I’ve heard countless stories over the years. Some were so shocking in nature that not only was I truly disturbed by them, they actually changed me. Truth be told, I’ve learned to harden my emotions as a result. Not from an empathetic perspective, but from that of a self-preservation point of view whereby I think less about what I know.
To elaborate, I’m the type of person who hyper-analyzes things. So if I didn’t force myself to forget things at times, I’d never sleep as my mind would race incessantly as I laid in bed at night pondering the “what type of person” and “who could do such a thing” type of questions.
That said, just when I think I’ve got a firm grasp on just how hateful and out-of-control the ODJFS and their financial strong-arm otherwise known as the “Child Support” Enforcement Agency (CSEA) as well as Ohio’s “Family Courts” are, someone else tells me their story. As a result, yet another layer in the depth of ugliness as it pertains to “the Family Law system” in Ohio is laid bare and thereby made painfully real to me. And I do mean painfully because this arouses such a fierce indignation in me that I’m incensed beyond what words can describe.
To convey what I’m trying to otherwise, consider this analogy. It’s like peeling an onion, only backwards. Where you layer instead of peel, but you don’t know you’re doing it until you find that next layer. Instead of getting to the core as you would when you peel, you find that you’re “peeling outward” or layering as the onion is getting bigger rather than smaller. Now apply that thinking to determining the depth of inhumanity and ugliness that’s carried out as Ohio’s CSEAs execute their functions to earn their profit on “child support” collections. In short, it’s without bounds.
I had a conversation with an Ohio Police Officer over the weekend that in truth made me so angry, that I wanted to scream out of my anger and frustration over what he was telling me. As stated earlier, I’ve heard a lot over the years, but when one considers that policemen (and by that I include policewomen) lay their lives on the line every day so that we and our children may live safely, a whole new dimension of heartless inhumanity, one that’s completely abhorrent to reason, is brought to light as it pertains to the ODJFS’ CSEAs.
Picture someone who’s homeless and sleeping in their car or in the basement of a building and that’s truly a sad thing to contemplate. Now picture that someone being a Police Officer sleeping in his car, or in the basement of a Police Station because after his “child support” is deducted from his salary that he earns by risking his life every minute of every day that he works, he has no money to pay rent. He’s been made homeless after losing everything (including most importantly unfettered access to his children) after Ohio’s CSEA order him to pay “child support.” Now, you shouldn’t just be angry after learning of that, you should be incensed beyond consolation, because that’s exactly the type of story that officer related to me during our conversation.
When it comes to the insanity of living through the first few years of dealing with Ohio’s “child support”and Domestic and/or Juvenile Relations Courts as a “child-support” paying non-custodial father in Ohio, the words demented, lunacy, insanity and hell only begin to describe the madness of the world you live in. That, as your dignity, your God-given right to be a father to your children, nearly all of your possessions and a very large portion of your net pay are all stripped from you. And for what??? what “crime” did you commit that you are so deserving of such hateful treatment that many jail inmates actually end up having more than you?
It’s simple. You made the brave decision to become a father, and in the America we live in today, becoming a single father (even through no choice nor fault of your own) doesn’t mean you deserve to be treated like a criminal, because you won’t, you’ll be treated far worse than any criminal in the Criminal Justice System and here’s why; they have rights, whereas you as a single or divorced dad do not!
Knowing how my thinking and mindset were turned inside-out and upside-down when I was first introduced to “the system” following my divorce, and considering what it took me just to get out of bed each day and merely put one foot before the other, I can’t even begin to fathom how much worse, exponentially worse, it must be for a Police Officer to have to perform their job with the full weight of Ohio’s “Family” Courts and the “Child Support” Extortion (aka Enforcement) Agency hell bearing down on their lives daily.
Add to that, a Police Officer who has no home and can’t afford to pay any rent because he doesn’t have enough money left from his own paycheck to pay rent after his “child support” deduction is taken out. He therefore must sleep in his car, or in his friends basement or the basement of the station because he has no place to call home. Understand that he can’t just work more hours to get ahead, that doesn’t work, and here’s why; “the more you make, the more they take.”
So if he puts in an additional 20-30 hours in overtime, they’ll raise his child support so much, that his net pay wouldn’t be much different than it was before. So what’s the point of risking ones life so much more to net only a minute amount of additional money each week? There is none. Even worse, if his hours get cut because the City he works for wants to save money, it’s most likely that the courts won’t lower his “child support” order after those overtime hours dry up. The court or CSEA would then declare him to be “voluntarily underemployed” and therefore order him to keep paying the higher “child support” amount.
As if being forced to play “Family Court” and then going to work and pretending to be normal wasn’t bad enough, imagine sleeping in your car all night, driving to the Police Station to shower and dress, and then going out and dealing with dangerous criminals and thugs for the next 8-15 hours. Even worse, and while all that weight bears on your mind from being homeless, not being able to see your precious children and having to deal with the harassment of your ex who’s using the Courts and the CSEA as her war hammer, imagine having to deal with some psychotic meth or crackhead who’s threatening your life with a gun, and where one mistake could cost you your life.
Now, that officer’s children whom the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services collection agent, the CSEAs claim to acting in “the best interest of” in bankrupting that policeman through his “child support” order, would be fatherless. Would the CSEA or Court care if that happened? Of course not.
Well, allow me to take that back, as the CSEA would care in the sense that it would affect their bottom line as they could no longer profit off of his “child support” payments through their Title IV D Federal Incentive Match. Please know that as sick and disgusting as that sounds and is, I do not take lightly what I’m saying, nor am I making light of such a serious scenario. To the contrary, I’m trying to illustrate just how sick Ohio’s “child support” system is and mean what I’ve said.
The officer also told me of how the Court was harassing him about his work schedule that he obviously had no control over. He was lectured about how he was expected to be on-time for “visitation” and that he needed to have a more flexible work schedule. Who has heard of anything more stupid than telling a police officer that they must have a “flexible work schedule?” Huh? So does one infer from such a stupid statement that he would be expected to walk away from a crime scene, or stop pursuing a felony suspect because he had to leave for “visitation?” What if he’s in the middle of arresting a suspect, and has only one handcuff on and “quitting time” arrives. Does, he remove the one handcuff and turn the criminal loose as he says to them, “maybe next time, but for now, it’s quittin time because the Court said so!”
Understand that I’m not being sarcastic or facetious in writing that. Rather, I’m using that paradox to expose a critically important truth as it demonstrates just how out-of-touch as well as how culpable the Courts are, not only in their failure to address the anti-father bias in Ohio’s Domestic Relations Courts, but also in contributing to it. That in and of itself clearly demonstrates just how far from reality as well as how deep into oblivion the Courts have descended in their inability to address the needs of single and divorcing Ohio fathers. How, in a sane world, can a judicial official make such a ridiculous statement to a father who’s a police officer?
That aside, I wonder if those same stupid statements would still apply if that officer were in the midst of protecting that judge or one of his family? I highly doubt it.
I’m not sure I can think of anything lower than a society that couldn’t care less about our brave policemen and women, who as a direct result of being extorted out of exorbitant amounts of “child support,” are left homeless, must sleep in the basement of a district police station, have to take buses or taxis to work (because they can’t afford a car) and who are so close to losing it, that they’re told by their superiors that they must “get help” or face losing their jobs. But what I can think of is the reason why, which is, “for the love of money is the root of all evil.”
I can’t say what city this officer is from, but I know that more and more of his colleagues will be coming to this Blog and there’s much I have to say to all of you. First and foremost, thank you for laying your lives on the line each day to keep us and our children safe.
Next, please know that I have been where some of you are, and where others will unfortunately be. I know that sick and disgusting feeling that can overcome you at the mere thought of having to get out of bed each day, and after Ohio’s CSEAs and “Family” Courts have destroyed your life, your finances, and most of all wrecked your relationship with your children whom are also innocent victims in a very ugly game that’s “for profit.’
Please know that you are not alone, are not going crazy, don’t deserve all that’s been heaped upon you and that there are those (including myself) who do care. I myself, and after a few years of “the system” met with a National Guard Recruiter and was going to enlist and go to Iraq for “death by war,” because I’d been driven over the edge by all that I encountered. The night before I was to go to Columbus to sign the papers, I called my recruiter to advise him I’d changed my mind and explained that, “I have a five year old girl who needs her daddy.”
I too have sat alone in the dark, crying and praying for death because I wouldn’t take my own life. I regularly cursed God and shook my fists at him in defiance and that’s okay.
Never forget that your children need you and love you. No matter how bad things are, nor how bad things get, there is an end to the madness. And please, trust me when I say I know what it feels like to see that light at the end of the tunnel only to realize it’s yet another train coming at you head on, and that at the point of impact, will deliver yet another huge payload of destruction that will once again shake the foundation of your world, and everything you thought you once believed in. And to such an extent that you don’t even know who you are anymore.
As the Officer I spoke to explained to me, “our wives and girlfriends get upset because we can’t talk about or jobs with them. It’s not that we don’t want to, we just can’t because they wouldn’t understand. You’d have to experience it, be a police officer, to understand it.” Well, so it is with the House-of-Horrors that’s otherwise known as Ohio’s CSEAs and Family Courts. Others have to experience that hell for themselves to understand it or even believe in it. I have, and I do.
Please know that there are plans in the works to form another organization on a national level that will deal with these atrocities that have been, and are inflicted upon non-custodial mothers and fathers alike. It’s in that organization that I believe we’ll make great strides in tearing down this very hateful system that proudly profits off of the backs of broken families and the innocent children thereof. We have to be successful, because we CAN’T pass this very broken system onto our own children. That’s especially true for those of you with sons. Can you imagine your own son having to experience what you do when he’s an adult with children of his own?
In support of said organization, another website will be coming online that will explain more in greater detail. In the meantime, I’d like to get to know as many of you as possible. Although my contact number is no longer public, I’ve instructed the officer I spoke with to freely give it to all of you.
That said, if you ever find yourself “there” and thinking thoughts you shouldn’t be thinking, please call me any time, day or night. Thank you for doing what you do and PLEASE stay safe out there, you’re children love you, need you, and miss you.
Ohio Council for Fathers Rights