General Question

scamp's avatar

Should I give him the money?

Asked by scamp (13124points) January 16th, 2009

My ex husband called to say that the water pump for our well has died, and he needs $900.00 to replace it. He says he has no water at all, and has to carry it in from the neighbor’s house.

A little quick history lesson iserted here: He is an alcoholic, and goes through money like water. (excuse the pun)

He lies to people to get money all the time, and if there is a grain of truth to the reason why he needs it, he always asks for a lot more than he needs.

I am 1000 miles away, so I have no way of verifying his story and to be frank, I don’t feel like I can trust him to tell the truth.

I own the property, but gave him a life estate when we divorced. One of the stipulations was that he has to keep things in good repair, so the pump is his financial responsiblity.

I feel cold hearted saying no because I hate to think of him living there with no water, but on the other hand, he just got a $5000.00 check 2 weeks ago, so I don’t understand why he needs any money from me.

If he is telling the truth, I have no idea what condition I will find the house in when I take it over again one day, but I just don’t have that kind of money to take such a risk.

So what do you think I should do? Would I be a cold hearted bitch if I say no? or would I be a stupid woman who is out a bunch of money if I say yes. What would you do in a situation like this?

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56 Answers

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

What is your agreement on upkeep of the property? Call a plumber yourself, get the plumber to let you know if the pump is broken, and then get two more estimates, and hire the lowest. You aren’t saving money to have your ex-husband do it himself, if there’s a chance that he will con you out of the money.

laureth's avatar

When I saw just the question, “Should I give him the money?” – my immediate answer was “Probably not.”

Then, I read the question, and the only thing that changed was that “probably” became “almost definitely.” Perhaps that comes from getting screwed over too many times by situations like this, but I smell a rat.

Knotmyday's avatar

Scamp, I wouldn’t. If his welfare means enough to you, ask him to fax the pump repair company’s estimate to you, and take care of it long distance. Do you have homeowner’s insurance on the place?

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

What city is the property in?

Jeruba's avatar

If he is really without water, that sounds like a fairly good motivation for him to put some of that $5k to use. If his taking care of the property doesn’t include this kind of thing, what does it include?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I definitely don’t think you should do it until you have a plumber that you choose give you an estimate. Taking his word for it just isn’t a good idea.

basp's avatar

I would hire the plumber yourself and pay the plumber the money. Even long distance, you will reduce the potential of being ripped off.

asmonet's avatar

Nah, he lives there. This is his problem.

scamp's avatar

@AlfredaPrufrock he isn’t going to do the work himself. Lifting his beer to his lips is the hardest thing he does on any given day. (I am in no way exaggerating this. He hasn’t worked since 1987) The agreement 9court oredered) is that he is responsible for all repairs*, and MUST keep everything in good running order, or he forfiets his life estate rights.
The property is in Bell, Florida, a very small rural town outside of Gainesville.

@laureth I smell a rat too, and it stinks like beer!! That’s why I wanted to bounce this off of my fluther friends before deciding what to do.

@Knotmyday, I do care about his welfare on a human level, but I just don’t know if I care $900.00 worth, ya know? I hard to harden myself to the fact that he got himself into this situation, and I had enabled him way too long in the past.

@Jeruba I bet he has already spent the 5 grand partying. I once saw him blow 23000.00 in 3 days with nothing to show for it.

@basp thanks.. good idea.. if I do anything at all, that is probably the best way. I just don’t know if I am morally responsible for this, and I sure can’t afford it financially. I have the money, but I would much rahter spend it on my grandson, and what he needs.

@asmonet Thanks! That was short and sweet!! I am such a softie, i am trying to find a way to live with myself if i say no. by all rights, i could kick him out, but I just can’t bring myself to put such a miserable pathetic soul on the street.

AstroChuck's avatar

Send him $900 worth of Circuit City gift cards.

asmonet's avatar

@scamp: :) I can appreciate you wanting to help someone who has been an important person in your life but I think for every relationship it’s important to never turn into a bank or a mommy. This situation bring up both. I hope you find a way to be gentle about it, I’m not sure what I would say but, it would definitely include a no. :)

scamp's avatar

Great idea Chuckie!!

@asmonet I need to find a way to be gentle and firm at the same time! He wants me to call him back today, but I think I need to think this over before I talk to him about it again. It’s hard to turn off feelings of responsibility for him. I was married to him for 22 years, and he has grown used to me solving all the problems over the years.

miasmom's avatar

there might be some legal ramifications also, if you fix this the court might hold you responsible for other things too??? Definitely check that out too.

scamp's avatar

@miasmom No.. that would not happen

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Get the plumber; he’ll charge at most $100 for the service run. If the pump is broken, pay the plumber, then have him pay you. I he doesn’t, he’s violated the terms, and you can evict him.

scamp's avatar

@AlfredaPrufrock Really? hmm, A new pump has to cost more than that. This is well water we are talking about, and he is telling me we need a whole new pump system.

bythebay's avatar

@scamp: I always say that it’s not fair to change the rules in the middle of the game. If, as you say, you always take care of things for him, then his expectation is not unreasonable…it’s typical. However, that does not mean you need to acquiesce to his needs every time he calls. It sounds like he’s prone to dishonesty and therefore you have every right to be cautious.

If you won’t be able to live with yourself unless you help him; compromise. Call him back, tell him you’ll call the plumber, you’ll set the appointment to have the situation assessed and make the arrangements to have it fixed. Then tell him you’ll pay for half the cost. Make arrangements with the plumber ahead of time to work out the details and tell him not to start work until he has that half of the money in his hand. BTW, if he already knows what needs to fixed, does that mean he already has a quote? Ask to see it.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

It will cost you $100 to find out if he’s a liar, and if he’s not, if he’s asking for more money than the pump will cost. In the same circumstance, I would think that would be well worth it. You’ve said you don’t trust him to be truthful or use the money as needed. For $100, you get to either 1) find out he’s lying, thereby saving $400 and not feeling guilty about it, 2) if the pump is broken, you get a second quote on getting it fixed, which could save you more than $100 if the total cost of the pump is less than what he told you, or 3) catch him in a lie, and because you checked up on him, he will think twice about trying to cheat you again.

DrBill's avatar

I had my Dad’s pump replaced last summer. It cost $540, and his well is 280’ deep. When I lived in FL (Orlando) the water table was about 75’. His estimate is way too high.

I would (having no emotions involved) give him 30 days to fix it, if he does not, take back the property for failure to maintain.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Is there a friend or anyone you trust in that town who could check the situation out for you before you call a plumber? Because if I were in your shoes,

A) I wouldn’t give him a dime, but
B) it’s my property and I’d be concerned on that basis, and if work does need to be done I’d have it done in a way that bypasses The Ex from getting a dime

Jeruba's avatar

@scamp,
> he is responsible for all repairs*, and MUST keep everything in good running order, or he forfiets his life estate rights.
What would be wrong with seeing if he wants to retain his rights badly enough to take care of this? If he doesn’t, then bingo, big problem off your hands. I don’t see how you can lose. That is, I don’t see how you can lose except by enabling him.

scubydoo's avatar

wow I wish someone would give me some property to live on and all I had to do was do the up-keep. I’d say it isn’t your responsibility to give him money. He should be able to take care of problems himself, esp since he has life right to stay there. What would he be able to do if he had his own property? He’d have to figure out how to fix hix own water situation. don’t give/send him money. it is possible that he needs it but it is also possible that if you send money to fix the situation, then he will more than likely be needing more money next month for a different situation.

scamp's avatar

@DrBill , Thanks for sharing the pricing information with me. I kinda figured he was overpricing things, but I had no idea how much. To everyone else, Thanks so much for sharing your opinions on this with me. I’m not even going to call him back for at least a few days, and during that time, I plan on making some calls to get an idea of what would be involved if I choose to pay any part of the repair.

If what he says is true and there really is no water, I worry about what kind of condition the house will be in when I take it back from him. I think I need to get tough with both him and myself, and make sure he understands that we are divorced and I am no longer responsible for his problems, and fixing them.

I might do better to spend the money on an attorney to take steps toward evicting him. I used to worry about what would happen to the place if it sat empty, but it seems like it’s not in much better shape with him there.

Maybe my best best is to kick him out, and hire a bulldozer to level the place, then start all over again.

My SO and I were planning on moving down there within the next year so I could be closer to my daughter and the new baby, and I would evict him then anyway. So I guess I just need to start in that direction now. It should be a lot easier to get him out of a place with no water. The electric is in my name too, so I could cut the power if he gets stubborn about moving out. Maybe he will do me a favor and torch the place, so I won’t have to pay for a bulldozer, right?

Thanks again to all for your help. I guess it’s time for me to put on my big girl panties and deal with this!!

Cardinal's avatar

I haven’t read the total explanation and I say NO!

loser's avatar

He’s the one enjoying the water so I think he should replace it. Plus, it does set the precedent. Next it will be the fridge, water heater, roof… Yea, I’d let him use his own allowance for that. Not that this will be easy, of course. I’m sure part of you really wants to help him. Good luck with this!

scamp's avatar

Thanks loser, and you know, you’re not far off with that answer. The roof still needs repair from the hurricanes 4 years ago, and the furnace quit 5 years ago. (he uses the heater in the window AC unit now) I think I will bring that up when we have “the talk.”

galileogirl's avatar

Take the $900 to a lawyer and find out if the life interest can be revoked if he allows the property to fall into disrepair. If so pony up a couple of hundred for an appraisal so you have a written basis in case he lets the place fall apart.

A life interest??? Was he 80 or suffering a fatal disease? In any other circumstance, (not to be rude) ARE YOU NUTS???

Jeruba's avatar

@scamp, I am no lawyer or professional advisor, but I can’t help thinking that if you accept the responsibility of paying and don’t hold him to his agreement, you could have trouble evicting him. I can imagine his lawyer claiming that you gave him a right to expect support. You could have a hard time using the agreement as a basis for eviction if your behavior fails to honor the agreement or show that you meant him to take it seriously. Instead you will want to be able to document his failure to fulfill his part of the bargain. I think consistency on your part will strengthen your case. You don’t want someone trying to prove that you owe him not only a place to live but a subsistence allowance. Screwier legal things have happened.

scubydoo's avatar

you could always take the $900 and buy 2 round trip plane tickets for you and your SO and show up unannounced to see for yourself the condition your property is in. don’t forget your camera :-)

mcbealer's avatar

Go there, take pictures, if poosible hire a home inspector to go with you and document any and all deficiencies. Oh, and by all means contact the local codes/department of health inspector office—I imagine the property could be condemned (and him evicted) if there is no running water.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Here you go:

Well & Septic Services:
Suwannee Valley Precast 352–463-2504
Cannon Well Drilling 352–463-6241
Smith Septic Tank Services 386–935-1459
-Roy Smith 386–965-0431 Cell
Dependable Well Drilling 386–935-3042
-Randy Smith 386–225-1618 Cell
Stephenson Septic Tank 352–542-8659

This realtor site has a list to homeowner services in Bell.
http://www.hometownrealtynf.com/content/article.html?id=1527097

If you really need a pump odds are Randy Smith should know it, since he’s the water well services guy in Bell.

bodyhead's avatar

I say better safe then sorry. Scamp, just push him in the well.

scamp's avatar

@galileogirl , No, I’m not nuts. He has had 9 heart attacks, a quadrupal bypass, and 9 stents. the bypass and all the stents have collapsed, and his heart has made what I think they call a collateral artery of it’s own, which means he is just hanging by a thread. I gave him the life estate over 6 years ago, and I seriously didn’t think he would still be alive by now. I think the alcohol is preserving him somehow!

@AlfredaPrufrock Thanks so much for all the work you did to find those numbers! I know the Cannons, and Randy smith did some septic work for us years ago. I completely forgot about them, but I am going to give them a call because I know them both to be honest people, so I can trust what they tell me. also they both know my about the ex’s reputation as a drunk, so I think they may take pity on me and give me the information I need, and a decent deal if I decide to do this.

@bodyhead ha ha!! I think you have the best idea of all!! I should shop for a good criminal defense lawyer first, but I doubt any court would convict me!

Much lurve to you all for your help and input. I will ask someone local to get pictures for me.

galileogirl's avatar

OK acceptable, you were playing the odds, but with your luck you might not want to be playing the lottery. Of course if he is that sick or drunk it is likely he is letting your property go to hell. The way I see it either you make sure the property is maintained or you keep him supplied with alcohol so he drinks himself to death sooner rather than later. Although in the latter case he may have a drunken accident and burn your house down so I would go for the former. I think that travel expenses to inspect your property once a year is tax deductible.

scamp's avatar

Believe me, keeping him drunk would cost me much more than fixing the well. And if he does burn down the house, he might be doing me a favor. As I said above, it would save the cost of hiring a bulldozer so I could start over with a new house.

We have all done stupid things in our lives, and having such a soft spot in my heart for him has been mine. I learned a valuable lesson from all of this, and tho there are parts of this story that i regret, i am not embarrassed at all for loving someone deeply and fully. it’s sad that he has taken such a pathetic downward spiral, but at least I got out before he drug me all the way down with him.

Jeruba's avatar

Wow, @Alfreda, you are really extending the practical helping hand of a friend. Remarkable. Lurve for each comment.

scamp's avatar

I agree. She went above and beyond, and I am so grateful!! that really was some super sleuthing. she found two people practically in my back yard!!

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Aw, blush. It’s a situation I can understand, but for a different set of reasons.

loser's avatar

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Fluther?

cdwccrn's avatar

Having been married to an alcoholic who drank beer by the gallons and barely got up to shower, I can pretty much assure youthatyou will not be happy with the condition of your property when you gethim out of it.
In the mean time, under no circumstances give him cash. The pump is his responsibility.
Blessings.

scamp's avatar

@cdwccrn Thank you for your understanding. I’m sorry you know my pain. He is not getting anything from me except “the boot!” I am working on a trip down soon to take measures to get him out.

Jeruba's avatar

@scamp, as I read your comment above, you have made your decision: not to give him the money. True? If so, congratulations on taking a stand. Sounds like it was tough but necessary.

mcbealer's avatar

@ scamp ~ glad to hear the gumption in your comment

scamp's avatar

@Jeruba & @mcbealer, thanks! I found out that he has spent a few nights in a hotel, supposedly so he could “shower”. If he has the money for 4 days in a hotel, he certainly should have enough to repair the water problem on his own. If not, it’s his hard luck.

I am planning a trip down there the first of April because that is the soonest I can get away from work. When I go, I will take lots of pictures to document whatever I need for the judge. Then I think I will ‘grow a set” and do what I should have done years ago….. get him out of my house and my life.

Thanks so much to all who have offered advice and posted in this thread. You have all been very helpful.

bythebay's avatar

Wishing you luck & strength, Scamp! and I hope when your “set” grows, they’re made of iron! Be strong.

scubydoo's avatar

@scamp Well done. we will be looking forward to how your visit went sometime in April. Keep us informed :-)

loser's avatar

We got your back scamp!!!

scamp's avatar

Here’s a quick update. The idiot and his drunken friends decided to try and fix it themselves. Somehow they managed to cave in the well, so when I move back down there, I will have to put in an entirely new system.

It’s mixed news. It’s bad because of the cost, but it makes it so much easier for me to put him out. He also moved his crack whore girlfriend (this looks just like her, a real peach, huh?) back in because he was “lonely.” She caused so much damage to the house when he had her there a few years ago, I told him if she set as much as one toenail on the property again, I would throw him out. So he has done me a great favor by making my decison easier.

I am contacting the attorney on Monday to begin proceedings, and then the power company to shut off the electric. I’m scheduled to go down in 11 days to visit my daughter for her birthday, but I don’t think I want to ruin the festiviies by going to the house. What I am seeing in my mind’s eye is bad enough. I don’t need to see it for real. It would just make me sick.

scubydoo's avatar

@ scamp. so I take it you haven’t actually gone by to see it yet? if not how did you find out the info? Hopefully it’s not as bad as the mental picture you’ve layed out for us. But, it seems you’re on the right track to do what you pretty much knew would have to be done. Go-Go-Gadget-Lawyer…. Make him pay for your property damages. But anyhoo, tell your daughter HAPPY BIRTHDAY for us.

scamp's avatar

Thanks scubydoo. He told me the story about the water problem at first, and the other day he called my daughter to ask if he could bring the skank to her birthday party. He even had the audacity to say that she wants to see her grandson!!

My daughter was so livid after that call, she called me to tell me what he said, and I figured things out from there.

I won’t get any money from him because he never has any. I just want him out, so I can hire a bulldozer to level the house and start over. I don’t expect it to be livable when I get there, but at least I have the 5 acres.

My visit is in 9 days, and I will only be there for 4 days, and I don’t want to waste any of my time on this. I am contacting my attorney tomorrow to rescind the life estate, and I can do everything from here.

He will be angry about being put on the street, so I don’t expect it to be in very good shape when I am able to move down there. My SO will be selling his condo so we can move down ther, so we will probably have to put a mobile home on the property while we rebuild.

I’ll pass the birthday wishes on to my daughter. I know she will appreciate it! We are going to have a pinic party in the park, which should be nice. :)

mcbealer's avatar

@scamp ~ I’ll be thinking of you!

Knotmyday's avatar

Good luck, Scamp!

5 acres, eh? Instead of rebuilding the house, put in an alternative community, and I’ll move there.

mcbealer's avatar

@Knotmyday ~ yeah like the one Trustinglife described in a thread. I wish I could link it but I’m on my iPhone.

Knotmyday's avatar

That’s what I was thinking of!! I’ll try and find it when I get off the crackberry.

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