Well, for starters I have been divorced from my children's father for about 11 years now. During those 11 years it was rather dramatic. Between the lies, the drugs, the greed, the burglary and doing what's right it was pretty crazy. Throughout the whole time I had tried to be as careful and honest as possible. I didn't want to hurt my kids in any way possible, because I love them too much to ever allow that.
My ex and I had separated back in January of 2000 because I couldn't deal with the lies, him not working and that I had discovered he was doing drugs. From that point on there were the kids right in the middle of us. They were just too young to understand and hear the truth, so whenever I was asked why I left, my only response was "your father's still a good person, but he's just making bad choices right now", which was true.
My ex ended up getting to the point of where he refused to help the kids out any which way. He would see them and spend some time with them, but it wasn't enough. He would boast to the children (then 6 and 9) of how much money he was making and the wonderful life he was living. My kids would come home feeling upset because I was not capable of giving them the luxeries they wished for. I was a single mother raising two children and barely getting by.
I'm going to jump ahead a little bit though... on July 23rd, 2008, the Attorney Generals office contaced me because they review child support cases. They take the worst cases that the non-custodial parent tends to avoid payment. They notified me that my case was one of the very worst cases in the state of Utah. So they told me that they were going to take this to criminal court. I asked if I had any say in this, and they said that the only involvement I would have is that I was a witness. The state of Utah, District Attorney took him to court.
This is a little taste of what was said in the court room:
My case was finally pulled up and my ex-husband had walked up to the stand in shackles. The judge looked at Lance in amazement and told him "This is one of those cases you have to shake your head at and laugh about."
He looked at Lance and told him, "I look at this case and I see that you owe over $64,000 in back child support and your plea is that you're asking me to set you free?"
Lance - "Yes, I would like to better myself and start supporting my children."
Judge - "And you expect me to believe you? With your track record of taking advantage of all the chances you've been given? I think not."
"You have managed to rack up $64,000 in child support without making ANY effort in paying a DIME!"
Lance - "But I realize that I need to do something about it." "I also signed my parental rights away back in 2001 (which was a lie by the way, it was in 2005), because Stacy had mentioned that she needed me to do that because her husband was in the military and they needed it so they could get insurance for them. (Again, another lie)" "I thought I didn't have to pay anything any more."
Judge - "Yeah, you want to better yourself NOW because you have been backed into a corner now and you have no where to go!" "This is the end of the line, Office of Recovery Services has made every effort in cooperating with you and you have blown them off completely!" "When it comes into my court room, it's a felony!" "Even if you signed your rights away, there was no official adoption and so your child support has still been in affect."
The attorney - "He claims that he signed his rights away and yet I have documentation from Office of Recovery Services from 2005 that he had contacted them asking for his balance owing. So he was well aware that he still owed child support."
Judge - "Yes, why would you do such a thing if you figured you didn't owe anything?"
Lance - (speechless)
Judge - $64,000!!! How could you?! and YOU expect to just walk out?!!!" "I don't do this very often, but I am sentencing you to 9 months of jail time, when you get out, you will have to pay your monthly amount of $574 per month in child support and $257 in restitution. You will be on probation while you are paying and you will have electronic monitoring. I am just amazed that someone like you would actually do such a thing to your children. If you fail to comply, you will do 0-5 years in prison."
Court was over and we left the court room. My attorney had a very shocked look on his face and mentioned that in all the times that he's been in this judge's court room, he has never sentenced one to jail/prison time.
He was very shocked and said that the impact Lance had made to me and my family over the years must have made quite the impact on his judgement.
In closing... Justice prevailed... FINALLY!!! It doesn't pay to avoid supporting your children. Yes, the money is going to your ex, but keep in mind that that ex is taking care of your children... feeding, clothing, housing and just flat out supporting your children. It just doesn't pay to keep running from the situation, it only makes the problem worse. Telling a lie makes a problem of the future and telling the truth makes a problem of the past.
I know this is long, but this has been such an ongoing battle and it's caused me a lot of pain and turmoil for over 8 years now. My children are nearly grown and they haven't even really had the chance to be kids... they had to grow up much sooner than they should.
2/11/2010 - Update:
Well, it is now 1 1/2 years after the State of Utah had taken my ex-husband to court for Criminal intent of non-support. As of this date, Lance (my ex-husband) had made absolutely no effort in trying to support our children. The Judge even let him out early around Christmas of 2008. From that point on, who knows what he did. The courts ended up picking him up approximately 4 or 5 months for not paying (again that is), big surprise. But any way, it's now gone up to over $70,000 owed in back child support.
He and his family tell my children that it's my fault for why he's in prison, and that I'm the reason he was put in. And, that I was the one who instigated it. The funny thing is... I had no control over what the District Attorney decided to do. It was brought to the attention of the State of Utah because they considered this case as one of the VERY worst cases in the State of Utah for the amount of back child support owed.
The sad thing is that they're not only lying to themselves, but to my children. My children are NOT as stupid as they think. My children bring it to my attention on what he says and they tell it with disgust because they KNOW he's lying.
"A good story teller remembers his story, and hopes that no one else does."
He's a story teller, and apparently not a very good one. It just disappoints me to know that he would make his own children suffer, just because he's materialistic and likes to keep money for himself.
It's worth sharing! Those that do this to their children, don't deserve to be let go with a slap on the hand. Honestly, if it WERE my choice... he wouldn't be in prison earning his high school diploma, or getting training because he "went in as a criminal" and wants to "come out a cowboy". I'd rather him be out, working and being an actual parent!
5/3/2011 - Lance was released today and so my story begins once again. Time for more games that he pushes for and lies to go along side them.