Child hid for 13 years, I found her on Facebook, now slapped with child support
When my daughter was 3 I joined the Navy, set up an allotment of child support to her mother (never married)for monthly support that was never ordered. This was a voluntary allotment for child support. I provided the mother with information to obtain the child's Military ID card to cover insurance. Upon returning to Florida after 52 months of sea dutyt in Bremerton, WA, I did everything to return to Florida so I could be where my daughter was, including using a guard of which I only get a possible 2 in a 20 years Navy career, only to find she was no longer there and no where to be found. Upon arrival I discovered my ex-girlfriend had married and left the state with my daughter(without my knowledge or consent). I continued letting the allotment go to my ex in her maiden name to her mother's address (child's grandmother).
This continued for 9 years without a picture, phone call, letter...etc. I did not know her married name, where she had moved to and none of her friends or family would tell me where they was. I never even knew if she was getting the checks. In 2004 I reduced the allotment amount hoping to get a call from my daughters mother (I had provided her friends and family with my contact info each and everytime I called trying to locate her). No contact.
Nine months later I stopped sending the money hoping this would prompt a response. No contact. I continued looking for my daughter to no avail. In January 2009 I located her on Facebook at the age of 16. After finding her I agreed with my daughter and her mother that we should first establish a long forgotten and hidden relationship via email and telephone correspondence to prevent any anxiety or undue stress on my daughter as this relationship was new to her (unfortunate, but not on my part). She is in Florida for the relevance of the law that is affecting this case to date.
I offered support and sent money during these months after I located her but was never ordered or even petitioned for support, prior to this or for 8 months after locating her. In August of 2009 my ex filed for support and arrearages. Arrearages for a time when I had no idea where she was. I hired an attorney and it was heard before the DOR (Hearing Officer) and support was ordered in the amount of $747.00 a month.
Arrearages were placed in reserve and were not accessed (again they were only placed in reserve (Can anyone explain reserve as my "FORMER" attorney obviously wasn't forthcoming with the true meaning). In December 2010, my daughter turned 18 and under new Florida guidelines without a modification the child is emancipated and the support is ordered to stop. Again I did not initiate this to stop, this was not my call. Three months have passed and I received a Notice of Delinquency from the courts because the DOR and courts systems do not talk.
Long story short, I jumped through hoops and the delinquency has now been dismissed, as the DOR terminated the support (have the documentation, sent me a refund, and closed the case. Here we are at the present. My daughters mother did not file a modification prior to my daughter turning 18 (and remember arrearages were never accessed only reserved)and from what I understand from the DOR she missed two dealines they imposed on her to show a date of graduation for the support to continue (read below the details of the letter provided with the date of which is still incorrect).
Again I did not stop paying the support or cancel the garnishment, the DOR did and I received a refund of my January 2011, child support. On March 25, 2011, the DOR was provided with a letter from my daughters high school stating a June 2011 graduation date and a last day of classes for her of June 10, 2011(this is still wrong she graduates in May, 2011 and the last day of classes for her is May 18, 2011)and I was told they are now going to assess $23k in arrearages that were only in reserve and but never assessed.
This is going to entail opening a case that is closed and I was told by the DOR it was closed for non-compliance of not providing a date of graduation by their missed deadlines (not once but twice) and that the case could not be re-opened. She was also given an extension by the DOR which is not common to provide this information and was non-compliant.
I have never denied supporting my daughter, but I was not going to continue throwing my money into a black hole never knowing if my daughter was getting my support. I have also learned my ex never told my daughter of any of the support I provided and led her to believe I didn't want to be in her life (which was not the case) this was the worst thing a daughter could hear about her father. Her mother also refuses to date (she has been given the needed paperwork once when I joined the Navy and again since I have located her) to get my daughters military ID for insurance coverage and she continues to pay out premiums for health insurance that go against the amount of support I am ordered to pay.
She has been given the paperwork to do this on two occasions, when I joined the Navy and when I found her. She is still denying my daughter of benefits that I provide. Again I do not deny supporting my daughter but I do deny that the courts have the legal rights to enforce arrearages when I didn't know where she was and tried diligently and continuously to find her. I paid when never ordered to for 9 years.
I also supported her as an infant and toddler before joining the Navy as we were living together at that time. I would think arrearages that were only placed into reserve would still have the right to go before the courts for a decision. My daughter has revealed to me via email that her mother admitted to her that she hid her from me to avoid a custody battle because she was happy and newly married. Oh by the way she left the state of Florida and moved to Maryland and I'm not sure how many years she was gone but I believe it was around 7.
She returned to the state of Florida and this is where I found her and where this case resides. Any advice from anyone out there who may have experienced anything similar would be appreciated? Basically I am being hit with arrearages for support that she didn't want to begin with and on top of that, hid her from me, but because I found her and initiated contact I am being taken advantage of by the State of Florida DOR and court system.
Oh yes and now the child is 18 and I have never even had a single right as a father because I couldn't afford a civil attorney(to fight for my rights) and send support. My daughter could benefit today as she always could have, the benefits that her military ID would given her. Because she still lives under the rule and influence of her mother, even though she is 18, she has to make the choice to abide by her mothers impositions. There are many benefits my career can provide her that she is missing out on, but mommy just wants my money.
She is also married to a man who is a financial planner, who is able to show their tax return with a loss, reducing her $59k to $50k (he shows no income) and this loss reduces her money too. So instead of her income being $59k it shows their only income as $50k. They also have two children which show as her dependents that reduces her income even more, and I pay the price (wow I'm supporting theid kids too).
Meanwhile somehow they managed to go to the Bahamas twice in 2010, a ski trip to Colorado in 2009, etc....while all I do is pay support and still don't get to see my daughter. I can count the times on my fingers and toes that I have been able to get her on the phone since I located her. I would think a more amicable way other than paying arrearages and in my daughters best interest would be to ensure her college education. I have offered my GI bill which can transfer to her to ensure her future, with no reply.
This has been offered repeatedly (let's face it she is about the dollar, not what is in the best interest of my daughter). I can't get back the time I was denied and still don't get, so why should she get arrearages when she never initiated a support case and didn't want support as long as I wasn't in her life (again I didn't choose this). All I want is to move forward ensuring her future and forget the past but I am still denied. What do I do?