Alabama Family Rights Association

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Real World Stories

Unemployed...Paying Child Support on Adopted Child

Late one Thursday afternoon in August the doorbell rang at my home. When I answered the door a deputy sheriff asked me to identify myself.  When I did, he handed me a document and left.  When I opened the envelope, to my surprise, I found a court summons to modify child support along with a contempt petition. I was dazed to be receiving such documents since for over 14 years I have paid support and medical expenses for a child that was not mine, but is. Let me explain: 

“In the Spring of 1983 I met a woman who I later married in December 1983.   The following October 1984 I happily adopted her son in order to unify the family and get rid of her troublesome ex-husband who would never pay child support or medical bills unless she took him to court.

In less than six months after the adoption, she wanted out – a divorce, that was in February 1985 and we lived apart form June 1985 until the divorce was final December 1985.  It was obvious to everyone at the time that what I believed to be a genuine commitment was a plan carefully contrived which would require me to provide future support for this handicapped child until the age of majority was reached, which I have done.  The child and I never had time to bond.  The mother has been remarried for some time.  I felt that financial support as per the divorce decree was all I could provide which I have done for fourteen (14) years.  You can draw your own conclusions from the incident.” 

With two years left on my financial commitment, I am now served with papers to modify and extend support.  I would have at least thought she would have enough courtesy to let me know she was filing for an adjustment. However, in light of the previous incidents, I should not have been surprised. 

I contacted a local attorney and he advised “the support laws have changed in the State of Alabama, especially if a disabled child is involved. Support and related services can extend past the age of majority (19) and can be extended for life.   The only way out of this situation is you die” Great thought!  The attorney suggested I contact an attorney in the city where the court action was to take place.  After consulting with three attorneys in that city I walked away with no better perspective than the original advice. To make things even more interesting I told these attorneys that if I paid the support that could be imposed, there would not be enough money to meet my current obligations.  The reply I received was that it could be necessary for me to modify my life style to meet the obligations of the child as directed by the court.  This could mean that I would have to sell my home, vehicles and lower my standard of living to an apartment and sub class vehicle.  I have to ask myself, “What kind of future employment advances would an employer give me with this financial stigma?”

The attorney I hired advised me the court would base the support on gross income, which would be in excess of one weeks net paycheck. They do not take into account your expenses or other obligations like two children in college from a previous marriage; support of aging parents, etc.  – These people do not count.  I had hoped that after my two sons were out of college and financial support has been satisfied for my adopted child, I would be able to set aside funds for retirement. I am 54 years old and retirement is not that far away.  I do believe that I have done not only what the courts have ordered me to do but have done it because I should have. And lastly for any future relationship with the opposite sex – forget it!   They would have to be crazy to want to be with a person who has these types of burdens and obligations hanging over their head. 

Aldous Huxley wrote a novel entitled  “The Brave New World” where the state imposed punitive rules and regulations upon society.  Well, it appears the State of Alabama has entered into this Brave New World and Big Brother is alive and well. 

 There appears no recourse against the state since most people, including myself, do not have the financial means to fight this legislation, thus we become victims of the system they say they created to protect the States’ children.

 I do not begrudge this child’s essential and special needs.  The child is not to blame. I want to do the right thing.   I cannot believe the law would allow for what is right and just for one, should severely punish or harm another’s civil and human rights.

 And now for the rest of the story: 

Two weeks ago we went back to court.......and that is a real humbling experience.  The DHR attorney and the judge never wanted to hear any of the past as to how I was manipulated  into the adoption of this child.

Documentation where confirmation of verbal agreements were thrown out on the basis of my exwife’s statement......I never saw these documents nor agreed to any of this. 

Thus I have to pay for another $1900.00 of her whims.  She has no controls as to spending, she does not try to get aid,… why should she since she has a open check book provided by the court and DHR. 

I've been unemployed for over four months and this doesn't even come into account.  She had medical bills back in January, which I filed with the insurance company.  The insurance company is not paying......... even on my bills, which amount to over $22,000.  I've asked the state insurance commissioner to help.  My ex doesn't care about the difficulty with the insurance company.........she wants money and now has asked DHR to file a contempt petition and drag me back into court and that will cost another $2,000 to 3,000 which I don't have. 

Is there no end to this?  The more time I spend in court the less I am able to pay and further in debt I go.   

I'm about at the end of my rope and totally out of finances.  Is there no way to get a DHR offical to see what she is doing and get her to stop? 

Please call me, I need help.       

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