It was awful, but it’s done.

Have you ever sat by someone that hates you? I mean, really despises you. You can feel the hatred oozing out of them. Almost taste the venom. 

Take that a step further and imagine being in a stressful situation in a public setting trying to make decisions with the person that hates you that much. If looks could kill and the words certainly cut like a knife.

Today the room for child support hearings was packed. It was held in the Jury Impaneling room because of the sheer volume of people. There were probably 6-10 Attorney General case workers, and each one would call out names  and talk with the people about their case. At the same time, some “cases” were called to stand in front of the judge at the front of the room. It was like watching the internal workings of a machine.

I couldn’t sleep the night before because of my nerves. I even spent some time staring at the ceiling, planning out my outfit. I chose a cute teal blazer and black slacks. I thought the outfit was the respectable thing to wear to court, but when I stepped into the courtroom, I couldn’t have felt more out of place in a sea of denim and spandex. I took it as a bad sign.

My ex was already there, so I attempted to be cordial. He gave no response. About fifteen minutes into the process of waiting our turn, he turned to me and said, “This was a great idea. Good job.” Another bad sign.

Luckily, I brought a book to read while I waited. I could drown out my surroundings (or at least pretend to).  The hardest part was convincing my stomach that now was not the time to act up.  Eventually my name was called and I headed to the back where there were round tables set up, each with a case worker and a laptop. My case worker was the same woman that I had frantically called and emailed to get out of this thing. She was a stern, reserved woman that handled her business effectively and efficiently.

She informed me that I have a Domestic Violence Nondisclosure order on my case, which is why she called me back alone l. She asked if I wanted to lift the order. “I don’t know.” She further explained that it really just prohibited the disclosure of my address on the legal documents, and if I lifted it, we could discuss the case together. “Okay.”

She said that she knew I had called and expressed an interest in NOT modifying the monthly support and asked if I still wanted to do that. I was trembling and felt the need to vomit. “I don’t know.” She asked if I would like to know the new amount before I decided. “Okay.”

Y’all, the amount is almost double the support I receive right now. DOUBLE. “Oh, I guess I should modify.” She quickly said, “I’ll go get him,” so I figured that she agreed. The amount gave me an idea of why the AG insisted that this case happen as planned. D-O-U-B-L-E.

I could feel The Ex’s presence before he got to the table. A cold chill ran up my spine. When he sat down, she explained that we were there for a suit for modification for child support and a confirmation of arrears. My ex, clad in his stone-washed jeans, cowboy boots, and Under Armor polo shirt suddenly turned into a lawyer. “I’m trying to understand how this came to be. You know, I just found out about this a short time ago when I was served. I called her (he pointed to me like he was identifying the murder suspect in a courtroom) and she said she didn’t know a thing about it. I need to get to the bottom of how this got started. Who filed this?”

Her: “The Attorney General filed the suit.”

Him: “But why? Under whose order?”

Her: “Your case was due for a review.”

Him: “So you’re telling me that the Attorney General can just decide to review a case willy-nilly?”

Her: “Yes, we’ve been known to do that.”

I wanted to yell “case closed,” but I knew that we hadn’t really even started. She asked him if he brought any of the requested financial information, which he had not, but she said that was okay because she had the amount that his employer reported to the state each quarter.  She asked him how much the monthly health insurance costs. He didn’t know, stating that the boys were on his wife’s insurance and she works for the state. “Oh, if she works for the state, I know exactly how much the insurance is.” (Duh, SHE works for the state.) 

She said that she was entering the numbers to get a new amount and he said it didn’t matter because we weren’t going to change it. She said that she needed to hear that from both parties. Oh crap oh crap oh crap! 

In a voice barely above a whisper, I said, “I’ve decided to move forward.”

Him: “Do what? Are you kidding me? You are something else. Ain’t that some shit. You are a bold-faced liar. You have fed me nothing but lies for weeks.”

Me: “Please stop. You have been insulting me for weeks.”

He was protesting and hissing about trying to get to the truth for weeks.  The case worker ceased the opportunity of a break in his speech (probably to take a breath) and told him the new DOUBLE amount he would have to pay.

He turned to me, crossed his arms, and said with every ounce of his hatred, “Well there goes college. You just screwed yourself. You can’t have it both ways.” I felt as if his actual hands were around my neck, choking the life out of me. I mean, I knew all along he would say that. I even wrote that in my email to my case worker as to why I didn’t want to proceed. I just didn’t expect him to say it so soon into the meeting.

It took everything that I had not to burst into tears. I asked him how he could take away his son’s education, and he kept saying something like “You can’t squeeze sugar from a lemon,” and repeating that he wouldn’t pay a dime to A&M. Then he started ranting that he knew all along that I would screw him. He pointed his finger and tapped it on the desk and said, “I want it on the record that my youngest son has lived with me for 4 months and I have provided 100% of his support.” I corrected him that it wasn’t 4 months, he didn’t provide 100% of his support, and he’s home now. “Only because you called him on the very day I was served and told him that he needed to come home because your mom is sick.”

The room was starting to spin and I felt like I was having an out of body experience. “That’s a lie!”

Him: “No it’s not, he told me so. You are always manipulating them.”

He might as well have smacked me. My mouth gaped open. Everyone  in the room by then had stopped discussing their own cases and were staring at us. He was livid and loud. “This is a joke. You just tell me what I have to pay and that’s it?”

The case worker explained that the alternative was that we could agree to a different amount and she could get the AG to sign off on it, or we could wait our turn and plead our case to the Judge.”

I offered that we could split the difference. “Split the difference? Man, you are a piece of work. We already agreed to an amount. You stood in your living room and said we didn’t have to change it. I knew you were full of shit and would string me along and pull some bullshit like this. We could be out enjoying a golf tournament on a beautiful day, but instead we’re here for this shit. Way to go.”

He was going on and really escalating and the case worker said, “I’m going to have to ask you to leave the table and we will discuss this separately if you can’t stop talking.” He made some snide remark I can’t remember and she said, “I am here to mediate, but we can certainly take it to the Judge and let him decide.”

I again said that I was willing to compromise. He rattled on a bit more, although quietly, and I asked him what amount he would be willing to pay. He threw out a number that was a bit more favorable to him than my split-the-difference suggestion, but I had reached my limit. I asked him if he would then be willing to help with college tuition, and he agreed, so I said “done.” 

I’m sure that my case worker thought I was nuts for leaving so much money on the table. She asked me to restate what I was agreeing to. Then she suggested that we move onto the arrears. She listed the amounts. He disagreed. He’s been paying extra toward them each month. “Yes,” she said, “$50.”  Once again he stated that he wanted it “on the record” that he lost his job for six months and he didn’t run down to the AG to get it changed, and that’s why there are arrears. I said, “That and the following extended period when you did work but refused to pay.”

The caseworker went on to state the amount of medical arrears. “This is such a joke. Where did that amount even come from?”

Her: “The Judge signed an order in 2013 after we received all of the proper documentation of medical bills.”

Him: “So let me ask you this, when the boys have both graduated, we’ll be done with this and that amount just goes away?” There was about a 10-15 minute discussion about the fact that he will have to continue to pay the same monthly sum it until it was paid in full. He was shaking his head in disgust. 

And internally, I was shaking my head in disbelief. I just let him off the hook when I know he could afford and by law SHOULD pay much more. He owes me quite a bit in medical that’s accrued since the 2013 order, but I didn’t go after it. He’s getting off easy, but you will never convince him of that. To him, I am the devil that just screwed him. 

After we finished, I thanked the case worker for her patience, then waited by the window of the courthouse until I saw him get to his car. Let’s be honest, I was scared.

When I got to my car, I sobbed. I cried because it’s frightening and hurtful to have someone hate you so much. I cried because he said so many awful things, most that I didn’t even type here. I cried because I’m embarrassed that I’m not strong enough to fully stand up for what I deserve. I cried because I fear the retaliation and fallout from this. I cried because even though the hearing was over, it doesn’t seem like this nightmare will ever end.  I cried because it was awful.

Comments

  1. OK, you win – yours acted worse than mine šŸ˜‰ !!! (At least mine had the good sense NOT to rant & rave in the state offices… It was also worth every penny I paid my lawyer to have him standing up there beside me – I know I didn’t HAVE to hire my own lawyer but at the time it felt as good as having my own BODYGUARD.)
    I’d still give anything for a video – even a simple transcript – of the judge giving my ex his dressing-down; it was PRICELESS!!! Still not convinced it was WORTH IT, however, since I know that was a trigger for him in this Last Great Custody Battle…
    Hang in there, honey – you ain’t alone!

  2. When I went through something similar to this, I was shaking so hard I could barely stand or speak. I took him at his word that he would pay our daughter’s tuition and when she married, half of the wedding costs. A few years later, he did neither.

    My daughter said not too worry, that she’d get grants and scholarships and work to get through college, which she did.

    How these men, who at one time adored us and their children, turn into such beasts, is beyond what my mind is capable of comprehending.

    I’m glad at least that part is over for you.

    • I know that I should have taken the full amount because he won’t pay any tuition. I’m struggling with that now. I just knew that I wasn’t ready for the emotional terrorism that would result from that. I knew that his mission would be to convince LoverBoy that he WOULD have helped with college if I hadn’t screwed him. And LoverBoy is so worried about tuition costs and upset that it will be a struggle, he would have been unable to decipher the truth.

  3. I am proud of you for saying you’d move forward, and for not settling for the status quo, even though you knew it would send him into a rage. It’s scary as hell and hard to do, but you did it. You are stronger then you think. Dint focus on what you didn’t do – feel good about what you did do. You got more money that is rightfully owed to raise those boys. He heard from the state that the amount he should be paying is significantly more. He heard from the state that he doesn’t get to walk away from his debts just because the boys graduate or turn 18.

    You’re right. He’ll never get it. They never do. Always the victim, those fuckers. But when the boys look back on this as adults, they’ll see who was really taking care of them and who was playing a role only when it was self-serving. It feels lonely on the high road – but look around. There are others of us here, and we’ll walk with you and let you throw all the rocks you need to where he can’t see/hear.

    Are you familiar with the book One Mom’s Battle? She has a fb page, full of great discussions about how to survive the narcissistic abuse. If nothing else, you can also share in other women’s small victories, just like yours today.

    Sending you hugs. If we lived close, I’d have brought you a bourbon chocolate cake tonight to celebrate, even if it seems like a hollow victory right now. We’d celebrate you, letting that quiet voice say yes, I want to pursue this.

    • I wish we lived closer too! What I wouldn’t give for a chocolate bourbon cake! Thank you, thank you so much. You’re words are perfect and mean so much and you are right about everything. It certainly is lonely on the high road. I’m amazed that loneliness is something that has settled in after this ordeal. I feel very much alone and foolish.
      I so love the people that follow my blog and cheer me on. It really has been therapeutic. It’s changed so much for me, from telling a story to pouring out all of the real emotions I feel. (Although I’d like to get back to being detached and not quite feeling so much emotion.)
      When I first discovered One Mom’s Battle, I read every post from start to finish. I almost thought my ex was living a double life in a marriage to her. Lol I should revisit it because I think it would help me to see this as a victory, not a loss. Standing up to him is so hard. The verbal attacks don’t stop and the words are never fair. And this one was especially hard on the heals of everything with MonoBoy. I already felt insecure as a result of that.

      • And who knows what your son may have told his father to deflect his wrath. Sometimes these fuckers can take one or two words and construct a whole new reality around it that supports their cause in the war against you.

        If you ever want to chat outside of here, I’ll give you my contact info. I’d even mail you bourbon cake. (Being soaked with a bourbon sugar syrup means it’s keeps quite well.)

  4. was his agreement to help with tuition costs written into the agreement because it should have been
    is your state one of the ones that doesn’t require cs while child in college?
    can you take him back if he doesn’t help with tuition? I’d just wait and let children see him not helping then take him back and get the full amount and use the extra to help w tuition costs – then you win!

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