I'll try to make this short but there is a lot to it so here goes...
When dh and I were dating he was ordered to pay 1200/mo. He didn't pay much out of spite, very stupid and I gave him my opinion on that. When everything was finally settled he ended up being 8k in arrears but has now paid that down to 1300. Sometime in there his pay was cut in half and he lost his job so his support was modified to 640/mo plus 250 towards arrears totally 900/mo. He has never found a job making the money he previously made not for lack of trying. Still for the most part he has been able to comfortably pay support plus extras that are not court ordered (sports fees, school supplies, clothing, a bike kept at her house for the oldest, their oldest cellphone bill, etc). With support being 1/3 or more of his income it's still easy to get behind. In the past four years he's missed 3k worth of payments. Not all subsequent, spread out. Half of that was during a job change since he was offered a better job with benefits. I would like to mention that his ex previously listed her income as much lower than it was and there was no mention of the 132 overnights he gets them a year. In our state those two things make an impact on the amount he pays but since he couldn't afford a lawyer he got screwed.
That's a little backstory on why I guess she is so angry with him and considers him a deadbeat. But that's not even the real issue here. The issue is she attempts to make our lives hell and puts the kids in the middle of it all. She refuses to compromise on anything such as transportation. For instance, a few weeks ago I picked up two of the kids for visitation. The other two decided to stay home for whatever reason but decided they wanted to come Sunday afternoon, we were taking them home the next morning. She called and told us to pick them up. We asked if she could drop them off since we were in the middle if an activity with the other two. She refused and things escalated. She told the two with her their father didn't want to get them and then out of spite she came and picked up the other two. We didn't want to make a scene so sort of stayed quiet through it all. I do most of the transportation because dh works 60+ hours. I was very upset about all this because there have been many times I've dropped what I was doing to pick up the kids or drop them off because she couldn't or didn't want to. I guess I got to a point where enough was enough so I let her know I would no longer do those things. She replied, "you don't help me out, you help out dh and that's your job".
Before I start rambling, my point is I don't want to engage in power struggles with her but I don't want to be taken advantage of either. It's not just this situation....there are many where I feel she attempts to control our household. She schedules appts and other things during dh's time, talks through the kids (even when it comes to support), and using the kids as guilt trips when she wants us to do something she doesn't want to do and we are unable to do. She uses the fact dh is unavailable against him a lot but hello he is working and trying to pay support.
I just don't understand the hostility. I understand the frustration with money especially since she just bought a big house she can't really afford but I still don't see why everything must be made difficult. It's all a nightmare and everyone is miserable including the kids. I don't know how to handle this! I know it's not my business but she drags me into it all. I try to help out and suddenly it's MY responsibility.
What can we do? I've suggested going back to court or mediation and getting everything in writing since things have changed and there will be no disagreement. Also, doing a wage assignment so it automatically comes from his check instead of being badgered or having the kids ask how much she is getting each week.
I hope I don't sound awful. I don't mean to, I'm just stressed out and sick of it.