I was married to a woman who wanted to have a child. I told her repeatedly that I could not afford to have a child. She told me that based on her age, it was “now or never,” because if she waited another year, then the risk of birth defects increases exponentially. This made me feel guilty that if I did not give her a child then she would never have one, and it would be all because of me.
Again I brought up the fact that I could not afford to do this. She then stated, “I make plenty of money, don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of the expenses.”
After much convincing, I agreed to move forward with the plan in order to make her happy, but again I made it clear that although I could contribute some of my time, that my business was not yet where it needed to be, and I could not contribute financially. She proceeded to see a fertility specialist, and we had a child together.
For the next couple of years of I took care of the baby for the majority of every day while she drank wine and exercised on her elliptical machine (yes, simultaneously) while watching multiple Netflix series and occasionally working remotely for Cisco (about1-3 hrs per day). I would cook all meals for the family and clean the kitchen. Then at bedtime, she would take the baby, and I would proceed to go to my shop and work until the early morning hours, after which I would get up at 5 a.m. and proceed to start the entire routine again.
Things started to get pretty bad between us, and she became extremely aggressive toward my older daughter and me. After years of verbal abuse and multiple circumstances where she physically assaulted me and shoved my daughter, I decided to leave her. Our separation agreement states that although we would share custody, my ex-wife would be the primary guardian and would accept 100% financial responsibility for daycare expenses. She drafted, had notarized, and filed this agreement herself.
Shortly thereafter, she sold the home we lived in, which included the screen printing shop that we had built onto it for my business, which was my primary and only source of income. I was forced to move into an RV while I struggled to find meaningful work. I took care of my daughter during the day and worked at an Irish pub at night.
Then the Army deployed me to Kuwait and Iraq to participate in Operation Inherent Resolve, (the mission to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria). My ex-wife had previously stated that exactly half of the childcare expenses amounted to $350 per month. So I proceeded to pay her $700 per month for the next 11 months while I was deployed. During that time, she repeatedly refused to allow me to speak with our daughter on the phone or FaceTime, stating that I could only speak with her when she was with her grandparents. This did not work out well all of the time because of the time difference.
Next, she decided to give her sister, my daughter’s after-school babysitter, an hourly wage raise as well as paid vacation. She stated that the monthly cost of childcare had now risen to over $895 per month.
I returned from overseas in July 2017. In August 2017, I switched from paying her $700 per month to $447.50 per month, exactly half what she stated the total childcare costs were - despite the fact that I was now unemployed and depleting my savings. In January, I gave her $947.50, 500 of which was to pay for our daughter’s insurance premiums and doctors’ visits for 2018.
Now I have taken a very low-paying job as a last resort. I’m making $300 per week on a good week, and I can’t pay my mortgage. My ex-wife is still insisting that I pay her $447.50 per month, even though I can’t afford it. She makes something like $80,000 per year.
What should I do?