We went to see his daughter in Montana in December 2011. It was a very uncomfortable experience. *Steve and *Dawn argued about him wanting joint custody. To be fair, she had every right to be defensive… this was only the third time he’d ever seen his five year old daughter. The only reason he was even there this time round, was because I forced the issue. Surely a father should make an effort to be in their child’s life, which includes seeing them. I made sure the hotel and flights were booked. It was all me trying to do the right thing by this child. I had a feeling something was going to go down, so told him in advance I wasn’t going to say anything nor was I going to get involved. And I didn’t until he turned to ask me what my opinion was one evening. I thought, “Good Lord, why me?”. My response was that they’re both adults and parents to the child. They need to work something out. He was not pleased with me to say the least. He was hoping I’d jump in and ride the drama train with him.
During our stay there which was 5 nights, Steve went about trying to sort things out with the child support office – something I had told him to do back in June when he had come to London to attend my mother’s wedding. How had this come about? He’d received an email from Dawn (I will not go into detail about what it was about as my blog is not about her), and started complaining to me that he was fed up with her contacting him about all sorts, asking him for this and that all the time. According to him, he paid child support, so what was the problem? I suggested that he should pay via Montana child support, that way there is no confusion about payments and there would be a log for each one. He didn’t.
It wasn’t too long before there was an eruption regarding the situation. Five months later to be precise, in November 2011. Personally, I never saw the letter, but according to him, Dawn had told the child support office that Steve had not being child support, sworn affidavit. The next thing I heard, was that she had said he had paid some months, but not for others. Again, I never saw proof of this, but I could only go by what he told me. Surely this wasn’t right. I mean, by now, he had given me access to his online pay slips, and I could see a Standing Order/ Auto Pay was set up for a set amount of money to be paid into his daughter’s account. I was confused to say the least.
When Steve visited the child support office, he was told he would have to pay more than he expected because due to being married to me, he was receiving Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) from the army. It was counted as income. He had to get bank statements as proof that he’d been paying child support from October 2009; they weren’t bothered about prior to that, otherwise they were going to add arrears to his account. So, having access to his daughter’s account that he was paying child support into, he ordered statements going back as far as when the account was opened which was March 2009. The statements did indeed prove that payments had been made from the opening of the account. When we went to collect them, he conveniently had no money, so I had to pay for all the statements. No surprises there. It still didn’t get him out of the mess he was in, but at least he had the information they required.
What baffled me, was if his daughter was born in October 2006, why had he only been paying support since March 2009? What happened to the first two and a half years of her life? I had to ask. Steve’s response was he hadn’t trusted Dawn, so was unsure if the child was his or not. That there was no way he was going to pay for a child who didn’t belong to him, so he started paying after a paternity test proved positive. I just left it at that.
We left Montana upset because of a last minute commotion. It was heartbreaking because this is not what the trip should have been about. Once his family found out what had happened, he would tell me that they all blamed me, as he’d been to see his daughter twice before and there had never been any arguments. This was the last straw for me. I asked him how he would feel if I just stopped talking to his his family because I was sick of the things they were saying about me (see “Paying For His Car And More Lies“). It was hurtful and I needed to eliminate anything that was bringing me down. Of course he was happy for me take that step… part of his plan, no doubt. I would find out after we broke up that nothing of the sort was said. In fact, he had been telling contradicting stories to each of us to cover his tracks, blaming everyone around him except himself, sparing no one’s feelings but his own. Although, I’m not quite sure he has any…
One day out of the blue, he said he wanted full custody. He hadn’t wanted it before. But the truth came out after I fell pregnant (as did a lot of other things come to light too). He eventually told me he wanted full custody of his daughter so her mother would have to pay child support to him, and that as he was in a stable relationship with me, he would be granted it. What a bastard. It was all about the money, not the child. All this time, he’d made out he was a doting father missing his daughter because her mother wouldn’t allow him access to her. I refused; it wasn’t right and I told him so, adding that it would be wrong to take the child away from her familiar surroundings and from her half sister. On top of this, he wanted me to pay for his lawyer for the custody battle!
All this drama, hurt and stress for what? As soon as I said I didn’t agree with his demands of full custody, and refused to pay the lawyer, he stopped talking about his daughter altogether. Once again, he proved it was never about his daughter. It was always about what he could gain.
(*Not their real names)