My ex-husband, Mike and I have a child together, Caleb, who will be 5 soon. The split was amicable for the most part and we decided to do joint custody and split all costs 50/50 (childcare, doctors visits).
I have been able to comply fully with this. However, this year Mike has been “dropping the ball” a lot. On more than one occasion he has asked me if he can skip paying me his portion of the expenses, due to job loss, hours being cut or in the most recent case (today) he had to put his dog to sleep which was more than he expected. The thing is, right now he has a job, he doesn’t have a rent payment, a car payment, or any utility payments. I’m not sure where his money is going. He asked me if I could take care of his portion his month because it would be too tight for him and he wouldn’t be able to afford food for lunch. But he does say he has a refrigerator full of food at home for when he has our son, and that everything else is fine.
He is only paying $300 a month toward everything right now. Preschool is around $825/mo, and then there’s random doctor’s and dentists visits. Sometimes I don’t even bother to ask Mike for money toward those because of a situation he’s in. I know, that’s my fault and I can’t blame him for that.
I should also mention that our arrangement is we each have Caleb for a week at a time. On his weeks, if he spend more than 3 days with him, it’s a surprise. He claims he has to work late most nights, or has training classes for his job as an HVAC repairman. So my husband and I watch Caleb at least 80% of the time now. I’m curious though, he claims his hours have been cut, yet every week that he has Caleb, he has to work late. How can it be both?
The issue is that I want things to be fair. I want them to be fair for him, and for me and my husband. And mostly for Caleb, because if we all win, he does too. I told Mike it was ok to pay only $300 a month because he is living off one income and I am living off two. For instance I would not have chosen the preschool Caleb is in, if I did not have my husband’s income as well, so it’s not fair to ask Mike to pay half of it. However after today, out of spite and pride, Mike has said he is now going to pay the entire half of this expense. He was mad that I still expected him to pay what he should this month, and that I questioned where his money was going since he’s currently living entirely free with his mom and dad, and doesn’t have a car payment.
I’m concerned because he’s obviously not stable in a lot of ways. And it’s really taking a toll on me mentally. It makes me want to take full custody of Caleb. I’d rather not do that though, because Caleb adores him and he is a really good dad. When he’s with him. I just want things to feel stable with Mike, but it’s not happening. I’m constantly worrying about him, his life, if it will affect Caleb, and so on. I’m so tired of it.
My question is: Should we set up some sort of child support arrangement? I’m tired of not knowing what’s going to happen, but I know he is adamently against having to do child support. I have my suspicions that he isn’t doing what he is supposed to with his money, and because it’s affecting me, I feel like I have the right to do something about it. I need to know what I can do to make this fair for both of us. I’m not sure what I should expect from him. Help!!