Sunday, June 30, 2013

Enough Is Enough

How Does One Acquire The Title "Deadbeat Dad"?

This is something that truly tears my heart apart. Not only because it is very personal to me, but because so many woman and children are affected. And I know it isn't just Deadbeat Dad's, that there are Deadbeat Mom's too. Either way, I am only going to write about my experience here. I can't and will not speak for anyone else besides my son and myself. But, feel free to add your perspective below - I am interested in hearing what you have to say.
Ten years ago I married the person I had thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. He was someone I had known since childhood, and didn't think that such a betrayal would ever enter into our lives. Especially since we had experienced so much trauma in our early relationship. Naive as I may have been, I had the fairytale disease, where I thought love could conquer all. 
To lay it out on the line, basically we got married because I was pregnant. We had been living together (house sitting), when we found out we were expecting, I didn't want to move back home preggers, and his stipulation was that he didn't want to live together unless we were married. Unromantic as it was, it's life. 
Three months later and nearly two months early, my water broke. Our son was extracted a week later. The birth was very traumatic, and it wasn't over yet. Our son would undergo numerous surgeries in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). I was fighting for my life as well, having contracted Necrotizing Fascitis I was given a 50/50 chance of survival (rather, the doctor's gave my family the states - they talked through me if you know what I mean).
Statistically, marriages with special needs children are at high risk of divorce. There is not enough help, and there is too much strain on the relationship. However, what broke my marriage to my son's father was his infidelity. He wanted out of the marriage and took the cowardly approach. We separated before our seventh or eighth anniversary. Don't feel bad for him though, he remarried (the same month we were divorced) and he now has 'the perfect family' that he wanted. I guess you could say he's living his 'happily ever after'.
Deadbeat Dad Defined
According to Princeton.edu web definition, it is 
"a father who willfully defaults on his obligation 
to provide financial support for his offspring."
Keyword = willfully defaults. If you are a spiritual person, you can understand the ethics behind this statement and how it relates to sin in the Bible. To know what is right from wrong, but then willfully and purposefully do wrong, is a disgrace to the person that should know better and chooses to continue their sinful ways. According to scripture, you should enjoy your life now, because you might not have much to look forward too after you perish from this earth (if you know what I mean). Someone once told me, in a more harsh term "it's o.k., let them (cheaters) enjoy their life now, once they die they have to answer to God". Which, is a time to fear God, in the Bible he compares liars to murderers. You entered into a covenant with the LORD, when you took your marriage vows. You not only cheated on your wife, you hurt Him as well. And, as if this wasn't bad enough, the ignorance and shame continues when they do not live up to their obligations.
If only there was an official authoritative person that
would issue "deadbeat dickhead" citations...
During our separation and divorce, there were many hoops and hurdles, but finally a year and a half later, we were divorced. In the decree it was agreed upon that (my now EX-husband) he was to pay child support in the form of continuing to make the mortgage payments. There was a term and stipulations. Such as, if I was unable to take over the payments by a certain date, then the house would be listed and sold. Until this date, my ex-husband was to pay the mortgage as child support and alimony. 
Through his bad choices, he was forced to retire, leaving him without a job for a number of months.
During this time, he was unable to pay the mortgage payments... he stopped paying the mortgage (a.k.a child support) and never paid a penny more, even when he did acquire a source of income. This was a year ago now. Tonight, after trying to discuss options, I was told that "they (him and his 'new' family) were going to bed" and if I wanted to talk about this I would have to contact him after 5 and before 9. 
What started the open dialog this evening was, that I inquired if upon the start of school for our son, if we could return to week-on/week-off schedules, since right now I am technically the primary physical custodial parent (since my son is with me for at least 80% of his time during the month).
Having a special needs child with severe disabilities is not easy, you have to make a lot of difficult choices. At one time we were considering placing our son in an assistant living facility. However, until he meets their age requirements, the only option for my son is to go and live with someone else, in a strange house. It would also require that we, as his parent's sign him over to the state. Which will never happen as long as I have breath entering and exiting my lungs. To even contemplate this concept is sickening and I become physically sick and overwhelmed.
Now, since he has not been making the home mortgage payments, as he was suppose to do, the house in in foreclosure. My stress levels are all jacked up, I can't uproot my son again - he had an excellent year and he needs his home, this home, for stability. As I couldn't live with knowing that my son was living in some strangers home, it will tear me apart from the inside out, if we have to uproot yet again. I am working with a Home Partnership program, in a hail-Mary attempt to keep our home. This is my son's home, with his disabilities (he is legally blind and deaf) having the regularity, the routines, helps him to better appreciate and get-around in the world.
As much as the financial neglect is upsetting, what is more upsetting is his willful default. One of my favorite songs, by Evanescence is about how you saw this person you loved with resonating light and after you learned who they really are, the light fades and the darkness consumes. This song has more lyrics that are more truthful to the situation:

So, Now What?

This is when you have to pull up your big girl panties and go to war. Nothing in life is free, and no one is going to do it for you. So, what I had to do was to contact Child Enforcement Services, I had explain to them the down'lo. They sent me a stack of papers that I had to read through and fill out. Where I am in the process, they need a copy of my divorce decree for further investigation and for their records.
Before I had sent the papers in, I contacted my son's father and made sure that this was the avenue that was before us, if he continued to willfully default from his obligations. He agreed to the legal process, even after I explained to him that he possibly could face jail time. So, I submitted the paperwork. I just have to get the copy of the divorce in, and then hopefully this matter will be resolved. 
From here, as long as everything is in order, we will start receiving child support payments and they will be garnished from his wadges.
I have never proclaimed that my son's father was anything less than caring of our son. He is a master of his super power. I didn't want to think about this for a long time, but it was pointed out to me that his form of manipulation, he doesn't want anyone to think any less of him. This drives him to 'put on a good show'. While he might do this while our son is in his care, I have to believe that he is a good father. If I had any doubt, then I would not be so calm while he was with his biological father.
Please - keep us in your prayers ~ 
Until next time or the next....... dream.