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#915 - 07/21/04 02:14 AM An International Child Support Issue
JaminBear Offline
recently joined

Registered: 07/21/04
Posts: 2
I have a question and need some pointing in the right direction. I appologize in advance for the lengthyness, but I want to make sure I get all the details.

My husband's first marriage was disolved in 1990 in Saskatchewan Canada. There was a child that resulted from that marriage and is now 17, residing in Canada. We have been paying child support, well above what the court papers stated were owed. The original amount of support was $200 per month. We were sending the payments, some to the tune of $3000.00, $4000.00 and $5000.00 per month, directly to the ex-wife as stated in the divorce decree. Unfortunately, the ex-wife was not and is still not reporting the child support payments she received.

For the past 4 years my husband and I now live in Arizona. We recently received a letter from the Arizona Department of Child Services Enforcement Office stating that we are in arrears on the child support, $23,000.00 worth. Unfortunately, when we moved all of our child support records were lost. We have contacted the banks we dealt with, over 10 years ago on some, and unfortunately the banks state that they do not keep records of accounts that far back. We have tried dealing with the ex-wife about this issue, but she refuses to speak with us about it. We are in the process of trying to find a lawyer to help us deal with this issue.

They have garnished his wages, taking the court ordered amount, plus additional for the "arrearages" we supposedly owe. To make matters worse, my husband was not allowed to have any contact or see his daughter for 12 years. About 3 years ago, the daughter contacted my husband and started having regular contact by phone, email and online chats. Things were starting to look good. We thought that everything was going to work out. We were able to finally see her 2 years ago for about a total of 3 weeks worth, but that was all. We purchased a plane ticket for the daughter to come down and spend christmas with us, but then the day she was supposed to be here, she never showed, no phone call or anything. Then two days later we received a phone call from the daughter stating that the mother wouldn't allow her out of the house. She's threatened to run away due to the situation she is in. We are not allowed to contact the daughter, as "she becomes difficult to deal with when she gets off the phone" with us.

The child is not happy where she is living, but the mother is not allowing her to visit us or any other family members. In the past the child has tried several suicide attempts, running away, smoking, drugs, alcohol, etc.... When the child came to visit us, 2 years ago, she did not want to return home due to the environment she was living in. We ended up having to change her flight arrangements until we felt that it would be safe for her to travel. The child threatened to run away when her plane stopped in Minneappolis for a layover. We couldn't at the time, afford to purchase another ticket, nor take the time off work to travel with her to ensure she arrived home safely. We contacted the local authorities as well as the Saskatchewan authorities to find out what our options were at the time. They informed us that since we did not feel it was safe for her to travel with the threat of running away, we should keep her there until we were sure she could travel.

We contacted her mother to inform her of what was going on, and the mother verbally threatened the child, which we have on tape per the child's request. The mother then threatened us with kidnapping, even though she signed a paper stating that the child was released into our custody. There was a begin date on the paper, but no end date to the child's visit. We finally ended up putting the child in one of those "minor children traveling alone" programs with the airline, in order to ensure the child arrived home safely. The child agreed to go home to start the school year, but requested and begged for us to get things rolling for her to live with us permanently. Well, we started those proceedings 2 years ago.

When the child turned 16, time to drive legally now, the mother purchased the child a car for her 16th birthday. Well, now the child has her own car, is able to get whatever she wants and we are still not allowed to talk with her in any way shape or form. We have tried sending emails, but now the email address is no longer valid, she had a messenger service, but that is no longer valid as well. If we try to phone, we get hung up on without the option of even asking to speak with her. We've tried writing letters, but they are sent back unopened, with "Return to Sender" written on the envelop.

My husband is at his witts end about all of this. All they want from him is money and when we do give money, it's 1) not enough, 2) it's not reported as child support, 3) we don't even know if the child is really benefitting from it. We are denied access to the child's education records, medical records, everything. What do we do? What kind of lawyer do we need to be able to help us with all of this? We've tried a few lawyers, but then when they get to the nitty gritty part of all of this, they say they can't help us. I'm currently looking through the Arizona State Barr Association and calling each lawyer to see if they will help. This is such a lengthy and time consuming option, is there a better way?

Any help and guidance on this issue would be greatly appreciated. I appologize for the lengthyness, but I figured it was best if I told most of the story. There are some things I left out, but not anything real important. Just things of being denied access to the child, no phone calls, etc.... Same things, just that they happened at the very beginning of the divorce. It's like a big circle. Now it's like the divorce starting all over again, only this time, much worse.

The divorce was in March of 1990 in Melville, Saskatchewan, Canada. The ex-wife and daughter currently live in Melville, Saskatchewan. We live in Phoenix, Arizona. Do we need to find a lawyer in Canada to fight this issue? Or, do we need to find a lawyer in Arizona with jurisdiction in Canada? We do we need to go to fight this?

Thank you,

Beverly
[email protected]

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#916 - 07/21/04 11:05 AM Re: An International Child Support Issue [Re: JaminBear]
almostheaven Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 07/14/04
Posts: 10468
Loc: West Virginia
You have to file any motions with Canada as they have jurisdiction. Being that you kept no records, the banks kept no records and that you're claiming to have paid in the area of 20 times more support than was ordered, no court would buy it. So there's nothing to fight there, as they won't accept your word on that issue.

As for custody, also doubtful since he moved so far away and mom stayed within the area. And since she's had custody all these years. The only way custody would possibly change under these circumstances is if you had proof that mom was beating the child to a pulp and/or strung out daily on drugs.
_________________________
Char Fox

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#917 - 07/21/04 07:52 PM Re: An International Child Support Issue [Re: almostheaven]
rayc1 Offline
recently joined

Registered: 07/14/04
Posts: 9
I have heard of things like this, but sending so much money is a bit strange. How was the money sent. is there a way to track any part of the delivery or cashing of the checks. Are there any money orders stubs, or checks that the bank has on micro. My bank photos all check transactions and keeps for years. It would seem that you would not need many months to get the total amount covered, even if you don't get the full credit.
The child is almost old enough to choose not to live with mom. A year or so wait might be worth the wait since she does know where you are, and how to contact you. An advertisment with her picture, a We Love You, and a call us collect with no other message might get the phone number to her in a very large way. Her classmates would even see that she got the message from recognising the picture.
The legal work and travel would be very high to fight in court with the result arriving on her 18th birthday, and of little use at that point.
Your main issue is the garnishment. He can be jailed for such a large amount. They can also take his passport if it is a US passport. The court order should never have money paid directly to the mom unless they warn you to keep the cancelled checks or tell you to use a seperate checking account and track the checks to the ex. Did the court order her to update the payments to the Support Enforcement folks as she recieved them? If you can prove payments then you have her for contempt of court, which could help if the court wants to help you out (not likely).

The longstanding issue of, does the child get the money only seems to be an issue for non custodial parents. As long and the mother has gotten a check for a lot of money for years, and now can get it all again by not telling the truth, she seems to welcome your money with open arms. There is no penalty in the family court systems for mothers until they get so bad that the judge gets very angry at her, and that is rare. All the penalties are for the fathers.

Politicians ignore the fact that there is no way to account for any money getting to the children, the amount he pays, or the amount the custodial parent is to pay. After all, they get the payment amount based on combined gross income, and both parents are ordered to pay a share. The custodial parent's share is never tracked, but the non's is enforced with jail time and garnishes.
I was told that as long as half of the people in a divorce are mothers, politicians are not going to commit political suicide by discussing the problems in this system.


Good luck. God Bless.

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#918 - 07/22/04 06:19 AM Re: An International Child Support Issue [Re: rayc1]
JaminBear Offline
recently joined

Registered: 07/21/04
Posts: 2
Almostheaven: First off, we did have records but when we moved they were lost. The banks in Canada that we dealt with state that they do not keep bank records that far back. Can't we supeona her bank records some how? I've heard of people doing that and I wasn't sure if we would be able to do that in our case.

As for custody, we know that is a losing battle with the child being 17 now. That would be the only way we could get her is if the mother physically threatened and hurt her seriously.

Yes we did move away, but we have sent notification of where we were and how to be contacted the entire time. Whether or not that information was received and available to the child is another story.

rayc1: The money was sent by check directly to the mother as stated in the divorce. Yes, the mother was supposed to report the money she received, but she didn't. I haven't had an issue with banks here tracking down records from years ago, but the banks in Canada are telling us that they don't. I think the only way for us to really find out is to go into the bank in Canada physically and find out. This is what they are telling us over the phone.

I know he can be jailed, that is why we are so urgent in trying to find out what the best course of action is to take at this point.

We sent more money than what was stated in the divorce due to the fact that at the time the child had medical issues to deal with and we felt the more we paid, maybe we would get a chance to see the child. If we kept the mom happy with money, she would let him see his daughter. But obviously that backfired on us and now here we are.

I would just like to get this straightened out before my husband does end up in jail.

Thanks for the well wishes and your help.

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