Deadbeat Dad Defined
The term “deadbeat dad” is an ugly term. We all know what it is meant to do, infuriate and create judgment against someone most of us do not even know. It is gender specific, though clearly, but not often, the term “deadbeat mom” also does exist. But for the most part, you never hear it used. Wikipedia defines the term “deadbeat dad” “commonly used to refer to men and women who have fathered or mothered a child intentionally fail to pay child support ordered by a family law court or statutory agency.” The operative word here is “intentionally.”
I will admit that I knew the term “deadbeat dad” before I even became a parent. And I will also admit, the anger I would feel knowing that a father was not taking care of his children. For me it was simple, he was not paying, and that was it, he was a “deadbeat dad.” No excuses.
The penalties for not paying child support and spousal support today are quite serious. Just as when I was a child, my father had spent time in jail for failing to pay child support. Again, I want to state as I have in the past, I do not know any of the specifics of my parent’s divorce to this date, nor do I want to. He did not pay support always, and for that, he went to jail. However, this kind of action back then did not carry the ramifications as it does today. Also, the reasons behind a father or mother not being able to pay their support orders are not so simple either. With computers and social media, an arrest record for either parent due to support issues is a death sentence for either parent to be able to provide any kind of income not only for themselves, but for the children.
Again, this is where the operative word “intentionally” comes in. “Intentionally” would have to be, a parent protesting the support award amount and refusing to pay the amount, eliminating the income on purpose (can’t give what you don’t have), or simply not paying it. These are intentional acts. And I agree, whether father or mother, they should be dealt with.
Without going into the details of my divorce, I can easily just sum it up, that it will clearly be one of the most bitter, angry, hateful divorces for the books. We both played a major role in the cause, though clearly she blames me, simply because I filed for the divorce. I “quit” at she put it. The outside interference in our divorce has only enflamed the process and the emotions. I frequently receive hateful voicemails, emails, texts, and also replies to “Paul’s Heart” harassing and threatening me. All under the guise of “free speech” as my estranged wife puts it.
Below are some of the things that have been sent to me:
These were all posts on my Facebook page, as a “message” to me as I have struggled to pay the support award that was ordered. Look at the last sentence, “struggled to pay”. I have been trying to pay the award which due to circumstances beyond my control, have made it difficult, but clearly not “intentional” as someone from my ex-wife’s side is trying to incite.
The unfortunate results of not being able to pay child support orders, for those of us who try to, end up catastrophic, and will ultimately end up hurting the very children the support, as well as the father, is trying to provide. But when you have outside sources, combined with a former spouse who has only revenge on her mind, though the divorce was the fault of both, bottom line it will be the children who suffer the most.
As I said, I am in this unfortunate situation right now. The way the process has worked thus far, we presented our cases to a mediator, the judgment was set, and of course an appeal was made knowing I could not afford the amount that was set. But in the meantime, I was expected to pay the full amount, unfortunately unable to meet that requirement, by no means was it intentional. Corporate downsizing led to the elimination of the hours I worked, which led to the reduction of my salary – NOT MY FAULT. Eventually the downsizing continued leading to the elimination of my position in my department – NOT MY FAULT. I have health restrictions that allowed me to do that job for many years in spite of my many and well-documented severe health issues stemming from my cancer survival – NOT MY FAULT. With the company no longer able to accommodate all of the restrictions I had, leaving work on disability was my only option, though clearly, it would not be enough money to afford the support award which would have absorbed 80% of my net disability income. I had to find another job, that would be able to meet my health restrictions, while paying me the amount of money needed for the support award, and for my survival. The only way I could do this was to separate from the company I had worked for, for seventeen years – NOT MY FAULT.
And so, I have spent the last several months, trying to find employment that would afford the current support award, as well as my living expenses. I presented evidence to show, that I have completed more than 100 legitimate job applications, all which qualified monetarily, and I met the experience requirements, but unfortunately, have not even received more than even a handful of interviews. Without a shadow of a doubt, I have proven I am trying to meet the demands. I am not “intentionally” avoiding the child support order.
However, all the while, waiting for the appeal process to take its course, actions against me have indeed been taken, whether you judge me as an “intentional dead beat dad”, or a dad who is trying as hard as he can. Bank accounts have been frozen, passport seized, notifications from the IRS and the state department of revenue have all been levied against me to force me to pay what I cannot afford currently, though trying to correct. But the next level of this process becomes very serious as I mentioned earlier, if done for spite, will accomplish what my ex wife wants to do, but it will come at an extreme high price to our children.
As I said, I am trying to find work, but the next threat made legally against me, is to suspend my driver’s license, something normally done for someone with traffic issues or DUI’s. But the intent is to make me take the award seriously, which I have acknowledged several times that I do. But face it, with a suspended license, how can I get a job, let alone drive to work? And with no work, there would be no income. How does this resolve anything with someone trying to make good on the situation? Fortunately, I have convinced the enforcement office to delay this action.
But it is going to be the ultimate penalty that I face currently, that will have the biggest, and permanent impact. As the pictures show above, jail is meant to be the ultimate deterrent in forcing payment of support. Again, if it is a “true” “deadbeat dad” who is intentionally not paying the support award, this should be expected. But to the parent who is honestly trying, through no fault of his or her own, and is still trying, to arrest and imprison this parent would not only be unfair, but make it impossible ever, EVER to be able to find a job that would afford that support award.
The consequences go even further, because while imprisoned, there obviously would be no money coming in at all towards the support. More importantly, the health insurance that I have kept going, would also stop, leaving my ex and my children uninsured. And then of course, with an arrest record, it would be impossible for me to find a job any time soon following my release. The only success for my ex wife, is that she succeeds in destroying me.
But for both of us, the price will be much more huge than that. It is bad enough for our daughters to have two parents who can no longer talk to each other. But now they will have a mother who forced the system to throw their father in jail. And of course, I would no longer have rights to see my children for the next ten years until they reached adulthood. I am already being denied any “extra” opportunities to see the children when I travel back to their state for hearings, just because she does not want to allow it. Memories for all of us will never happen, all for vengeance. And she is okay with that. She has made it clear that everything that is happening is my fault. No. We both caused the divorce, I was only the one to file for the divorce first.
I have approximately 37 days now, before I face the serious prospect of being jailed on my birthday, which is also in time for the Christmas holidays when I am also due to see my daughters, to meet the current demands of the court. I continue to apply for jobs, that will meet my health restrictions and afford me a similar salary and needed benefits. But time is running out.
My actions are not “intentional”. I am not a “deadbeat dad” as my ex wife and those around her are encouraging her to have me treated as such.