For those who are new here, Child Support for me has been an ongoing joke, in which (prior to this current payment) I had not received anything for nearly two years, and the total debt has crept to ~$10,000, some of which goes back to when the YoT was 13.
Periodically (about every 6 months) I check in with IRD, and they inform me that they are doing what they can, that I should let them know if I get any new information, and that they can't tell me any details about what they are doing and/or when I might expect some real action. Sometimes they tell me they've recalculated how much I should be getting paid, and I laugh a hollow laugh because the whole thing's pretty abstract when I have no expectation of actually receiving any money. It's been a bit of a saga.
In New Zealand, 19 is the age at which Child Support is no longer a requirement. By then, kids are expected to be supporting themselves* and that is the point at which my being tied to the YoT's father in any way should end.
Except that since he's not paid said Child Support, and now owes his son and me a substantial amount of money, it won't end.
IRD tells me they will chase him till they get the money on my behalf, but given the track record so far I am not reassured that this means we'll ever actually get any of it. It seems that when he was self-employed and married, they couldn't get at his money because he kept changing employers (so they couldn't get it from his wages before he received them) and any money he got went into a joint bank account (so they couldn't take it because it would affect someone else who is not liable).
Now, he's on home detention and has been for at least 6 months. From what I understand, this means he hasn't been able to work. I would assume he has been on some kind of benefit - except that when a person's on a benefit, their Child Support comes out before they get it, and I've received nothing. So maybe he is working. But he's separated from his wife and his house is supposedly being sold, and the IRD knows all this. He has assets, and must have an income. He can't run away because of the home detention.
And yet, they have only managed to extract a grand total of $35 from him since April 2012. This folks, is your tax department at work.
So I have sent my 6-monthly email, letting them know the current state of the debt (5 years old, $10,000, kid about to leave home) and asking as politely as I can bring myself to be, that they let me know how things are going at their end. It's a ridiculous farce and I know what I'll get in return is a form letter telling me that there isn't a plan in place to retrieve payments but they'll keep chasing it.
If only I believed them the way I did when they first sent me one of those letters.
$10,000 is not a small amount of money. Back when it was looking like the YoT's father might actually step up and pay his share, we agreed between us that I would keep half and the YoT would get half, from which he'd buy his clothes, pay for haircuts and the like. It was supposed to be the means by which he learned to budget as an adult. Instead, I had to supply all that, which kind of subverted the point of what I was trying to do because it put me in control of that money, not him.
And now, the deal's still the same. If this money ever comes through, he gets half and I get the other half. $5,000 would go a long way to setting him up as an adult. And I wouldn't say no to a bit of what amounts to reimbursement for covering Trevor's financial responsibility for him for 5 years. Yeah, it rankles having to do that. It'd rankle worse if I wasn't reasonably financially stable, but still - it's pretty hard not to resent being forced by default to pay someone else's share of a responsibility they really ought to step up for, especially when it's someone who's left you in the lurch in many different ways over the years, and all you want is to not give them any of your headspace.
It's even harder not to resent the organisation that is supposed to be helping you, when they a) don't seem able to actually help you and b) won't communicate in any real way with you about what they are doing on your behalf.
"I'm sorry, there's no money for you and we can't tell you what we're doing to fix this. Please sit quietly over there and wait a bit longer. Like, 5 years longer. We will update you, umm... never."
When I was paying Child Support, I never missed a payment. And by the end it was $700 a month I was paying. I worked it out, that was a fair approximation of half the cost of bringing up a teenager. I have not received the same courtesy, from his father or from the IRD. And I do resent that.
I try to be flippant, facetious and humourous about it, but the fact is, it pisses me off. I am powerless here, and that pisses me off. It would piss me off less if those who supposedly had the power to help me would actually exercise it in a meaningful way.
And I'm left with the constant question: How bad does this have to get before I get real action? Or before it becomes newsworthy? Either would be fine..
* Except for the bit where if they go to University, their eligibility for financial help is affected by the parents' income until they are 25. I don't really understand why getting an education should force a kid to be reliant on their parents for 6 years longer, but there you go.