"If there is a will...there is a way"
My story isn't an exception to the rule, unfortunately, it is the norm and one that is experienced by many custodial parents, nationwide. I am a custodial parent that spent the first three years of my life, post-divorce, enabled, and angry by the financial and medical abandonment brought on by my ex-husband. I was consumed daily with the stressors of single-parenting and how I was going to provide independently for the daily and specific needs of my children. One day, I went to the local junior college in my community without much forethought. I signed up for a few classes in a pre-law program and from that day forth, my life's path was forever set. In the scope of my studies, I started to get a grasp of our laws and their application. Each day, I embraced my education and the knowledge I that I extracted, became the foundation for my self-advocacy, advocacy for my children, and personal empowerment. I graduated and entered into a local university in criminal justice. I graduated Summa, as I worked a full-time job with the school system and raised my children, alone and under grave financial circumstances. I spent those early years, not only angry at my ex-husband, but distraught with the non-benevolent attitude of my local child support enforcement agency. I knew I could not force the hands of the child support enforcement agency without the knowledge to make them do so.
So, I started to research Florida civil and criminal laws, as well as, laws nationwide, regarding child support and enforcement. I then set a face to face appointment with my local state representative. The professional relationship I established with him, later gave me the opportunity to speak, as a lay person, before many governmental agencies involved in the adverse effects of children financially and medically abandoned. I became fierce in my pursuit for justice and the legal accountability of non-custodial parents who chose to abandon their children and the agencies that are contracted to protect the welfare, interests, and rights of those abandoned children. I encouraged my state representative to co-sponsor a criminal non-support bill, which was passed through legislation in Florida. Later, I requested for federal enforcement for the criminal abandonment of my children. Unfortunately, my ex-husband quit his white collar job and entered into law school, making the laws available, unenforceable. In 2001, I requested my child support case be sent by URESA to Texas for enforcement. In 2002, I started to see, for the first time in years, steady child support payments. The Texas Attorney Generals office in the scope of their
job failed to enforce in full faith and credit the directives of the court of continuing jurisdiction over the matter. Medical support and other protections were not enforced. In September of 2008, the child support became almost non-existent. I contacted my local CSE agency for assistance. I received the same attitude from Florida and Texas that I had experienced in the past. I was determined to see the support enforced and paid. I went on a mission to locate information on my ex-husband, via the web. I was able to produce an extraordinary amount of documentation of him personally and professionally.
I also requested that Florida CSE request in their packet, that all administrative remedies, allotted under Title IV-D law be utilized. I knew the enforcement tools available and I left no stone unturned. In a matter of days, of my findings and after calls and emails to Florida and Texas CSE's, the Texas CSE placed personal and real property liens on my ex-husband, liens at his financial institutions, federal and state income tax liens, adverse credit reporting, interception of income, filed for suspension of professional licensure and suspension of his rights to operate and register a vehicle. I am still awaiting my day in the Texas administrative court system. I will be proactive in my request at the hearing, that every directive is enforced to include incarceration. I am owed to date; $4,430.37 in current support, $30,363.77 in arrears and $42,265.93 in interest. The grand total is 77, 060.07. This has been my shared(20)year child support journey and learning process. In the end, I guess the moral to this and every child support story is.... for the custodial parent to educate themselves, advocate for their children, and empower themselves about the child support laws in order to get the result they want. Knock down every door, email, call, write and make face to face appointments with case management. Appear at your hearings and do not take "no", as the answer to the problem. You can resolve it with knowledge, wherathrall, and tenacity. Your children are worth every penny. I guess the old saying applies," little knowledge goes a long way." Each day of my life, I share my personal experiences and knowledge with the women in my community who are experiencing child support issues. I help them how to navigate through a troubled governmental and legal system in order to protect the interest, welfare, and rights of their family. I hope the readers of this posting will become empowered through their legal journey and assist others with their knowledge and skills along the way.