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Using alcoholism as an excuse not to pay support? and getting away with it

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Junior Member
Wyoming. I have two children. I'm the custodial parent, my ex is the non custodial.

Basically he owes close to $90000 in arrears and is ordered to pay about $500 + $100 back child support a month.

For almost a decade he has successfully avoided paying most of his support by skipping around the country, couch surfing. Then just as someone is about to serve him with papers, he gets a job for a few months, losing it to his drinking and psychological problems, moves again and doesn't leave behind any forwarding address. He's been in and out of rehab, usually after his annual bout of nearly drinking himself to death (when forced to go into it by family) and then moves again before an enforcement agency can catch up with him and goes back to drinking and occasionally abusing meth.

Finally, about 8 months ago, I discovered on Facebook that he was hiding out in Cheyenne, partying in Wyoming and bragging about it, bragging about Chris Rock tickets and his nights out with friends, etc. I report him and his location to child support and they serve him with papers. After giving him three months to get a job, he doesn't, so they take their sweet time but finally serve him contempt of court papers. He goes to court, is held in contempt for "not providing a sufficient reason for his underemployment", gets yelled at by the judge, told he needs to keep a job and will be re-evaluated after a few months to see how he is doing.

He holds onto his job for a month and loses it after showing up drunk one day (the owner of the business he works at tells this reason for termination to child support enforcement, me, and pretty much anyone willing to call him...so it's no secret). I immediately contact Cheyenne child support and tell them this but despite the reason for his termination they tell me that they want to give him the benefit of the doubt (which means, yes, they know he lost his job for drinking but don't give a sh*t...at least my case manager) and decide to give him a couple months to figure his stuff out since technically he paid for the month he was working and she expresses to me that she "feels sorry" for him (he's a skilled sociopath who's talented at working people, manipulating others). So again I patiently wait for the system to hold him accountable and call once a week to stay on top of this. But just weeks before they are ready to issue a bench warrant...they stop and decide to do nothing. I ask them "Why? He owes almost $90000?? He was fired for drinking? He's on his facebook now bragging about going to Football games and partying! What the hell??" They tell me that they received a generic doctors note saying he is unable to work for some undisclosed medical reason. When I press for more information, the case worker tells me that the doctor note doesn't specify the actual medical condition but that is enough for them and they won't do anything until they receive a doctor's note saying he is able to work again. And that's it.

Bear in mind: this isn't the court's feelings on the matter. He hasn't gone before the courts to decide if he is disabled. If they did, they'd find his lifestyle choices and his Charlie Sheen style, hardcore drinking is the sole cause of his maladies. But this determination about his disability to work is basically at the discretion of the case manager who arbitrarily decided this based on a lone, lame doctor's note - claiming it qualifies as a disability excuse from having to pay (even though he actually hasn't filed for disability NOR has he been through a thorough examination by doctors... the doctor's note is just a generic conclusion about him at this point). Ironically, in the past, he has avoided the one stipulation by the courts that would allow him to see the children again....going through a court approved medical examination to evaluate his drinking problem. So he's chosen to blow off the children so he won't have to go through this - scared the courts will take away his precious right to drink (to give his mindset, he actually told me once that law doesn't have a right to tell a man he can't drink...he's that narcissistically honest about it). The judge is not a fan of my ex so the only thing stopping this from moving forward is a bleeding heart case manager who IMAO is enabling him because she is trying to be neutral about this to a fault.

He does indeed suffer from physical ailments tied to his addiction (a heart condition and a cirhossis of the liver excerbated by his alcohol use). He's drinking as we speak.

But my problem in this is that he has successfully found a loophole in the system and is essentially using alcoholism as his excuse not to pay!

How do I expose this???? It's not a secret. His drinking and his revolving door visits to rehab are well documented. He showed up drunk once to his own custody hearing a few years back!

Do I have any remedies here? Do I complain to the case manager's manager?? Do I file my own motion?? Again, this is the same guy who a few years back showed up DRUNK to his own custody hearing - essentially losing his rights to ever seeing the children again unless he undergoes a court approved evaluation to appraise how badly his drinking is...something he conveniently avoids. But he's still on the hook for support. So how does one hold someone like this accountable when essentially they are using a loop hole in the system to get away avoiding child support BUT in reality are using their alcoholism as an excuse and motivation not to pay?

Thanx again for your time and interest to whomever reads this! =)
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Senior Member
The courts and CS enforcement generally operate on the theory you would not have elected to procreate with a person you were not willing to accept their potential fitness as a parent for. It is not their job to cure the countries ills of poor sex partner choices. The most effective things you can likely do is press for the case manager to suspend his DL and passport as well as file a hold on tax refunds. You will need to follow up every year on refund holds. If he eventually files for SSDI or dies, you can file for child survivor benefits.


Senior Member
You didn't marry this hardcore heavy drinker because you had so little in common with him at the time. And it probably wasn't an arranged marriage where you hadn't met him and had no idea of his character before the ceremony. And you saw fit to have more than one child with him before you gave up on him, apparently.

It sounds as though he might have wealthy parents who periodically pay for a rehab stay? If so, it might profit you to keep the child support arrears case out there, so that if he were to accidentally outlive them and come into an inheritance someday, you'd have a marker in there. As someone has pointed out, eventually he may end up on an assistance where the children will be able to get benefits.

But otherwise, you're beating the proverbial dead horse, and asking us what to do, how to collect from someone who has made it his life's work to drink himself to death, not paying child support in the meantime. No one can answer this question. You are lucky, in my opinion, that he wants nothing to do with the children. His influence wouldn't be the best, and it would be terrifying to have to give your children over to him for any period of time, knowing that they are never the priority in his life.

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