Over the course of the last six months of being an examiner, this excursion has managed to do something so many others have tried in vain to do: Silence me. I’m still an avid job seeker, even though I am now (so-called) gainfully employed, sometimes looking for jobs for others. While the market is dwindling, opportunities do still seem to be there. Of course today, I’m speaking to you about something a little off course.
I’m going to share a tale with you of a guy named Paul, or so we will call him. Without delving into his story too much, we’ll give you the basics. Paul is somewhat educated, although through some circumstances life tends to offer, was unable to achieve his degree. However, Paul has remained employed over the years, doing what he can to survive. Paul is the father of two, neither of which reside with him. It takes little to deduce that Paul is required by law to somehow provide support for these two. Paul has no problem with this notion, as he is all about the kids. However, as so often is the case, there are some twists and turns to the story.
Paul has two children with two different women. Of course, some of the old guard look down there nose at this sort of “behavior” and “choice”, however Paul just see’s it as life being life. Unfortunately for Paul, one of the mothers is not what one would consider such a great character. Paul was young once, on the mend, and made a poor choice in the woman he fell for. He never even considered at the time that maybe there was a bit of a hidden agenda with this woman. But as the story goes, she became pregnant, nine months later a son was born. There was a lot of drama in between, but in the end Paul was there excited to start a new life. Unfortunately, the bliss wouldn’t last. Going to college full-time plus working a near full time job, Paul had little time to adjust or deal with the other ups and downs of being in a relationship. So naturally, things fell apart, and the dream was gone. Paul was on his own.
A year later, the unavoidable trap of child support came along. Somehow, the state of missouri deemed that Paul, a full time college student/part time Retail chain employee, could manage to pay 300 bucks a month in support PLUS provide insurance. Keep in mind Paul was supporting another child as well. “It is what it is” stated Paul, and he forged on. For the next five years, Paul did as he was expected, leaving the opportunities provided by completing his education and degree behind, all on the premise of supporting his kids. Over the course of the next few years, Paul would have to work multiple jobs, watch his credit completely plummet, face evictions, car repossessions, collections, and thats not to mention the emotional turmoil the entire fiasco emposed on him. I have failed to mention that through out this time period, his visits with his child began to quickly decrease, which escalated quickly to no contact. When Paul looked into this, Paul soon learned that he technically had no rights to custody, much akin to not looking at just what it is you sign sometimes. Eventually, as this wore on, so did being stuck in a dead end job that was not worth the nothing he was getting paid to do it. So Paul, moved on.
Paul settled in a new job, better paying, with some better benefits. Upon starting this job, Paul contacted the states child support agency to inform them of the change, with no response. The next month his business manager did so, then he the next month again, and so on. Over a 12 month span this game went on to no avail. Throughout this time, the job didn’t work out, so Paul returned to his old employer. Immediately, without skipping a beat, the state of Mo was back to garnishing wages. After three months back on the job, Paul recieved the greatest gift of all from the state. An arrest warrant. Yes, Paul was surprised in the middle of a cold February afternoon by sheriffs deputy and an arrest. Even though Paul PROVED he was paying, he was still encarcerated, and forced to borrow money for the bond. Paul is a small town guy, of course this made the paper and was quite humiliating. To make a long story short, it was evident that Paul was in fact in the right, so agreed the judge in the case, as it was quickly dismissed. As a side gift, Paul was also informed by the state, as an effort to alleviate the financial stress, he was no longer responsible to provide health insurance, for a child that he wasn’t allowed to see, or even utilized the insurance which he had provided for the previous 6 YEARS.
Fast forward 3 or so more years. Paul still is realing, chasing opportunities, still struggling in a down economy and a not so bright job market. Paul is hampered by the lack of degree, remember the one he gave up to handle his responsibilities for. Day by day, not getting by, still facing the same old troubles. Facing loss of home, car repossession, etc. Then another gift from the state of missouri. As it turns out, the 8 year old in them had their fingers crossed when they gave Paul the gift of freedom from the provision of insurance. As it turns out, he’s stuck again, dealing with an unapologetic and begrudging state agency, Who ultimately seem to be getting the last laugh. So here he goes again. Paul has decided to not comply, facing arrest and loss of his job. Such a tale it is.
What is the relevance to Pauls tale you may ask? Its simple. The mere mention of the term “Child Support” makes everyone think of another expression, “Deadbeat Dads”. Believe it or not this applies not to every male who is forced to pay child support in this day in age. It is no secret that there are plenty of mothers out there milking the system for all its worth. Paul is not on his own. Paul’s tale is just another minor one of yet another “system” in place in our country/society that is very flawed, and often very unfair. Not to mention, it also appears to be a system run by incompetent and overworked employees, thus making a lot very difficult on all others under their care. Guys like Paul are Saints or Martyrs, they are everyday people just trying to survive in a very tough time. Meanwhile those like Paul’s ex, with four children with four different fathers, are living fat off the same system that is sucking all the life out of guys like Paul. Just some things to keep in mind. So here’s to Paul, wishing him all the luck and prayers that karma finds a way to right his ship. God knows he’s earned it.