• 18August

    A Guy’s Feelings on Child Support, Anger and FrustrationBy Jackie Pilossoph

    I wrote an article on Divorced Girl Smiling titled, “Child Support: Why He Can’t Stand Giving you That Check Every Month.” I then submitted it on Huffington Post, and wow,…..

    I wrote an article on Divorced Girl Smiling titled, “Child Support: Why He Can’t Stand Giving you That Check Every Month.” I then submitted it on Huffington Post, and wow, did I get slammed! I think what happened was, many men read the title, and didn’t read the actually content. They assumed that since I was a woman, I was defending a woman’s right—almost saying women are entitled– to get a monthly payment from their ex, which is VERY MUCH NOT TRUE if you read the entire piece.

     I recently got a comment from a divorced dad, who wanted to share his point of view, and I found it very smart and fair. They are words I think can help both men and women.

     You might want to read my article first, and then read what this guy has to say.

     

     

    Submitted by a divorced dad:

     

    I just read an article you wrote regarding child support and a man’s

    resentment for paying it.

    Wanted to share some thoughts from a divorced dad who has 50/50 custody
    and pays child support to a woman who divorced him. There was no
    infidelity, no abuse, no drugs … nothing like that. Just a woman who was
    unhappy and wanted a fresh start.

    Obviously each person’s situation is different. There are women who are
    abused or were cheated on etc. There are women who cheat or are abusive.
    There are people who are simply not good people. I can’t speak to those.
    But I can speak to how difficult it is to see things from each other’s
    perspective and the challenges presented when each person feels
    unappreciated.

    We had a beautiful home together and worked hard to maintain a nice
    lifestyle. Nothing extravagant, but we did well. She worked as a freelance
    graphic designer and I as a director / producer. When she left we were
    thrust into a world where we suddenly had to pay for two mortgages, two
    electric bills, two heating bills, etc. with the same joint income. She
    then decided to go back to school and spent an exuberant amount of money
    for a degree in interior design. Her focus on obtaining her degree also
    left her in a position where she eventually lost most of her clients and
    her income continued to drop. After three years she is still struggling,
    which honestly pains me as I want her to succeed and be happy.

    Every blog I’ve read from a woman’s perspective discusses the stresses the
    woman faces attempting to start over. However they seem to neglect the
    fact that the ex-husband experiences the exact same stresses. He not only
    has to make up the difference in income his wife once brought in, but now
    often has to also help maintain her NEW home as well. Meanwhile, he also
    faces the same business challenges and risks his ex-wife does. More than
    likely he is also carrying responsibility for medical insurance on the
    children. And then, her inability to find enough work to maintain this new
    life of hers, becomes his problem. And the kids are the ones who suffer as
    now neither parent can make ends meet.

    Honestly, it can come across as wanting to have your cake and eat it too.
    “I want my freedom, but I want you to help pay for it, because without
    your money I can’t make it.”

    I personally believe that many women have a misperception of what life
    will be like when they leave a marriage. They see the husband as the
    problem, and often that’s not the case and their problems follow them into
    their new life. And when they get slapped in the face with reality they
    fail to recognize that the ex-husband is going through his own personal
    hell as well and often doesn’t have the financial capacity to maintain his
    own home, let alone part of his ex-wife’s.

    Losing 1/3 of our household income hurt like hell and continues to bite me
    in the butt each month. Having to make up that difference and then do it
    again on her behalf is back breaking. And the stress that comes from
    worrying that she may attempt to get more or that you’re going to have to
    pick up the slack with school supplies, camps, sports fees etc. is mind
    blowing. As a father who is very much involved in his children’s lives and
    appreciates the need for them to have a relationship with both parents,
    you’re kind of caught between a rock and a hard place. You want there to
    be some semblance of harmony, but finding that balance between bending and
    standing up for yourself can be a real challenge. And in many cases, the
    courts are not much help and fail to recognize how much fathers are now as
    much if not more involved in the raising of their children.

    It feels very much like all divorces are looked at equally and that can’t
    be farther from the truth. There are simply too many variations of
    circumstances and being lumped into the misperception that women are more
    nurturing and men should pay for their wife’s discontent feels very
    unfair.

    THAT is why men feel resentment.

     

    I could not agree more with this guy that there are “too many variations of circumstances.” EVERY SINGLE situation is different. I know a woman who is homeless, whose husband is retired, living in a mansion and golfing every weekend. It all depends on the people’s attorneys, the judge and other circumstances, both in and out of the divorced couple’s control.

    The one piece of advice I want to give to both men and women is, resentment, anger and hostility doesn’t help matters. It only hurts children. So, if you are paying every month and you are constantly trying to make things difficult for your ex, and acting hostile around him/her, you are really only hurting your kids. I’m not saying you don’t have a right to be pissed off, but try to realize what is in your control and what isn’t. That is a true path to peace.

     

     

    Jackie Pilossoph

    Divorced Guy Grinning is a blog for men facing divorce and dating after divorce. It's kind of like hanging out with your platonic female divorced friend and hearing her perspective on your divorce and your love life issues.

    13 Replies

    Josh Hoch August 18, 2014Reply

    I am glad he took the time to write a comment. It is important to hear perspectives about child support from both moms and dads. Something I value as a divorce mediator is giving both parents the opportunity and time to work together to discuss child support and parenting plans that work for them - not what other families do - but what can work for their family. Keeping control over the outcome of divorce with the parents benefits them and their children and reduces future conflict. Bravo for the comment and for the hard work making 50/50 custody work.

    not buying it September 01, 2015Reply

    He needs to understand that alimony and child support are separate. I don't care how "wronged" you feel by your ex that has nothing to do with that fact that your children still have to live. Quality time is great but it doesn't buy food or clothes. If you're both struggling them maybe you need to change some things -- sell your house and get a smaller one, get a roommate, stop buying $5 lattes everyday. Both parents need to make some sacrifices!! Stop making about your ego. your children deserve better.

    Carol April 27, 2016Reply

    Child support is a necessity in most cases.The anger some men has is related to their inability to maintain their basic needs. Coming home with 50.00 after 2 weeks is an issue. The court sets the rules.

    Icemommy July 02, 2016Reply

    I was a stay at home mom with a child with a disability and my husband up and left us...I warned him that he will have to pay child support but at that time he was so far into the affair I guess he didn't think I would file for divorce. Now he resents me because he feels I should be working like I was before I met him. Its not easy when you have to provide daycare for several children, maintain a household, and child support isn't enough for their monthly needs let alone putting away something for their future (college). I can only speak for my situation but I was left my my husband and he hates paying child support but this is the bed he made and he will lay in it.

    Corena December 10, 2016Reply

    My divorce is coming up ,my husband makes almost100k annually I make 30 I can barley get a diaper from him I just lost my car due to none payment trying to. Keep me and kids afloat forced to get food stamps never in my life have I had to seek assistance from state .we have a week on week off joint custody he won't help says there's no order. From judge ..angry yes. I am

    Tim December 28, 2016Reply

    Jackie, I read your original article and this one as well. I think that you (in the original article) have a very reasonable approach to this issue; which is refreshing. Divorce is typically counter-family and counter children, and it's so prevalent and so unhealthy that it almost seems wise to simply avoid the whole thing. No more marriage. No more children. Family and children are such good things; the best things in the world, as far as I'm aware. But the loss of those things is so devastating.. Can't be risked on a coin toss. What's the point of taking vows that don't mean anything? Explain how it got to be like this. Marriage as an institution needs to be fixed or just go away. While I agree with much of what you write, you are not helping anyone to feel more at peace, less resentful and bitter, etc. You haven't gotten at the heart of the matter. The amount of suffering involved in all of this. It needs to stop.

    Heidi August 16, 2017Reply

    I do feel what most people forget is there's actually some women who have to pay their ex-husband child support, due to 50/50 care. This type of care appears to be preferred by the government and even though my ex lives with his partner and earn nearly double what I earn, the government only takes his salary into account. And please don't give me the nonsense that the money is spent on the child - it is not, I have to beg him to just take our son for a hair cut when it's his turn or just buy at least some clothes. The way the government calculates child support is the main problem. Take the full households income into consideration. Am I angry and bitter - certainly. So please don't think it's only the men out there who's suffering under the burden of paying unfair child support.

    Chelsea September 20, 2017Reply

    I read both articles. I understand where this guy is coming from: ex wife left HIM and now he has the kids 50% and had to start over and replace his ex's income in his house plus partially make up her income. And this probably falls under every case is different: My ex-husband was unhappy and left me for someone else. Even after paying child support, he is household with just his income STILL has more money coming in than mine does (including child support). And he moved in with his new gf within a 6 months of leaving(and within a month of divorce being finalized) thereby further helping his situation. And he has our daughter every other weekend, and sometimes not even that if he has to work sat he doesn't take her till sat after work so he doesn't need to pay a sitter, etc. At the end of this year he will have had her at the most 12% of the time. So I'm supporting her 88% of the year on less income than he brings in and way less than him and his gf. If it weren't for my fiance, my daughter wouldn't get to go to preschool (we don't even live together and my fiance is the one paying for half of preschool). Based on our incomes at time of divorce (which is what child support is based on), his house has 10k!! Extra per year. I support myself and daughter on a full 10k less per year (even if he didn't jump right into a live in situation). And I'm sure he complains regularly about how unfair it is to pay the support because he complains to me about the hardship of paying our daughters support is

    HVR October 22, 2017Reply

    Also feel there isn't enough difference between child support and alimony (or temporary spoudal restorative maintanance as. We call it here). Think I'm lucky that in our (not in the US) court make a destinction and keep the 2 seperate. As our son did not fit into my wife's new life plans, which is a double edged sword. I'm taking in all the his costa in any case as he will be living with me. Turns out the new boyfriend is a real piece of work. This is marriage no 3 ue has broken up all with kids. He then lives of the newly seperated wife and her new maintenanance. I was warned beforehand so got NDA sigbned before negotiatiins and will only be payibg her enough for fuel to aee the kid and basic food. With no expectation for child aupport from her. Infortunatly this means my son will not stay over at his mom since they can only afford a room in someone else's flat. May be wrong and good on men who support their exes, but I refuse to pay for hustlers and cheaters. Especially after I found out she spent half the kida savinga on her and the new boyfriend I thi k I've properly dodged a bullet.

    Tracey Dorsey February 18, 2018Reply

    I left because my ex wouldn't move out. Our kids were 4 and 6 at the time. For 2.5 years he paid nothing. He refused to sell the house. I asked him to pay 400.00 a minth for two kids, he balked at that. He makes 100K. So, I filed for child support. He evaded for almost 4 years. For almost 4 years there was a warrant out. He thought that it was soley my responsibility to provide and care for the kids, since I took them. Court date last week, he owes 45K in the arreas, plus hast o pay monthly. Itried to work out an agreement beforehand, but he wasn't cooperative. I think he thought the ruling would go in his favor.

    Wakeen Smith February 26, 2018Reply

    Every man should boycott marriage and fatherhood until laws change. And they will change when birthrates drop and women voice their desires to be mothers...Men are just ATM machines, their importance in a child's life has not been emphasized by the courts. Women often receive child support, buy brand new cars, purses, get nails done etc....if a man doesn't play, he doesn't pay!!!!

    amy March 12, 2018Reply

    I am a woman who was abused and left the relationship. But, because I lost everything and because my ex is a former cop and like I said abusive, he has manipulated the system and our teenage daughter. So since he has lots of money (5000 per month!) she chooses to live with him. My income is 500 or LESS per MONTH! And I remarried a wonderful man, who unforatunately had a serious accident at work recently which left him physically and cognitively handicapped. He has no money from social security or workers comp yet. So we are just barely scraping it by, and often have to rely on charities or sometimes literally begging for things like gasoline or help with paying for his medications. Aside from the fact that I have to be the caretaker of my husband, I also have multiple - MULTIPLE! - barriers to employment that would take a novel to explain them all. I've always been a good citizen and good mother and wife. I have no criminal history, never done drugs, always done right by neighbor and country. But since daughter decided to live with her wealthy father, and since I don't have a nice place to live anymore, my ex has been granted full custody AND now I have to pay 162 per month child support. NOw that might not sound like much, but like I said, my ENTIRE monthly income is 500 or LESS. So now my husband and I will be homeless due to paying child support in the imminent future. How does my ex get away with having that much income and still get child support, you might ask? Because his new WIFE brings in half of that. And the court doesn't care what the new wife does, only what he does, and his money is from disability. My ex had the nerve to tell the court that he "struggles" and he "does without", while living in a 2 1/2 story 5 bedroom house with heated floors and in-ground pool, intercom system, and so forth. His house payment alone is three times more than I make in a whole month! The judge agreed that I am facing extenuating circumstances, and reduced the amount of my child support by thirty dollars, but said that by law I am required to pay because its the best interest of the child. So lets see, I escape abuse. I am told to "be strong". I do my best to re-establish myself and not fight with my ex. And now I have to pay HIM???? Really. Oh, and lets see, now I have to make my current husband do without his medication, or us have no utilities or live in our stinking car, so I can PAY my ABUSER. Isnt that lovely?

    Sonya June 07, 2018Reply

    Okay, so my X dove so deep into alcoholism, and trying to fulfil his dream of being a lawyer, that he failed to notice that his family was falling apart. Instead of being there for us, he drank himself into oblivion while I held on for dear life as I struggled to keep things 'NORMAL' around our home. I struggled to pay the bills and avoid a default on our mortgage, while he was running off to local bars with his nasty, drunk secretary (also an alcoholic), and dissappearing some times for a whole night. In the meantime, I was struggling to keep a security blanket around our two small children who noticed something was wrong with daddy. He failed to remember how I had sacrificed, sometimes paying all the bills so he could get through law school. He failed to remember that he promised he was doing this for 'US'. He failed to remember that we were even married at all, when he cheated on me one Valentine's evening, posting to the druggie, alcoholic slime ball, that she had 'set him free'. (She used you by the way, to get what she wanted). He failed to take notice of all our attempts our children and I made to tell him we loved him and to please stay it's okay, you can stay. He failed to read my countless loving, encouraging text messages when he was struggling with his business. Instead, he made sure he read all of his secretary's messages, and they were definitely NOT all business. (Guess what babe, I was struggling too but I wasn't looking for a way out. I was looking for a way through. I thought that's what you wanted too.) He forgot that I was his wife and it would have been thoughtful to introduce me to his law school classmates after he graduated. Instead he introduced his buddies to the ladies he was graduating with. I put up with so much from him because I believed in him, our marriage, in our family and I believed that we could get through anything if we had made it this far and were still together. Instead, he walked out but not before telling our 4 year old (while I was at work) that daddy was leaving mommy. He also let all the neighbors in on his little secret while I played wife, and mother and went to work every day. I worked full time, made sure the kids made it to daycare and back, made sure the bills were paid, house was cleaned, refrigerator cleaned and full. Can you imagine what it was like to try and communicate the need for him to pay his fair half of the bills when he wouldn't even listen to me about the smallest things? That was a NIGHTMARE. When I told him we were late for our mortgage, he angrily told me that 'maybe you should get a second job'. In all honesty, he wasn't even paying half the bills because I was paying for the whole family's medical insurance through my work. Thats a whopping $478 extra every month that he would never acknowledge. So in my eyes, he had it pretty dam good! He had it made! He had a beautiful wife, two beautiful children and was a rising star in the Lawyer world. He had accomplished his dreams, some of which he didn't even realize he had (his children). I sacrificed a LOT. Sure we had our problems, every couple does. Sure I was a pain in the azz sometimes but then so was he. Unfortunately the alcohol became far more important than anything we worked for, far more important than his wife and children. Far more important than his cozy home where he had it made. The alcohol destroyed his perception of how things were. It destroyed his thinking, his emotions, his sense of situational awareness, and his ability to be PATIENT while communicating with me. After painstaking effort on my part to listen to him, help him out, he only got worse, so I reluctantly let go, and with that came my own personal path to grief. Grief for the loss. Almost ten years of painstaking hard work to get where we were and I had to let the cards fall where they would. It was hard, extremely hard to watch my little girl and boy struggle with it. I had to smile at neighbors and pretend that my soul wasn't shattered when they asked where my husband had gone and lightly explain, acting as if I was just fine. Friends asked what was going on too. This felt like such an intrusion to the personal hell I was going through. My children went through wild, emotional mood swings and bouts of uncontrollable crying. All I could do was hold them, tell them I loved them, promise them daddy loved them too, and hold them some more. His decision to leave shattered our whole world and two years later, we're still trying to pick up the pieces. It's not all smiles and pain free. Some days I still cry and so do our children and some days are good. Our recovery is a work in progress and its FAR from over. If we could be a happy healthy family, I would do it all again but that is gone. Once trust is broken, regaining it can could take longer than the 9 years we spent building our life. I don't have the strength to believe in that kind of a recovery. Instead, I count my blessings, and I try to take one day at a time. I play and am a goofball with the kids. Some days are harder than others. Some days take more patience and some days are rough but we are alive and well...we will be okay...in time. So, now that I have gotten that out, I have to admit that the mere thought of a father complaining about child support makes me sick to my stomach, I literally want to VOMIT. BUT, that being said, I understand why some women skip the details and go right to posting (I read the details first). I can sympathise with some of these men, yes, they have it hard and true, every situation is different and I think men (fathers) should have a voice too. I am glad I stumbled into this article. I can now fully understand why my husband is still bitter at me for establishing child support. He doesn't have me paying for more than half the bills. He also has to pay for half of the children's medical (which I did alone dor the past 5 years), no more home cooked meals, back scratches, heaps of love and encouragement in difficult times, no more sex on a whim. It's all gone...sadly. But this was his choice, I'm sure he had some coaching from friends (work) who had NO idea what it really was like at home but still, he made the final choice by filing for divorce. So, while I feel devastated at the demise of our marriage, I also feel like I tried my dambdest. I tried and tried and tried. I miss our little family. I feel a great loss for what could have been but then again the ball was in his court and he let it go. I didn't get to say, "No we're not divorcing." When I tried to talk to him, he shut me out, blamed me and still does. It's a horrible feeling to feel powerless and watch everything you worked for fall apart. I once said to a friend, "It was like he took my life, and threw it out the window, shattering it into a million little pieces as he drove 100 miles per hour."

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