Ex-Wife: How much should I help?

GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
edited August 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
So this is a really weighty situation for me right now. I know I've posted in here about my depression before, and dealing with the end of my marriage. This is really more about the aftermath. Specifically, how much help should I give my ex-wife?

For some background, I pay her ~1200 a month in child and spousal support (I make good money, she does not). She has live-in custody of our daughter, but I have full parental rights and can see her whenever I want. No weird supervised custody or anything, just not full 50/50 joint. My ex wife is with her boyfriend, the guy she cheated on me with for a year, and has basically tried to cut off non-essential communication with me because her new boyfriend is apparently jealous of her ex-husband (trust me, the irony of that last statement is not lost on me, at all).

Then today I get the call: Car's broken down, can't pay rent, had to pay 700 bucks to the mechanic, etc. etc. There was no explicit asking for help, but someone who is trying not to talk to you doesn't call and complain about money issues if they aren't implying they need your help.

On the one hand, my protector/provider gland wants to help, because my daughter is involved. On the other hand, I feel like she should at some point have to sleep in the bed she made. It's not my fault she didn't maintain the car up to the standards I did, and decided to leave me for another man and leave a large chunk of her income behind.

So far I've only offered to change around my order of payment for this month (normally I pay her the large part of the monthly sum near her rent check, as that's easier for her), so that she gets the lump sum earlier and can pay down the car bills and her rent. I have offered no other assistance.

Am I right to offer only a bear minimum of assistance, or am I being vindictive? I don't feel like I should be obligated to help, given everything that's happened...but I can't help myself from feeling a twinge of guilt for not offering more help (when I have the means to provide it). I don't want to be vindictive, but I don't want to be "that ex-husband" who is a crutch for his ex-wife who walks all over him.

This is quite the moral dilemma for me, and gets back down to my issues of replacement and my "role" as a provider being stripped away (and yes, my therapist and I have talked about that issue of mine).

Sagroth wrote: »
Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
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  • Al_watAl_wat Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Personally I think this:
    So far I've only offered to change around my order of payment for this month (normally I pay her the large part of the monthly sum near her rent check, as that's easier for her), so that she gets the lump sum earlier and can pay down the car bills and her rent. I have offered no other assistance.

    is a good idea. You are trying to help out, which is admirable, but at the same time you are trying to be fair to yourself. The whole child aspect makes it really complicated like you said. If it weren't for that I would say fuck them, cut all contact.


    edit: and I would say that no, you are not being vindictive. It is not your responsibility to fix everyone's problems for them. Other people may have different opinions, I'm not sure.

    Al_wat on
    admanbCambiataEffefbowenFandyienErin The Redspool32
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    Al_wat wrote: »
    Personally I think this:
    So far I've only offered to change around my order of payment for this month (normally I pay her the large part of the monthly sum near her rent check, as that's easier for her), so that she gets the lump sum earlier and can pay down the car bills and her rent. I have offered no other assistance.

    is a good idea. You are trying to help out, which is admirable, but at the same time you are trying to be fair to yourself. The whole child aspect makes it really complicated like you said. If it weren't for that I would say fuck them, cut all contact.

    Of course. If my daughter wasn't part of the equation, I would tell her that her problems were her problems...but that car is my daughters transportation as well, and not being able to pay the rent for the place my daughter stays is worrying as well.

    I think I'll stick to my current offer of help, and if shit really hits the fan, I'll do what I need to do for my daughter. My fist option would be to take my daughter in and let her live with me, before I just paid my ex-wife's rent. Does that sound reasonable or is that also vindictive of me?

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    I agree with Al_wat. Re-arranging the payments seems like basic human decency, but any extra assistance is not your responsibility and would put extra ties on your relationship that neither of you need right now. If she needs a loan she should get it from friends or family.

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    You're not being vindictive. She needs to understand that if she cannot make a habitable environment for your child with your spousal/child support then she needs to give up custody to you. Or she needs to make more money. Or her boyfriend should step up.

    Sorry that you're in this terrible situation.

    Djeet on
    Zombiemambo
  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    I think I'll stick to my current offer of help, and if shit really hits the fan, I'll do what I need to do for my daughter. My first option would be to take my daughter in and let her live with me, before I just paid my ex-wife's rent. Does that sound reasonable or is that also vindictive of me?

    That's not vindictive at all. If you give your wife $1200 a month and her income combined with her boyfriends isn't enough to provide for themselves and/or your daughter then your daughter is your first priority and you should get ready to lawyer up.

    What happens when your wife marries the boyfriend (if she does) and you're not obligated to pay her anymore and then they can't make the rent? Is she going to take from the money you're paying in child support to your daughter at that point? (that's not me calling her out, I don't know what kind of person she is, so please don't think I'm doing that)

    You did right offering to give her the large chunk of cash up front and reschedule the payments. Anything past that and you need to be focused on making sure your daughter is in the right environment and letting your ex wife deal with her own problems.


    Arch wrote: »

    I never expected this burn from captain bushmeat
  • RocketSauceRocketSauce Registered User regular
    Sounds like a problem the boyfriend should help with. Or her family and friends. Or local charities.

    If she can't afford to cover basic living conditions, then yeah, have your daughter live with you until she can get back on her feet.

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    Well, let me say this: Money and cheating issues aside, my ex-wife is an excellent mother. She does't neglect, and she WILL do what she needs to do to take care of our daughter. She has her flaws, and we have our issues, but as a mother, she is top notch (I'm not attacking what you were saying amateur, just clearing that up).

    Also, she doesn't live with her new boyfriend, because I raised a royal shit storm about my soon-to-be four year old daughter living with a strange man my ex has known for barely a year.

    That said, I think I am going to stand pat for now. I feel better know others don't see it as me being vindictive. I'm really just trying to be the better person, and make sure my daughter is taken care of 100%.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    This will come off unvarnished, and you've a lot more invested in this, but if you cannot keep your vehicle serviceable (and assuming public transportation or employment demands are such that a reliably running vehicle is necessary to earn), and you're getting $1200/month in spousal support, then not being able to both pay rent and keep your vehicle running IS neglect. Maybe not legally. You could call it incompetence, but you have a kid. You get it. Kid's always going to have a roof over their head, food to eat, and be able to go to school, and you'll make sure of that. She should do the same.

    Granted, it's a bit more nuanced as her getting you to address issues due to her neglect (of the car servicing, or having a car maintenance fund) is "taking care of business" as it were.

    naporeon
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    Well, to be fair to her: She went from my six figure a year salary to my 1200 a month spousal being more than she actually makes at her job. I can forgive her the time to adjust to things financially. When you go from having access to your ex-husbands money at any time, to not, I can see how that is hard to adjust to.

    If it's still happening a year or two from now, I'll be much less forgiving of it.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • RocketSauceRocketSauce Registered User regular
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    Well, to be fair to her: She went from my six figure a year salary to my 1200 a month spousal being more than she actually makes at her job. I can forgive her the time to adjust to things financially. When you go from having access to your ex-husbands money at any time, to not, I can see how that is hard to adjust to.

    If it's still happening a year or two from now, I'll be much less forgiving of it.

    Sure it's hard to adjust to, but from what you say, it's her own fault. That's not vindictive, it's just the situation she created for herself.

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Oh, I don't disagree. It's her bed, she should lay in it...but I won't begrudge her needing to adjust to her new financial reality. Our marriage only officially ended in May, so we aren't talking years to get her shit together here.

    GnomeTank on
    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • Pure DinPure Din Boston-areaRegistered User regular
    edited August 2012
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    Oh, I don't disagree. It's her bed, she should lay in it...but I won't begrudge her needing to adjust to her new financial reality. Our marriage only officially ended in May, so we aren't talking years to get her shit together here.

    (edit: sorry I hit the reply button while still typing)

    If you're seriously ok with giving your ex more time to transition, I think giving the money for the sake of your daughter is an honorable thing to do. You can revisit this in a year or two when things are more settled, but it seems like you can afford the money and it would be worth it at this age to keep your daughter's living situation as stable and predictable as possible.

    Pure Din on
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    Yes, I'm seriously

    (Did you prematurely post?)

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    Pure Din wrote: »
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    Oh, I don't disagree. It's her bed, she should lay in it...but I won't begrudge her needing to adjust to her new financial reality. Our marriage only officially ended in May, so we aren't talking years to get her shit together here.

    (edit: sorry I hit the reply button while still typing)

    If you're seriously ok with giving your ex more time to transition, I think giving the money for the sake of your daughter is an honorable thing to do. You can revisit this in a year or two when things are more settled, but it seems like you can afford the money and it would be worth it at this age to keep your daughter's living situation as stable and predictable as possible.

    No, I'm not okay with it, given the circumstances. I'm understanding of her need to transition, but I'm not okay with her not speaking to me for weeks, then calling when she needs a quick cash infusion.

    If it came right down to it, and she absolutely needed the money to pay rent, I would probably bend...but I won't offer it. Call it pride, but I feel if that's the situation she's in, she should ask. My initial question was more: If she asks, am I dick if I say no?

    I still don't know what my answer would be right this very second.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • Pure DinPure Din Boston-areaRegistered User regular
    Yeah I'm sorry, on a new computer and still trying to work out the shortcuts and stuff >_<

  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Think of it more as, "Daughter: How much should I help?"

    darkmayoSeguer
  • krushkrush Registered User regular
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    Well, to be fair to her: She went from my six figure a year salary to my 1200 a month spousal being more than she actually makes at her job. I can forgive her the time to adjust to things financially. When you go from having access to your ex-husbands money at any time, to not, I can see how that is hard to adjust to.

    If it's still happening a year or two from now, I'll be much less forgiving of it.

    While true, you have to wonder who's at fault for it in the first place. This simply wouldn't be the case if she hadn't cheated on you, right?

    She has a new boyfriend that she left you for in the first place, surely he can provide for her. Maybe stress that point.

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    If placed in this situation I'd bend too. I'd cut a check directly to the mechanic or the landlord, yeah money's fungible and all.

    I'd also put her on notice that she needs to get her shit together and maybe this wouldn't be so difficult for all parties involved if she had better communication with you.

  • RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    You're paying her spousal and child support, I'd say you have a reasonable concern to make sure the money you're giving is being used wisely. Offer to help her with her budget or refer her to someone, see if she can trim some expenses in optional things like Cable/Internet, maybe a reduced cell plan.

    Other than that, maybe have your daughter on the weekends and free up your ex to supplement her income with more shifts at her current job or an additional job.

    Raneados wrote: »
    so what SPECIFICALLY is the problem with my hole?
  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    krush wrote: »
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    Well, to be fair to her: She went from my six figure a year salary to my 1200 a month spousal being more than she actually makes at her job. I can forgive her the time to adjust to things financially. When you go from having access to your ex-husbands money at any time, to not, I can see how that is hard to adjust to.

    If it's still happening a year or two from now, I'll be much less forgiving of it.

    She has a new boyfriend that she left you for in the first place, surely he can provide for her. Maybe stress that point.

    If that happens, then you have boyfriend moving in, which Gnome is definitely not into.

  • NewtronNewtron Registered User regular
    I certainly think you're doing the right thing in this case. Most guys (even with the daughter involved) I know woulda said "No way!". Having vindictive emotions is normal, so long as you get a grip on those emotions and don't let it control you (which you don't seem to be! Good for you!).

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    Yeah, I am not okay with the boyfriend moving in with my daughter right now. I know I can't fight it forever, at some point the ex can live with who she wants...but I am exerting some will over that for the time being.

    Things seem okay right now. She's appreciative of what I am doing, and isn't asking for more help. Apparently the boyfriend loaned her some money, so that's good.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Ruckus wrote: »
    You're paying her spousal and child support, I'd say you have a reasonable concern to make sure the money you're giving is being used wisely. Offer to help her with her budget or refer her to someone, see if she can trim some expenses in optional things like Cable/Internet, maybe a reduced cell plan.

    Other than that, maybe have your daughter on the weekends and free up your ex to supplement her income with more shifts at her current job or an additional job.

    Believe it or not, legally, I have zero say. In fact, the court papers tell you up front you have no say over the money, and the fact that it should "only be spent on the child" is a legal fallacy. She is technically allowed to spend that money on what she deems necessary, provided my daughter isn't being neglected. It sounds callous, but I guess legally it is what it is...I have zero input over that money, even if I have concern (which I actually don't at this time, I don't think my ex is blowing the money, I think she found herself in a tight spot she didn't plan for).

    GnomeTank on
    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • NotYouNotYou Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    She needs to plan her spending better if that's all it takes to make her run out of cash.

    I think you should help if you want to help, and if you don't want to, you don't need too feel bad about it. If your ex can't take care of herself and her daughter financially, then you'll just have to step up and take care of your daughter. That doesn't mean you have to take care of her. If you decide not to help and she comes to you begging for more money, just offer to let your kid live with you.

    NotYou on
  • WildEEPWildEEP Registered User regular
    You've already said yourself that you don't have any say so over where the money goes.
    DO NOT give more money. You have been agreeable and are paying early. Stop there.
    The trust you two had is gone..she cheated for how long? kept it secret for how long? Lied how many times? . . and you think she wont lie to you to score a few hundred bucks?

    If you want to support your daughter more, then the answer to that goes like this, "If you can't take care of her for X time while you get the car fixed, your life together, etc." then she can come live with me - I'm her father.

    Then you can spend all the money you want on your little girl.

  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    If you feel guilty, put the $700 in your daughters college fund.

    Let your ex get her own mess sorted.

    CambiataToxZombiemamboCaptain Eleven
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    I think your idea was good and you did the right thing.

    I also like Deebaser's idea.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • XobyteXobyte Registered User regular
    I agree, you're not coming across as vindictive at all. Considering what you've described, even if it is only your side of the story, you're coming across as extremely level headed and fair. Your plan thus far sounds like the best course of action, and if she needs extra money then she can ask for the help. And if she does, and you're inclined to provide the extra support, I say follow Djeet's suggestion and pay the mechanic directly.

    Esseetapeslinger
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    Xobyte wrote: »
    And if she does, and you're inclined to provide the extra support, I say follow Djeet's suggestion and pay the mechanic directly.

    Yeah, or pay something for your daughter directly (books/clothes) so the mother can use that money towards the car. Maybe taker her shopping and get some needed items. I'd still be cautious because that's still helping the mother, which I would not want to do.

    Echo wrote: »
    Something working on the first try is a source of great suspicion.
  • superhappypandasuperhappypanda Zug Island Sport Fishing SeattleRegistered User regular
    Well, I don't think you're being vindictive. And what you said about rearranging payments seems perfectly sensible. What others have said about having your daughter live with you if your ex and her boyfriend can't make ends meet I agree with as well. If it comes to a point where you want full custody then I'd say lawyer up.

    With that being said, I'll add that I helped my ex out about four months ago on some debt issues she had after she moved out. In the end I regretted helping out as she had gotten herself into the situation on her own and I tend to be a nice guy and try to help out folks I care about, in the end I felt like my kindness had been taken advantage of. I commend you for standing your ground. It's her problems, she's not yours to worry about and take care of (although your daughter getting caught up in the mix does complicate things). I can totally understand still having those protective feelings if that's what you had, it comes with being a good provider, which most stand up dudes tend to be.

    In a nutshell, I don't think you've done anything wrong and I actually commend you for the payment rearranging without either being a dick or a chump (which is how I felt after helping my ex).

  • superhappypandasuperhappypanda Zug Island Sport Fishing SeattleRegistered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Double post.

    superhappypanda on
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    MichaelLC wrote: »
    Xobyte wrote: »
    And if she does, and you're inclined to provide the extra support, I say follow Djeet's suggestion and pay the mechanic directly.

    Yeah, or pay something for your daughter directly (books/clothes) so the mother can use that money towards the car. Maybe taker her shopping and get some needed items. I'd still be cautious because that's still helping the mother, which I would not want to do.

    I actually do this already. When she needs clothes or shoes or whatever, I tend to buy them over and above my payments. Not always, her mother buys what she can.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I have no doubts your ex-wife is a great mother. I am cautiously suggesting you do nothing but keep extending to rearrange payments so she can afford to fix her car and rent.

    Sure we can all harp on things like "gee she should've planned better" but you duders know that car repairs can seriously fuck people up who aren't making gobs of money. $1200 a month in child support is not gobs of money. (that's rent + utilities + maybe food)

    Gnome, man, you are not vindictive or an asshole at all about this. Keep doing what you're doing, don't offer to pay anything else for her. They are not your problems and if your daughter's well being comes into play at some level because of the car and rent, offer to take care of her until she can get back on her feet.

    That's all you really need to do, and don't let anyone guild trip you otherwise.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
    mysticjuicer
  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    Gnome, I did want to ask one thing, and forgive me if it's out of place or just incorrect, but is there any chance you could get boned legally and have the court decide you need to pay her more money if you offer to help?

    I only ask because my parents split when I was 15 so I was old enough to remember the brutal court bullshit they had to go through when my mom royally screwed my dad over, and I remember most of the money he gave her going toward buying new furniture for the house she got to keep.

    (they were both at fault in that divorce, but initially he was the one getting screwed financially)

    I guess my question is if you help her, can it legally come back to bite you in the ass down the road?


    Arch wrote: »

    I never expected this burn from captain bushmeat
    tapeslinger
  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    that is a good point amateurhour. Gnome you might want to check with a lawyer, just to make sure your bases are covered.

  • WildEEPWildEEP Registered User regular
    Crap - I totally forgot about this. If you increase the monthly allocation, then it may be construed as additional support - and may be able to be wrangled out of you in court - so that its the new minimum.
    I'm not saying you can't do it, just pay it in cash. That way there is no direct financial record and you can always say it didn't happen.

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    I'm not increasing anything. I am shifting the payments around. The amount I pay her for the month of September will stay the same, but the bigger payment will come earlier in the month rather than later.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    Yeah, we got that, I was just saying like in the future, if this happens again, be careful about just caving and giving her more money without talking to your attorney first. That's all.


    Arch wrote: »

    I never expected this burn from captain bushmeat
  • Chases Street DemonsChases Street Demons Registered User regular
    Good on you Gnome, it's gotta be tough to go through everything. It's charitable of you to help out with rearranging the payment, and honorable to want to pitch in and do more, but like the others here I'm glad you drew the line there.

    I think it's important to keep the line of demarcation strong. You're 100% in for your daughter's needs but you should remain 100% out for ex-wife's. Like you said there's no reason to believe she's wasting the support money so it's wisest to let sleeping dogs lie as far as offering more support. You are now only legally bound for monetary support, not the emotional relief of knowing that you are a fallback for her to rely on.

    If I may ask a personal question, what is the duration of the spousal support arrangement? I know that child support goes until the child is 18, but I was wondering if spousal support was subject to different standards. Does she lose that spousal support section of your check if she remarries?

    Feel free to answer in PM if necessary, thanks!

    "Sometimes things aren't complicated," I said. "You just have to be willing to accept the absolute corruption of everybody involved."

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    We were only married five years, so she only gets spousal for a year. If she remarries, she loses it immediately. The spousal is really a pittance though, especially since I paid her half of the total spousal owed as a lump sum as part of the divorce. Gave her money to get going on and lowered my monthly payout. The bulk of the money is child support.

    GnomeTank on
    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
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