Ms. Kimberly Hazel
by Kimberly Hazel
(Astoria, Oregon, USA)
I have been living in the state of Oregon for ten years now. I moved here from Utah to start a new life with my children. I was married to their abusive father for ten years. My problems with child support started when the Utah judge would not sign our uncontested divorce papers because my ex-husband had not attended the mandatory, two-hour parenting class. After I had fired my lawyer (because I could no longer afford him), had filed several “Order to Show Causes” with the Utah courts, and lost the house that rightfully would have gone to me if the divorce had been finalized, the judge finally signed the divorce decree in 1996.
It is now 2008 and last month I received my first child support check ever of $345. My ex-husband owes me around $70,000. The original amount ordered was $571 for two children, but my ex voluntarily returned himself on the warrant and had the amount reduced. He did this because he got a notice from Oregon stating that he only owed $14,000. This was an amount accrued from the time the case was re-opened in this state and I’m sure he wouldn’t have stepped forward if he thought he still owed all of it.
This all sounds good, but now the lady at our Oregon Recovery Services tells me I may be subpoenaed to Utah when the case is tried in Sept. or Oct. Because I live 1,000 miles away the cost of this trip will cost more than all of the support I will have received; provided he pays the next couple of months. I was also told that he may be forgiven for any backed support not paid prior to eight years ago!
I struggled for years as a single mother working nights, etc. in order to support my children. My case has been closed repeatedly because I haven’t been on public assistance and because the state of Utah supposedly couldn’t locate my ex-husband. They finally reopened the case, when I called and insisted, as they were holding him in their own jail!
My children have suffered over the years while their father has been allowed to not pay.
Oregon explains to me that Utah has very lenient laws and that they can’t do much because they are the state with jurisdiction. It seems to me that justice and the law don’t work for the person who is doing the right thing.