The Solution is Simple...So, why doesn't the state do it???
by Cass Andre
(Bullhead City, AZ)
I have to agree with most of you in that it's frustrating to raise children knowing that if we didn't provide for them it would be considered abuse/neglect, but if the other parent ignores their financial responsibility, very little happens to them.
My children's deadbeat "dad," owns AZ Glassworx in Bullhead City, AZ. He worked this business when we were married and it was flourishing. According to him, the moment I left him, the business stopped making money. Maybe it's true: Behind every great man, there's a great woman. I don't know what kind of woman he has behind him now, but regardless, the business is failing. That's the excuse I get as to why he hasn't been able to pay almost $11,000.00 of his bills (which I have paid for him). Or perhaps it's as he once told me: "You have a boyfriend. Doesn't he make enough to support my kids?"
And to that, I answer: Yes, my fiancé does work, but we responsibly pay my fiance's child support, his bills, my bills and our own bills. We shouldn't have to pay his bills as well. But that's what happens when someone doesn't pay his child support. That’s the point that seems to get missed by these deadbeat parents and the state. These bills have GOT to be covered by someone. My fiancé and I do that for him. We wouldn't mind a thank you from time to time. A nice card? A fruit basket, even?
But we’re not the only ones. My sister and her husband cover her ex’s child support, too. A lot of people are doing it: paying their bills and covering the ex-spouse’s child support. (If we didn’t CPS would jump on us in a heartbeat. Wish they would do the same to the deadbeat parents. Press neglect charges. Make them be accountable). I love my state to death. However, it definitely appears that in AZ, the good guy DOES finish last. For now...
Like many of you, I am also frustrated that these non-paying parents live such a high life. For instance, he brags on Facebook about his new boat, his Ranger...He sports name brand clothes that my kids should be lucky enough to wear and takes his step-son on cool trips to the dam. Yet...he can’t pay the support the courts ORDERED him to pay. Yes, he’s in contempt, but the state doesn’t have the manpower to shake him down. I’ll be filing contempt papers for myself as well.
He sees his own kids approximately 6-8 hours a YEAR because he claims he doesn't have a vehicle to pick them up (and I won't let him use my car and give him gas money anymore).
He'll borrow a relative's car to take his wife and her son on Vegas vacations, but won't borrow that same car to see his own kids. Like the rest of you, I wish the state would take this into consideration.
It's sad because I don't know what to tell my kids when they ask questions. How can your father afford to renovate his home with new paint, a new bathroom and tile countertops? Uh...I don't know. How can he afford name brand foods while we're becoming best friends with "Great Value?" Uh...I don't know. His nice electronics, new puppy and his unemployed wife's glamour nails? Uh...I don't know. After a while, because we try so hard to not down-talk these fathers, our kids are looking at us and going, "Duh, mom! He's lying!"
Kids aren't stupid. If I had expensive clothes, new material possessions, had weekly outings and big vacations, while they were donning second hand clothes and drinking tap water, they'd resent the hell out of me, too. Would they buy it if I claimed my items were not really mine, that I got good deals on "Craigslist," that my new spouse's family bought it all for me? Doubtful. My kids are like me, spot-on umpires: We tell it like it is.
If I could get my ex's ear, I would beg him to help me keep our kids from being resentful promiscuous drug addicts because "daddy didn't love me." Ok, I'll be honest, I have single-handedly raised my kids better than that (not to mention that they now have a strong male role model in their life). But still, can anyone ever replace a biological father? Not really. Parents...even horrible ones...have a huge impression on a child’s spirit.
I have to wonder: Am I teaching my kids to be railroaded because I won't stand up for myself and for them? Am I teaching them that it's okay to let someone abuse you? I'm afraid I am. I am guilty of just that. So, while I've strived since the beginning to not make waves for the sake of my kids, I AM going to stand up for them. My kids deserve new shoes, socks, dental braces and the latest CDs.
I do know that our state is underfunded and understaffed. But there are so many simple solutions. A) If these self-employed deadbeat "dads" can't afford to support their children, why don't they do what the rest of us are doing? GET A JOB!
Why doesn't the state implement weekend jail? Or even better: Why don't we do what we do when someone can't pay a court fine? Put them to work doing community service on the weekends for minimum wage and apply that to the debt they to their babies' mamas? Trust me, if they had to give up their weekends, they would suddenly find a way to pay their child support.
In addition, I have an asthmatic child who needs constant care and medication. I picked up her monthly prescription yesterday and after my insurance kicked in, it was only $145.00. Add that to the $230.00 a month I pay for medical and $140.00 for the medical flex-spending and we’re looking at $515.00 just to protect my kids medical needs. For the record, his court ordered support is less than that.
And THAT is what I pay for just one bill. A couple of years ago, I asked him to contribute $13.00 my daughter’s other prescription and his response is too vulgar to reprint here. The sad thing is, without this medication, my daughter would be hospitalized again.
I just don't understand why this isn't important to him. And why doesn’t the state see the imbalance in these figures? The only thing I can think to do is to get word out to our small community. If he Slay of AZ Glassworx, repairs or replaces your windshield and you pay cash, he will probably ask, "Do you need a receipt?" You see, with no receipt some self-employed people feel they can pocket the money and not report it to the government. I can’t say that this is happening with AZ Glassworx.
I'm just giving you a tip: Ask for a receipt. If you see his van pulling up, we need to speak up as a community to these dads. REMIND them that a portion of their income should go to their children.
Why does the state allow this? In fact, one of the things that made me so angry during my divorce is that his support was actually lowered because I have a "real job." The lower your income, the lower your child support. The harder I work and the more I make, the less his support will be.
Does this make any sense? Punish the people building our community and country up and reward people who refuse to work and force their responsibilities on others?
My wish for our state is that we can start over and figure out a way to make these parents be responsible for their children. We all comprehend basic psychology. You know--without a strong foundation and solid guidance, kids don't always turn out so well. So...they don't get jobs, leach onto the system and the cycle continues.
Can we break this already??? Let's strengthen our people! Let's strengthen our state, our county and our community! Make these deadbeat parents, male and female, be accountable for their choices! And, for God's sake, stop giving them welfare! I once read that the biggest mistake we make against deadbeat parents is not being consistent.
We get mad, we report them, then we problem solve our situation, and let them off the hook again. This does nothing. Instead, we should embarrass them. Stop protecting them. Stop enabling their bad behavior and stop picking up the slack for them. It's time that we all band together, change the laws and STOP allowing our kids to be neglected...and stop feeling guilty for telling your children the truth about their slacker, selfish "other" parent.
I can promise you if my check can't afford my kids something they ask for, I have no problem telling my kids, "Sorry, I can't afford that." Likewise, if I CAN afford the item, but don't have the money because I've paid his bills, then yes, I explain that to my kids as well. I won't lie for him and you shouldn't lie for your deadbeat ex either.
It's a damn shame that I have to protect my children from their own father. And it's high time the federal government and the state help me protect its children, its future. And for God’s sake: Protect me. After all...I am a contributing member of society and I DO pay my taxes.
(I just realized that I can upload picts to this article. So, while his business is so slow he can't afford the $400.00 in child support, that doesn't stop him from having a new boat and a ranger. Oh, and that cozy pict of him and a young man---that's certainly not his own son on that trip. It's the distant child of the woman he met then married within a week or so. Luckily me and my fiance are wonderful enough parents to his biological children to not let them be bothered emotionally by these things. Financially, though, I'm livid. Unlike others, I'm gonna be honest: MONEY DOES MATTER! My kids like to eat and food isn't free.)