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So Grateful – Short Term Loss of Income

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There has been a change in my expected income for the foreseeable future. I certainly hope it’s for the short term, but to be honest, all it’s led to is a flooding of gratefulness.

Yesterday afternoon, my ex-husband called me and simply asked…”Will you be able to get my babies (our two kids) something for Christmas?” I knew where he was coming from, I knew he was struggling financially. And upon my assurance that our kids are well taken care of and want for nothing, he broke down in tears.

For all drama in our marriage and continued relationship because of our children, I KNOW without any doubt that if he could he would do anything for our children and even for me if I needed it. He is that type of man. I am so blessed that even with my failed marriage we have always been able to work together to put our children first. It’s certainly not always been smooth or easy or stress free, but when it comes down to it, neither of us doubts our committment to our children.

I’ve seen SO many terrible things come of broken homes and bad finances, that this interaction with him did not bring me stress, but rather a flooding sense of gratefulness for our warm home, food in our kitchen and so, so many blessings that it’s so easy to take for granted.

So for now, I do not expect to receive any financial support for the kids. I am also uncertain if he will be able to make his car payments ($350 per month.) He has a car that is financed in my name only. Per our divorce decree he is financially liable for any and all costs associated with it. He pays me for the insurance, car payment and taxes and takes care of all the maintenance on his own. As soon as the car is paid off, we will transfer the title to his name and be done with it.

I feel so terrible for him, I wish I could help, and I will where I can…but I’m also so grateful for this journey that I am on to get in a better financial place, for your support and tough love.


44 Comments

  • Reply Theresa |

    I guess I would try to re-write the ad. Is your craigslist area very big? I there a bigger city nearby where you can post the ad? Are there any facebook buy sell groups where you can post it? I would not buy a vehicle that required a rental vehicle. You could eat up all your savings from the van paying for a rental to take a long trip with. I am also curious about your minivan aversion. There are usually a lot of them on the used market, they are cheap and they usually fit 7.

  • Reply debthaven |

    Wow. Maybe you need to reread your blog post you initially linked to about why your marriage broke up. Your abusive ex is a large part of the reason you’re in the situation now.

    I understand harboring some tender feelings, you have a history together and it was good once, and you have kids together. But I think those tears are primarily for himself.

    • Reply Hope |

      I am sorry I wrote this post. I’m tempted to take it down. My point was that I am grateful that I can provide, that losing this income will not be detrimental to us and that compassion is important…no matter what the circumstances.
      He and I have very few dealings, this is not about “tender feelings”…but it is about empathy for a human who I know, and I know is struggling. Compassion, forgiveness and a helping…that’s what this post was about.

  • Reply debthaven |

    And I sincerely hope you’re not considering helping him with the car! Even though (I’m guessing) if he wants help he’ll start telling you about how he can’t come see the kids, unless you help. Ugh! Keep your distance, for your own sanity!

    • Reply Hope |

      Actually he rarely sees the kids, and it kills them. This is not about me helping him financially. This is about how blessed we are, even with tight financial times. This was supposed to be about…even with a loss of income, I can count my blessings and not go into a tailspin.
      My children need their father, even if he can’t buy them things. And he and they need to know that, it’s not about money. And it’s not about my sanity…I am healthy emotionally and getting moreso financially everyday.

  • Reply Marzey doats |

    Why doesnt HE sell the car, pay off the loan and use the extra money to support HIS children? He can buy a beater car to get to work, cant he? Has he gotten a temporary modification of his child support order? If not, he still owes you that money, he is just in arrears. What sort of plan does he have to pay this money back to you? You really arent in the position to let him off the hook for support he owes your children. Though kudos to you for being the strong mother that takes care of her kids no matter what!

    • Reply Hope |

      There is no child support order. I did our divorce myself. As I stated in the post and throughout, when the kids needed something he has always come through. (And I have to say based on what friends of mine have dealt with in what the court has ordered and the drama in getting those monies, he has gone ABOVE and BEYOND what a court would have told him to do and how to do it. His being a deadbeat dad, financially, IS NOT in question.) But right now he can’t.
      This post is not about bashing my ex. It’s about rising above, showing compassion and being in a better place financially that this news does not throw me into a tailspin..and that is HUGE.

  • Reply debthaven |

    And I’m sorry about the loss of income, that must be a huge blow. But to state the obvious, you are in even less of a position to help ANYBODY financially right now than you were before.

    It will be all right in the end, and we are all rooting hard for you. But you can’t afford to spend ANY resources, whether it be time, energy or money, on others right now.

    Frankly, the fact that you’d even consider helping your ex financially is mind-boggling to me, but whatever.

    Have you gotten that info from your dad yet?

    Again, we are all rooting for you. PLEASE make good choices.

    • Reply Hope |

      I had a conversation with my dad this week…and frankly, I have no idea what he is thinking. I am debating when and how to share the strange conversation, perhaps after Christmas. As of now, there is no closure on that end, and frankly, I have no idea what he is thinking.

  • Reply Jessica |

    Sorry, no words of support with this situation. He needs to figure this out on his own and not make his financial mess YOUR problem! Do NOT pay this car loan for him, and if he does not pay it, then repossess it so it does not ruin your credit. Haven’t you said in the past he’s totally unreliable? Not picking up the kids when he’s supposed to, etc? Just because he feels financially strapped doesn’t mean he can shirk his responsibilities – you are strapped too and still have to feed and clothe the kids. It shouldn’t all fall onto you – be a little tougher! You deserve better! Your kids deserve better! Not to get all Dr Phil on you, but your daughter is subconsciously learning what to expect from men in her future. (Take it from the daughter of an absentee father).

    • Reply Hope |

      This post WAS NOT about my ex, not about bashing him. He has not, nor has he been in the almost 7 years that we have been apart, a deadbeat dad on the financial side. Based on my limited experience with friends and their court ordered child support and the processes that entails…he is one in a million when it comes to financially providing for his children. That is NOT in question. These are unusual circumstances. That being said…
      This experience did not throw me into a tailspin or cause panic at the loss of the child support. I am getting healthier financially on a daily basis, making better decisions, becoming more knowledgeable. That I am able to have compassion for his plight, I know his heart and the children will not suffer. I am grateful for what I have, what this almost year or tough financial advice love has taught and continues to teach me.

  • Reply Susan |

    Hope, I know you are trying to put a positive spin on this, but good grief …

    I come from the perspective of a Family Court Paralegal … my reaction is blah blah blah I can’t get my kids Christmas presents; blah blah blah I can’t pay my child support; blah blah blah I might not be able to make the car payment for the car that is financed in YOUR name. WHAT was your attorney thinking to allow you to enter into an agreement like this? I cannot believe the judge approved this.

    I agree with the poster above … time for him — no, YOU — to sell that car and he can get another one that he can afford on his own. You can pro-rate the money from the sale and give him what is left after the debt to you is paid.

    The absentee Dads who fail to pay their child support or buy gifts for birthdays and holidays — oh how they make my blood boil. I keep thinking of the commercial that is currently running about the Dad wanting to take the day off, but he doesn’t get to because he has a child, so he has to take Nyquil and Dayquil.

    So long as your children are minors (or however long the child support obligation goes), your ex-husband does not get to take any “time off” supporting them or remembering them at holidays. How dare he call you all weepy and “poor me” and lay such a load of garbage on you so that you will fix it and make things okay for the children.

    Oh I am so mad on your behalf that I think I need to stop typing.

    Think hard about the advice others have given. And I agree — go re-read the part in your blog about your marriage ending and why it ended.

    Ugh.

    • Reply Financial Fan |

      This response from Susan, Hope, says it all. Moving on with your life is dealing with this situation once and for all. People will take advantage of you for as long as you will let them. Say no and start setting those boundaries with the ex now. Some people don’t grow up and act like adults until they actually have to. Do not enable this man any longer. He will actually be a better dad to his kids if he has to take some responsibility. Like others have said, get that car out of your life.

    • Reply Hope |

      I am well aware of how my marriage ended. Seven years later, I am strong and I am health emotionally and more importantly in this case, I have been able to forgive him, laying the blame firmly where it belongs and move on.
      I am grateful that my children’s father feels HORRIBLY about not being able to support them. This is not a choice he makes. If I felt at all that this was a case of “deadbeat dad” I would say so. But he has for the past almost 7 years, taken exceptional financial care of our two kids. Provided at any time I asked, more than his “half” and for anything I wanted for them…clothes, private music lessons, experiences above and beyond those that a normal child gets, homeschool curriculum and so much more. This is a VERY FIRST for him. So this post was not to bash him.
      He has no legal rights to them…we did not have a battle. I have full legal and physical custody, with visitation when it’s convenient and approved by me. He signed whatever I asked him to in that regard. Not because he didn’t care, but because I asked him too.
      I know you see horrid things in your line of business. I have been in those courtrooms with many of my foster kids…this is not that situation.
      So yes, this is stressful. But I do feel compassion for him and beyond that gratefulness that by spending this year really working on myself financially…this does not throw me into a tailspin.

  • Reply Sue |

    Hang in there Hope and try to continue to have a positive outlook on things and be grateful you have your wonderful children!

  • Reply Walnut |

    Does the ex know your house sold and is he assuming you have done extra cash as a result?

    • Reply Hope |

      He does know, and no he knows I have no cash…and beyond that he knows with no doubt that I will not help him financially…our kids, a whole other matter, there lives will not change because his circumstances have TEMPORARILY changed. And that is because of this year of my change…making better financial decisions, becoming more knowledgeable. For that I am grateful and that and only that was the point of this post.

  • Reply Jeni |

    Tough love here – listen to everyone else’s advice. You got divorced for a reason. Sell that car NOW!!!! Your attorney should have never allowed this! Don’t bail him out. He’s manipulative and self centered.

  • Reply marezy doats |

    Hey, Im not trying to cast aspersions on the guy, we dont know him, and Hope does. However, no matter how sincerely he loves his children, he is NOT a reliable financial partner. Hope is keeping her head above water, but she does not need someone around pushing her down. An extra $350/month on top of a loss of child support is a big blow.
    Hope, didn’t you get divorced 6 years ago? How long is this car loan? Seems like the value should be higher than the loan at this point. The ability to sell it and get something less expensive and paid for for your ex, while keeping the balance in lieu of child support would be a big win for you BOTH.

  • Reply Laura |

    Your children are owed child support whether you think you need it or not. Do you have a formal support agreement in place? If not time to get one. And if he won’t take care of the car loan himself then sell it. This man will take advantage of you as long as you let him

  • Reply ginsue |

    ” I KNOW without any doubt that if he could he would do anything for our children and even for me if I needed it”

    the person you speak of here does not sound like the same person you blogged about on june 2nd. i’m not sure why you are trying to spin this in such a positive light. also you must have signed up to have his car put in your name long after your divorce was finished and it looks like now it is coming back to bite you.
    i’m hoping people here on this site can give you good advice that you will listen to because you seem to make some very poor choices. again i’m sorry to sound so harsh but you need a reality check.

    • Reply Hope |

      My marriage was rotten, my ex husband was physically abusive and it took me too long to leave. You are right.
      He always neglects his time with the children to their detriment. Absolutely. They know it, I know it and I don’t understand it.
      But he does not, nor has he ever had any qualms with financially supporting them, no matter what I asked. This is new and I am confident temporary.
      The car was before our divorce.
      This post was not about bashing him, it was about compassion and gratefulness that my life and financial situation have changed enough that this does not throw me into a tailspin and a “oh, what am I going to do?” And that, my friend, is completely positive!

  • Reply Den |

    This article has the hairs on the back of my neck standing at attention – lots of red flags!

    First of all – this man is an abuser! I don’t care how nice you think he is now and how much he is worried about “his babies” and how much he cries – he abused you! If you said no to him regarding money issues would he raise his fist again?

    Second of all – he is responsible for child support and the car monies – period. end of discussion. He needs to pay up – get a new job, work extra hours, save money, use coupons – whatever it takes!

    Let me ask you this – what would you tell one of your children if they were in an adult relationship and being abused? What would you tell your adult child if they were divorced, but still supporting an ex and allowing him to manipulate her into giving/forgiving him money?

    And I love how these loser ex-parents always have trouble finding money at the holidays. We all struggle at the holidays, but responsible people save/scrimp/work extra to make the holidays special for our kids……losers just whine and cry.

    You can’t control him, but you can control how you respond to him. How about next time he cries, you respond “I’m sorry you’re having difficulties, but your responsibilities stand.”

    Unless you change your response he will continue to shirk his duties…and even if you change your response he may shirk them, but at least then you will retain your dignity and model responsible behavior to your kids.

    • Reply Hope |

      Please read previous comments…I feel like I’m repeating myself over and over again.
      There are no red flags to be had here. There is celebration…
      I am not so dependent on his money that this threw off. Especially with the holidays here. That is the result of a year of hard work, hard decisions and change. That is great.
      This post was not about a deadbeat dad. Financially he has NEVER been that.
      I don’t want to control him. But I do feel compassion for his plight. Can you? Can you imagine having always been able financially to provide pretty much anything your children’s heart desired and then you can do nothing…nothing!? I can feel empathy for that. And I know him. And I have seven years now of proof that he will not abandon them financially no matter how must he hates me.
      I will continue to show my children how to 1) stand up to a bully; 2) be compassionate and empathetic to another’s journey without compromising their own and 3) to make better financially decisions then they did yesterday and that you can always improve and learn.

    • Reply Hope |

      Because I’m compassionate and caring? No, I don’t think so.
      In fact, after the call with my ex, I immediately called my parents and let them know so that they could also support him during what is typically a very hard time for people who are alone…and doubly hard for those that are facing very tough financial times.
      And believe me, they will reach out to him as well…calls, a card, something for Christmas.

  • Reply amy |

    Your ex does not get out of taking care of the kids just because it is hard! You need to get out of the car situation and report his lack of child support payments in order to have his wages garnished!

    • Reply Hope |

      Hard to garnish no wages…and that’s kind of the point here. If he had work, this conversation would not have taken place. Please read previous comments. This is not a deadbeat dad situation…at least financially.

  • Reply Sara |

    My spidey sense is tingling on this one. Run far, run fast. He is not a reliable financial partner, and a questionable human being based on past behavior. You need to think about your own family, which he is not a part of any longer. You’re barely keeping your own head above water, don’t let him drag you down with him.

    • Reply Hope |

      I think that I am built differently…I don’t run far and fast from someone’s plight. I run to it, I seek to help. I want success and joy, no matter what the past.
      He will always part of my family. We have two children together. A divorce doesn’t change that. And how would my children feel if I told them their dad was no longer part of the family.
      He will not drag me down. I am in such a better, more knowledgeable place now…and that, my friend, was the point of this post. I am so grateful for where I am today compared to just a year ago.

  • Reply SAK |

    Actually when I read your message I assumed it was – as you described – being thankful about this not sending your finances in a tailspin and that you can cope. Good for you! I’m sorry to hear your call with your Dad was strange and I suspect left things unresolved. Family and money are such a poor mix even when everyone has good intentions. It might be worth considering a call/letter/email that simply closes discussion on the matter – he will do what he will do – and assume nothing will come your way. Bonus if it does – but either way there is an end to the story – which helps everyone move on (especially him actually because you seem to have made peace with whatever will happen). Best of luck!

    • Reply Hope |

      SAK,
      I think our last conversation regarding the house left him with a clear understanding as to where I stand and what I am expecting or not expecting but hoping for. I think once I write a post about it, you will understand better my utter flabbergasted response at his suggestion…but I’ve just not yet been able to wrap my head around it really.
      I did leave the conversation knowing that I may not get anything, and he certainly did not give me a timeframe or commitment to let me know something. But I will write more on this…soon, I promise.

  • Reply Jen |

    Hope,
    Thank you for sharing this. I enjoy your posts so much. I appreciate that you don’t feel sorry for yourself or blame anyone else for your situation. It would have been really easy to come on here after that call and bash, complain and whine. Your response was down right refreshing. And I applaud you because I know that your children will be taken care of… Perhaps not with an overwhelming amount of material things… But with love and kindness.
    Happy holidays!

    • Reply Hope |

      Thanks, Jen. I have just found I cannot hold on to the hurt, the anger, it just eats me. I have chosen and at first it was really hard, to let it go. Now it’s a very natural response for me…to find the silver lining in most everything, to look for the good, to look at all perspectives. I find my life much more joyous because of it.
      I truly appreciate that you could find the true spirit of my post. Thank you for your comment!

  • Reply Den |

    Hope – I’m so glad I misunderstood the original post. Now that I’ve reread it with your comments, your point seems to be that no matter what happens with your ex, you and your kids are safe and secure – that’s wonderful and to be appreciated.

    Thank you for not taking the post down and for explaining further the situation – I enjoy your posts and am cheering you and the kids on! Merry Christmas!

  • Reply Mary from SC |

    Merry Christmas Hope – Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas. I think that you have a very wonderful and positive attitude and that serves you well. I didn’t feel like you were bashing your ex, but rather counting your blessings that you have options now. Life gives us plenty of negatives to pour over. Thank you for taking the time to be grateful for the blessings it also gives us. It could always be worse. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  • Reply Jean |

    Hope, after reading your post, people’s comments, and your response to those comments, it looks like you might have taken a different approach/angle to writing the post. I know that you don’t owe us any explanation for what goes on/has gone on in your life, but if you leave details out or give people the wrong impression, you will get the kind of comments that you got. Remember, half of Americans have gone through divorce and I would venture to say that not all parents are in an amicable relationship with their children’s other parent/their ex-spouse. I think that’s the mindset that people had when reading your post. Also, we’re here to look out for you/support you and we don’t want you to make bad financial decisions based on your emotions/compassion for your children’s father. I’m sorry that people misunderstood your post, but I’m glad that you clarified your point in your responses.

    That being said, I was married to a man that had an ex-wife and three children. His divorce decree was HORRIBLE – as is my current husband’s, although his son will graduate from college this year so most of it doesn’t apply anymore. I know that you can’t get blood from a turnip but regular visitation (although it sounds like he might not even show up, unfortunately) and some sort of official financial support agreement would have been in your children’s best interest. Sounds like neither one might have happened (visitation or regular child support) but at least you would’ve had something in writing as a starting point. I hate that your kids are not seeing their father, and I hate that you are having to provide the bulk of their expenses but like you said, at least you are in a position that not having that money won’t devastate you.

    I’ll be interested to read your post on your conversation with your dad. I agree with another commenter, that you need to close that discussion and move on, without expecting any financial return from him. If you ever get one, it will be like a bonus.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  • Reply Jen From Boston |

    “…I will where I can…”

    I think that is the phrase that really set people off. It gave me pause, too. Because this is a personal finance blog I took it to mean you’d help him financially, which confused me. I did get that you were happy his news didn’t send you into a tailspin, and I admire your ability keep what he did to from poisoning your soul and making you bitter.

    “I don’t run far and fast from someone’s plight. I run to it, I seek to help.”

    As a final note, this is an admirable quality, but please make sure you take care of yourself first – like the airline direction to put your oxygen mask on before helping others. You can’t help others if you’re not safe or too worn out.

  • Reply debthaven |

    Thank you for clarifying. I see I wasn’t alone in thinking that you were looking to help your ex out. I agree, you could have been clearer about your point (ie stated the clarifications you felt the need to post several times in the comments).

    Hope, I’m truly sorry that the conversation with your dad wasn’t clear. Maybe post what happened and see what other people think?

    I’m sorry you are still uncertain about what selling the house means, I’m sure you were waiting for closure on both the house and your finances after the sale. I can’t help but feel peeved that your dad can’t manage to give you closure on this. Even if it’s not what you want to hear, I know I always do much better knowing where I stand than dealing with incertitudes.

  • Reply V |

    Just wanted to applaud you for your ability to feel empathy and compassion for another and see the things to be grateful for and not the things to complain about, which is really refreshing. I know some people misinterpreted your post, but to me it was obvious that you were taking a moment to appreciate the fact that things could be worse and that in the end, love is what matters.

  • Reply Denise |

    Hope, I get what you are trying to say here. It is cause to celebrate when someone else’s not fulfilling their end of the bargain doesn’t cause your finances to spiral out of control. You have come a long way in a short period of time.

    My only concern from your post is it appears this man has a car of yours that YOU are financially responsible for and that he supposedly can not pay for at the moment. This is one situation where I think you need to stand firm… no money, no car. This has the opportunity to sink you financially if he doesn’t pay what he owes. Maybe give him a month to get caught up if you are feeling generous because of the holidays.

    I also have great concerns about the situation with your dad. My own feeling (based solely on what you write here) is he is not going to give you a dime for the house. I find it especially interesting that he wanted the receipts from the improvements YOU made, not so he could pay you but so he could write them off on his taxes (tax fraud, anyone?). If he does go this route, and I hope I am wrong, I think you need to cut ties and move on with your life as it just seems very toxic and not healthy for you to be treated like that. It is funny that so many comments here talk about the ‘abusive’ ex, yet when I read your posts I can’t help but see how your Dad has treated you through all of this as extremely abusive from an emotional standpoint.

So, what do you think ?