Once a Deadbeat, Always A Deadbeat
by Mary M.
I had my daughter when I was 17. For a few years, her dad and I stayed together, more because I felt like we had to, than because I wanted to be with him. While we were together, it was a struggle to get him to work, let alone pay for a pack of diapers. I was finishing my senior year of high school AND working 32+ hours a week to take care of my daughter. He spent six months in jail after her first birthday and when he got out, it was then that I decided I didn't need him, NOR want him. I had been doing it without him for the entire time already.
After splitting up, I tried college, but it was too hard with a baby and a full-time job. He wasn't working, so I thought the least he could do was watch her while I was. Even this was too much for him, he would put the burden on his mother.
I filed for child support through the state I live in and was ordered $207, plus $93 in arrears. I received one payment before he ended up in jail again for 2.5 years. It was during this time he wanted to be a dad. He sent his mother to my house with a packet of papers to fill it out so that my daughter could go visit him in prison. I never filled out the paperwork. It was my thinking that if he wanted to be her father, he would have been doing so all along. In the 2.5 years that he was in prison, I moved about 20 miles away. Once he got out, he made the valiant effort that all dead-beat dads make, he drove out two times to pick her up, then decided those 20 miles were too far.
Once when I checked to see how much money he owed me, it was well over $18,000... The story never changed, work, dont pay, get fired, don't pay.. When my daughter was 14, he called to wish her a happy birthday, but she refused to talk to him. He told her "Im your father!". Her response? You have had 14 years to be my dad, so now, if I want you as my dad, you will hear from me.." I was so proud of her, she had made that decision on her own! It is sad to think a child has to make that choice, but in the end, it was the one for her. It has been 2 years since that conversation, and she hasn't seen or spoken to him. In the end, my heart knows it is his loss. But mine hurts a little for those girls (and boys) out there who never were blessed with a good dad. My daughter has a father figure, she has many, but there is something about "daddy" that she has always missed out on.
As for child support, right now, he owes me upwards of $23,000. I receive $70 a week because he is on unemployment. Like so many, I get more money now that he isn't working than I ever got WHILE he was working. Dead-beat dads never change!