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Perfect Timing

Well, hello friends new and established! I’ve been off the radar for a minute, so my apologies to everyone who has been wondering what ever became of me.

I would like to kick off my blog with something awesome and profound. Matt Banner @ On Blast Blog suggests polishing the opening post and starting strong. Somewhere in his 40 tips for blogging is a quote about it never being the perfect time for anything.

However, there’s something to be said for mission accomplishment. I have been trying to find 30 min just to sign up but between driving for Uber, launching a business with my girlfriend, and chasing after two 6 year old terrors, it has evaded me. One key to getting shit done is being opportunistic with time, and right now is the perfect time to stare at my phone since life just gave me a great big slap on the sciatic nerve! Ugh, what incredible pain to suffer. I’ve never experienced anything like this before, but the last 7 hours has been relentlessly awful. Really, though, I don’t know which is worse-the actual pain or the frustration of being so incapacitated that I have to be dragged to the bathroom!

Well, considering the pen is mightier than the sword and I can’t even lift my head without agonizing pain, it is indeed the perfect time to get blogs up and other screen time efforts underway. I have a project I hope to post on IndieGoGo and events to line out for vending. I will be posting updates on all of my efforts here as well as my own ramblings. 

So, pretty as my first blog may or may not be, here it is!

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I have a lot of good stuff to fill my blog posts with, so I can roll with the ocean scene for a first. I was 18 years old on a cross country road trip when I first saw the Atlantic. Since then, I could hardly imagine living more than a couple hours from an ocean. Feeling small, so miniscule while gazing at the vastness is curiously enlightening. Few things in this world can ground you in the moment like that. Except a child’s love 🙂

Thanks for reading!

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Mark Time

My partner came to pick me up from work the other day. I was keeping an eye out when the car rolled up as my machine was near the end of its 35 minute file. About two minutes later, I turned the noisy part off and opened the door. My son immediately inquired what took me so long!

I can vaguely remember being a kid that age. A full day seemed like months sometimes, depending on circumstances. Shoot, a lot of times, there’s a whole going peacefully to sleep and waking up again in a single day!

I suppose kids mark time from one weekend to the next and one vacation to the next. Even the most notable events begin and end within days, and entire chapters of life lie within a single year.

This feeling lasted well into my 20’s. The military life is one of constant relocation, and four years felt like a whole novel worth of adventures already. After that came more travel until throwing a dart brought me to Portland. It took very little time for me to remember the reason for my return to the States and begin the longest effort of my life.

I began my studies in the summer of 2010. My son was born while I poured my efforts into physics and calculus. I restored a Honda cafe racer through a compressed summer term of physics and chemistry. My marriage began to crumble while The History of Energy almost buried me in The Prize. I had to drop tech writing in winter term to get through a drunken fight followed by weeks of tense separation. An internship at Intel marked the definite end of my marriage as I bombed electromechanics in another summer term. I kept focus into my junior year despite the odds. I filed and was kicked out of my apartment during the Fall term, though electrochem kept me excited for school. My tooth broke that thanksgiving and I suffered catastrophic depression that Christmas entirely alone. Winter term came, my case was set back, and I got a double root canal. My partner in power electronics bailed on me, and I presented a project that didn’t even come close to operational. I spent half of that spring break flying to Wisconsin to drive my sister in a Uhaul van to Albuquerque, then flew back to get my son just in the nick of time. I spent the other half of spring break disposing of a felonious amount (over 50 gal per adult) of my father’s alcohol and writing him a letter telling him never to speak to me again. Spring term was thankfully forgiving as my court case landed right on finals week. I had a breakdown in front of my hydrogen economy class giving my final presentation after standing in front of the judge that same morning. That summer term saw the worst of the recession, and I could only piece together a couple classes. One was an elective on logic, and I discovered some profound truths about life reading The Undercover Philosopher. Without an internship, summer job, or the usual funds for full time school, I began selling off everything I could. I think of Major Payne saying, “Tomorrow ladies, we gon’ start the hard stuff!” when I think of my senior year. I looked for internships, tried to stave off the ongoing bickering, paid child support, and finally accepted that C’s do get degrees as I faced my last thermal classes. Winter term, I moved out of the 3 bedroom shell of my former home into the cheapest, cock roach ridden shoe box in town as I aggressively took on 18 credits. In spring term of my senior year, I finally ran out of classes to keep me in a full time schedule. My partner in electronics 3 fell off the radar and left me to do something with his idea of a device. In the end, it didn’t work due to a cold solder joint, but it did get me a job running solder machines at Solar World. With a barely sufficient income, I stuck with the grave shifts while attempting to seal up my education with my senior sequence and senior project. I finally gave up the ghost after spring 2015, and the story ends in $300 per month in student loan bills.

Whew! I mean, that was a lot. In the end, I spent four solid years and a bit just for that one thing. My partner and I are quietly celebrating some recent victories, and it sort of astounds me to realize that it has already been years in the developing.

A decade or two from now, I imagine looking back and thinking in eras. Some time in the Corps here, 5 years of school there, the three legged sack race of life raising kids….

I wonder… does time seem to go faster as we age because of the sheer time we’ve been alive or because the sagas of our lives span more time?

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The long arm of the law

Father’s Day has passed, but I’m not done with my rants. I hope to shed some light on fathering, especially as a divorcee, in my own experience. I hope to give men like myself a voice, at least. I hope my message reaches someone and effects some kind of shift in mindset. Please read with an open mind and keep the comments on the upside.

You Will Be Punished

I can only deal with my child support case in short doses. It crushes my nerves, and I need you, my dear readers, to understand what I’m digging through. In my earlier post on paying child support, I explained my immediately difficult introduction to the system. I went to court with all my documents. I explained that my only means were student funds and it was unfair to expect me to pay support calculated at minimum wage income when my actual income was about negative $20k per year. Even though I was living on student funds, my child support remained the same because I was expected to be making at least minimum wage.

February 2014.

I moved into the cheapest place I could find to pare my expenses down. I also continued to pay my child support now a full two weeks advance with student loans…and the sale of my truck. Being my super senior year, there were fewer and fewer classes left for me to take. I started an 18 month temp position in late June and got my first paycheck just in time to avoid getting kicked out of my shoebox.

I was also handed a motion to show cause challenging me for parenting time and more child support right as I dropped my son off on Father’s Day. Not that it was deliberate, but the order had been signed off over two weeks prior to my getting it, leaving me almost no time to respond to all the glaringly false allegations.

I watched my paychecks for the deductions to start and for 3 more months I continued to cut checks two weeks ahead of time. Finally, payments were established. A month later, I was hired on as a regular, and a month after that, payments were reestablished through the company’s payroll.

I went to court in November, defended myself against “The Most Aggressive Attorneys in Portland”, and won back half the parenting time I started with before the terms of divorce were negotiated. However, my child support payments were not recalculated to reflect my new parenting time. Odd, considering she sure requested a recalculation.

Yes, I could have filed a motion to update child support. However, I was eating failure for my senior sequence and losing traction on my career in a dead end company. With a new woman and her little girl in my life, I was mostly just happy to have time with my son and feel like a whole family again.

At the end of December, I was being threatened with legal action for being one month in arrears. I went back through my records and couldn’t figure out where the balance came from. My paycheck never missed a deduction. The following month, after phone calls failed to yield any clarification, I went in person with my case payment history printed out. It turns out that while there were consistent payments, the change from the temp agency to the company payroll left just a smidgen of a gap because technically each month’s full payment is due on the first of said month. My company pay schedule landed the payments into the system two weeks too late and it counted as a full month’s balance in arrears. I paid the regular monthly payment, which somehow made the whole problem go away (if there really was one), and carried on.

January 2015.

I walked away from the grave shifts and relentlessly pushed through one more term of school. My girlfriend and I got a place together and tried to get on with life. Summer came and I was stuck for work. Half my bills were getting paid with my credit card, the other half weren’t. Child support was in the not paid category. I searched for work. I got swindled by a craigslist gig. I searched some more. Letters from the district attorney came every few weeks, increasingly threatening with each month I couldn’t pay.

Four months of searching, the longest stretch I have ever suffered, finally got me employed. I interviewed in August and started at the end of the month. It took only one pay period before I received the withholding order, and the very next paycheck was deducted. At the end of September, I got a call from a private number claiming to be the child support enforcement office and they ask me for my employer’s information. I refuse to give it because only a few weeks earlier that exact office mailed the order to my employer and the proper amount was held from my check. Shouldn’t I think that’s suspicious? Being asked for information that the institution they claim to be definitely already has? A week later, I get another copy of the withholding order. I also get a letter from the district attorney asking again for my employer’s information, that is, the information they just used a second time to establish payments. I call my payroll to see what the deal is, and they tell me that it has been received and is in process. Just like direct deposit, these things take a couple pay cycles to get established, three bi-monthly in this case. By the fourth pay cycle, it was all on track.

I was happy to have the heat off with child support via automatic payroll deductions. Extra was taken out to pay the arrears which had built up to 4 figures in only as many months. Then, I get notices in the mail telling me my state and federal tax returns are also going to be used to settle the difference. By this point, I feel I have every right to be pissed off at the system. It wasn’t enough to take away from my paycheck even though I was living one to the next, they came after my tax returns, too!

January 2016.

I got my tax documents. I filed in February, then waited. At the end of April, I finally got word on my returns. My girlfriend’s tax return was already fully spent by April, and I was told that there’s a few hundred left of mine for me to enjoy. I didn’t actually get the money in April, just notified of the status. So, while the extra funds for arrears continued to be taken from my pay, my federal return was reduced by the amount owed. I mean, it was fine to get it squared up, but then they took my entire $425 state return on top of that!

Two weeks later in May, I finally get the first $38 of my state return mailed to me. Another week later I received a more substantial portion of my return, but $40 of it goes unaccounted for. Still another week after that (and exactly 3 days after incorrectly calculating my next month’s amount due), I received exactly the amount of my previous bimonthly payments. I wasn’t at all happy about the way it was done, but I was happy that the arrears were settled…

The very next billing cycle, I get a bill implying I was behind almost a half month.

As it turns out, the bill they calculated and sent me on May 20th incorrectly showed me owing a non-multiple of my monthly amount. That is, it wasn’t a pay cycle error. Then, on May 23rd, a check for much more than $40 was sent off. How much more? The exact same amount incorrectly shown on the bill printed three days earlier. All this immediately after both my returns were held to pay the balance in full.

Maybe it was an accounting error. Maybe it was to offset the following two months that my payroll would continue to kick in the extra 20% catch up. However, June’s bill suddenly claimed me to be over one month behind! Like I said, my payroll still forked over the full payment and then some, so what gives? I compared the total paid to date against that of the previous bill, and found they did not apply the most recent payment that the very same printout showed being made, and also coincidentally did not apply the payment that was entered into the system that same day. Oh, and only a few days later, another check for $20 sent to me would make July’s calculation seem another $20 deeper in the hole. Even though my payroll continued to deduct my salary right on schedule!

At this point, I can’t accept this as an error. This is malicious and absolutely intentional as far as I can see. Every time I call to refute a balance, I get the run around. If I mail or fax my proof, it gets somehow misplaced. I absolutely expect that after having my income taken through three channels at the same time to pay child support, I would at least get acknowledged for paying it!

By this point, I was hitting the wall. I wanted to be there for my family, and I wanted to hold onto the career I started. However, I clearly could not do both, I just couldn’t give them both the attention they needed from me.

The next month, baby’s mamma tells me that even though our son’s first day of school lands on my time, she is not going to let me have him. Now, I know “parenting time is separate from child support”, but I point this out to set the tone for parent teacher conferences.

I signed up for an open time slot. The teacher asked if the two of us would meet together, but I explained there was too much animosity. I saw that my ex took the spot immediately before mine and I should have known it was coming. I poked my head in the classroom door 5 minutes before my time, smile at the teacher and back out. As my time approached, I stood closer to the door. The ex hushed her usual boisterous voice, and being fully my time slot, I hovered near the door. For fully 10 of my 20 minutes, she bashed me to my son’s kindergarten teacher about not paying child support, once again while it was getting paid.

I quit my job, and ever since I have kept every dollar I make well out of everyone’s hands. The money I have to put on paper is kept to a bare minimum, no more than $20k per year, even though I’m pushing my earning power past $30/hr. I knew there would be repercussions, and I’ve taken each one in stride until the system put me in front of a judge because I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay even more just to hope a judge will hear my case. Again, just to be clear, I’m not railing against having to pay, I’m fighting against inequitable treatment of fathers. I’m fighting against a short sighted ‘one size fits all’ support calculation. I’m fighting against the default every other weekend for fathers. I’m fighting against routine miscalculations making way for brutally fast enforcement. I’m fighting to make parenting time as aggressively enforced as support payments. I’m fighting a gender battle calling itself a just statute!

Contempt? Hell no, I’m beyond contempt! I want a revolution!

Show Cause

Children Are Not Game Pieces

Father’s Day is upon us, and as is too often the case it is a bittersweet one for me. I hope to shed some light on fathering, especially as a divorcee, in my own experience. I hope to give men like myself a voice, at least. I hope my message reaches someone and effects some kind of shift in mindset. Please read with an open mind and keep the comments on the upside.

A Pawn for Vengeance

Divorce is already the most miserable thing a person can go through. I foolishly thought that the pain was over at the issuance of the final divorce decree. Not when you have children together. Parenting time is such a convoluted issue that it requires an addendum to the whole decree, possibly being far more paperwork than the divorce itself. I begin to wonder what the point of divorce even is. It seems like the better course of action would have been to file a restraining order, but here is where things get stupid. Even though I resorted to calling 911 to break up one of our drunken fights gone violent, I was told a restraining order would not be issued as there is insufficient cause. The threat of another physical attack isn’t enough to justify a restraining order??

I called 911 on her craziness, I was kicked out of my own place and told (by the police) to drive my intoxicated self to my friend’s house a mere 10 miles away. Not take the bus, call a cab, or have him get me, but to drive after drinking and being attacked. She only had to change her act from insane violence to pathetic sobbing mess. Despite her yelling at me on the recorded emergency line as I called for help, she was the one allowed to stay in her own home with our infant son.

Now, years down the road, I can put a camera in her face to mitigate the attacks, but where has that left us? To my horror, it has led to a series of embarrassing investigations and a flurry of badges. Turns out, anybody can file a little anonymous report of suspicion any ol’ time they like. I already knew exactly why I was getting hassled because my son was already asking me if I would have him at all during the summer vacation.

My partner and I had to both forfeit a day of work to entertain absurd questions to child welfare about how we do and don’t parent. We answered the questions, they searched our entire little apartment, and after all was said and done the case was closed “unfounded”. At the same time, each of the children were taken out of the classroom to answer their questions. Of course, this only spurred them to come home with a bunch of their own questions. Then, only but a week later, another two cases had been opened. We took our time again to be questioned, searched, and the cases were again closed “unfounded”. That didn’t stop her from her narcissistic abuse as she sent my son to me with the misunderstanding that his dad was in trouble with the law.

After the 4th police report in almost as many weeks, immediately following a very sudden and threatening email, you can’t deny that something is wrong.

Without hesitation, she retrieved all of the reports that she had just instigated, gleaned every semi questionable bit of information from it, and filed her motion to reduce my parenting time to less than half what I have now. All of it, the kids being questioned by the police, my son not knowing if he will see his dad for the summer, my son being told that his dad is a criminal on the run, all of this because after I’ve stonewalled every other attack the only way she can get at me is through the children. Half of the claims against me are derived from what my son apparently said to her. She uses him as her informant to get very inaccurate information on my family.

While this season’s effort is to focus on fabricating a claim of neglect and perverse abuse, she has been extracting information from my son since he was able to talk, using it to disrupt our holiday and vacation plans, antagonize dissonance within my family, and create opportunities for conflict by coincidentally attending the same events. These days, it doesn’t matter if we take a trip to the beach or simply find a park to run in, we don’t say anything to the kids about our plans until we are en route. It’s practically a black ops effort just to have a picnic without her disrupting or intruding.

There isn’t much I can do to address it. Perhaps the recent series of events has been enough to at least expose her malice. However, nothing is ever going to ensure that she doesn’t use my child against me in the future.

I know for a fact this isn’t just my experience. I know that other parents have used their children for dirtier attacks than a desperate, insubstantial report to child welfare. It is not surprising at all to hear a custodial parent withhold their child from their ex, even in stark defiance of the court ordered parenting time. They get away with it because there is no such thing as a state department of parenting time enforcement.

I wish more than anything that justice was actually blind. I wish that every time I called the police for help, I actually got help. Instead, I got kicked out of my own home. I wish that the real reason I filed for divorce was taken seriously. It’s not like being a male means I can’t possibly be physically assaulted. I wish that her physical abuse hadn’t just been swept under the rug and left out of consideration. But, that all being behind me, what I really, really wish…

Is for parents to stop using their children as pawns to get back at their ex. It absolutely rips me apart to hear (most often a woman) exclaim that she’s just going to keep a man’s child(ren) away from him because she’s angry. Why should a child be subject to saying things or answering questions they can’t begin to understand? Why should a child have to miss out on time with one parent because the other one is bitter and thinking only of spiteful revenge?

Look, I think the bitterness of divorce is the same regardless of gender. But, your child is an innocent human being, not a means to get back at your ex.

I don’t expect my situation to get better anytime soon. I just hope this can reach one parent so that at least one child can maybe have a better relationship with both parents. That folks are reading and not commenting gives me hope that my words are simmering on someone’s back burner, but even if that’s not true I appreciate the respect of my place to speak. Thank you all. ✌💙🎸

Show Cause

The Elephant in the Room

Father’s Day is upon us, and as is too often the case it is a bittersweet one for me. I hope to shed some light on fathering, especially as a divorcee, in my own experience. I hope to give men like myself a voice, at least. I hope my message reaches someone and effects some kind of shift in mindset. Please read with an open mind and keep the comments on the upside.

The Ugly Truth

The ugly truth came out of my ex wife one day as I dropped my son off. I had just been hired at a local tech company in my 5th and would have been final year in university. Though it was a tech company directly related to both degrees I was wrapping up, I hadn’t scored an internship. The area was still pulling unemployment below double digits, so I was just happy to have a 12 hour grave shift dragging the line for a pithy $1100 per month. She didn’t expect it. Rocking my 5th year in uni, she fully expected me to be scoring a high paying engineering internship. She was so confident she had it in the bag as I would clearly be too busy for parenting. She sneered right in my face and admitted she was only after more money.

I couldn’t believe what I just heard. I mean, I figured as much, but I just never expected to hear her say it. I looked at my phone to play back the video and my heart sank as I read the video length of 5 seconds. Fresh out of memory. I try not to hate my life during times of adversity, but after I failed to take a picture of her text messages to some other guy back when we were married I really make the effort to capture the rare moment when she shows her true colors.

All the salvation I needed was spilled out in front of me and I didn’t catch it. Of course I have no other proof that this effort is just to gouge me for money. That’s my misery to live out. However, I’m not alone in this fate. These things cause strain on the entire family.

The point of today’s gripe is this: women can and do contest parenting time just for additional passive income.

It’s not right, and the attitude that a man ought to just ‘man up and pay because life isn’t fair’ only inflames the gender argument. It’s time for more sensible child support calculations and holding the receiving parent accountable for the funds.

Show Cause

The Real story on paying child support

Father’s Day is upon us, and as is too often the case it is a bittersweet one for me. I hope to shed some light on fathering, especially as a divorcee, in my own experience. I hope to give men like myself a voice, at least. I hope my message reaches someone and effects some kind of shift in mindset. Please read with an open mind and keep the comments on the upside.

Paying Child Support

If you thought this title on yesterday’s post was foreshadowing, thank you for at least paying attention. I’m not going to lie, I am ordered to appear in court a couple days after Father’s Day and explain why I’m stiffing baby’s mamma on child support. And I have good cause. I’m not just going to whine and snivel about life, I’m going to show my cause. I am going to show why the only thing I achieved in a whole day was sorting through documents and giving myself a stress migraine.

So, in order to fully show the cause of my current situation, I have to jump in the way back when section of my freaking thick folder. All the way to the very beginning, in fact. Child support is calculated (more on that in the near future) before the judge will even sign off on the divorce decree. Don’t miss a payment, my less than helpful attorney told me as I collected my file and terminated the retainer. You’ll be screwed once you do, he warned.

Happy Birthday! The judge has finally settled your divorce. 😁And you owe child support. 😐 Great, tell me where to send the check… No, seriously! Where do I send it and how do I make sure it finds its way to where it belongs? I start making phone calls, asking questions, and mostly panicking. August rolls around. The final signature (how many does one legal document need, anyway?) finally officiated the end of the marriage. I still don’t have any idea how I’m supposed to pay my now seemingly overdue child support. September comes around and my phone calling persistence finally produced a confirmation of where, who, and how much to cough up. I take my student funds and promptly cut a check for the entire amount due.

October arrives, and shit hits the fan again. I receive my very first paper correspondence from the division of child support on October 25th.

It says nothing about my case specifically aside from a case number at the bottom. But on the 14th of October, they damn sure deposited my check and made available 4 months of child support payments. As Halloween approached, I got a last minute call asking me to pick up earlier than scheduled. I agree but run late as I had less than 10 hours notice to make it home from being downtown without my vehicle and try to get enough sleep. I was met with nearly a full hour of the exact kind of arguing that made me divorce in the first place. The very first argument made, literally 5 minutes into the exchange, was to accuse me of being a deadbeat and not paying my child support. Yes, the child support that had been waiting for her to withdraw for two weeks.

Look, I don’t care who or what the deal is, if you are going to field any financial argument you better not come to the table two full weeks out of date on your information.

November arrives and I pay my child support fucking promptly.

I focus on my studies, but December starts looking bleak for paying on time. I was able to make a very limited work-study income, but the second week of December is usually either finals or ‘dead week’ so there was much less work and more study. I finally receive my very first amount due notice.

Now into the 6th billing month of child support, they finally let me know they haven’t been able to bill me as they set up the account, but the first payment was officially due January 1st. I cut a check and dropped it in the mail just as soon as my student funds hit my account. I also faxed them the cleared check images proving they deposited my earlier payments.

I thought the blow out on Halloween was absolutely out of line, but it was only the beginning. Since there was no payment seen by them for the entire business month of December, a motion to show cause was prepared.

By the end of the day January 2nd, the deputy district attorney signed the motion, attesting that I was officially more than one month delinquent in my payments. Technically, yes it was one day greater than a month.

So, just to make this perfectly clear, I was taken to court literally within the very very first 8 hours they could. How do I know my check (remember, I did put a check in the mail before end of December) wasn’t being ignored in a thick pile of holiday backlog? Huh? No benefit of the doubt? Ugh!

Oh, but remember the plethora of signatures? So, on Jan 3rd yet another attorney signed off and agreed that judicial action was clearly necessary. Then, finally on January 7th, my payment was received.

On January 8th, the circuit court judge signed off on the order to appear and produce every financial document, title of ownership, license, etc. and a good reason for being delinquent.

So, just to summarize my first 7 months of paying child support:

1- Child support is due by court order, but there’s no account to receive it.

2- I place panicked calls all over the state trying to pay.

3- My calls succeed in finding amount owed and I pay up.

4- First ever correspondence from the department of child support and ex starts a fight over child support without even looking to see that it was there for weeks.

5- Paid promptly.

6- Student funds run dry for the term, could not pay until the end of the month with Winter term disbursement.

7- Order to appear in court for delinquent payments, even though the payment of interest was received while the order was making the rounds. No less than three officials focused prosecuting me and ignored the check that their own records prove I made as timely as possible.

8- I caught up the outstanding debt, gathered all my documents, brought it to court, and had the claims dismissed. I tried to ask for retribution for getting hauled to court in the heat of midterms, especially after paying as timely as possible out of my student loans. But, nobody wants to hear it. There’s no discrimination here, sir, take your judgement and move along.

Show Cause

The Deadbeat Dad

Father’s Day is upon us, and as is too often the case it is a bittersweet one for me. I hope to shed some light on fathering, especially as a divorcee, in my own experience. I hope to give men like myself a voice, at least. I hope my message reaches someone and effects some kind of shift in mindset. Please read with an open mind and keep the comments on the upside.

The Deadbeat Dad

I heard a saying once that still resonates with me: any fool can father a child, it takes a real man to be a dad.

I don’t know when it happened, but some time in the not too distant past the idea of the Deadbeat Dad came into being. As divorce grew more acceptable in society, women’s liberation took a strange turn and gender identities entirely broke traditional molds. As society typically does embrace change far ahead of government, it is expected that gender roles are still present, at least in attitude, within the justice department. I am not trying to make a case out of blanket assumptions. I am only trying to bring to light how a father that finds himself in a divorce proceeding can feel the deck is stacked against him.

Deadbeat dad? I had one of those, and it’s my number one reason I strive for valuable time with my son. My parents were married for 25 years before finally separating. They waited until I was out of the house to do so, taking away any chance of experiencing a better dad during my childhood. If any adjective fit my father in his role as a dad or husband, it would surely be ‘absent’. For the entirety of my 18 years, I remember having to push and prod my father to do any minor activity any time he was around. He could only be coaxed into doing something if alcohol was on the agenda. Most of the family time we had involved him yelling in frustration at all the bills piling up in spite of all the money he made (and subsequently blew on booze and women). My dad was the dad that, in the days before cell phones, would often outright forget to pick his kids up when he was supposed to, or was at least a half hour late when he did remember. My dad was the dad feeding me alcohol as a child because that was his idea of ‘doing something with his son’. If my parents had ever graced my sister and I with their divorce while we still had childhood left, my father would have fulfilled the final piece of the persona ‘deadbeat dad’ as society defines it: a man that takes little or no part in raising and providing for his children and doesn’t pay child support.

My father was the kind of dad that set the precedence for the Deadbeat Dad stereotype. It turns out that this was a generational stake pit that many fathers fell into. The situation of a man turning away from family ties in interest of freedom from responsibility (or freedom to give that responsibility to his employer) surely set the precedence for the divorcee that wouldn’t lift a finger or be anywhere he was supposed to be for his children. Dads that were too consumed by alcohol and the good times that come with it to bother with the rigor and monotony of household duties. There were mothers left entirely to parent, keep up house, and try to earn some kind of income all at the same time. To be sure, deadbeat fathers were rife in my parents’ day. Too concerned with chasing scandalous girls and boozey fun times to remember he has a family to care for.

Deadbeat fathers like mine set the precedence for current judicial attitudes because they refused to take any part in the household. It’s the damn ugly truth, but it’s why divorced fathers are where we are now. I don’t know how often it happens exactly, but I can say that from my experience it is pretty much assumed that the man will be pigeon holed into being the stock standard every other weekend dad.

The stock standard every other weekend dad.

Please take just a minute and think of those poor souls. Those smitten, lost, strangely there and not at the same time, fathers who get just enough time with their kids to see them grow incredibly fast but miss so many of the growing moments. Saturday and Sunday, and only 26 of them in a year (give or take depending on holidays) to keep up a relationship with their children. Just 52 out of 365 days in a year or approximately one seventh of their child’s life.

This is stock standard. I am throwing the bullshit flag on this play! Folks, there is no way this is fair or reasonable to decent men trying to deal with a failed relationship. It takes both spouses to hold the marriage together, but only one to ruin it for the whole family. Taking gender bias out of it means there’s at a 50% chance the woman has disavowed the marriage. Why should it be the default ruling that the woman gets custody and the man gets every other weekend? I swear it seems a man doesn’t get custody until the mother is found cracked out at a drug bust. Not that the system doesn’t sometimes err in the opposite direction, but…

Don’t children deserve their fathers? Don’t they deserve to have their fathers see them off to school and pick them up? Don’t they deserve their father’s meals, to share day to day life, to know the father they have? If a father is fit to parent and wants to be a parent to his children, why shouldn’t he be supported?

Where is the justice??

Where is the justice for the husband that gets cheated on, abused, and still loses custody? Where is the justice for the every other weekend father that gets stuck missing the vast majority of their children’s lives? Where is the justice when a very well off woman gets handed a completely unregulated cash allowance every month off of her ex husband’s labor when he is struggling to make ends meet? Where is the justice for a father just trying to do the right thing by the family he has remaining? Where is the justice for the father whose name is smeared in every social circle, at school, and even right in front of his children for nothing more than spiteful hate?

If a father has no interest in parenting, then child support makes perfect sense. But for fathers like myself that only want to be a dad to their kids, child support is a twofold punishment for men who often did nothing wrong at all in the first place.

Where is the justice for good dads that are nothing more than beaten dead by their ex and insurmountable child support?

Dad Time

You will never regret it

I think I’ve heard this bit of advice for the first time in my life, and it came from a freaking soap ad on the IG.

Take the time to be a father, you will never regret it.

Apparently, Dove is supporting the push for paternal leave in America. Honestly, it’s the first time I have seen any kind of outspoken support for fathers being there for their kids. I’m glad that the UK led into the effort and I truly hope employers in the States start taking it seriously, too.