About 13 or 14 years ago I was invited to a woman’s home to hear about an investment opportunity that the homeowner-“friend” was pitching. Initially my thoughts were that the opportunity sounded intriguing and although skeptical, I wanted to hear more. I asked a lot of questions during the pitch and apparently it must have irritated her to some degree. I tend to do that – ask a lot of questions and my need to know has caused problems for me throughout the years. It got me kicked out of voice lessons when I was 19 because the vocal instructor told me that I “shouldn’t be asking questions” and that I “should just do what he tells me to do.” It got me into trouble in 8th grade with the Nuns at my Catholic School because I was told to stop asking questions and just “believe” and have “faith.” But asking questions is also what has taught me to be a great advocate for myself, my family and others. I have always been one to drill down when there are unanswered questions, when answers provided don’t pass the smell test and when there is a need to get to the root cause of a problem. When answers seem inconclusive or the accounting seems that it needs to be further analyzed, such as in a case of back child support collection, my Spidey senses start tingling and if something doesn’t make sense, I drill down until I find the answers and the proofs.
Having annoyed my host by having the audacity to ask questions about her product, I guess that she thought that she would take some personal swipes at me. Knowing my line of work and that I had a personal experience with child support collection, she set in. “Oh, I don’t know any women who don’t need child support that goes after it.” Emphasis on the word neeeed. “If you make enough money on your own then child support becomes a non-issue”. (As if) The sad reality though is that she was saying out-loud what a lot of people think but never say. If you go to court, you must be poor and need child support. If you stoop to garnishing wages of the non-payor, you must really need child support. If you insist that the other parent financially support his child and take steps to ensure that, then you must be desperate for child support, you must really need the money and you might even be a golddigger. Get a job, take care of your own kids and leave the other parent alone. It is these thoughts that allow the non-payors to avoid their responsibilities to their children and the parent who is raising them. These thoughts permeate our society, degrade women and support behaviors that allow men to avoid paying their child support. Needing child support payments from the other parent is not shameful whether it is because you are poor or because you don’t want to go broke raising your children on your own when the other parent is not contributing. Of course my host used that as a jump-off point as to why everyone should be investing in her opportunity- because then after all, moms wouldn’t need that pesky child support money anymore.
Self-sufficiency and the pursuit of child support are not mutually exclusive. You can have all of the money in the world and you still have a right to all of the back child support that is owed to you. If the other parent is not making support payments or if they are not paying their full share, then the parent who is raising the kids must take out of their own pocket to make up for the difference. The needs of the kids do not change simply because one parent is not financially providing. If you pay their share then that money is owed back to you. Over time that can amount to tens of thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars. Who else would you allow to get away with owing you $50k, $75k, or $100k and not ask for it back? Would a lending institution ever give you that money and not ask for repayment? We need to make better financial choices for ourselves and that includes holding our ex’s accountable for their share.
Our children benefit in the end because the less that we are taking out of our pockets now, the more that we will have for them later. That could be in the form of tutoring sessions, summers in Europe, dance or sports camps, and let’s not forget how much college costs these days. Other benefits might be simply paying your bills on time and not passing that stress onto your children or having the ability to take your kids out for an ice-cream cone without worrying whether you will have bus fare to get to work the next day.
We should all think about our reasons of why these large amounts of money might be important to us and to our children. Unless we know what motivates us, it’s very easy to push it aside and try not to think about it. It’s not about revenge and it’s not about being bitter and wanting an ex back, it’s about caring for and supporting our children. I know what motivates me. What motivates you?
Wishing you collections,
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