I am always so grateful for tentative decisions (a decision based on papers submitted with motions that can be passed as an Order of the Court if the parties accept it). It helps me get an idea of where the judge is on things. I called my mom tonight after reading a tentative decision that came from the law clerk in our family court judge’s office this afternoon. I decided, at the wise advice of my husband, not to read it until Liam went to bed. I called my mom with good news, or so I thought.
In the first paragraph, she calls for suspension of license, passport privileges, and a bench warrant if XN misses two support payments. That felt really good. According to the tentative he doesn’t owe me anything for extracurriculars if I can’t prove I conferred with him prior. So I guess I’ll be paying for Liam’s dance on my own until the end of time, which doesn’t seem so bad except that we have been ordered to continue co-parenting therapy at $125 a pop. I can think of better ways to spend what little money I make than by being re-abused by my ex-husband in what is supposed to be a therapeutic setting.
But then my mom pointed out something to me that I, we, had initially laughed at. XN has repeatedly asked for a reduction in his child support obligations which stand at $305 a week, roughly the same amount he spends each week on ownership and operation of his $75,000 luxury vehicle. I laughed because the judge did reduce it…by $4. Except, no. In the tentative decision, his obligation has been lowered to $75.25 a week.
$301/month to be paid in the amount of $150.50 on the first and fifteenth of each month. I’m sorry? What? I read it $301/week initially. Opposing counsel asked for a reduction to $150 a week and are getting a 50% reduction BEYOND that?! How is this possibly right? A man who lives without housing expense on a multi-million-dollar property, spends nearly $1,200 a month on a luxury vehicle, and who denied me the right to move out of New Jersey into an area with a lower cost of living. My unemployed father was supposed to pay about the same amount of money in child support in the ’80s.
I am befuddled and scared. Yes, because I don’t know what else to cut out of our thin budget with $1,000 a month less to go around. But I am more scared because this will give a diagnosed narcissist all the fuel he needs to deem me wrong and him superior on every level. All he has cared about since day 1 is money and that is the one place that the judge has mostly held him accountable. I can only imagine how much more difficult dealing with him will become after this one if it holds. I pray it is a typo, that the clerk misinterpreted the judge’s numbers and it is actually supposed to be $301 a week since support is calculated on a weekly basis.
For now, I am completely deflated. How do I tell my little boy that he can no longer go to dance class? How do I live with that knowing that it is one of the things keeping his father’s influence away from him? How do I find a full-time job and abandon a job I love that gives me the flexibility to be a good wife and mother? How do I live with not being able to ever see my little boy when he is gone every weekend with his fuckwad father and I don’t get home from work until after dinner every night? How do I tell my son, “no kiddo, I’m sorry, we can’t afford to go see Grandma and Grandpa or your cousins” and then live with the fact that his father’s selfish, materialistic family is the only family he will grow up knowing? How do I go back into that therapist’s office every week and hear the man who tried to destroy me years freely call me crazy, tell me repeatedly that I am “a bad person”, and that I am brainwashing my son? How do I…?