Oh . . . My Child Support payment woes!! | undereli's Blog
Good heavens! I just got to post this, to get it off my chest and out of my system.
I've been very concerned and depressed lately over child support payments I've been unable to make since being laid off at the end of June. I've kept in touch with the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program, and I've submitted all of the documents required at court to have the current court order changed. Since before I was laid off, however, it feels like I've been hounded to make the same payments I've provided since June, 2007. The amount of child support I provide per month is based upon the income I made at that time. The only months I haven't made my child support payments were December, 2008 and January, 2009, because I was unemployed during those months.
Until June of this year, I delivered all of my child support payments personally to my ex-wife. If I payment was going to be late, I would let her know. But I always ponied up, even if it meant making two child support payments in one month. I am absolutely willing to provide financial support for my daughter, and I maintain a good relationship with her.
Because my ex is blind, she receives disability support from the Provincial Government. It has been like that since I met her. When we were together, I faithfully filled out the report cards that Ministry requires, declaring all of my income. Apparently, in May of this year, that Ministry required that, to maintain her receiving her support payments, she had to turn over control of receiving child support to the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program.
And, you know, that's all fine and dandy with me. Except . . . even though I was laid off at the end of June, and have been sending out applications all over the place since then; and even though the FMEP knows that I'm currently unemployed and am currently earning barely half-as-much as when the original court order was put in place, they insist on receiving the same amount of child support, because that's what this court order asks for. No ifs, and, or buts allowed. Every time I call them, all they advise me is that they are required to enforce the current court order.
On July 2, two days after I was laid off, I went to court to apply to have the court order changed so that I was not required to pay as much child support. After much confusion about what steps I had to take to fulfill the court's requirements, I finally filed all of my paperwork on August 23. Since then, I've been waiting for the court to send me a letter, advising me of my day in court. I want to point out to my reader, too, that all the drama I've been having about these court-ordered child support payments has been with the Ministry of Social Assistance, with issues my ex-wife's monthly payments, the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program, charged with collecting child support from me now, rather than my giving it to my ex-wife myself, and the Ministry of Justice, who will start taking money directly off of my Employment Insurance payments, give it to the FMEP, who will funnel it to my ex. My ex-wife hasn't been hassling me at all. We were both doing just fine with my paying her child support directly, until the Ministry of Social Assistance and FMEP butted their noses into it.
I've been pretty stressed. Yesterday I went to my doctor to talk about this, and tell him about some suicidal thoughts I'd been having the past week. Suicidal feelings came up with me once before a few years ago, and he likes to monitor that. Well, today I got a letter from a law office representing the Ministry of Social Assistance, accusing me of not filing anything at court and asking me to call to discuss the matter if I wanted to take part in a court hearing on September 28. You bet I called!! I told them I had filed everything, and how stressed I'd been feeling lately. I almost broke down, right on the phone. The lawyer said that the court hadn't provided him with any of this information. Although he said he'd call the court to see if he could get a copy, a few hours later his receptionist phoned, asking if I could bring over a copy of the financial statement I submitted. Yes, of course I could, and they had their copy within the hour.
I'm not looking to blame anyone for this. I think the Provincial Government is right to go after fathers who won't pay child support. I wish the FMEP could be more lenient with me, considering I'm not working. What's also a bit comical is that I don't qualify to have a lawyer appear in court with me. This caused me stress, too, and disappointment. I would rather get all this done right the first time than fumble through it on my own. Oh, well! I did my own financial statement, and I will represent myself in court. I can do it. I'd just rather not risk any mistakes being made. The last two months have been a pretty big headache for me. Hopefully, relief is on the horizon.
My mood: somewhat overwhelmed
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