A child has two parents in this world – a mother and a father. Whether your child is a boy or a girl, it is extremely important for their development to have both parental role models in their lives (providing that neither parent is abusive). My story is a familiar one I’d imagine for many fathers out there.
I had a fantastic relationship with my daughter for the first 7 years of her life. We saw each other every other weekend and spoke on the phone almost every day. A bond develops from day one, but after seven years the bond is incredibly strong (and important).
I was never married and unfortunately had to go through the court system to get an agreement for visitation and child support (my ‘X’ had free legal counsel, but I didn’t qualify, so I paid over 28,000 dollars for a lawyer…fair huh). My daughter is now 10 so let’s backtrack 3 years.
One day my daughter told two of my friends that she saw her mother and her mother’s boyfriend having sex. That same day, she told the same two friends and me, that the only reason that her mother stays with her boyfriend is for money (wonderful lesson for a 7 year old).
So, I wrote an e-mail to my ‘X’ asking to speak about a couple of issues relating to our daughter….NO RESPONSE. Two weeks later, I see my daughter again and she’s sitting down with my then current girlfriend and she says “I just don’t understand why my mom stays with her boyfriend? She hates him and it’s all about money.” She also repeated that she has seen them have sex.
So, this time I write another e-mail to my ‘X’, but a much more aggressive one. The gist of this e-mail was either we sit down and get to the bottom of this or I will come to your home and take control of the situation. I received a response from my ‘X’ that basically told me to buzz off.
“She has other children to worry about and doesn’t have time for my nonsense.” Meanwhile, in 7 years, I hadn’t raised one concern and the first time I do, she dismisses it without even knowing the details.
There’s the background. So, we go to court again, this time I refuse to get a lawyer. The judge said I had to get one and I simply couldn’t afford it. So, because I couldn’t afford a lawyer, I now (for the past 3 years) have not been able to see my daughter because in court my ‘X’ made some horrible allegations about me that were complete lies.
So, she can go into court, say anything she wants and because I can’t afford a lawyer to fight her lies, I lose all visitation right with my daughter. So for 7 years I have this wonderful loving relationship and for 3 years, not even a phone call.
I write my daughter 2-3 letters a week (I don’t know if she gets them). Not only is this so unfair but the damage done to my daughter emotionally is beyond words. You don’t just remove a parent from a child for NO reason.
I know the courts have to take allegations seriously (god forbid they are true), but I don’t have the money for a lawyer so I suffer. And really, the one who suffers most is my daughter.
Now, to top it all off, I still pay over $1,500/month in child support and my company doesn’t subsidize our health insurance, so over $500 for her insurance. Now, I know the money is for her (daughter), but from a father’s perspective this whole court system stinks. I have to pay for a child that I can’t see because my ‘X’ lied and I couldn’t afford to fight with a lawyer.
Something ‘has’ to be done to change the system. It is broken. I wonder what would happen if I made horrible allegations in court against my ‘X’. NOTHING would happen because she qualifies for free legal care. What a joke. The family court system is an utter joke and social nightmare.
It hurts as many kids as it helps. In my case, my daughter will be hurt forever (even if we do establish a relationship again) because we’ll never be able to get this time back.
As an addendum to this story, just to make the case stronger, I am obligated to provide health insurance and dental insurance for my daughter. We are now on 11 years and I have never neglected my obligation to provide insurance nor have I ever been late on my child support.
The company I work for has a health insurance plan, but does not subsidize one dime of it so I pay $579.00 after taxes to cover both my daughter and I ($579.00 after taxes is close to an $11,000 raise). My wife works for a union and gets government sponsored insurance. The insurance she has is far more comprehensive than the insurance I provide for my daughter.
Now, both my daughter and I are eligible to join the plan as long as I can provide a copy of her social security card and a copy of her birth certificate to prove the relationship (my wife had to do the same for my stepdaughter). Well, my lovely ‘X’ refuses to provide me the documents, so I am stuck paying $579.00/month. Oh, did I mention that my wife’s insurance plan is FREE.
So again, a father is at the mercy of an unreasonable and angry mother. I have written letters to child services explaining the problem and showing them the proof and so far, no result in my favor. The moral of the story is that I can have an 11K raise tomorrow if my ‘X’ were a decent, normal human being.
So, not only does she now control the fact that I don’t see my daughter through her lies and stories, but she is also in control of my salary. What a wonderful system….it’s sickening.
PS – My wife is from a country that has no reciprocal agreement with the United States to enforce our laws, so I could easily skip out on the whole thing, but I stay because I don’t want to strand my daughter financially.
Does the system wonder why so many fathers disappear? If they don’t, they’re beyond dumb. I’m a fool for not skipping to her country and trust me they would welcome an American with open arms….it’s tempting!