I am in a very odd unique situation with my older ex-husband age 75, and his son (my ex-stepson) who is 43 from a prior marriage. My ex stepson’s mother was never in the picture. Long story short. My ex and I married over 36 years ago when I was a teenager and his was 23 years my senior. We ended up having two sons together. My ex stepson has always lived with his father. Our marriage only lasted 12 years and we divorced. For the most part, we had an amicable divorce after all the initial arguing and fighting were over. We shared joint custody of my two sons. However, my ex never contributed any money towards the care of our boys in regards to clothing, education, extracurricular events, vacations, camps, or automobiles. Our decree stated we did not owe either any child support or alimony to each other. While married I was a stay at home mom until the boys started school, and additionally I did all the accounting for my ex’s business, which was essentially a full time job. After the divorce I put myself through college and graduated with a degree in Nursing, all the while working cleaning homes to pay bills, rent, and tuition, until I started my career in nursing. I’ve been a RN for over 20+ years now and it pays well…. $89-100K a year depending on how many hours I work.
My oldest son graduated high school in 2002 and went to college locally. He still lived with both his father and I, but spent the majority of time living at his father’s house after graduation (which is the house we bought together in 1985, when I was pregnant with my second son). My oldest son had a job as well as going to college, and I had given him my truck that was paid off, when he graduated from high school. And two years later I bought him a new truck because he was doing so well and the other truck was falling apart and costing more to keep running than it was worth. In addition, I paid all of his college tuition, books, and fees and kept him on my health insurance policy. My son paid his dad a nominal amount for rent. My stepson paid nothing and did not have a job….EVER..still doesnt. He was 10 and 12 years older than my sons and never moved out of his father’s house. He would take approximately one college class at a time at a community college once or twice a year. His dad didn’t pay his tuition, so I’m assuming tuition was paid by student loans. His dad paid all of my ex stepson’s living expenses and gave him one of his extra cars to drive. During this time I really didn’t care, as I made enough money to take care of my sons. I didn’t have any anger or hostility towards my former stepson regarding this….at that time.
Two years later in early 2004, tragedy struck. Our youngest son died in an accident his senior year of high school at his father’s house. He was only 18. I paid for my son’s entire funeral by myself, my ex again didn’t not contribute one penny, even though he had a small $25K life insurance policy on our son. Even worse I found out months later after reviewing autopsy report, police reports where stepson called my younger son (his half-brother, horrible names, and deserved death), and witness accounts that my former stepson had a small part in the death of my son (though he was never charged with any wrongdoing) and my ex begged me to let it go…that it was an accident. My stepson had always been extremely jealous of my sons when they were born as he was no longer the center of attention. I even was called to meeting at my stepson’s junior high as a teacher was very concerned about a paper my stepson wrote detailing how he wanted to physically harm his new brothers who were 1 and 3 at the time because he hated them. I didn’t believe it at the time, and thought perhaps the teacher was over-reacting. After the death of my son…I never trusted my stepson again and did not want him around my oldest son.
My oldest son started becoming very psychologically ill after the death of his younger brother. It’s as though something snapped inside his mind. I was grieving terribly at the time over his sudden death and assumed my son was grieving terribly as well. But his mental state kept decreasing to the point of needing to be hospitalized and taken out of college. After 3 years, 50 doctors, thousands upon thousands of dollars, and 20 hospitalizations later my son was diagnosed with undifferentiated Schizophrenia. No cure. Only medications to keep symptoms in check. I felt like I had lost all my children. One to death, and the other kidnapped by aliens. My son then became entirely dependent on both his father and I. He did manage to finish college over several years with me dragging him every inch of the way through it. Then finally in 2016 he was starting to function normal again. Starting working with the Elections office. However, our son was not able to live on his own. He did need some supervision and guidance, more so in monitoring medications taken, and keeping an eye out to any signs of decompensating. He would go back and forth between living with his father and I, by our choice. By this time, he father is now quite a bit older and only living on $800 a month in SS. So I usually had to supplement his father to he could pay rent and utilities. I did this so my son would not live in squalor when with his dad. I often bought groceries for my son for his dad’s house. This house my ex lived in now was a rental. I had quitclaimed the house we bought together in 1985 in the divorce. He then refinanced it multiple times during the housing boom taking more and more equity out until he owed $550K on a house we only paid $ 100K for in the first place. So he became upside down and couldn’t afford the payments and lost it in foreclosure in 2013.
In 2015 I moved in with my boyfriend of 6 years. So now my son was living with his father full-time, and I was spending approximately $500-600 supplementing my ex so he could pay rent, run the air conditioner (the medications my son took could cause him to overheat very easily, especially here in AZ), pay for internet, food, gas, etc. My son was receiving SSDI of $600 every month and would give his father $350 a month for rent. Stepson also lived there and paid zero. I was fine supplementing my ex as he was retired (but no retirement funds) and could keep an eye on our son everyday and make sure our son took his medications. Also he had a calmer demeanor than I (I can be a bit high-strung at times). I would still constantly visit my son a few times a week even though I lived on the other side of town approximately 40 miles away. I would take him to lunch, movies, haircuts, shopping for clothes and food, and doctor appointments.
Well the rental they were living in for past two years went up for sale. The owners asked if I would like to buy it, I would have except they were asking $ 70K over market value and the house needed a lot of repairs. So I said no and the owners gave my ex notice to move in 60 days. My ex has terrible terrible credit. I’ve asked him a hundred times to file bankruptcy over the last 10 years, but he refuses, even though he could never pay off his debts. He couldn’t get a loan to buy toilet paper right now. So he asked me to help him find another home….and to assist as well with security deposit and other fees necessary to move. He guilts me by stating it’s for our son. After looking for a month and a half I cant find a decent home in the right price range he can afford. So I decide to purchase a home instead and just rent back to him believing that this can be a permanent solution to my son’s housing and also an investment. A mortgage payment would be hundreds cheaper per month than renting. So I finally close on a house in a 55+ retirement community (my son who is 33 can live there as well, since only one member of the household has to be 55 or older) at a great price in late August 2016. I wiped out my entire savings account to put down the bare minimum down payment and cover all the closing costs. Which came to a little over $ 20K. I then have to pay for the moving company to move everything even though it’s only 6 blocks away. My ex is 75 and doesn’t have the strength anymore to move large furniture. My son, his dad and I packed and moved all the smaller stuff. The stepson does the vanishing act during this moving process. Saying he has class he can’t miss :/ And so as I get them moved in, then the main sewer line will not drain because it’s full of tree roots. Still fighting with the sellers over this. It cost me $ 6,500 to replace the sewer line just so they can flush toilets, take showers, etc. I had to keep reminding myself “This is for my Son”, “This is for my Son”. It’s so important for me that my only surviving child has somewhere safe to live. It’s now the end of Sept 2016 and everything is finally moved in, but I’m still helping with the un packing. My ex’s credit is crap and he’s didn’t pay the utilities at the last house for past couple of months. Now I have to get the utilities turned on. I put half the utilities in my son’s name and the rest in my name. I draft up a rental agreement that will include the rent and utilities. It never gets signed. My son paid me $350 for his part on Oct. 1, 2016. Then he started complaining about severe shoulder pain. I assumed he pulled a muscle from the moving and it was also his weaker shoulder. He had shoulder surgery four years prior for a dislocated shoulder and fractured humerus from a seizure he had while sleeping caused by a reaction to a medication they had just started him on back then. So we take him to urgent care, they state probably the hardware from the original surgery has shifted and go see orthopedic surgeon. See orthopedic surgeon and he states let’s take out hardware, it’s most likely causing shoulder impingement. Days later surgery is performed to remove 2 screws. My son still has severe pain.
Three days later at home my son drops dead while helping his dad in the backyard. AORTIC DISSECTION we find out four months later. I’m not even going to go into the extreme emotion torture I have suffered this past year over my son’s death. I’m a childless mother now. Again, I paid for my son’s funeral myself. Only this time I had no savings and had to put $ 15K on a credit card.
The issue is…my ex and my former stepson have not paid a dime to me for rent, utilities, or anything in the past year. My son died one year ago tomorrow. Every time I ask for money…even to cover the utilities…my ex states he has no money and then complains to his neighbors I’m going to kick him and his son into the street and sell the place. I’m angry all the time because I feel I was tricked into helping him get a place to live. He used my son as a pawn, knowing I would never place my son in a homeless situation. Then he has the audacity to tell me I need to take care of his 43 year old son if he should die!!! What???!!!
I feel they are taking extreme advantage of me. I don’t know what to do. We no longer have any children together anymore. He complains how sick he is all the time, yet he and his son play 3-4 holes of golf after hours every day. What do I do? I can’t keep supporting them 100%. I’m going broke. Working myself to death and grieving the death of my son.
He makes me feel guilty all the time saying how can I abandon the father and brother of my sons. That my dead children would be angry at me if I kicked them to the curb.