Protect responsible parents’ rights too |

Protect responsible parents’ rights too

I have just finished reading the Letter to the Appeal by Karen Fritz. I sympathize with her plight. I agree with her statements that many separated or divorced parents are not responsible and will avoid responsibility concerning their children.

But what about the rights of the non-custodial parents who are in compliance with the child support laws? Here is my example.

I am a divorced father of two children. One is 19 years old, and I no longer pay for his support, although I did for approximately nine years. Our other child is 11 years old, and I pay $500 a month plus an additional $136 a month for dental work. This is in addition to the insurance from her mother’s employment. Yet, I have few rights as a father. If the mother decides not to let me see our child, there is not much I can do short of hiring an attorney.

The custodial parent receives free representation from the district attorney’s office. They enforce support from easy targets like a long-time stable employee like myself. But visitation is not enforced or even coerced by the division. By the laws of God and parenthood, the children should be able to spend time with both parents, even though separate. So much for the best interest of the child. Just keep the money flowing or else.

As a non-custodial parent, I am at the mercy of the custodial parent and the child support division of the district attorney’s office. I am not and have not been late with payments, yet I am not typically invited or allowed to enjoy my child’s school functions, birthdays or Thanksgiving with me, and this year not even Christmas. Even though this is described in a court-ordered decree, I have to put up hundreds if not thousands of dollars to an attorney to try to enforce it.

I realize that there are a lot of deadbeat dads out there who do not care about their responsibilities as a parent. However, I am not a deadbeat dad and I am sure of others who are not either, yet they feel that they have no recourse but to run.

I agree with Karen Fritz that to speak to a caseworker at the child support division is almost impossible.

It is certain that the laws (if any) concerning the non custodial parent need to be addressed and reconstructed to accommodate the support paying parent with free local government supported rights as an equal parent.

I invite any parents in my situation to join me in my efforts to address this upcoming legislative session regarding our rights as non-custodial parents.

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