Claudia Slate, on her Dead-Beat husband(s)

From:    Claudia Slate
To:      J. M. A. Guthrie

JM> No, I'm glad I didn't lose everything to that deadbeat.

I worked full time and went to school part time, helping my first
husband get through college.   He had at least two affairs I knew
about.  One night after getting drunk with some buddies, they picked
up a couple of prostitutes and then he came home to tell me about
them.  When I wouldn't go to bed with him after that, he started
beating up on me.  I finally went with him when our son, then age
4 begged me to "make daddy stop."  He went to work the next morning
and I packed up everything I could in the car, took the $245.00 I had
in the bank and started driving.  (And that is how I wound up in
Dallas - we didn't know anyone here, so I figured he would never look
for me here.) I begged at 3 apartments and finally found one manager
who agreed to give us a place, though I had no job and couldn't
afford the deposit and first month's rent.  I took the first job
I could get as a waitress - though I had never done that before in
my life - I lied.  Two days later, I was in an auto accident and
totaled my car.  He traced me through the insurance company (though
I told them about the situation), drove up to Dallas, and kidnapped
our son from day-care.  Three weeks later, he brought him back, after
he tried to get me at work and the man I worked for told him the FBI
was looking for him - they weren't, but he bought it.

Two months later, marshall's were knocking on the door because he
was writing hot checks all over the place and had sold the boat I
had bought [for] him after using it as collateral for a loan, which
he had not repaid.  It took me a year to save up the money to get a
divorce and 4 years to pay off all the debt he owed.  He never paid
child support.  They could never find him to get papers served.  I
would come home and find he had broken into my house, gone through
my things - but the police couldn't locate him.  I had to move several
time, but he always managed to find me.  I would come out from work
and he would be waiting for me and would follow me - sometimes I
didn't know until I got to the day care facility.

Once I found out where he worked and had papers served on him there.
The judge ordered back child support and issued a restraining order.
He  then started (for the first time in the two and a half years we
had been apart) wanting to see his son.  The boy would return home
furious with me because I had tried to have his daddy thrown in jail
or because I hadn't let his daddy be with him.  All lies.  I never
ever said a bad word about that man to that child.  I recently
learned - through my son's girlfriend (he is 21 now) that his dad
told him that he had to join the Navy because I kept after him for
more money and that was the only way he could pay it.  I went to
court only that one time.  I received a total of $2,700. in child
support over all the years.  I never got any money while he was in
the Navy. Half of the checks he sent through the court bounced -
sometimes creating additional expenses for me.

My second husband filed for divorce after I had worked so he could
go back to school and get an advanced degree in education and then
a degree in computer science.  I went out of town on business when
he didn't want me to so he filed when I was gone.  He fought for
custody though I always agreed on joint custody.  He is supposed
to have our daughter every other weekend and to have her all summer
with me having her every other weekend then.  He still is mad that
"I divorced him" - keeps forgetting that he is the one that filed,
not I - we were in counciling at the time - trying to work things
out, I thought.  He has never "been able" to keep her in the summer
because of his job - and he has had a couple of different ones.
Luckily, he really does love his daughter and he does maintain a good
relationship with her and he and I even have a pretty decent one in
many ways now.  He has always paid his child support.  But he will
also cancel his weekends with her to do something else, and doesn't
agree to assisting me with similar problems with scheduling without
making an issue out of it. He was a teacher and a principal, but
won't help her with her math, though he is one much better than I
and I have asked that he spend some time with her on it when they
are together or to come by the house during the week and work with
her - (we do - everynight - 20 minutes whether she has homework
or not), and expects me to handle all of the problems at school -
though I never handle them to his satisfaction and do call and tell
him when I am going for a meeting and invite him to be there.  (He
has on one occasion, because I was seriously concerned and insisted -
luckily, she is a pretty good student so these instances have been
just regular parent/teacher meetings except for that one occasion).
From watching others go through these things,  I think he is one of
the better fathers.

But all of that is to say, I know I am biased.  I know that there
are women who might abuse the system.  I know that there are men,
who really want to be good fathers and who are good fathers.  But
for the most part, from my personal experience and the experiences
of most of the women I know, too many men don't really want the day
in and day out responsibility of parenthood and won't accept it when
there is a divorce.  I think this attitude is changing and for the
sake of the children, I am delighted to see the changes.  And from
my viewpoint, most of the women get the short end of the stick

Good luck in finding someway to work out the situation with Texas
vs Ohio. I know it ain't easy.  Believe me,  I would not be in
Dallas now if it were not for my daughter and her dad being here.