I’m not referring to the 4th of July. American freedoms are a farce but that’s a whole different topic.
What I’m talking about is my hope that come the year 2021, I’ll no longer have Clyde to contend with, but now that’s in jeopardy… well, sort of.
Every three years, something terrifying happens. Our child support gets modified.
For most folks, it’s just standard procedure. No big deal. You turn over your financials and a new support amount is stamped, but for us, it’s a one-year circus of battling it out in court, even when everyone knows what the end result will end up being.
Happy Boy is developmentally disabled so the odds are that he’ll be living with me and/or his sister (Sweet Girl) for the rest of his life, which neither of us mind one bit; however, Clyde doesn’t want the language put in our order that talks about our son’s disability or him being in school beyond the age of majority. He wants support to end when our son turns 18, but that’s not what the law says.
Clyde wants support for Happy Boy to be put into a trust, but he does this with limited understanding of support and probate laws. The court that has jurisdiction over our child support order has no jurisdiction over Happy Boy once he’s turns 18. This leads to the question of Clyde coming to our jurisdiction to file for guardianship of Happy Boy in four years.
Luckily, I live in a state which doesn’t like placing people under guardianship unless absolutely necessary. Our legislature wants people with disabilities to have as much independence as possible, but that doesn’t stop Clyde from initiating another lengthy court battle.
Hopefully, Clyde will just go away once he realizes litigation will need to be done in our state, in addition to the cost and amount of work that will be required to get the required medical evaluations done.
In some ways, I can understand it. If roles were switched, I wouldn’t want to be paying Clyde for any longer than absolutely necessary; however, if Clyde were a caring parent, I’d feel differently. I’d be grateful if someone was taking good care of Happy Boy and gave me a break from around-the-clock care giving, which can take an emotional toll after a while.
After all, I take care of all of our kids’ expenses. I work full-time and still manage to shuffle the kids to and from school/college and medical appointments. Everything we do, from a night at the movies to family vacations, takes special planning and preparation due to Happy Boy’s needs.
There are lots of doctor’s appointments and evaluations I have to take time off of work for. The amount of paperwork and record-keeping that’s involved is beyond annoying. I have to fight with school districts about the level of education being provided because a lot of districts really don’t care about kids with special needs. They write these kids off (we’re fortunate that Sweet Girl is wicked smart and totally gets Happy Boy so she’s a wonderful tutor).
I also give up a lot of personal time. I can’t go out with friends on weekends or take road trips because babysitters are for little kids, not teenagers with disabilities. Luckily, Sweet Girl still regularly helps out there, too, so I do get about one night off a month.
The silver lining is that I’m an introvert so parties and concerts really don’t appeal to me in the first place. I absolutely love doing and seeing things with my kiddos. I prefer their company to most adults.
I mean so far, Clyde’s getting most of what he wants out of life: the bachelor life. He essentially pays child support in order to have the freedom to do whatever he wants without being responsible for anyone else. He can go drink until he’s blue in the face, which appears to be his favorite past-time. He gets to go to parties and concerts. He can travel. He really has no worries aside from dealing with Blah-Blah’s emotional outbursts, but even then, he can (and likely does) just walk away.
Clyde does have the financial and physical ability to come visit Happy Boy or even fly Happy Boy out to see him. Yet, he’s never done it. The only times he’s seen Happy Boy are when someone else arranges and pays for it. Clyde spends his money and time on computer and video games instead.
I am very aware that Clyde doesn’t want responsibility of taking care of Happy Boy, but I’m also very aware that Clyde doesn’t want me to enjoy life. The minute it looks like I have the upper hand, all hell will break loose.
This means Clyde’s going to be REALLY unhappy when he figures out he still has to pay support but our custody order is no longer applicable. Basically, Clyde will be paying support without the joys of making me pay for Happy Boy’s visitation. For Clyde, the only point to paying child support is to keep a hand in controlling my life. I’m worried about what will happen when that control is gone.
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