My Story - I simply need to be heard
I met and knew the mother for 3 1/2 months before she became pregnant.
We stopped using condoms because in her words "the doctor told me I don't have all the parts required to get..."
She had been married twice before - she was in her mid thirties - without children and had a scar from an operation to add credibility to what she said.
It became apparent that we would not stay together.
Her CSE case is in PA.
We went to intake, where I presented 10 years of tax returns. These were dismissed out of hand by the intake officer(of course a female). The point is, is there any reasonable thought process that would lead someone to think a person would waste 10 years of their life to cheat on a CS order for a child that isn't even on the horizon???
My Dad left my mother to raise 5 kids under the age of 8. He never contributed anything. We all get it, the pendulum was far to one side. But in a government supported and lobbyist pushed pursuit to claim all women, in this day and age, as still oppressed and under-classed, a system which defines us all publicly as deadbeats has swung the pendulum far to far to some other side.
When and who ever decided, and let slide into place the thinking that what a child deserves the moment that he/she is born, is a court guaranteed "lifestyle"? It was done because it's easy, and politically popular and vote worthy to pick on... you guessed it - deadbeats!
I met the mother when the company that I worked for did a repair to her roof. I was making $13 or $14 an hour. I had worked for the same company for those ten years before we met. She had a salary of $85,000, plus company car, company gas allowance, full insurance, profit sharing and bonus equal to something like $112,000 annually. Her house is on the Main Line in Bryn Mawr, PA. - half-million or so, at the time. She had this house long before I met her, or Andrew was born. It has four bedrooms and three baths; point being that she did not have to adjust her living quarters to accommodate a baby. I make around $26,000 dollars per year, but my child support is based on providing an Upper Merion lifestyle.
Every relation between mother and father can not be held up to the same blind test. Knowing someone for a matter of days, weeks or months, is vastly different than the woman who has been married for years and has sacrificed her time and abilities in being a homemaker and mother. What that mother deserves, and needs in order to maintain a home for those children going forward, should be met, but should never entitle every women who has achieved the feat of motherhood the same considerations. Doing so, diminishes her life's work and rights.
Newborns on the other hand, are pretty much created equal. It doesn't matter if you make $10,000, $100,000 or $1,000,000 etc. Your kid can only eat so many jars of squashed peas, poop the peas into so many diapers, and attend daycare so many hours of the day - the same as mine, or Joe's who makes 10 times what I do, or any Hollywood celebrity's who... well you get the idea. Making my kid worth less than someone else's is inherently unfair. So is basing child support on incomes. If a married mother and father can decide whether they want to buy their child a PlayStation3 with their extra money, why don't I have the same right? Food, clothing and shelter are necessities; everything else is discretionary.
Back to me particularly:
The intake officer makes up a number for my obligation, passes it on to the court and things move forward. I try to contest the amount set, but the court says I've missed my 20 day window sans any notice of such a deadline. Now I have to petition for review. I pay an attorney, we go to our hearing to review in front of a "master" - an out of practice attorney, not a judge, who says he will not review my tax records even though the law requires it, and that in fact since I have arrears now based on this mythically created obligation that I am in contempt, and have to pay $1000 by Friday in order to stay out of jail.
I pay. I try the process again. One week before my scheduled hearing date to modify, I receive a contempt citation in the mail - the hearing date??? You guessed it, it's my scheduled modification date. We all know how long it takes to get into court, so outcome: (different attorney, no better than the first) $2000 to be paid half this week and half by the next.
I try to deal with the mother. She leaves a ranting message on my answering machine of what she is entitled, and that my house will belong to her. My son from my earlier marriage, who is about to graduate high school hears the message before I get home. He sees the troubles I am going through, sloughs off his ideas of going to veterinary school, and signs an enlistment contract with the marines. The day he is suppose to report to boot camp, I find him dead.
There is a third hearing slated for the same day that will now be my sons funeral. I tell the mother I won't be there, I have a friend tell the court why I cannot attend. The mother is in court for the hearing. It's a hearing to make my order, which has been increased because I was foolish enough to take a job that paid more, but lasted only 11 weeks, final. This decision cannot be appealed.
My life falls apart. It takes me 11 months to sell my house. The mother gets $12,000 from the sale. I get unemployment for six months. The mother initiates another contempt citation after the unemployment stops. I receive a letter from the court that says I must show proof of a job within two Mondays of the notice or report for community service that Monday morning with the sheriff's dept. I am arrested at 11:30 on the Friday night two days before I am suppose to start community service.
A friend gets me a criminal attorney, who gets me a special hearing to consider my release - the incarceration is suppose to be for six months. I had arranged to work for a friend, and the attorney had a letter from him stating so the day of the hearing. The judge called the letter a hoax, my attorney offered to call the employer, the judge declined. He also declined to examine my attorneys offer to review the original letter of my obligation to report to community service two days later than my arrest. Judge's finding: I could pay $1000 that day, another $1000 the week of my release, and $6000 within two weeks. He also stipulated that I could not work as a 1099 employee for any contractor, I had to have an attachable income. My attorney asked if I had such money; it was the last of what I got from the house. I was returned to jail for an additional weekend, released on Tuesday.
I looked for work and did community service 4 days a week after getting out. I took a job that paid about $19,000 per year, but had the opportunity for management in the future. The company liked me and gave me a raise within 3 months. The courts were still taking the obligation as set prior, and so the amount left me every week was minimal. I was living with relatives.
I contacted a new attorney, who was a friend of a friend. He was usually very expensive and a friend of the master, but he would take my case on the cheap. I didn't want anything accept to get a modification and leave Pennsylvania for ever. The new wonder attorney's first accomplishment was to miss our hearing date. He made apologies to the court a week later and his buddy the master for a new date which he was given - six months out.
I again tried to work with the mother. She in fact wanted to make a go of the two of us; she didn't want to be a single parent, and said she wanted me in Andrew's life. Because we didn't have the best history, she gave me a framework for how she wanted to proceed.
I could see Andrew at her house, at her discretion. We wouldn't be romantic, because that had been our trouble before, and we would see how things went. The six months wait for the new hearing passed. The week before our court date, she asked if I wanted to make an agreement - she didn't like going to "that court", with "those kind of people." She agreed that I didn't make the money that I had been obligated for, and that she would make an agreement for me based on the guidelines for my salary, if I would agree to let her change Andrew's name legally.
We met at the domestic relations section the day before our court date and both signed the agreement. She asked me if I wanted to come to her house, yes we were romantic, but within a week or so, any chance of being together blew up when I gave her a card with a wedding band draped in the fold. She insisted I needed to give her an engagement ring that I couldn't possibly afford. She offered to loan me the money to buy one, when I declined she punched me in the face in the middle of her front yard.
We have not seen each other since. I continued with the job until one evening when my debit card was refused at the gas station. My remaining $1100 had been seized even though I was current on my order and making extra arrears payments. I had forty dollars in pocket, no place to live and no hope. It got me to my brother's house in D.C.