, it’s government regulated the he HAS to pay it to her. If she takes him to court, even years down th road, she will get the back pay. Just went through this with FI’s dad and his exwife. He had a written document from her from 12 years ago on their oldest son, where she said he didn’t have to pay. Well, she now wants him to pony up, and the courts are enforcing it.
Child support is NOT an optional payment in most places, no matter what his ex says.
ETA I agree with above. No offense intended, but IF you FI could afford a ring for you, he SHOULD have paid the back support no matter what his ex said or at least put into an account for his sons future expenses. That’s the responsible thing to do as a parent so I think the ex’s reaction was totally warranted in regards to the fact he didn’t pay to support his child, but paid for a ring on your finger. Sorry, likely not what you wanted to hear.
Post # 15
stardustintheeyes That was my thought too- why was he able to purchase an engagement ring when he was behind in child support? Priorities people.
Post # 16
Others might be correct depending on the laws in your state – child support is the right of the child, not the parent who is receiving it, and their writing an agreement may not be legally binding if she later takes him to court (or if he takes her to court in relation to visitation/custody).
This is tricky. It’s your business in one sense, but it’s also a relationship he needs to keep open for the best interests of his child. It is up to him to decide how to handle that relationship.