‘Deadbeat’ Dad Chronicles: Thank God for the Labor Hall

Taz Bright helms this series. Taz is a father, speaker, long-time business owner and graduate of the school of hard-knocks. Taz uses his past business and personal finance experience to help steer others in a positive financial direction while, hopefully, avoiding the mistakes he’s made along the way. As a former 6-year victim of Identity Theft, Taz shares unique lessons learned while trying to regain his financial footing. Taz is a member of Toastmasters International, a martial artist, former bodyguard and a CrossFit athlete. As the owner of Bright Balance Ministries, Taz’s goal is to help as many people as possible reach long-term, solid financial stability.

Today I’m not only continuing with the story of how I worked odd jobs in order to stay current on child support payments, I’m also going to share with you a certain non-frugal mistake, made in the past, that has proven to cause me a lot of grief later.

There was a period in my life where I was conducting secret shops and also working at a labor hall at the same time. I’d get a check each day at the end of my shift. I’d cash the 60-80Labor Hall dollar check, drive from my place in Pasadena, TX to Liberty, TX and put a bit of cash in my ex-wife’s hand. I did this because if I sent the money to the child support office it would take a lot longer for my ex to get the money and there were things my son needed right away. I’m sure you parents out there can relate. After giving my ex the in-person payment I’d fill my gas tank and eat off of what was left.

Did you catch the mistake? Here it is again: cash in my ex-wife’s hand. Ya see, at the time of my divorce my ex-wife and I were the happiest divorced couple I ever knew. We got along, talked, didn’t argue and even made each other laugh. I had heard of the horror stories but enjoyed not being one of them…yet.

Time went on and sure enough things changed. We became one of the horror stories you hear so much about and then I was hit with something I had heard of, but never imagined would happen to me. I started getting letters from the Attorney General’s office. They wanted to know when I’d be sending a payment. I explained the situation to the person on the other end of the phone but they were less than sympathetic.

Cash TransactionsI had made a huge mistake by assuming cash payments directly to my ex-were okay. And now that she considered me less than a friend, I was always in danger of her choosing to go to the State and have them enforce payments. This is one of those times where I felt more than a little stupid.

Obviously, this was not a frugal decision. Just as with loans, back child support comes with a not-so-friendly attachment called interest! Great, now I have to play catch up!
This is not a situation any of us want to be buried in. Just as purchasing a bigger home than one needs, using your credit card for a massive shopping spree or keeping up with the Jones’ can result in a dark, financial cloud hanging over one’s head, haunting you and suffocating your financial plans for the future, so can making poor decisions regarding child support payments.

My advice to anyone that is paying child support is to send every single penny through your state’s Child Support office. It’s the wiser, frugal decision because it will help avoid interest and your possible future arrest due to falling behind despite your best intentions.

In the next edition of the ‘Deadbeat’ Dad Chronicles I’ll share one of life’s unforeseen events that didn’t exactly help the situation at all.

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.

6 Comments

  1. That is a sad situation. I have a family member that went through the same thing. The sad thing is that he used to give her a heck of a lot more in cash than he does sending it through the system now. Not that he doesn’t take care of his kids, he buys them what they need, but she isn’t reaping the benefits of it.

    It is sad that fathers are set up like this. If you are doing what you need to do what is the difference? I agree with you though, ultimately everything should go through the court system so things like this can’t happen.

    Children should not be used as pawns or paydays!

    • Yep. Once the State is involved in your business, it is essential to conduct all activities/transactions through the appropriate agency. They generally are not that interested in hearing about what happens outside of their system.

    • Thanks for the comment Karen. Looking back at the situation I wish I had known more about how the system works. I think that is one problem; it’s complicated & unfair. As James mentioned, the courts don’t care what happens outside their system. Buying school supplies, shoes, supplies for hobbies, etc. doesn’t matter to them and a custodial ex who is no longer friendly holds a lot of the cards.
      I wish there was some sort of class or sessions that informed me of exactly how the system worked. I hope the guys and gals out there learn from my mistakes.

      • “…and a custodial ex who is no longer friendly holds a lot of the cards.” That is the absolute truth. I would go further and say that in my experience, they hold nearly all the cards.

        • I agree James. I’m not one to feel “helpless” when tough situations arise. But standing in court facing the judge and a vindictive ex wife; helpless is the only word that seems appropriate. I felt as if nothing I’d done so far really mattered.
          This is why frugal living is so important for the non custodial parent. We need a “Child Support Savings” just in case.

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