I can use some advice from those whoíve been there, done that. Hereís my situation:
I married my wife about five years ago. Sheís divorced with two kids. This is my first marriage and I have no kids. We have custody of the children and her ex is nearby. He has them every other weekend.
During the first year or so of our marriage, wifeís ex paid his child support in full and on time for the most part. Then he lost his job and stopped paying or paid very little for over a year until he found a new job. Since his new job and for the past couple of years, he hasnít been paying the amount he used to pay before he lost his job. He has been paying steadily though. My wife claims that sheís been on him, but he claims he cannot afford more than what he gives. According to my wife, during the most recent conversation she had with her ex, he told her the more she pushes him regarding child support payments, the more he considers disappearing or killing himself.
Meanwhile, my income and my wifeís income hasnít increased much at all since we first got married, although the cost of raising two kids (both girls now twelve and fifteen years old) has increased significantly. Orthodontia for both, clothing, extracurricular activities, etc., etc. And here I am, trying to find another job to supplement our income, trying to create a detailed household budget, and trying to figure out how to adjust my already simple lifestyle and cut back on my own personal expenses so our checking account stops going below zero month after month after month. Weíve got no savings, no emergency fund, and not much invested for retirement. Resentment is building.
My wife is easy going and non-confrontational. She hasnít kept records of what her ex was supposed to be paying based on whatever salary heís been earning. She hasnít kept records of the kidsí health care expenses not covered by insurance, which her ex was supposed to contribute equally to. Iím starting to feel like both my wife and her ex are taking advantage of me and itís got to stop. So now Iím studying her marital settlement agreement and learning about child support laws. More resentmentÖ Why the hell is it my responsibility to determine and enforce the terms of her divorce?
Our kitchen is practically falling apart, major appliances are dying, bathroom falling apart too. Wife and I agree we need to sink money into our house, but we canít save a dime. I do not want to be a slave to debt, so I donít want to borrow a lot to get the much needed work done. At the same time, wife buys kids a new computer on credit, gets a more expensive cell phone account and an extra phone for the teen, sends other kid to private gymnastic lessons, and repeatedly talks about how we need to replace her ten year old car.
Iím reaching out here because I really donít have anyone else to talk to about these things.