Dear Emma, WTF?!
My kids received child support from their dad for six months — three years ago. He is now in contempt of court and $30,000 in arrears. I’ve been to court three times this year, and have another date scheduled. I don’t have to go at this point, of course, but I do. I feel that I am the only advocate for my kids so I go for them. At what point do you just let it go? It’s exhausting. I’ve taken off so much time from work. I’ve tried to talk to him. He does whatever he can to hide from from his responsibilities as a dad, and we fight about it constantly.
This is a great question, and I’m glad you asked it. Yes, your ex morally and legally owes the kids and you that money. He’s not paying it now, and he probably won’t pay it in the future. Perhaps in your state you can punish him via loss of driver’s license, or even jail. Before you research that, I want you to do some simple math:
Write down …
How many hours you have spent chasing down that money?
How much time have you taken off work to drive to, and spend time in court and your lawyer’s to deal with this?
How much did those trips cost you in gas? Time away from work?
How many hours have you spent complaining about this issue to your friends and family? On mom boards?
How many hours have you spent arguing with him about this? How many hours have you spent arguing with him in your mind?
Now, how much ENERGY did you spend being so angry at him for being such an ass? Regretting choosing him as a father? Feeling sorry your kids don’t have a better role model?
Now, add it all up. How did those hours and watts of negative energy impact the rest of your life? Take away from your ability to enjoy your kids? Thrive at work? Relax during your free time?
Now, if you were to redirect that energy into earning and building your career and wealth, how much could you earn? A shit-ton more than $30,000. The sky is the limit to earning!
So, you do what you can. File what you need in court, and let them do what they will (which is probably a whole lot of nothing). You did your part to hold your kids’ dad accountable to them. Now you let it go, because you can’t control him.
You can control your own actions, time and energy. Focus on EARNING. BIG EARNING. Building a life you and your kids enjoy and are proud of. That is resilience, and that is about as fantastic of a role model as your kids could ever have.
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