A little background.
My ex-wife and I have a son, who is in high school. We divorced when he was 6. We have joint custody (50/50). I pay 100% for my son’s financial needs. My ex does not work and hasn’t since before our son was born. She remarried about 2 years after the divorce. We don’t have the best of relationships and most of our tension comes from her trying to dictate parenting rules or over money.
The state we live in uses a formula to calculate child support based upon income of the parents and the amount custody time between the parents. At the time of the divorce, I agreed to an amount of child support equal to double the amount required by the state. I did this as I was feeling altruistic and wanted no one to ever feel like I wasn’t doing what was right by my son. At the time, my attorney advised me that I should just agree to the amount stipulated by the state, but I agreed to pay double. Under the terms of our custody arrangements, all expenses for our son were to be split evenly 50/50.
Fast forward several years, and I discovered that my ex was not paying for her share of my son’s private school tuition (8 months behind). I called her and asked her why she hadn’t been making tuition payments and she threw out that she had been having medical problems, her husband’s mother was also having medical problems, that they had made some stupid financial decisions, and didn’t have the money. I told her that I sympathized with her, but the money she received from me in the form of child support was to be used for the expenses of our son, not on these other items. The resulted in all kinds of cursing and yelling. Long story short, I took her back to court and successfully had the child support reduced to the statutory amount.
The following year, she advised me that she could not afford to pay her share of our son’s tuition, and that he may need to go to public school. I offered to pay the full tuition. I would rather do it this way than give her the money and it not end up being spent on what it was intended for.
So this brings me to my current issue, which really pales in comparison to the preceeding paragraphs. In the past year I purchased a laptop for my son to use for school and personal use. He normally keeps it at my house. Doesn’t normally take it to school, but has permission to take it to school and to his mom’s house if he’s working on a paper for school or something like that.
So recently, on a Saturday morning, he is being picked up by his mom, and he comes back inside telling me that he forgot something. He heads toward the front door carrying his laptop. I ask him what he needed it for, as he had finished all of his homework the night before. He reluctantly tells me that his mom reminded him that she needs it so that she and her husband can finish filing their taxes. I don’t say anything then, but I am pissed. Their current computer is fried due to multiple viruses on it. If something were to happen to his computer while they were using it they would not take responsibility for it.
So would this frustrate you or do you think I’m overreacting?
When I buy him a car in a year or so, I have visions of them constantly asking to borrow it because their piece of shit beaters are broken down. I do feel sorry for them, but financially they have put themselves into huge mess. When my son turns 18 in 3 years, and the child support spicket is turned off, they are going to see about 30% - 40% decrease in their household income.