Most people think that being married gives you more legal rights than being unmarried. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Imagine being married and realizing one day, that you just are not in love. You end your marriage very amicably, without drama, and you aren't hateful, so you don't 'rush' into a divorce that will ensure 'financial devastation.' Then you meet someone else and it's love at first sight. You have a child. Two years later, that relationship ends in hate, bitterness and financial devastation. Then try to get child support from the 'biological father.' You won't. The state of Florida will attempt to hang the responsibility of support on your innocent spouse.
My name is Vanessa Blais. I live in Port Richey, Florida. For nine years I was married to a good man who never did anything to hurt anyone. Although he is a great guy, he just was not the right guy for me. The Child Support Enforcement people however, have decided that should be held responsible for the children I had with another man after the husband and I separated.
An arhcaic law on Florida's books, that dates back to the 1800's, states that if a woman is married when she gives birth to a child, the husband is the 'legal father' regardless of whether they are separated or even living in separate homes. There is absolutely no provision set in place within the Child Support Enforcement guidelines for dealing with a situation such as this.
"Child Support Enforcement refused to even acknowledge the existence of the man who is in fact the biological father of the children. They wasted over a year 'waiting' on me to get a divorce that they advised me to get without serving either of the men in question. Three separate free consultations with private attorney's advised me that the quickest course of action would be to serve both men at the same time, however, Child Support Enforcement summarily dismissed that option with a flippant 'We don't do that' response.
Since Novermber of 2007, I have been trying to get my children's biological father served with papers for paternity and child support. To add insult to injury, he is in the Florida U.S. Army National Guard Reserves. The military is supposed to be the one place that "Deadbeat Dad's" can't hide, right? Wrong.
After a year and a half of getting the 'divorce' per the 'legal advice' I was given by my local Child Support Enforcement Office in Port Richey, Florida, and getting the 'correct' wording in it too, the time has come to serve the Deadbeat Dad. According to Child Support Enforcement's Customer Service line, they contacted his "Sargeant" on May 4,2009 for an address for service.
As of May 19,2009, the "Sargeant" had not returned their phone call. However, on May 14, 2009, the Deadbeat Dad himself called Child Support Enforcement to inform them that he would be going to Iraq the next week. It seems he cannot be served while he is overseas.
On May 20, 2009, the update I got from the Florida Department of Revenue, who oversees Child Support Enforcement, states that he may not in fact be leaving for Iraq for yet another week, giving us time to serve him, and has finally produced an address too.
On May 19, I started calling the DOR when CSE informed me that they 'tried' to serve him but could not get 'confirmation' from the post office that he lives at the address provided to them and the "Sargeant" had not called back to confirm his address either. When I called DOR, I was furious. He has a driver's license, serve him at whatever address is on it. If he claims he never 'got the summons' that's too bad, just as it is with anyone else who gets a summons to appear in court.
This has finally resulted in some action, and I should get another update tomorrow. Meanwhile, I will now explore the "Miliatary Protecting Deadbeat Dads" problem that I have seen during this circus of a simple child support case.