Deadbeat Dad and Stalking

By Claudia Slate
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 monetarilly.

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.

Go Back to Shy David's Feminism Page.