Even though Sue has been divorced for 14 years, which is almost as long as her and her husband were together, her biggest accomplishment since divorce has come quite recently. Here’s her story:
My biggest accomplishment is probably feeling confident in my ability to stick up for my children’s rights as well as my own and to stand up to my ex-husband who was extremely manipulative and very narcissistic. I actually went back and threatened to sue him for back child-support. We settled last year and, yes, it took me a long time to push.
Money was always a big deal in our marriage – he had a lot of money baggage and so it was always a source of conflict. He saw money as control and power and when we argued, I was always the one who would back down and give in. This time however, I saw that the money really belonged to my children. It was money that was due to them and I was right to push for it and demand it of him. Rather than me backing down, he finally did.
The back support actually goes directly to my daughter who’s in college now and then when my youngest daughter goes to college, then the money will go directly to her. I realized that if I had it go directly to them, he would have an easier time settling. For me this was a business transaction. There was no emotional anything about it.
I think what has helped me do this is my work. A few years ago, I took a more demanding and stressful job – I needed to because of my daughter going to college. I’ve had a lot of professional management development since then and that has made it easier to be very objective and rational in my thinking. It’s odd – I always considered myself as not having a very good business head and that’s a big part of my job now so I guess I really do. So ultimately, being forced to work more to help support my children, helped me get the money that was owed to them.
I can totally understand how framing the back child support as money owed to her children, put Sue in a position to argue rationally for the payment. And I think she probably did make it easier for her ex by having payments go directly to her daughters. Smart move! There is a non-profit organization whose mission is to assist in collecting child support – Child Support Info.Org