Thinking out loud here:
1st, do you really pay enough alimony and child support to cover expenses? The fact that you are paying alimony makes me think that you are, but maybe you should try living on her amount of income to see if it's true.
2nd, have you considered adding the cost of housing to what you pay regularly? You could be directly responsible in that it is not a "cash" contribution but a contribution "in kind." Or you could purchase a home for her and the children retaining ownership to yourself.
3rd, does she work? And if not, why? If you have small children it would be wonderful if you could give them the blessing of a full-time mother. And especially if that was something you expected to do as a couple. (Why should that change for your children because of the divorce?) But if the children are in school, she needs to be working or gaining an education to support herself once the children are grown.
4th, please don't make this an issue for your children. Almost always kids figure out the truth on their own. They may never want to openly talk about it, but kids usually see the hand writing on the wall sooner or later.
May God bless you and your family as you ponder this concern.
I totally agree with those who say it's time to create a paper trail and take it to court to get custody. Granted, this short letter doesn't give the ex-wife's side of the story, so we do NOT know the whole story . . . but I have seen too many instances of the ex-wife gouging the ex-husband for every cent she can simply because he will. Start documenting every penny given to her as well as what is spent on the children. Document, document, document. Make her sign for the money so she cannot deny that she received it. Document, document, document. Then get advice from a lawyer as well as from a support group or network of other non-custodial parents who have been down the same road and find out what they did to successfully resolve the situation.
Dad, since you have the money, stop complaining about their mother and take your kids shopping for their clothes, pay their school fees and extracurricular expenses, give them money to buy birthday presents for friends' birthdays, etc. Raising kids is expensive and whether or not your ex is mismanaging money isn't really the issue. Your kids are your priority and if that means you kick in extra so they have a place to live, do it, and when the last child graduates high school, your obligation to assist your ex is over and you can focus solely on your kids and getting them through college.
I petitioned the court for a modification of the divorce decree and got an arbitrator to help settle the disagreement. It wasn't all I wanted but we could both live with the results.
I have to do this for family members before. One of the best ways to handle this is to pay as many bills as you can directly - rent, electric, insurance. Just have those bills sent directly to you. You can even by grocery gift cards that can only be used at the actual grocery store. Although not infallible it minimizes the allowance for fixed necessary expenses being detoured to discretionary spending.
One option might be to talk to an attorney about petitioning the court for custody of the children. A bit extreme, but if the ex-wife is confronted with the possibility of losing custody, she may decide to to take steps to rein in her spending habits. It's a long shot, but might be worth a try.
Hmmm. Am I the only one reading between the lines? Dad has plenty of money. Mom "mismanages" her money. Dad has to pitch in more for school supplies and extra-curricular activities and rent (AKA, the cost of raising children.) This is the age-old story of divorce which leaves women in poverty and men puzzled that it takes so much money to raise their children. Has it occurred to Dad that the alimony and child support terms were inadequate?
Sounds to me like the best place for the children is not with the ex. If she isn't responsible, then how can the best place for the children to be is with her?
Fantastic advice. LOVE "If you believe you don't have other choices, then you risk becoming resentful and bitter". Thank you!
I think what he is trying to say to have the courts change custody to you until she shows she is fit to handle her environment. (It gives her hope that she can gain custody back.) My suggestion is to document, document, document everything, then have your lawyer make the case to a judge. Her anxiety has to be rubbing off on the children, which is not good.. And if she has no anxiety about it then your children may learn to take advantage of you later (or society much later) without any qualms.
I went through a divorce that my teenage son resented. But after living with her for a couple years, he said that although he didn't like the divorce, he now understood why. He also begged me to help emancipate him before he turned 18.
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