I am a married man, with a beautiful wife, and 2 wonderful kids. Unfortunately, my 17 year old daughter lives with her mother. We were young when she was conceived, but she was a blessing none the less. As parents,we both were wonderful. As partners, not so good. I drank too much, and she "wandered" too much. She left me when our daughter was 3 1/2 years old. I caught her with another guy and it got ugly. Finally, it was really over.
She left me and moved from Arizona back to New York, taking our daughter with her. This was July,1993 and I stayed in Arizona, fully intending to move back to New York as soon as I could. My ex became pregnant by another man within the year. You can imagine the feelings this might create. I found it difficult to even consider moving back to NYS. I maintained diligent and frequent contact with my daughter, even creating a nice phone relationship with the grandmother of my ex's soon to be husband.
After the birth of my daughter's sister, I was slowly but surely being phased out of her life. No presents allowed, no communication. My own mother actually had to go to family court to gain visitation rights. Once I changed jobs, in July 1996, my wage garnishments stopped through my old employer in Arizona, and I did not pay support for several years. While I now know that was the wrong thing to do, what was done was done.
I moved back to New York in July,1998. I knew I had to catch up arrears support, which I did willingly. We made arrangements for current support as well as the past amounts. I really thought my daughters mother and I had gone back to being civil. I met a wonderful woman who loves my daughter very much. We married in 2003, and had a son the following year. Also went on to buy a home, which seems to be where my current nightmare began!
I was served papers in October,2006, that stated even though I had paid $8500 of my $8500 arrears, the interest that had accrued made me liable for $5600 in interest! You can imagine the feelings that THIS evoked. I was coerced into paying a compromised, lump sum of $3600 to make the arrears finally, officially go away. I handed her a check on Dec. 15,2006 for $3600. A week before Christmas. I can tell you it was not easy, but I thought this would make everything better. Man was I wrong!.
I received a letter from NYS Livingston county Family Court, saying I was being taken back to court for a COLA hearing. Even though her attorney( who is also her employer) stated that $3600 would keep us from going to court, I was taken back and I went from paying $72 a week to $177 a week. Plus I was once again put in the hole because the adjustment was retroactive, again putting me behind a hefty sum. I am currently having $202 taken weekly from my check. Automatic garnishment. Punishment for having had a child out of wedlock.
The set percentages in New York are biased and unfair! I firmly believe they border on unconstitutional! I am made to work like a slave, only to have my wages forcibly garnished by the government. Sound like a slap in the face of the 13th amendment? You better belive it is.
New York requires a flat 17% of your gross income to support 1 child. When I questioned the needs of my other child, the one who depends on me and only me for sustinence, I am told "he doesn't count in the decision". What????
I could see if my daughter were in a destitute situation, with no one else but me to provide for her. She would most certainly be living with me, and I would not ask a dime of her mother. But she is not. As a matter of fact, for 2006, my household gross income was $64,000, while the income at the other house almost $100,000. Is this common in New York? From the mouth of my daughter's step father: " We will get as much as we can, for as long as we can, and I don't really care about you or you household" A verbatum statement.
Meanwhile, I cut out my retirement plan contributions, cut out cable package, eating a lot of pasta dishes, and I still struggle to meet my mortgage obligation. At the other house, new vehicles,vacations, day trips, are all the norm. Do you think my increase in support has anything to do with that? Darn tootin!
I promise you, if not for me, for all the other unfairly treated dads out there, I will make enough noise to make things change! I feel like the family courts and child support collection agencies exist simply to provide employment! New York State is the largest emploer in New York State, so this is all being done with OUR TAX DOLLARS!!! Enough big government sticking their noise in all our business. I vow to fight till I die for equality. I will not rest until parents are equally responsible for a child's support, and men are not treated like a meal ticket.
leroy, New York