Real World Stories
Child Support Machine Out of Control -A Mother's Story
Hello. My name is Marjorie. I am not 65 and I am not on Medicare. I am a single mother that made a terrible mistake that has ruined the life of my best friend and the father of my children. I had a daughter by my best friend while living in Virginia. As we were not married, his name was not put on the birth certificate and the baby was given my last name. While we were living together, he helped in all aspects of our daughters life. When I became pregnant for a second time, things began to fall apart. My friend became sick and could not work for a while. I could not handle the stress and returned to Georgia. I had little contact with him.
I had a son and again did not list him as the father. During the time we were in Virginia, I obtained a custody and child support order. Not knowing anything about how to handle such matters, I trusted DHR and signed everything they asked me to sign. That was a big mistake.
In Georgia, I also obtained a custody and child support order. My friend had signed statement in Virginia agreeing that he was the father of both children. When the support payments stopped, I tried to find out why. I could not make contact with him. I later heard from him and was told that he had been sick again and could not work for a while.
I work every day and let myself fall into the habit of staying with my parents. After the support payments stopped, I was coerced by my mother into filing a criminal non-support warrent. I did not fully understand what this would mean. I only thought it would allow him to begin making payments at that time. Boy was I wrong!
My friend had finally gotten able to work again. Once the warrant was filed, he was fired from 3 different jobs because the warrant showed up in his background check. I found out during this time that not only was he suffering from lupus (a serious disease) but had spent nearly 3 months in the hospital with a brain tumor!
There was no possible way he could have paid the ordered amount of support. I tried to get the district attorney to allow me to drop the charges but he refused. He said that he was going to extradite him back to Georgia and let the deadbeat dad sit in jail until the arrearage was paid!
I never intended for this to happen. I filed this charge without knowing the full story and without knowing what the outcome would be for him. I have destroyed his life without ever intending to do that. I only wanted him to pay support and to have a relationship with his children. Being a naturalized American citizen, this warrant could jeopardize his ability to remain in America.
After contacting AFRA, a member met with me and listened to my story. She was very sympathetic and caring. She told me that AFRA could not offer legal advice but could help with moral support. She showed me how to organize all my court papers (I had them stuck in a paper bag) and told me to always read before signing.
I went back and discovered that my court order from Virginia required my friend to pay support for our daughter all of her life as "she has a mental and physical disorder requiring her to have constant care". This is not true!!! She is very intelligent and has no physical handicap! This same order also included an area where I could have changed her last name on her birth certificate and list him as the father. I did not know about this and it was never mentioned to me. Please---read your papers before signing and always find out the whole story before beginning any type of legal action. If I had done these two simple things. I could have spared my best friend a lifetime of grief and troubles.
I still do not know what the outcome will be on the non-support warrant. I am still begging the DA to allow me to drop the charges. I want my children to know, love and have a relationship with their father. He loves them and would have been with them as much as possible had he not been so ill.
Thank you AFRA for all your efforts. You really do have "the best interest of the child" at heart. As you can tell by my story, I do not live in Alabama. I found that this group has members living in different states. Child support and custody, I found out, is not just an Alabama problem but exists in every place in the world. I thank god everyday that I read that newspaper article about AFRA and made that call.
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