You can call me Jane Doe and this is my story…
They say love is blind, and for me that was the case. I married too young and trusted too much. But it wasn’t until I became pregnant that the marriage began to deteriorate. Like many of you, I have good days and bad days. Luckily, I always manage to smile through the tough ones, and I cherish the good ones.
The first question I was asked after giving birth seemed simple at the time. “Who is the father?” Young and inexperienced I had no idea this information would open Pandora’s Box. They contacted the birth father for insurance information, of which he had none. And so, began an endless cycle of summons and trips to court for Child Support.
Fast forward 10 years and I have spent more time at Family Court than I care to remember. I have missed days at work and lost much needed income. Single parents understand better than anyone that every paid day is precious, and you use them wisely. Somehow you have to plan for illness, doctors’ appointments and last minute school closings while still getting to court and keeping your job.
I have somehow managed all those tasks and yet received little to no child support.
Here’s how it works in Saratoga County Family Court (for me anyway.) You are summoned to court to decide who is responsible for health insurance. At that point, your child is assigned a law guardian and this is where child support comes into play. I remember the first time my child was awarded $20 a week. I thought wow, that doesn’t even pay for diapers.
He (birth father) decided to pay the county directly, and there was no rhyme or reason as to when or how much I would receive. I believe deadbeat parents, whether man or woman, hold all the cards in these situations and they seem to know how to work the system perfectly. My ex-husband worked under the table. Therefore, he showed no income and wasn’t able to pay child support.
Months would go by and the county would flag that no support had been sent. This resulted in a summons to appear in court. Many times, he was a no-show and they would send out a bench warrant for him to appear in court. This would trigger a new summons for me to appear in court. And so was the cycle for years:
- We get summoned.
- The court orders for him to pay his child support.
- He doesn’t.
- A flag goes up.
- We get summoned to appear again.
- He doesn’t show up.
- Bench Warrant.
- 6 months with no word from anyone.
Somehow Family Court has allowed this young, strong, healthy man to get away without any repercussions.
This brings us to last year. After the same old routine, I decided to call and I couldn’t believe what they said this time. “Oh, with the warrant for his arrest, we don’t actively go out and pick him up. If he does something where he is picked up, then they will arrest him for the child support too.”
Another six months goes by and I get a summons to go to court for child support. I find out he was in jail for a felony charge. Now this is the kicker and the reason for this letter. After doing time for his felony, he is let out to be met with the arresting officer for non-payment of child support. They take him to court and he is awarded with a lawyer and sent home.
He isn’t sent back to jail until his appearance at family court. He is AWARDED A LAWYER AND SENT HOME!
This means I am summoned again and once again lose time at work. The reason for this appearance: To find out if I want to secure a lawyer. WHAT? Why would I want to secure a lawyer again? It does not make any difference. The court will order to pay, no pay, etc...
Obviously, I’m thinking support of a child is not important in Saratoga County and justice does not belong to the just...Our Children!