Monday, February 28, 2005

The Bank of Erasmus

It’s taking me a little while to think of how I should start this. One of the fun things about divorce is money. How to divide it, who gets what etc. My wife is finding that the power she had over our money in our marriage is not the same as the power she wields now.

Two weeks before we were married my wife lost her job, and it was extremely stressful for her. Her boss was a real jackass, he fired her by leaving a message on the answering machine. He made her life very difficult for years after that. He owed her somewhere between four and ten thousand dollars which he refused to pay, he denied firing her when she filed for unemployment to prevent her from getting benefits. In fact, he denied she was an employee at all, he claimed she was an independent contractor. The stress he caused was probably the biggest factor in her decline in mental health.

So from day one of our marriage my wife was very concerned with money. Since she was not working she had a lot of time to worry about it. Over the year preceding my polite invitation by a State Marshall to leave the house she became virtually obsessed by it. She’d tape together two pieces of paper and basically make up a bank type statement outlining every withdrawl, fee, etc., and assigning my name to everything that I did, like any cash withdrawls. It would take her a couple of hours to prepare it – she could have done it in seconds using Quicken, which I’d installed for her, but she insisted on doing it by hand. When she was done she’d bring it to me and demand an explanation for every item that had my name attached to it. She’d often be in tears and angry. We’d often go through the same motions with my cell phone bill, where she’d demand to know who particular calls were to, why I stayed on the phone for X amount of time etc.

I’ll have to come up with some euphemism to describe the day I was ambushed, like D-Day or something like that. If anybody has any ideas let me know. Anyway, on that fateful day, despite the standard instructions issued by the court in all divorce cases, my wife cleaned out our checking and savings accounts. Until just a couple of weeks ago I gave my wife half of my pay each month to support her and my son – that’s $1700 per month for about 6 months. Despite the fact that I was providing her so much money, she took an extra $1000 before I managed to get my direct deposit changed. I have even gone so far as to deposit cash directly into her account (only once, since it’s about an hours drive to her bank) to make sure she could access it immediately. I’ve been giving her cash (and getting a receipt, of course) because if I gave her checks they would have a hold put on them.

She was upset the first time I gave her a reduced amount of support, even though she knew this was going to happen. She claimed that her attorney told her it was going to be more, and I told her that I was giving her what my attorney told me to give her. She wanted to argue about it, but I wouldn’t, I just told her she needed to call her attorney. I told her this as I was walking back and getting into my car. I was afraid she would get mad enough to make up another story. I’m not exaggerating when I say that as I drove home I was constantly looking in my rearview mirror for the police.

Since this all started I’ve gotten several emails concerning the state of her finances and how I need to deposit money soon or she wouldn’t have money to buy groceries, wood pellets for the stove (cheaper than electric heat) etc. I think I remember posting about one of them and how I sent her back an email because she was rude and implied that I was dragging my feet by not depositing the money directly into her bank account (even though I was giving her cash).

Last Tuesday showed me that no matter how nice I was to her and no matter how far I went out of my way to make her life easier it would never be enough. She, even after being told by her attorney that our visitation offer was very fair, refused to agree to it. Whether it was malicious or just part of her paranoia doesn’t matter – I know I will get the visitation, but now it’s delayed and it cost me a lot of money. I’ve done everything I can to cause no problems, mainly because I’m afraid she’ll make up another story. Unfortunately that’s just encouraged her sense of power over me.

So yesterday when I got another email from her telling me that her account was negative and she needed me to deposit the money directly into her account again I was a bit annoyed. She wanted me to deposit it today, but my paycheck is not deposited into my account until tonight at midnight. I sent her back an email telling her that and that I would deposit the money into her account tomorrow. The only reason I decided to do that is that the account I’m going to tomorrow is near a branch of her bank. I’ve decided, however, that I’ll deposit it as a check and let her worry about the hold. Maybe that’s still being too nice, but I can’t bring myself to be blatantly vicious. My attorney thinks I should just give her a check during visitation.

One thing I want my son to know later in life is that I didn’t cause the problems. My psychologist counselor tells me that my son will remember that I kept coming back no matter what the visitation schedule is in the short term. I see that even now. When the door opens and he sees me he just lights up and starts laughing. I love hearing the words “Hi Daddy!”. I have to admit a small amount of satisfaction the last few times I’ve picked him up. My wife seems a little annoyed that he is so happy to see me. When we leave I open the window next to him so he can say goodbye to mommy, but all he’s said the last few times is goodbye to the dog. I don’t think he means anything by it, after all he’s only two years old, but my wife’s condition leaves her vulnerable to making something out of virtually nothing.

I can hardly wait until I have my own place where he can stay the night. It might be hard for him at first, but it won’t take long for him to get comfortable with it. He’s such a happy little boy. I think about the things we’ll do together, like going out for walks and playing with his toys. He loves cars so much that I’ll have to get some kind of remote controlled cars for us to play with. I miss that little guy so much, I can hardly wait to spend more time with him.

Ok, time to hit publish and get ready for bed.