When I started this blog, I had planned to leave this subject alone. I wanted my blog to be a place where words are encouraging, inspiring and delightful! Words have so much power, I want words to heal, promote and do good things for the reader or listener. This world has enough negativity in it already.
About two months ago, an opportunity arose to write a series of articles on a subject I do care passionately about: our children’s welfare. And I prayerfully decided that if I do not share this subject with you I am not being truthful or authentic with you and my calling here. We CAN discuss difficult subjects without being overtly negative. I feel we can encourage each other even if the topic is not “warm and fuzzy”. We simply cannot change what we refuse to acknowledge!
So let’s dive in, shall we?
In America today, marriages are a mess, divorce is a disaster and in to many situations, children are the collateral damage.
It is the children who suffer, first and foremost, the breaking of family ties as a covenant relationship is destroyed… I don’t think anyone plans to get divorced as they contemplate marriage. I know I did not, I already had fantasy’s of grandchildren swimming in our pool while the cookies baked. But for me this was just that– a fantasy.
My marriage dissolved in a dysfunctional stew of alcoholism and codependency that was as conducive to “happily ever after” as a nuclear bomb.
It was not what I intended to have, it was not what I wanted, but it was what I got.
Due to his illness, I was a single parent long before the paperwork officially said so. I had struggled through years of baseball games, parent teacher conferences, church events, dance recitals, doctor’s appointments alone…I was adept at making excuses to any and everyone who knew I was a Mrs. but had no Mr. present.
It was once the paperwork was official that the real battle began. I had let him keep the house with the pool, I agreed to his “parenting time” demands: one day per week so as not to interfere with his work schedule, no summers and one holiday, if he had the time off… Even though I did not want the full amount of child support due per the income calculator and kept detailed records of how the money was spent with receipts for the two months he actually paid child support, nothing satisfied him or stopped his relentless accusations.
My husband showed up at our final divorce hearing, voluntarily unemployed, and insisted to the judge he could not pay ANY child support (and had not been paying throughout this divorce process he dragged out a year and a half, AND had canceled the medical insurance on our children 9 months prior to this date). The judge set the child support amount at $500 for two children, this would have been the amount owed on a full-time minimum wage paycheck for two kids in Texas. Then he informed my husband that “this was ridiculous!” and ordered him back to work in his actual profession and to return to the court in 30 days with a paycheck stub so he could amend the amount.
My now ex-husband responded by leaving the state.
I did not know that at the time, and I thought that with the paperwork officially filed in court, and the Attorney General of the Great State of Texas now in charge of collecting my child support that all problems were solved and I could go on with the business of raising my children and re-building our shattered lives.
I was wrong.
Even as I sit here typing this, years later, the arrears owed to my children for child support are in the tens of thousands and they have never received any medical support. I am owed close to ten thousand in medical bills alone and have one child facing surgery again.
I had no idea that in America you could throw children away like an empty beer can and legally get away with it.
My quest for answers to this baffling situation have put me in touch with single parents, MEN AND WOMEN from all over our great country in the exact same boat. I have attended support groups and participated in online forums. The stories I have been told are heartbreaking, the arrears statements are horrifying…
The lack of attention to this subject by our elected officials and the media is mystifying. How can it be that in America children are throw away toys, Easily discarded when you are done playing with the other parent? To allow your precious flesh and blood to do without while you have cigarettes, smart phones and vacations? For your child to have to give up a beloved sport because you refuse to pay for half of the participation cost, uniforms and other expenses?
There arrears nationally are now over $115 BILLION DOLLARS– 30 states on record with over a billion in arrears on the books. According to the most recent Report to Congress from the Federal Office of Child Support about $30 Billion of that is owed back to the federal government for children receiving TANF,EBT and Medicaid benefits who would not have needed or qualified for any of that if they were receiving court ordered child support by their parents.
THIS is how we treat children in AMERICA?
Wow, let’s “adult” for a moment, take the “battle of the sexes” out of this: if you helped to create a new human being with another person, you have a connection to that person! Like it or not, it’s TRUTH. Children are not pets, or cars to be traded in on a better model. So let’s “adult” and do it right! I don’t care who cheated, lied, spent all the money, was on drugs, drinking, got religion, or who is just a lousy miserable human being that you cannot stand to share air with for another second!
Is your CHILD that person?
Of course not! So don’t make your child pay for your failed relationship! If you “punish” your ex by withholding support or paying late or inconsistently who do you think is REALLY paying the price? As yourself, “Did little Johnny get a yearbook this year?” or, “Was little Sally able to go on her field trip?” or even, “I wonder why Johnny quit playing soccer, (baseball, piano, debate team!)”
ADULTS– anger is NEVER an answer, and it’s not something we need to carry around with us or dump on other’s. Especially our kids. We can do better! And for the sake of future generations we need to “do better” quickly. The family courts and IV-D courts are a failure. WE MUST DO BETTER– our kids are depending on it…
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1st Timothy 5:8
For further information please read:
http://momsfightback.org/true-cost-unpaid-child-support/ This article shows the effects on children of unpaid child support.
http://momsfightback.org/115544338886-billion-counting-child-support-america/ This article highlights the status of divorce in America, the history of child support and why arrears are now at over $115 billion dollars nationally…Contains link to the most recent Report to Congress from the Federal Office of Child Support showing arrears by state.
http://momsfightback.org/money-weapon-using-child-support-tool-abuse/ This article highlights cases where child support, paid and unpaid, has been and is being used as a tool of abuse. #endfinancialabuse
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/end-silent-crisis-unpaid-child-support-and-aggressively-enforce-collections-procedures-court-ordered-cases-now If any of this touched your heart as a parent, or your pocketbook as a taxpayer, please consider signing this petition to end the non enforcement of child support that allows the states to continue to collect federal dollars while single parents suffer financially.
http://josidenise.com/a-letter-to-the-father-who-wont-pay-child-support/ This is a heartbreaking blog post from a single parent that highlights what it is really like to do it all alone. Children are not throw away toys…
https://aspe.hhs.gov/basic-report/partial-listing-problems-facing-american-children-youth-and-families poverty does not make for many good outcomes for our kids…..
http://www.janeandjohnqpublic.com/blog/child-support-it-was-never-fair Our family courts and IV-D courts are in a complete mess…
http://stopabusecampaign.com/adverse-childhood-experiences-study/ My friends, we simply MUST do better by our children. The time is NOW, to stop ALL forms of abuse and raise our future.
I would personally like to thank the editor’s at MomsFightBack.org for having a platform for sharing all issue’s that affect our children and the hard work being done by them to improve our kids lives! Please visit them online and join them and all parents working to make this world a better place for children! BRAVO MFB! http://momsfightback.org/
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/end-silent-crisis-unpaid-child-support-and-aggressively-enforce-collections-procedures-court-ordered-cases-now One more time! Please sign and share! We can be heard, our kids NEED to be heard! Thank you!