Here is something.
How much leeway should be given to deadbeat dads? Like say, one who took off 18 years ago, never seen or heard from again - or paid the measly $100/month child support he was supposed to pay?
As anyone who has read my blog for any length of time knows that Marissa’s so-called father left when she was seven months old. That is basically the end of it. He came back once to pick up his stuff. He called me once to get back together (after he had already married someone else). He called two more times about a visit. That is it.
I paid for the divorce. The custody papers gave me full custody and gave him summer visitation- that he had to pay for. I wasn’t trying to make things hard, just fair.
He never asked for any visitation—because the second last time I talked to him was the time he asked to visit us (or more like-stay with us on an extended vacation, to which I said, ‘yes’ to the visit but ‘hell no’ to staying at my place while he did it. He called a couple days after that to say he wasn’t coming at all. (She was less than a year and a half around that time!)
That was the last time I talked to him.
When Marissa was almost four years old, we moved. It wasn’t a secret. I was in the phone book if anyone cared to look for me. I didn’t tell her so-called father that we moved because by that time, I didn’t know where he was. We lived in that place for almost 9 years. Since then, we have moved 4 more times. Now I am no longer in the phonebook. (But I am on facebook, this blog, twitter and other various media- one could easily find me if one wanted!!)
Occasionally, I would look around when I left my house, in case he was there but I was never really worried or cared either way. But I will say that it was infinitely easier not having him around in any way. I have seen all kinds of fights with friends and their exes about kids so it was just easier for me that I was the only parent making the decisions (school, sports, clothes, religion) about my child.
The internet can be a wonderful thing…. Sort of.
I occasionally stalk the guy’s facebook. Other than a few religious posts, he usually doesn’t say much. Until today ---
He posted this long thing about please share, help me find my daughter who has been hiding with her mother, I was given summer visitation, fathers shouldn’t be given this bad treatment, I want to be in my daughters life. Etc. Well, he spelled Marissa’s name wrong, he spelled my name wrong, he spelled the city I live in wrong AND he wrote her age wrong. My first thought was, what a douche.
I am not sure what he meant by his visitation rights as Marissa is 19 (he thinks she is 20) and she is an adult and the custody/visitation no longer applies so it doesn’t matter what he thinks he is entitled to right now.
I don’t like being lied about. I didn’t leave with my child. He left us. I didn’t hide. I didn’t prevent him from seeing her.
Marissa was never really too interested in whether or not she had a dad growing up. She asked me about when she was about 6. I told her that he left and I didn’t know where he was. We talked about a few other times. When she was 16 she mentioned that when she turned 18, she would find him and ask him for all the child support that he owes us. But she never did that. She just doesn’t care.
Here in Ontario, the custodial parent cannot refuse visitation even if the other parent doesn’t pay child support. Same, the non-custodial parent cannot refuse to pay child support even if the custodial parent doesn't allow access to the child. But again, Marissa is over 18, so any custody arrangement isn't valid anymore.
So- what amount of time should pass with no contact before parental rights should be taken away? I know the law. I know it doesn't work that way. I am not talking about the law. I am talking about what is right. And I don’t just mean so-called fathers. Mothers too, who take off with no contact. How much time?? My friend once said: a year. If one parent leaves with no contact and no child support, all parental rights should be terminated. I said, five years. I know it doesn’t work that way. But 18 years! And a little poor-me facebook post about his missing daughter and big bad ex wife. Pu-leeze!! And to be honest, why now, after all this time?
I could answer him on facebook- but then I would have to deal with him. And I sure as hell don’t want that.
If he contacts me, I will tell him to F-off. If he contacts Marissa, she can decide what she wants to do. But I am sure she will ask for the $20,000 that he owes us first.