Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A sort-of goodbye

Listening to: Mamacita’s gracious gift of Man of La Mancha

The dearth of posts here is due to the glacial pace 2006 has deemed how it will slouch out of the primordial ooze and greet that ideal we call The Future.

By all accounts 2005 was not that bad: I found a new job (though not a great job), fell in love, fell out of love (and in and out and in and out, errr hmmmm), watched my kids grow, had my car repo’d, got a better car as a result with none of the payments or headaches of bill collectors, got tons of new music as a result of ‘mixmania!’ and kept this blog afloat despite my propensity for the Brechtian alienation of my readers.

No hurricane hit me, no tsunami swept over me, and no lobbyist handed me money for which I’d later find led to an indictment. In the era of Whine and Neuroses, I’d say I’m batting about two-fifty, thereabouts.

Unfortunately, the New Year has not gotten off to an auspicious beginning. X has been in the process of moving and I’ve had the kids every day since January 2 while she attempts to get her shit together. And school doesn’t start back until tomorrow, which means I’ve had my little darlings demanding all – ALL – my time with no time for Daddy to indulge his perks for sharing Rick Blaine’s citizenship.

The munchkins are still with me and I know I’m going to dread getting up to drag them out of their beds

at six fucking A M tomorrow. The drill begins again, the oatmeal not eaten and the teeth brushed under protest, rejections of that shirt and those pants, the long explanations of why Superman cannot also go to school.

Rinse, repeat until Thursday when Daddy goes to court for Contempt of Court on his insufficient remittance of Child Support. The state is asking for six months in jail with no recommendation of work release.

Those of you who have followed this blog from the beginning are probably shaking your heads and wondering, “What the fuck?” I was, after all (when X was emotionally melting down), the custodian, full time, not comfortable with her ability to care for my children. When I started this blog (and no one read it), I truly was “a full time dad, figuring it out.”

To X’s credit, she agreed, acknowledged she needed help and time to decompress and allowed me to keep them full time until she could regroup and reassess. By measures. I gave her custody until we eventually worked our way back to 50/50 custody, even though it took a few months to get there. We’re now at three days one week, four days the next, a system that works out very well and keeps everything relatively blissful. Indeed, we’re better friends than we were spouses (as we both joke to our friends).

Soon after X and I separated, I was giving her about $700 a month child-support – with no court order – just to keep her afloat. When X and I split I made it clear that I wanted shared custody (something she completely agreed to), my feeling being that I did not want to use the children as a weapon like I’ve seen far too many couples do, to deleterious results. X agreed the kids needed their daddy in their lives as much as I insisted on having mommy in their lives.

Again, long time readers of my blog know how I lost my job (due to my brother lying to get me fired in order to get vengeance for me having his dog destroyed after his dog mauled my son). Without my income to support her and my children, X applied for assistance: TANF, Food Stamps, etc. This is where the state steps in and why I’m looking at 6-months of jail time.

Perhaps I’m a sap since I signed paperwork to give the state the impression that the custody arrangement is 49% (me) vs. 51% her. I knew X wasn’t skilled (thus, consigned to a minimum wage job) and would need public assistance. I signed that agreement knowing X would need public assistance to give my children the bare minimum of what they need to survive.

The state demands remittance; they’re not giving TANF money without making me pay. And they’ve made their assessment based on my income two months after I got fired (when X made her claim) as opposed to what I make now – less than half of what I used to make. Interesting that the state will research a job I haven’t had for two months (at around $2200 a month) but can’t be bothered to research a job I have now (about $900 a month).

More interesting is that the state won’t do simple math. Even if the 49%/51% split was true, X would have the children 7.3 more days per year. With the state requiring $638.00 per month, I am being asked to pay child support in the amount of $1,048.77 per day.

365 / 51% = 186.15
365 / 49% = 178.85
186.15 – 178.85 = 7.3

$638 x 12 = $7656
$7656 / 7.3 = $1048.77

Even in my most hedonistic drug days
, I never spent a fifth of that. I can’t imagine spending a grand a day on anything, frankly. Nor should I expect the state to expect any ordinary citizen to spend that kind of money. Then again, I’m talking about mindless bureaucrats, worthless parasites who would not think twice about spending a grand a day of your tax money.

If you don’t hear anything from me after Thursday, you’ll know why.


Auguste said...

Good luck to you. I can't really say much more than that, except what you already know and what is startingly insufficient:

This is bullshit.

Oberon said...

......too funny.

trusty getto said...

F**k, man. That sucks.

Sorry I haven't been around much, I actually kind of got divorced today, and the entire situation has been weighing heavily on my mind.

As to the court thing, it's kind of weird. They usually don't issue a contempt citation unless you've really blown them off for quite a while, so I don't get why their doing the contempt of court thing on you.

I know it's costly, but you really should get an atty to handle it for you. Expensive but a safe bet to keep you out of the lockup.

If you do fly on your own, do explain the history of the custody, regardless of what the documents say, explain your job situation and income and show up with documentation of it, and don't lose your temper. I can't guarantee anything, but you should be fine, since putting you in jail will result in paying for your jail stay as well as for your kids' care, which doesn't seem to me to be a wise fiscal decision on the part of the prosecutor.

But what the hell do I know?

Good luck, my man. Call me if you need anything, eh?

vicki said...

Hey, Jim- I'm with Trusty in this one- use a lawyer just for the hearing if you can. It doesn't make sense to me- the thing that really doesn't make sense is why the ex- isn't stepping up to help you. I'll be thinking of you and looking for you on thursday...and friday...and saturday. The child are angelic in sleep. :-)

GraceD said...

I'm sitting here at my laptop, on the kitchen table, in total shock and horror. My God. This is horrible.

>long pause...can't type...what is there to say?<

Okay. There is something to say: I send all that I've got in blessings, positive thoughts, and karma points. I mean it. I will be turning to the East on Thursday and send it all out to you.

Hold on, Jim. Hang in and hold on.


karen m said...

That's so freakin' awful. I'm so sorry that you and your family are having to deal with this.

Do you have a lawyer? It sounds like you'll need one.

The one thing you can do is give the court enough documentation to drown in - every little thing that can prove you were the sole guardian for your kids for an entire year. Good luck.

Nino the Mindboggler said...

Thanks for the input and advice, everyone.

Yeah, I should get an attorney but if I could afford an attorney, I would have just paid the exhorbitant state-ordered child-support.

melina said...

Something actually "fair" will come out of this...you've worked too hard so far. Hang on!

I thank you for sharing this, I really do...none of us is really ever too far away from having crap like this happen to them too, Jim.

Just know that all of us here are thinking and pulling for you, okay?
And, PLEASE, let us know what's happening if you can.

What about the Legal Aid Society? Have you contacted them?

Natsthename said...

So, you're saying "it doesn't pay to be a nice guy sometimes." That is just plain TRUE!

Good luck with everything, Jim.

Mamacita said...

Oh Jim, my precious, have you checked out the pro bono family law guys?

I am heartsick. And I hate this helpless feeling.

landismom said...

I'm with Melina & Mamacita--check out whatever legal services you have locally.

And that fucking sucks. I hate it when the state does something this stupid.

Teri said...

Oh man, Jim, that just fucking sucks. I hope you can find a pro bono lawyer. Maybe the judge will have some common sense? I hope it all works out for you. Good luck.

Silly Old Bear said...

Can't you hold up a calculator and ask them where the fuck they go from $7,000 a year to over $1,000 a day? Hello? Even a child can figure out that they are missing a step in there.

Good thing they aren't in the medical profession, and trying to figure out dosages or something.

Silly Old Bear said...

Okay, it's "after Thursday" on my watch. How are you? What's up?

Anne said...


I had disturbing dreams all night Jim-check in and say "hey" if you can!

panthergirl said...

Holy shit.... and what's with oberon's comment "too funny"?? I don't think this is a joke, unless I'm really missing something here.

I will continue to check back. Hope all is ok.

Glitzy said...

Sorry to hear that you've had to go through this. Hope it all works out in your favor

Chuck said...

Hi Jim -- I know this is way late, but I wanted to add my voice, and not just my thoughts, to the well-wishes for you.

To quote lots of people in the thread above me who seem to have mastered being succinct: Dude, that fucking sucks. I hope you can get everything worked out. My best to you and your family.