Well, the conference is over and I had a day to think about it. The FOB called me at 7am, my time, just to talk about what we were going to talk about. Does that make any sense? It didn't really make a lot of sense to me, but then I was disappointed that I didn't get to sleep in like I was intending to. He shocked me by asking about Zac and I. Usually when I talk to him he just launches into a "whoas me" pityfest about how he doesn't have any money because the restaurant business is slow this year and because he owes his roommate $1500. I'm not going to make any stupid comments about how I think he has changed because I don't really think that he has. He was just surprised when he got the latest picture of Zac. He said that the baby looks a lot like him (although my son is much, much cuter). Aunt Jen and I have known that for about four months now, but it has taken him longer to figure it out.
As for the conference itself, it was really just more of me sitting in a room listening to the child support officer talk to the FOB on the phone. He couldn't hear me and I couldn't hear him. It was probably better that way because when I was told what he had reported for his annual income, I just about lost it. Restaurant servers, of course, are only taxed on their declared income and the very small hourly wage. You may make $150 a night in tips, but only claim $80 - so you are taxed on $80 + $2.30 an hour. New Hampshire doesn't even have a state income tax. Now in the state of Texas, child support is 20% of your net income, which means after tax. Leigh stated a very low gross income, and then the child support officer deducted for federal taxes, which made it even lower. Using this formula, his total child support payments came out to $230 a month (Did I mention that daycare for an infant costs between $540-$760 a month?) Since he is already four months late, I was awarded $960 of back child support, which the FOB can pay off at $50 at a time with each monthly payment at a 6% interest rate.
The only thing that kept me from defecating and throwing my feces at the phone in an act of aggression and frustration was that : 1) That wouldn't have done any good and 2) He has to pay for health care for Zac out of my health care premium, which is $160 a month. Total payment to the state of Texas each month = $440.
That doesn't seem like a lot of money to me and I'm sharing this with the internet community because I think that there are a lot of misconceptions about child support. I've heard a lot of men complain about their child support payments and how they are being "bled dry" by their ex-wives/ex-girlfriends/ex-something-or-other they had sex with and how the "system" is set up against them. But, if you imagine that you had almost $1000 in credit card debt, your minimum payment would be closer to $75 a month at a 19-22% interest rate, so really, deadbeat Dads are getting a good deal here at the expense of their children.
Honestly, I could complain more, but $440 a month would be a huge weight off my shoulders. Zac and I could start saving for a house and Icould move beyond dealing with this asshole and onto building a life for my family.
P.S. - Sio! Please e-mail me. I realized on my way home from work that I hadn't e-mailed you back and I don't have your phone number. Sorry! I'm looking forward to seeing you if we can make it work.