Monday, January 28, 2008

Talking Nice

My ex owes a lot in back child support. For the first two years following our seperation he refused to pay any support even though the judge in our divorce determined that he would be responsible for child support. When the county finally caught up with him he had severe arrears. So much that they suspended his driver's license and he can't get a passport or take out a student loan. If he has a tax refund theoretically it is to be applied to child support. Of course he owes back taxes as well so the IRS gets the refund but I digress.

Because he owes back child support and does not want it reported on his credit report anymore, my ex and I have been trying to come up with a way to repay the debt. He does not have the cash so all he can do is give me labor. He is a contractor and I recently moved to a new (old) home that needs some repairs. We have been working on this idea for about six months. Meaning he wants a contract that states what work he will do in exchange for me removing or forgiving the arrears. We set forth a contract last November. The work has yet to begin.

There is always some excuse for why he can't get over here to fix the garage door or replace my sump pump. He has been making excuses for the last six weeks and I finally gave up. I told him that I was going to hire someone to come in and fix the problems since he was not able to do it himself. He went ballistic. Why can't I wait? Why do I need everything right now? Why am I so demanding. And those are the nicer things. So he had his attorney send me a letter asking if we could resolve this. He was now willing to start the work in two weeks. Mind you he has been laid off since before Christmas and is likely to get called back in the next month if not sooner.

I told his attorney I was not interested anymore in trying to work with him on resolving his problem. It wasn't worth the bickering to me. I don't appreciate being yelled at and I don't appreciate him yelling at me in front of our daughter.

This is not the end of this matter. Eventually he will have to do something to pay off this debt. I would prefer he just pay the amount owed but I understand that he isn't likely to have that kind of cash at any time in his life so I realize if I want to collect on this debt I will have to take what he is offering.

The thing is, he needs this more than I do. It is affecting him in ways that hurt him financially. He can't buy a house or get a credit card. He can't leave the country to go to even Canada or Mexico. So if this is so important to him why is he acting like he is doing me a favor? If you want something from someone doesn't it behoove the person to ask as nicely as possible? His attorney keeps sending me letters about what he intends to do. So far he has not intended to apologize for being such a jerk to begin with. I don't know what he is paying his attorney but it seems to me a sincere "I'm sorry" would be far more cost effective.

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