When April decided to leave her husband and his drug addiction, she moved across country to L.A. to have the support of her family starting a new life after divorce. She knew then she would be taking on the financial responsibility of raising her two girls and that she could expect little help from her ex. It’s been seven years now and not only has her ex been of little help, they’ve barely seen him. Here’s April:
The girls haven’t seen their dad in almost two years now. He’s been moving around. He went from Rochester to Denver and then to San Jose. He was out here in L.A. for a while and then went back to San Jose. He’s also been in jail for periods of time. He’s in jail right now.
It’s usually something like stealing a check or driving without a license. It’s very rarely for drugs but it all goes back to the drugs. I’m not sure what he’s in jail for this time. I used to get hyper-actively involved but I can’t even keep track of that anymore and I’ve kind of let it go. Those are his issues. He’s 49-years-old and he’s just never gotten his act together. It just is what it is.
One time, I took the girls up to San Jose to spend time with his family and he was three days late. Another time, we had to cancel a trip completely because he had disappeared and nobody knew where he was. We didn’t want him showing up, not knowing what state he’d be in.
Last summer, we were going to try to arrange a visit but I put it on him to arrange so he’d have to figure out the transportation, he’d have to pay for it and he’d have to come up with a plan to make sure the girls were supervised by someone other than him. He just couldn’t come through.
My ex is ordered to pay me child support but, of course, he never does and given how much he’s in and out of jail, it’s not like they can do much except put him in jail and that never does me any good. It makes me crazy when he’s in jail because I know it’s my tax dollars feeding him.
It especially bothers me during the summer when my child care costs quadruple to about $400 per month which is what he’s court ordered to pay me. The irony of those numbers being the same is not lost on me but there’s nothing I can do. Every now and then I call the child support agency and sometimes they call me. It’s great when they do but then he ends up in jail again!
I don’t count on anything from him. That’s just not realistic. It would drive me insane if I thought about it so I vent a little, I rant a little and then I move on.
The girls have been aware of the drug issues for two or three years now and I think in some ways it was a relief to them to finally have a reason behind everything, to have a reason why their dad is a no-show. They want to call him when something exciting happens and they love him. He calls when he can so there is still a relationship there but it’s pretty disconnected.
It has to be frustrating to have an ex like April’s and I admire April’s ability to accept that he’s being the best dad that he is able to be. It’s a fine line between letting it go and holding someone responsible for their obligations. April’s case seems like she has no choice but for others, fighting for child support payments is about fighting for what rightfully belongs to your children. It can also mean the difference between staying in your home or potentially loosing it in foreclosure. Mindy over at Single Mom Says created a Virtual Dadbeat Dad Voodoo Doll to vent about the consequences she’s facing from the lack of child support.
He is due out of jail soon and April has blogged about her daughters reconnecting with their dad. Sure, the girls openly talk about being excited to see him again but as April astutely perceived, they’re also feeling anxious.
Photo Credit: Sean Durham at Flickr