Life sure is funny… Child Support intricacies.

Yup, life is definitely funny… Today I had to work on a case about a man who ran off to El Salvador instead of paying child support. It’s a bit ironic since I was just talking to my brother about my donor who kinda did the same thing. Of course, he was told that no, the donor paid child support and never skipped out.  I’m sure my brother got the lines fed to him and as a child, how would he know any better?  Who wants to think of their dad as a deadbeat?  I get it because it’s not a good word but how else do you describe someone who ran off and never looked back?  As a grown up, how can you see facts and still deny them?

My brother said, of course dad (his dad, not mine) paid, otherwise he’d be in jail!  Clearly that never happened  so he must have paid, right?!  Well no.  The man ran off to another country.  We have no jurisdiction there for one and for two while some deadbeats DO go to jail, the majority get away with murder, in a sense.  Why?  Because we rather give them the chance than throw them in jail where they have no chance.  But don’t run our patience to the ground.  There ARE those that go to jail.  The donor was lucky he didn’t get arrested on the spot when he came back into the country.  He’s very lucky that a lot of things that should have happened, didn’t.  But if he were a man he’d step up and say yeah, I screwed up but I’m here to own up to my responsibilities.  Here’s copies of the payments I made.

I have deadbeats who turned human in my office.  People who stopped running and owned up to their mistakes.  Some just want to start over and I love helping those people.  See, to me, you’re not a deadbeat if you’re trying.  But if you don’t even try, what am I supposed to do with you?  If you’re constantly running, what am I supposed to do with that?

Now see, back to the money issue.  The donor claims he has paid child support for all those years.  I don’t know how many but it probably wasn’t for 10+ years.  I know of two month’s worth, nothing more.  The sad thing is, it was only $50 a month for TWO children.  See, he was hiding back then too.  He had income but he told the judge he had none so he got set at a very low amount.  That much is also on record, that he told the judge he had no income but considering he was the only one working and couldn’t get on social services, he HAD income because they weren’t homeless.  He had an Audi which isn’t a cheap car, gas for said car, an apartment and presumably food on the table for him, his wife, and my brother.  How can a man afford such things without an income?  I guess it’s magic.

 
Growing up we didn’t have a lot of money so I doubt that $50 ever came in but who knows, maybe it did but somehow it magically came from El Salvador too I guess because he ran off and remained for many years.  No contact, no hey are you OK? Nothing.   But of course, he says that was my other donor’s doing. She didn’t let him see us.  Right… except when we turned 18 what was your excuse then?  See, the man has a lot of excuses and very poor action so forgive me if I don’t give him the benefit of the doubt too often.  I tried.  For MANY years I tried and all I got were a bunch of excuses with nothing to back things up.
 
Now the donor’s back in the country and well, I’m sure his debt is quite high but of course he can’t “pay” now he’s old and decrepit and blah blah blah. I hear the stories every day. It’s fine. Karma or God or whoever will take care of that guy, same as the other guy who ran off to El Salvador.  I seriously doubt he will step up to the plate now.  I seriously doubt he even cares to make things right.  He’s too caught up in people feeling sorry for him that he can just skirt by and people forgive him because he’s sick or feeble or whatever.  My life was harsh, very harsh, growing up so I have no sympathy for him.  I don’t swallow his lies nor do I care that he’s supposedly sick.  He’s not sick enough to travel all over, is he?  He wasn’t sick enough to work in El Salvador was he?  But to pay child support?  No, no, much too sick for that.  Yeah OK, sure.
 
Super long story short? A man who skips out on responsibility is NOT a man and never a father. Doesn’t matter if he was a “good” father to the other children. When your first born children become third class citizens, you’re not a father. You’re a SAD excuse for a man.  I cannot and will not respect that. I have enough BS at work to even start with that.
But it’s ironic, like I said, that I work where I work and in the department that I work. I didn’t pick it. Life just sent me that way for a reason. Perhaps to dig up the truth or to find out that not all guys are bad. To see both sides of a very convoluted and often sad sides of the coin where children are the ones who suffer because people just can’t get along.  I can understand hating your ex or at least strongly disliking them but don’t let the children pay the price because you chose the wrong person!  And that’s often what happens.  Children are the ones who pay the price for the stupid decisions so called grown ups make.
But all isn’t lost.  I do see the good ones and the ones who are trying. They collect cans and do whatever jobs to pay their support, however little they can for THEIR children. They get up when they’re tired, keep going even though they can’t or shouldn’t, they do whatever they can. THOSE are the real men.  THOSE are the fathers. But the fools who can’t even pay a dollar a month for their kids?  Those are not even human.  How can  they eat something and not pay ONE DOLLAR to their kids?  Ridiculous!!  Oh yes, I have a bunch out there who’s support order is that little.  Some are low enough that you can’t even buy a fast food meal with what they’re supposed to pay a month.  But do they?  Nope.
There are some support orders which are crazy, in my opinion, but I don’t make the rules, judges and courts do.  I just have to follow what they say.  So if there’s a support order out there and it needs to change, I know it’s a hassle to do the court stuff, but help yourselves and get help if you need it.  If your job is taking half your check and you’re still not paying the full support order, something is not right, you need help.  If your employer is taking more than half, something’s really wrong!  Call your agency to get that sorted.
Now I know I’ve been talking about men but I want to note that it isn’t just men who are deadbeats.  I have women deadbeats too.  Women who dump their kids on aging grandmothers and grandfathers.  Women who get knocked up and add to the burden.  Women who went to get something from somewhere and never came back.  As a mother I can’t even comprehend the level of, whatever it is, that’s going on.  You had LIFE inside you.  You felt the kicks and wiggles. But you just walked away?  I know parenting is hard.  I was a single parent myself but to just walk away?  Makes no sense!
What makes even WORSE sense is the women who’s men are TRYING desperately to connect with their children and the women say no you can’t because you don’t pay (enough) support, because you didn’t buy the right shoes, because you didn’t let the child eat (insert item.)  So many children out there are struggling and these women have the golden tickets but they say no.  It’s crazy!  Again, I say, it’s the children who pay the price.

Now I’m sure my donor will say that my other donor did this to him.  But since the dude ran off to El Salvador and never looked back, well, that story just doesn’t fly, does it?  Plus he had time to call me when my child was born, why didn’t he connect then?  Instead he got himself back on the pity bus and ran off again.   I tried to give him sooo many opportunities and well, my patience ran thin and now it’s gone.   I don’t need anyone like that in my life.  You go be the happy sack of whatever it is you are and leave me alone.  I know enough now to kind of figure out who’s a deadbeat and who isn’t.
And that was a hard lesson to learn too.  You hear the word deadbeat and these poor guys, they get called that, even the ones that are trying and there’s such stigma!  My job is to help those that are trying to figure something out.  And I do help.  I help those that reach out to me and ask for it.  I sometimes call and they sound so ashamed but are hopeless.  Some are so high in arrears that it makes my head spin and some feel they can never get out. But there is always hope and there are ways to help.
Although some probably think they can’t because they keep making bad decisions with a lot of women.  Same with the women who keep getting pregnant then dumping their kids or keep struggling with their kids, keep getting pregnant, and have several different fathers, sometimes as much as one kid, one father, 6 kids, 6 fathers, well you get the idea.  I would think these people would learn and stop but well, that’s another blog post.  Who knows what’s going on there.  Men and women both make bad decisions in my world.
I think it’s always a good idea to ask and get the facts.  Don’t run away, that just make things worse.  Don’t throw out your court papers or summons, that usually ends in disaster.  And for goodness sakes, think of the children you helped come to this crazy world.  Don’t make it worse for them because you and/or your ex are being idiots.  If you messed up before that’s OK, it happens, but don’t keep running away from your responsibilities.   One day, one of your kids might write a blog piece like this.  What would like them to say about you?  Wouldn’t it be better if they wrote, hey, at least they tried vs. nope, they were deadbeats through and through.  My donor doesn’t seem to care.  Don’t be one of those people.  Be human and be a grown up.  The truth is, I rather have had the time with the donor than the money.  But I got a raw deal and so do other children out there.  We are the voices that no one’s heard before.  I hope I have given them a voice now.
I’ll leave you with one last piece, one last story, if you will.  I had a guy call me and saying he’s not a deadbeat but he thought our office thought of him that way because he couldn’t pay his full support.  He took his child half of the week, every week, sometimes all week.  I said to him, sir, you’re not a deadbeat.  The fact that you take your child and that on top of that you try what you can to pay the support means you’re not a deadbeat.  Let’s see what we can do to help with the support amount.  I sent his case to be reviewed.  His original court order said he did no visitation and clearly that wasn’t the case now.  So you see?  People do change.  A man can go from deadbeat to human.  It happens in our office and it happens everywhere.  Men and women stand up for their kids.  Be that guy or that girl.  Make this nation of ours great by contributing to the upbringing of your kids.  Those are the stories that keep me going.  Those are the stories that make me think that the deadbeats can go human.  Even my donor, if he tried.  I think that ship is sailed but well, a girl can always have hope, right?  One day after 40 years a deadbeat can go human.   Hey, stranger things have happened, right?  You just never know.  And maybe someone out there will read this and turn human too.  I can always hope, for the sake of the children, that it happens. I always keep that in mind.  It’s about the children.  Let me be their voice and help these grown ups come to an agreement so the children can be better off.  I can’t do custody fights, that’s for the free family law facilitators, which I can send/give you information for but I can help when someone’s trying and struggling.  Those are the ones that make my job easier and most prideful.  I give my hats and my cheers to those people.  They surely deserve it!

Cooked Babies… with a sour twist…

It all started with this video depicting a baby in a car and an idiot mom on the phone who goes shopping, gets caught up in idiocy, and the baby, from the looks of it, gets cooked in the car.

It got me upset for several reasons and it makes me shake my head that this happens every day for more times than I’d like.  WHO are these people?!  I heard myself scream in my head.  How can they just walk past a baby in the car and go on their merry way?!

And then I realise… those people are the same people you and I both know.  They’re everyday folks who think it’s “none of their business” or “I don’t want to get involved.”  or “I don’t want to get in trouble.”

So.  You rather have a life die than god forbid, DO something because you fear something?!?!

That’s just not right.  The video depicts a man crashing the window open to get the baby out and what does my friend say?  “OMG I wouldn’t do that!  That driver will sue me and I might go to jail.”

So there you go folks… people we know and some we even love…that was the primal fear.  The law.  Retaliation.  And as MUCH as I would love to have said no, they’d be grateful you saved their baby, the answer is a clear you’re probably right.  The question then becomes, would you risk it?!  And sadly, for many people, the answer is a hell no.

What kind of a society are we living in that people sue each other at a drop of a hat?  That we care more about PROPERTY than life?!  What kind of a life is this?  I don’t want to live in a place like this.  I don’t want to be one of those people.

Is it because I’m a mother or a woman?  Or is it because I am HUMAN?  I think it’s the latter.  I could not and have not passed by a baby in the car and kept going.  If the baby was crying, I would call the police at the very least!

Now here is where the world, in my eyes, gets fuzzy.  If it was a dog in the car?  I’ll crash the friggin window no questions asked!! And I would gladly go to jail for vandalism.   Yes, you heard me correctly.  If it was a baby, I’d call the cops.  If it was a dog, I’d crash the window.  And I still call myself human.  But you might wonder where my loyalty lies as I did.  Why on earth would I not hesitate for a dog but would for a baby?

Is it because we’re overpopulated?  Because there are far too many babies out there?  Because I don’t like babies or kids in general?  Because I hate humans?  Not exactly.  While the above things have crossed my mind in the past, it’s not the reason.  I don’t hate all humans, only some of them.  I like babies and kids just fine as long as they’re quiet and/or away from me…but I can say the same thing about horses and wild animals…at least the “away from me” part.  Kids just happen to be noisy, smelly, kinda selfish, creatures and well, they’re everywhere!  But as long as I can give a kid back to whomever, I’m good to go!

We are overpopulated and there are far too many babies out there but so what?  Does that justify the ending of a life?  Not to me.  I am sad for every life that ends, be it human, animal, plant life, or anything else that is living that doesn’t fit these categories.  Life, to me, is precious and sacred, regardless of what form it is in.

So why the dog and not the kid?  Dogs are very loyal, giving, and they give unconditional love.  They show it every day.  You go to the bathroom and come out and you’d think you’d been gone for a decade they’re so dang happy to see you!  What other animal out there does the same thing?  None others that I know of but well I’ve not owned too many species of pets so I could be wrong.  I’m told rats are super affectionate but the ones I’ve had were more interested in food than cuddles.  Which isn’t to say that dogs don’t all want food too, they do!  But goodness do they like to stick by you!  Some are more glued to your hip than others but they’re all very loving.

I always thought I was a cat person…cat lover… I even changed my name to an all cat name for that very purpose.  There were other reasons, but that was one of them.  But cats tend to be more independent and solitary.  They love you from afar.  They care but don’t always show it.    They’re the divas of the world.  See me when I want you to see me and hug me only if I’m allowing you, otherwise, just leave me alone!  Gotta love the cats, they make you love them more by being so aloof and conceited.  But cats don’t, in general, like road trips.   And it’s their very nature that keeps them at home, safe and sound.

Dogs, not so much.  Their constant want to be with you attitude makes owners make bad decisions.  It’s a hot day but Fido wants to come out with you.  He gets so sad when you leave him/her at home!  So, Fido goes with you and s/he’s so happy go lucky, you take him/her everywhere.  And then you have to go shopping.  It will only take five minutes you think… but we know that’s never true.  The lines get too long, the produce isn’t right, the brands are hard to pick through because they don’t have yours… whatever the reason.. it’s hardly EVER five minutes!  Meanwhile, Fido cooks in your car…

Their core temperature is about  102.3 so it doesn’t take long to start cooking…  On top of that, dogs get anxious when stressed and start bouncing around more… that raises temperatures too.  You know how it feels when you’re stressed out…suddenly the room’s a sauna even with the air conditioner on.  Dogs are no different and in fact get worse because they CANNOT take their fur coat off.

I worked at veterinary practices as a registered/licensed veterinary technician and I saw far too many cooked dogs come through.  Owners swearing they were only there for three minutes but now Fido is dead on my table…  been in the freezer for an hour and still has a core temperature of 300 degrees.  That’s more than heart breaking, it’s down right infuriating.  How can you let this happen?!?

Maybe if I had seen more cooked babies, my POV would be different, but I haven’t.  I’ve seen a lot of cooked dogs and THAT is why I would crash the window on a dog.  Dogs are so innocent and all they want to do is love!  Babies/kids?  I don’t know… they always seem to want something and the rewards are usually far and few in between…often making people question WHAT were they thinking?!  Then again, I suppose people who don’t understand what it means to own a dog might just ask the same question so I guess I’m just biased.

In the end though, I believe BOTH babies/kids and dogs deserve to live.  They deserve to be protected not forgotten or neglected!!

I had a friend on facebook make a post that said she jimmied a car door once and got a dog out and waited for the owner who started cussing and hollering at her for taking the dog out.  The “five minutes” man had been gone for 18 minutes from the time she found the dog, so who knows how long the dog had ALREADY been in there!  She had a timer and that’s how she knew how long he’d been gone.  She offered this angry man this gem:  “If you can sit in the car with the window as you had it for your dog for 18 minutes, I will give you 20 dollars.”  The man thought she was joking but she showed him the money and he was like OK whatever.  He lasted 3 minutes!  It was then that he realised what he had done and started thanking her profusely!

I will NEVER pass by a crying baby or an agitated animal in the car and just walk on because I fear the law or retaliation.  I will, most likely, crash the window and await to get arrested.   But maybe, just MAYBE, that baby/pet owner will thank me.  I can’t risk any other outcome though, no baby or dog is staying in the car without me caring!  I will carry around dog money from now on and do as my friend did.  That right there was genius.  If you can stand your “five minutes” in the car, I can give you money, but I can assure you that you will have a different perspective than you had before you just left for them “five minutes.”

And for those of you that don’t do this or don’t have kids or pets?  Try it.  Go sit in your car for as long as you can with the windows up.  Then try it with the windows “cracked” and see what happens.  Hint: It doesn’t get any cooler and sometimes it gets even HOTTER.
Now do the same thing but with a fur coat on…  See for yourself what Fido feels…  Then come talk to me and let’s go save more lives!!