It took years for the child support system, run by the individual states, to receive a much needed overhaul. Like so many state run programs, however, lawmakers went too far in the other direction. Those parents on the collecting end of the child support are now given the means to wield the program like a weapon, one that can be used either in earnest attempts to collect from a dead beat, or in spite and on whim. States now have the ability to not only go after the losers who intentionally evade their responsibilities but to keep the men living up to those responsibilities living in fear.
I will tell you my story. While I know it to be the truth I understand that you will read it with a degree of strong scrutiny. You do not know me. I know the people who spend time here on "The Vine" to be intelligent folks who know each story has two sides. If it helps you see the truth, know that the telling of this story is painful for me. Were any of you so bored you wished to verify the veracity of this tale it would be easy to track down many witnesses, half of which were also participants. I swear to the truth of it all, but I completely understand that grain of salt you're preparing to take with it.
My former wife and I separated when she decided she wanted her boyfriend to move in to the house with her. She lied to the police and had me arrested. Long story short on the legal issue, I was freed and she was charged with purgery. I'm sure she learned a valuable lesson from the experience. Namely, be sure your boyfriends room mate isn't a decades old friend of your husbands when planning how to get him removed from the house. It did, however, accomplish its goal. I moved out, her coke dealer/boyfriend moved in. WITH my daughter. We filed for divorced, did the whole dance, and through it all I was still with my daughter. It was hard on me, because for the five years of out marriage I was my daughters primary care giver, and I loved it. Then, the day the judge banged the gavel, my ex vanished. WITH my daughter.
I STILL paid my child support. When I became disabled the state wanted to take a third of my Social Security Disability. I told them no, you take TWO-thirds. When I was finally able to go back to work, I paid my child support. Through all this, for TEN YEARS, I looked for my daughter. Seven times I'd almost found them, in different states, always moving.
A year ago I found her, and emailed her, and my fears were realized, and worse. The entire time I was paying my support my daughter was being told I had left them. Though she believed it she was still willing to communicate with me, and through this communication I learned the most difficult news of all. Three years ago my ex filed for revocation of my parental rights. She claimed to not know where I was and had the papers served at an address I have NEVER lived at. She knew where my father lived, his phone number, and that he always knew where I was, and she could have found out where I was. Making sure it would be uncontested she had my rights severed, and her new "man" adopted my daughter. They even took her middle name, named after my mother who passed away just before she was born.
Now, I still owe some old arrears, because when I was on disability I was not able to pay all the monthly support I owed. So, even though my daughter has been wrongly adopted by a man who used to deal drugs to and sleep with my wife, I am STILL paying what I owed. What's WRONG? I don't miss a payment. Every Monday like clockwork my bank automatically sends it. Yet every week I get a letter from the child support division threatening me with liens and raiding my bank account.
There are other horror stories, some due to misplaced trust, others the overzealous Storm Troopers who collect the support. Some men put too much stock in the amicable split. One friend and his former spouse just did it on their own. Each week he'd go give her cash. Well, two YEARS after the divorce he started dating again, and she did not like it...though she was living with another man. When she found out she went in to a rage, and reported him for TWO YEARS of non-payment. He had no proof of cash payment. This proves that while, yes, there are certainly a lot of dead beat dads who don't WANT to pay support, there are also many vindictive women. Hell hath no fury...
Until laws are refixed even good men will be at the mercy of the system and the quixotic temper of a woman. I would love nothing more than to see my daughter, to make things right, but the odds of this happening are not good. Oh, she talks to me via emails. She's willing to communicate. I think she may even have quiet doubts about her mothers stories. Her mother has had ten years with her, to weave stories, and who is she supposed to believe? The man who isn't there, or the woman who has been with her? Oh, I understand why she believes her mother, but what can I do to change it? I honestly don't even care about the child support. I want my daughter back, and I want her to know the truth. She once asked me how she would know the truth. I told her, you will know because when you hear it you'll feel angry, disgusted, and betrayed. Until then I will honor her request and not talk about it.
Again, I know there are a whole lot of men out there who dodge child support, who lie about income, and who could care less about their progeny. Who protects men like me? All I ever wanted was to raise my daughter, be a good father, teach her about the world. I call myself humble, but Sarah says I am too hard on myself, that I look down on myself too much. I know that being a father is the one think I did right in my life. The state could care less that my ex is guilty of seven counts of felony kidnapping. It doesn't matter to them she has kept my daughter from me intentionally. They could care less she has been lied to, and part of her believes her father abandoned her. They care about mailing threats weekly and taking money.
Yes, there certainly need to be laws to push the deadbeats to support their kids. There also need to be laws protecting men whos children are taken from them. My only option is to spend thousands on a lawyer before any charges can be brought. There are no state agencies who will help, no organizations I can contact to get the ball rolling.
You can read this and think it's just a man venting, and in part it is, but this is also one representation of how current laws work against men who ARE doing the right thing, and are paying a price for it. I sympathize with women left to raise and support children on their own, but more so with men with NO protection from women who know they can take advantage of the laws for their own reasons.
I had my LIFE stolen from me. It will cost me thousands to get it back. It may take everything. I am sure I will have to start from scratch. I'm sure her mother found out we were talking, because they've vanished again. Rumor has it they've gone to Wyoming.
But I will. Sadly, I will do it alone, for there is no help for men like me.