Editorial… On Watching and Joining

She asked,

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.

Related Links

Dear Deadbeat Dad
Editor’s Note
On Watching and Joining…#2
On Watching and Joining


3 comments on “Editorial… On Watching and Joining

  1. What about fathers like myself, that have paid child support every week without delay for 14 years now. Even as I watch the money I send to support my child is used at the casino or on vacations for the mother. My son comes over with dirty clothing, long hair and generally unkept. There is nothing I can do, besides buy him clothing, cut his hair and try not to make him feel like any of this is his fault. I could go on and on, but I think it is safe to say that there is a fair amount of “Dead beat mothers” also. Even though they receive a check every week from the childs father.

    • Jarred,
      As always, I thank you for your insights and commentary. In reading your response to the post, several things came to mind and I will try to address them each here. I will also re-post the comment, because I think it is important that you and others understand that non-support is a serious issue.
      Women have remained silent out of embarrassment and systematic humiliation for too long. The result is factually and astoundingly not acceptable.
      Silence and apathy about the failed system and the Deadbeat Dads who manipulate it, is not only detrimental to those who choose to do the right thing, but is a serious injustice to the majority who are suffering, the women and children involved.
      Women are no longer standing by and allowing the abuse to happen, nor are they sitting in silence as the purveyors of the system, not only watch it happen, but participate – the Watchers and Joiners.
      First, the issues that you raise, are parenting issues, not non-support issues. In just a short post you exhibited much emotion and angst with a very personal situation.
      Second, your question, “What about fathers like myself, that have paid child support every week without delay for 14 years now?” speaks volumes. You have in the past and I’m sure will continue to take care of your child. Kudos to you.
      We are addressing Deadbeat Dads who don’t provide support, try to avoid paying requisite support, use the court system as a control mechanism over the moms (sustaining abuse), and in many cases pay lawyers thousands and thousands of dollars to not provide support to their children.
      These men deliberately manipulate and deceive in order to avoid taking care of their children, sometimes out of nothing but spite and hatred aimed at the mother and children. They choose to be Deadbeat Dads. It’s a choice they make every day.
      We are also addressing the failure of the system that allows the situation to continue, day after day, month after month, year after year, while the children and custodial parents suffer. They choose to partake in doling out abuse and misery, and the proof is in the facts.
      You should certainly be commended for providing for your child. It’s the right thing to do.
      I hope that you will continue to read with an open mind, as the stories of these women and children, myself included unfold.
      The reality is disturbing, Jarred. It’s appalling and as one mom said just last night, “It’s vile.”
      Again, I thank you for always providing thought-provoking contributions to the subjects posted.

  2. Tracy, You are 100% correct when you say what I wrote is “emotionally charged”. I have been fighting in court with my sons mother for years to gain custody of him. I am sure you can probably guess as to the reason why from my last posting. Unfortunately in this state, much like others, I have working male parts, so I really don’t have many rights in the states eyes. I am a paycheck, and health care. Again, this is an extremely emotional issue for me, as it clearly is for you as well. I completely agree with you and see your point of view, I just wanted to make sure you remembered that there are two sides…. You are a wonderful reporter, and I will of course continue to follow you and your reports!

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