Re-Entering the Fray After My Motions Were Denied
Re-Entering the Fray After My Motions Were Denied
For the better part of 12 years I and my son have been without child support. We had the help of my Mother but she has recently died. I was told if I ever asked for child support both I and my child would be murdered. And to make good on his threat my son’s father sued me when I was 32 weeks pregnant for custody of my fetus, child support and paternity. He served me with papers less then two weeks before my son was born prematurely. I spent the next month in a NICU unit standing 20 hours a day by my son’s side while this person continued to sue me. He admitted he was the Father then in court papers but always refused to provide a DNA sample. Only in Florida would a case of paternity ever be heard over a fetus in which suing a high risk pregnancy would be a good idea. After continual death threats and upon advice of counsel I stopped speaking to my son’s biological Father and he decided to stop suing as he might actually have to pay money when everyone found out he was the Father. What has been more amazing to me is that he has lied to everyone around him and claimed I was lying about him being the Father. He has not seen his own child. He has denied his parents the opportunity to see and love their one and only biological grandchild. He has shattered my son’s family network by his inability to accept the simple fact he was the Father. He even blamed male friends of mine.
Now I have endured a year in child support court with my son’s biological Father who has well a colorful lawyer at best. And I went through this within a month after my Mother’s death. It always amazes me my son’s Father has money to pay an attorney to avoid paying child support but not the actual child support. I am told there are bad mothers as well. So apparently this is not a gender specific problem.
It gives me a profound appreciation for all the parents who get up everyday and work their hearts out just to give their children a chance at the American dream or respective country’s dream. I think a lot of times our society under values good parents who are dutiful and diligent. It isn’t glamorous but it is a valuable pillar of our society and is the foundation of all civilization. So to every parent out there working their hearts out around the world, I have profound respect and appreciation for what you do everyday.
After my ordeal of a year in court to obtain 12 years in back child support I obtained nothing. My son’s Father is now in contempt of the court order. It is such a prevalent problem that the court system is overwhelmed and yet I must go in and keep asking everyday for my son’s money. And the clerks are exceptionally nice. If I have any advice to anyone involved in this process, it is make as many friends at the court house as you can. We are regulars.
Sadly, in the state of Florida a parent can make one child support payment a year and avoid criminal prosecution. But the other parent can file every single month to place the parent in contempt of court if they fail the make the child support payment. And contempt of court can be a criminal offense. There are many ways to proverbial skin the child support cat.
And you can also make motions. I am new to family law so there is a learning curve. I am now pro se which means I am representing myself which I am certain I have an idiot for a client. I filed 11 motions last week with 2 addendums. Sadly, the entire thing was kicked out because I was accused of going ex-patriate which means I didn’t prove I served the Father papers. I have had a hard time serving him as there are violence indicators on this case which means he has threatened both my and my child’s life. I am not allowed to have any communication with him and he is not allowed to have any communication with me. We are not allowed to know each other’s address. Well actually I can know his as I have made no threats but I can never provide a return address which makes mailing him anything impossible. All of my motions were thrown out today. I was really disappointed as I worked hard on them. I even wrote an apology at the end of my motions explaining I was just a Mom and not an attorney and still yet the judge tossed them out. I am probably delusional but I am hoping that by the time I can write the proper petitions I will be prepared to win in court.
Now those who know me can guess readily what I did next. I sat down and I wrote another motion immediately. And I resubmitted today. Tonight I wrote another motion but this time I followed the format of the other legal documents which is pretty easy to copy. I am resubmitting another motion tomorrow and I will submit the other 9 motions next week. I will learn law as I have had to learned medicine which is always baptism by fire.
I have some advice if you write a petition. First if you are low income and can qualify, file an affidavit of indigence. If you qualify that waves those nasty filing fees so if you mess up you are not financially penalized as hard.
Probably the most important advice is to know the law. It is subject to interpretation but know it well and be prepared to argue. And know the case law as well.
Third, law is a culture which you have to immerse yourself in if you even hope to win a little. So try and immerse yourself in the law and follow the format as much as possible. Deviation is not appreciated in court documents.
Fourth, know what you are legally entitled to and ask for it. Don’t hold back. You can be shot down but you can also be rewarded for knowing what you are legally entitled to and asking for it.
Fifth, child support especially is won in time. It is a contest of endurance that usually works against the custodial parent especially when the custodial parent has a child with special needs. The respondent expects to be able to break you down in time. Turn time to your advantage. And the minute the respondent doesn’t pay court ordered child support file a motion (which is free in Florida) to place him/her in immediate contempt.
Back in the day when I taught public school we use to have a saying which was 6 weeks of being hard and a year of nice children. This ultimately meant if you were really hard on your students in the first six weeks of school they behaved all year around. This is true of typical children but not of exceptional needs children, although it does work to varying degrees. It is the same in the military. They break you in basic so you are a good soldier. In child support cases and even in court in general the goal is to break your opponent so they fold first. There are many ways to break a person. The six week rule is a good one in general unless someone knows the six week rule. Then you nail them in the seventh week.
But there is an art to court and the entire legal system which I am sadly becoming acquainted with. There are some really wonderful people involved especially the clerks at the court house. I think I might have filed to divorce the Father of my child accidentally in all their forms. And yet those clerks patiently wade through all the paperwork with me and help me through it all. If anything they are my angels. Along with my son who has to sit in the clerks office with me through this entire ordeal.
The Department of Revenue has been as good to me as I have allowed them to be. I have been going through grief while going through all of this and so I have been a little ungracious. I mean how gracious can anyone be when being court ordered to give DNA for a child they bared. I will never understand why I had to give DNA. I love my son and I knew he was mine. We are practically twins but he is prettier. We got through it but not gracefully.
In closing for any of you who have to go through this I would like to leave you with the statute in Florida which covers child support. It is FS 61.30. If you are involved in a case I would read the entire statute plus any case law. Protracted wars win the child support when there is a dead beat parent involved. And again that is not gender specific.
And one last final note I think that our society should place a higher value on families. Good parents are pillars of our society and should be revered and treated as such. I for one have a new found appreciation for all parents who have survived the child support battle in court with a child that is typically developing or atypical. It is a battle. And tomorrow I re-enter the fray.