Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Our Child Support Nightmare

My fiance and I have 3 children together ages 4, 2 and an 11 month old. I have 2 older children which I could not get child support for because the father lied about his income and he is pretending to be disabled so the judge said he can't pay and when I told her about how he owns several homes he rents out she said without proof and a lawyer there was nothing I could do. After court he told me that I shouldn't have done this and how I was going to pay so he took my 14 year old away and has turned him against me. He even made a false claim to DCF saying that I abused my son which they realized wasn't true and was dropped. He did all of this because I went for child support even after I told him that I had no choice if I wanted to get help with food stamps. Now my fiances ex decided to go after him for child support 2 years ago for their 13 year old and he was ordered to pay $307 a month. We later found out that they should have taken the fact that he had other children to support one of which has autism into consideration and they did not. We were already on welfare to begin with and couldn't afford this amount or a lawyer. Legal Aid does not help with child support but we found a law clinic that did. It took almost a year to get a hearing and right before we did the clinic decides to drop him claiming that he wasn't keeping reasonable contact with them which wasn't true since he had done everything he was told to do and thought he was just waiting for a court date. So right after they dropped him he gets a hearing date and goes in alone thinking that everything had already been filed. When he gets to there the hearing officer(who was very rude) told him that nothing had went through the judge and that it doesn't matter that he wasn't working right now or that he had other kids to support. He told him that he shouldn't have had more kids because his first child comes first and that he better find a job. My fiance told him that he doesn't have a problem paying for the first child but that he just doesn't have the money right now. He also told the officer that all the children should be treated fairly since they are here. So if the system claims to be about the children then where is the justice for children from second families and why should they have to suffer? This case was suppose to be about time sharing as well and when he brought this up the officer told him that's something he has to work out with his ex. We are so angry, hurt and confused by all of this. She refuses to let him see their daughter and for at least the first year since paying her child support she wasn't even living with their child.  She had the child staying with the grandfather but we couldn't prove that either. Everyone always wants proof from us but they never make her prove where the child is living or how the money is being spent. Isn't this a violation of his rights as a father? He should have the right to see her whenever he wants without permission. Our house and cars are falling apart and we have to borrow money every single month from my mother which barely gets by herself. We can't even get approved for a Habitat house because he is still on the mortgage for the house she lives in by herself which is a 4 bedroom doublewide. She refuses to refinance so he can get his name off of it so we're stuck in a tiny singlewide. We have no life and just keep sinking deeper and deeper into depression. Everyone is always so quick to say well you shouldn't have had more kids but you know what...we did, they're here and they're not going anywhere. Just because you have kids from a previous relationship doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't move on and have a new family. You shouldn't be punished for it either. I could understand the law getting involved if the father wants nothing to do with the child but when the ex won't even let you see the child and you can barely support yourself you shouldn't have to worry about losing your license or going to jail especially when you have a second family to worry about. Why doesn't the system care about my children? Second family doesn't mean second best. All children should be treated the same! You have people like my ex who have the money to pay but don't want to so they lie and don't have to pay. People like my fiance who want to pay but can't get the book thrown at them. So now we have to start all over with the law clinic and hope that they don't drop him this time so maybe after another year of suffering and living in misery something will go right but the way this system works it's very doubtful. If it weren't for these children who we love more than anything we would have given up a long time ago but we are the only ones who seem to care about what happens to them since the system only cares about the first child. Giving up is not an option! 

Dawn Martin