Why don’t they do something?
Why do they let them get away with this?
How many times do we have to go into court before they do something?
She was frustrated, sad and disheartened by the lack of support or respect for moms, parents who expected the system to perform for those who came before it for justice. She was disgusted at the disregard for both the parents and their children. She spoke for moms, not just herself. She was aware of the big picture of women and children struggling with poverty. She wasn’t selfish. It wasn’t just about her personal plight.
The Never-Drama of stall
She was a mom – a mom who had fallen into the pit of Family Court never-drama, the never-ending cycle of stall tactics and legal maneuvering designed to do anything but help a young mom with two dependent children. Five years into the never-drama, she had received no financial support for her children.
Five years into the constant return to the courthouse, the constant requests and pleas for assistance, she had grown weary, numb.
She prepared her paperwork. She, like so many others, showed up at the courthouse armed with volumes of truth, only to be told that she needed “one more thing,” had to file one more piece of paperwork, had to pay one more fee to the court, the constable, the newspaper.
The list went on and on. The fee, and many past and still to come, took food off of the table of her children. The delays continued. The never-drama chiseled another notch in her fortitude.
At times she had no recourse, because she couldn’t afford to hire an attorney to represent her. She had already, many years before gone through the legal process that granted her a divorce from her children’s father, a process that should have included financial support for her children.
She got her divorce. The financial support didn’t happen and didn’t appear to be anywhere near to becoming reality for her.
Deadbeat Dads come in all shapes and sizes
When laying out another chapter in her never-drama, she had a small epiphany about the men who came and went at the courthouse, or those who chose not to show up at all.
Deadbeat dads came from all socio-economic circles.
Removed from her life and her children’s of his own actions and accord, she wasn’t sure of the father’s current status, either financial or geographical. She only knew that he didn’t care to take care of his children. She had left, so she would have no help, no support, financial or otherwise. Deadbeat Dad was done.
As the conversation continued it occurred to her that Deadbeat Dads weren’t necessarily without jobs or financial wherewithal. Deadbeat Dads with resources appeared in court with financial firepower by way of hired guns, social and economic standing. They manipulated the system with green muscle, writing checks to those referred to in court as “my sister counsel” or “my brother at bar.”
“The system is set up to keep the [lawyers] paid, fat and happy,” she said. “Not to protect or help the people. It is a revolving door with no resolutions.I have witnessed this firsthand, being in court every 2 months for the past 5 years. It is as clear as day.”
As she struggled, as her children struggled, they watched. They smiled. They assigned more dates, started another chapter, made more notes in the margins. As her family struggled and she fought for their rights, as she tried to protect them through the system designed to uphold their rights, they watched and in watching, joined.
They were the worst of the Watchers and Joiners.