Friday, March 25, 2011

Supporting Your Child

Today I did something I should have done 11 years ago...I took Autumn's father to court for child support.  Now I know why I have procrastinated so long . . . I am emotionally drained and quite frankly a little depressed. 

Since Autumn's birth I have kept a detailed journal of all interactions between her father and I. 

She is 11. 

The journal is only 6 pages long. 

Enough said.

He has not been involved at all.  Here is a snapshot of his relationship with Autumn:

2000 (7 months old)- Kevin meets Autumn for the first time in court, established paternity and agrees to pay $25.00 a week in child support.  No contact after court date however does pay $100.00 toward her support.

2003 (3 1/2 years old)- Kevin calls and wants me to bring Autumn to see him.  I tell him he can see her but he needs to come to our house.  He gets mad, curses at me, and hangs up.

2004 (4 3/4 years old)- Kevin sees Autumn 2 times for 1 1/2 hours each visit.  I bring Autumn to see him both times.  He says he will visit her next weekend and never calls.

2005 (6 years old)- Kevin calls and leaves a birthday message for Autumn.

2006 (6 1/2 years old)- Autumn calls Kevin.  Kevin comes to the house and visits for 45 minutes.  Kevin calls Autumn multiple times but she does not want to talk to him.  He gets frustrated, however does not ask to come see her again.

2007 (8 years old)- Kevin calls me and wants to see Autumn.  I advise him to take me to court for visitation, he gets frustrated and does not call back.

2008 (8 3/4 years old)- Kevin calls and wants to see Autumn.  I advise him again to take me to court for visitation.  He again gets extremely frustrated and does not call back.

2009 (10 years old)- Autumn's 19-year-old brother (from Kevin) contacts us.  They begin to write letters back and forth.  Autumn is very happy.  Kevin calls and I let him see her.  I explain Autumn's diagnosis' of Autism, ADHD, and ODD and how he should interact with her however he completely overwhelms her during the visit. 
  •  The next day at school I get a phone call from her teacher.  Autumn is in the fetal position under her desk.  I pick her up at 9:30am and we go out to breakfast.  We start talking about her father.  I tell her he wants to take us to the movies on Sunday.  She says, "No, no more, I don't want to see him."
  • I tell Kevin Autumn does not want to see him.  He gets offended.  I tell him that I would work something out if he wants to see her.  He says he will not force any of his kids to see him.
2011 (11 1/2 years old)- I file for child support.

March 25, 2011- Child Support hearing with Kevin. 
  • Our appointed time is 11:00am, we were not seen by the Hearing Officer until 2:30pm.  Unknown to me the court had a record of our May 2000 agreement to $25.00 a week, which means Kevin owes us $13,000 in arrears child support. 
  • The Hearing Officer asked Kevin why he had not followed the court order for support.  He stated, "She doesn't let me see my daughter."
  • The H.O. states that seeing or not seeing his daughter has nothing to do with the court order, he is still responsible for supporting her.  She states that Kevin could have at any time file for visitation rights if he did not agree with the amount of time he spent with his child.
  • The H.O. calculates child support.  Kevin will have to pay $103 a week to support Autumn.
  • Kevin appeals.  He is unemployed and already pays $75 a week in arrears for his other children.  His other children are 24 and 20, he owed so much support that he is still paying his arrears.
  • Because he appeals we have a new court date in front of a judge on April 6th.
I think I'm emotional because seeing Kevin brings back all the hurt, anger, and pain I have felt for 11 years.  I carry around this burden for Autumn.  She will never have a normal relationship with her father.  He will never be the father she deserves. 

If you ask Autumn who her father is she will say God.  She has such clarity about it.  Since her last visit with Kevin in 2009 she has not once talked or asked about him.  I think she finally saw Kevin for who he really was.  Before 2009 she romanticized about him and who her father was.  When she was very small every time she had a melt down this is what I would hear . . . "I WANT MY DADDY!!!"  I finally had to tell her that she did not want her daddy, she wanted A daddy.  She finally gets that. 

I know God is in control I just hate not being in control simultaneously! 

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