We all have to support our kids, even after a separation. That is the purpose of the FOC. This is a story of how, in my case, the FOC rules only benefits one parent.
When the wife and I separated back in 1985 the FOC was notified and I was given a court date to appear. When I got to the hearing the wife told FOC she didn’t need my money, that she worked at Wayne State and made good money. I was unemployed and, due to separation, qualified for welfare assistance. The referee told her “it isn’t up to you to decide if Mr. Beaty pays or how much…you filed for divorce with kids in Michigan and the state decides.” I was ordered to pay $20 a week times 3 (3 kids). At that time welfare only gave me food stamps. I was unable to pay and that started the arrearages. [continued below]....
..... Let me note that I am an ex-offender and maintaining employment is very rare.
My parents had recently moved to Texas and I followed in hopes of better employment opportunities. I was able to get employment but the pay was very low…minimum wage. I rarely made the $60 payment weekly since I couldn’t pay rent and child support on minimum wage. My arrearage grew and grew while the kid’s mom ran all over Detroit while her mom raised the kids. Visits were rare, as the kids mom would not let me call, have private visits, or allow them to visit family in Texas. There were many times that I drove all the way from Texas to Detroit, with notice, only to find the mom had taken them across the state to avoid me. I paid Detroit area lawyers to have motions filed for visiting rights but the lawyers kept the money and didn’t file the paperwork. Any attempt over the years to have support reviewed, visiting rights implemented, or court inquiries were blew off by the FOC saying I “needed an attorney to file motions.” I tried but the lawyers didn’t help me, just kept my money.
Several years later I got a call from the Court saying my kids were in foster care due to child abuse from their mom. The school noticed bruises and scratches the mom imposed. I was remarried and the wife and I went to Detroit for the hearing. I was given full custody of my kids May 25, 2000 and brought them back home with me, put them in school, and began parenting. Judge Kelley: “you still owe your arrearages.” I wasn’t concerned with getting child support from the kid’s mom until the expense of having 3 teenagers led me to file with the Texas Attorney General. Two years after I filed with them they said I would have to file in Michigan. When I contacted the FOC they said I needed to pay for an attorney to file for a motion. Based on my past experiences with Detroit family attorneys and the fact that I could not afford this I let it go for the time being. I was upset that I had to pay to request child support when a referee had told me years earlier that the “state decides who and how much will be paid.” And my ex didn’t have to pay an attorney to get child support on me in 1985.
The kids all turned 18 and married soon after. But I am left with an arrearage bill that continues to grow by 8%. Of the 40K I was obligated to pay, I was able to pay most of it down by tax and income intervention by the state. But now I owe much interest and the ex won’t forgive, even though she lucked out that I couldn’t play the FOC game. I recently gathered some money and contacted several attorneys in Detroit and FOC to pursue this again…now they said it was too late. I should have bought an attorney before they turned 18. What kind of rules are they making over there? I could not afford buying attorneys and travel to Detroit. I will be paying interest for the rest of my life, she will pay nothing and I took care of those kids fully from 2000 to 2006…and still provide for them and their kids. I now have 7 grandkids. The mom is still running around Detroit somewhere. The kids rarely see their mom, as they still have issues with her holding us back, beating them, and on and on.
My point, the FOC was so concerned that the non-custodial parent in my case be obligated to pay. But in her case, they don’t care at all. Had this been the other way around, I would have been under the jail for the abuse case, and FOC would have slammed me with a new child support case. The rules are unfair at FOC.