Deciding on child custody can be a not fun legal process and result in a lot of trauma both for parents and children.
In the event a couple cannot divide custody equitably, the fight between the parents for time with their child can be brutal.
Redditor Agitated-Split-3862, who’d already been through a major custody battle, found himself in a situation with his ex and their daughter.
After missing some time at work to fill in for his ex, he decided to make his ex responsible for that lost time. Unclear if this was a jerk move, he went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for feedback from objective strangers.
“AITA for charging my ex to babysit our kid?”
Our original poster, or OP, talked about the custody agreement and disagreements with his ex.
“I have a custody and child support agreement with my ex for our 5-year-old daughter (Sumara) that has been unchanged for the past 3 years, since our breakup.”
“Personally, I’ve never missed anything, never been late. I adhere to the agreement to the tee.”
“I make sure everything else in my life will agree with our agreement because I know that’s what’s best for Sumara.”
“My ex…I can’t say the same.”
“She’s never been a very organized person and after our breakup it seems to me like her life has been even more disheveled since I’m no longer around to bear that load.”
And then he was asked to step up for something his ex couldn’t handle.
“2 weeks ago she calls me at 7am and tells me I need to pick up Sumara because she has to go to work soon and her normal childcare (her Mom) and her backup (her Sister) are not available.”
“I’m like WTF I have to go to work soon as well what happened? Apparently her grandfather fell the night before and had to go to the hospital so her Mom went to see him.”
“And since she doesn’t drive her Sister also had to go (Mom and Sister live in the same house). He’s still there so they’re still with him and can’t watch Sumara so I have to do it.”
He expressed some frustration.
“This is the 3rd time this has happened in the past year. Both of her babysitting options live in the same house.”
“Her Mom doesn’t even drive so how is your ‘backup’ even a ‘backup’ if they’re never available because they’re tied to your ‘primary?'”
“We talked about this the last 2 times and I clearly explained to her she needs to figure this out. The last 2 times I wasn’t working so it wasn’t a big deal to me…but now I am.”
“I can’t just bail on work to get Sumara for her on days when she’s supposed to be taking care of her.”
OP had to call out of work.
“I double checked with my ex to make sure there is literally no one else available.”
“When she said no, I called my boss and explained the situation and he said it was cool, but he reminded me that I’m a new employee so I didn’t have any paid time off, and that in general it doesn’t look good for new employees to call-off last minute.”
“I said I understand, and picked up my daughter.”
“When my ex came to pick her up at the end of the day I told her she owes me $100. I lost money by not going to work today.”
OP’s ex did not take that kindly.
“‘I understand it was an emergency, but this is your fault for not having proper backup’.”
“‘Our agreement says I pay you child support to cover partial childcare costs when Sumara is with you, but then I turn around and provide the childcare’.”
“I can’t both not work and still pay…its literally impossible.”
“She BLEW UP on me.”
“She started screaming and said she’s not going to pay me to watch my own daughter.”
“She called me a piece of sh*t for trying to capitalize on her family emergency. She called her Mom on the phone so she can yell at me too. I stood my ground and collected my $100.”
“Its not even about the money—it was about sending the message that she’s not being a responsible parent and she needs to face harsher penalties due to her lack of preparation. Grandpa is now fine, BTW.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors thought OP was within his rights to do what he did.
“This is 100% correct. I too thought you were the A H from reading the title, but you made an excellent point.”
“Next time just tell her no. She will have to be the one to miss work.”
“If the situation was reversed I can promise you she would not have handled as well as you did, putting your child first. Plus you have a new job.”
“Not to sound like Nancy Regan, Just. Say. No.”
“If you have concerns she will leave the child in an unsafe position, then go back to court get primary custody, get the tax break, pay less child support or don’t pay any, and ensure your child is cared for properly.”
“Probably best all around. NTA”-lallaw
“Just reading the title I was going to say the opposite… But reading through the story, it’s obvious your partner cannot take care of your kid.”
“I mean, come on. First off, they can’t drive while they have a job, and then they have almost no resources for outside help and almost no support system?”
“Also, why the hell do you get to pay partial when she is working? Does she do the same for you? Is there such a large financial difference that she has to have the assistance?”
“This is another reason I’m thinking maybe she shouldn’t be caring for your daughter.”
“NTA. Document all the stuff that happened and talk to your lawyer about this to have a new agreement established.”
“Because this one isn’t working. Or better yet, get more custody.”
“Something to where this parent isn’t given room to f**k up again. And if they do, well, then you know where that would go.”-ShakeSlow
“NTA. If she can’t handle the responsibility of equal custody, she shouldn’t have equal custody.”
“Also, she can use the child support to hire a baby sitter, or she can take a day off like you would when it’s your day to watch her and you can’t find a sitter.”
“But instead, she chose to be an irresponsible parent and force somebody else who cares more about the child than than her to pick up the slack.”-ianwasted30
“NTA. She needs backup care to properly provide the level of childcare you’re already assisting in paying for.”
“Stuff happens, but when the same stuff repeatedly happens, she needs to figure out a new system that doesn’t jeopardize your job.”-rileygreyy
And people are advising strong legal actions.
“NTA and take her back to court, let mediation know that she has been doing this frequently and hopefully they will lower your child support costs.”
“And they may even give you more physical custody if you want it and are willing to fight for it. But definitely the child support thing.”
“Tell them you can’t work if you’re expected to watch the child, and you can’t afford to pay for your own child care on days you don’t realize you’re going to watch her, if you’re paying child support.”-the-willow-witch
“NTA. If her childcare falls through on your Ex’ days, it’s her responsibility to miss a day of work, not yours.”
“Also, none of this was an emergency. Your Ex’s family didn’t have to go to visit the grandfather, immediately, without making arrangements.”
“For instance, Sis could have had your child in the car and dropped her Mom off at the hospital and then picked her up later.”
“And they knew about the grandfather falling the night before, so they could have called around to find alternate babysitting that night instead of the next morning.”-teresajs
“NTA, bordering E S H. It was her fault but being petty asking for cash isn’t the right way to deal with it.”
“It just antagonizes her, makes her more convinced you’re being unreasonable and gives her free reign to continue parenting your daughter poorly.”
“You should keep track and document all these lapses in her parenting and use it to make a case to revise your custody or child support terms.”
“The main priority is to place your daughter in the hands of a capable parent at the right times.”-DaisyInc
“NTA. Remind the ex that your job is what funds the support payments to her by definition.”
“She presumably knows you’re new at your job, and calling out with short notice can have long term consequences optics wise, as your boss pointed out in the moment not subtly.”
“Ex was just assuming her day was more important, which is part of the problem.”
“You did literally drop everything, jeopardized your job, so she got her way. She can’t ‘blow up’ and get her family on you about it.”-dart1126
People questioned ex’s ability to care for the child.
“NTA – but I think you’ve shot yourself in the foot here in how you’ve explained and put forward your question.”
“You’ve paid for childcare via your custody agreement but your ex won’t enroll kid in child care and has/expects you to be the fallback when her mum/sister can’t watch your child causing you to miss work.”
“Plus she still expects you to pay for childcare on that day.”-Fugly0the0first
“NTA. It wasn’t your time to watch your daughter but you did. I don’t see why her mom couldn’t have stayed home and watched her just as well as you did but that’s not how it worked out.”
“The fact is that you had to lose a day’s wages and kind of look not so good in front of your boss. It was only fair to ask your ex for your lost wages, even if it did make her and her mom angry.”
“The next time this happens, and it sounds like it will, tell your ex you are not taking off work since you’re new and don’t have any vacation days and could end up losing your job.”
“Tell her she will have to take the time off from her job and stay home with her child.”-No_Proposal7628
“NTA for multiple reasons.”
“This is a repeated issue if it was a one off then YWBTA but it’s repeated; she needs to get it together.”
“A portion of your child support is supposed to go childcare so if it’s not, that’s an issue.”
“Yes this is your child, but the position you were in it was either she miss work or you miss work meaning you miss pay.”
“Now obviously I don’t know your financial situation but I’m sure if because you missed work you couldn’t afford to pay child support it would’ve been an issue.”
“Now maybe $100 was a bit steep but again idk either of your finances. I’d also like to add that you definitely should’ve told her upfront that you wanted/needed payment instead of dropping it on her last minute regardless of the amount.”-By-AnyOther_Name
“NTA – I was preparing to call you TA until you mentioned it’s impacting on your job, she’s done this before and part of your child support is earmarked to provide partial childcare costs for her.”
“She cannot have it both ways, whereby she gets money from you for childcare but she uses you as free childcare and thus pockets the money from you, that’s not fair.”
“Nor is it fair that her lack of planning is putting you at risk of losing your job, you need your job every bit as much as she needs hers so for her to basically expect you to blow your job off so she can go to work is ludicrous.”
“I would suggest though that, instead of charging her because if you take much more time off you could find yourself out of a job, that you simply tell her in advance that you are not available for childcare at short notice and if she has another emergency she’s going to have to work it out herself.”
“Including not going to work herself if necessary like she’s expecting you to.”-GoddessofWind
Though it seems like an easy call to make OP the a**hole, the context changed people’s judgements.
Thankfully Redditors read all the way through….most of the time.