Sunday, May 31, 2009

An Open Letter To Florida Child Support Enforcement, The DOR, and the Attorney

To Whom It May Concern,

The ineptitude and blatant disregard for legal protection for my children in my Child Support Enforcement Case has gone on for 18 months now, and I am issuing this letter to make clear that I have thoroughly researched what would be proper procedure for a private attorney to take to finally bring closure to this debacle that CSE, the DOR, and attorney, David Earl have made of my child support case. This letter will serve as notice that my rights have already been violated by the CSE, the DOR, and attorney David Earl for over a year and a half, and that at this point, no further grace shall be permitted on my behalf. Child Support Enforcement first caused me great harm by dispensing legal advice to me when adivising me to get a divorce from my first husband, the man the state considers my children's 'legal father.' This caused an eight month delay in having the state take any action against the children's 'natural father' at which point, another 6-8 month delay was caused because CSE was not satisfied with the 'wording.'

Through several free consultations with several attorneys, I discovered that the simplest solution to my problem was to just serve both men at the same time. I was 'dismissed' when I mentioned this to the caseworker at Child Support Enforcement and simply told 'we don't do that.' When I questioned the caseworker as to why they had not served my husband in the first 8 months while we were getting our divorce, she told me that if they heard I might be getting a divorce, then they wouldn't do anything, they would just wait and see what happens. Finally, I asked her why they had not advised me of the exact wording they wanted in my divorce papers instead of just telling me to get divorced. She clearly stated that they do not give legal advice. I'm still unclear as to exactly what she thought she was doing the day she told me to get a divorce.

I have had to make numerous phone calls to CSE and finally to the Florida Department of Revenue to track down someone who would answer for this fiasco and I was eventually contacted by Karen. On my last call to CSE on May 19, 2009, I was informed that they had 'attempted' to call the Sargeant of my children's Army enlisted father, on May 4, 2009 to locate his whereabouts to serve him. I had provided CSE with this man's actual address at his mother's house, yet they claimed they could not get the post office to verify that he lived there.

Oddly, though this 'Sargeant' never returned phone calls to the CSE, on May 14,2009, the children's father himself had called CSE directly and stated that he would be leaving for Iraq the following week. The update I received was: "Your case has been sent back to the attorney for review."

It was at this point, on May 19, 2009 that I started calling the DOR demanding to know who was responsible for contracting this attorney who chose to use every means possible to avoid filing suit for the past 18 months and demanding that the caseworker who advised me to get divorced be reprimanded for giving me the 'legal advice' to get a divorce whilst that advice was insufficient and innaccurate and did in fact, prolong the case even further.

On May 20, 2009, when Karen returned my phone call, she advised that the attorney had filed the papers with the courts and had finally gotten an address for the base at which to serve my children's father. On Friday, May 22, 2009, he was served. Karen called to notify me, and though I already know that proper legal procedure is to wait out his 20 day response time and then file a motion for a hearing based on his response, when I pressed her to divulge to me what this 'attorneys' next step would be, she was vague in telling me that we will just have to see what happens.

Since I expect him to invoke the SCRA, I am DEMANDING that a hearing be set to counter the invocation of the SCRA. I have done the research already, and I am aware that the SCRA does state that the courts do not have to grant a stay if the proceedings do not require the presence of the respondent. I expect that the attorney will finally act as an 'attorney' and use all legal avenues necessary to expedite this matter.

CSE had no right to dispense legal advice advising me to get divorced which is the starting point of this case having dragged on for a year and a half. The 'procedure' set forth for dealing with a case such as man where I was married to, but separated from, a man who is not the children's biological father seems non-existent, however, it is not part of their 'procedure' to serve both men at once in order to expedite a child support case in a timely fashion, therefore, CSE will simply dispense innaccurate and insufficient legal advice advising women in this situation to get a divorce, only to tell them once it's final that the wording is insufficient for their attorney and telling them to now go and pay more money to a lawyer to get it changed.

The most disturbing aspect of this case is that when I pushed Karen to explain to me why both men were not served at the same time, she informed me that they would need the 'cooperation' of the other legal parent. First of all, this is untrue, but more importantly, had ANYONE at CSE, the DOR, or attorney David Earl bothered to COMMUNICATE with ME, they would have known that my now ex-husband would have easily agreed to this. But CSE is an agency of bureaucrats who have no interest in trying to 'resolve' cases that have problems by working WITH the custodial parents. CSE and the DOR serve as a buffer between the client and the attorney so that the attorney does not have to answer for his or her substandard legal practice in obtaining child support.

My children's father is in the military. This makes him one of the easiest fathers to find and to collect child support from, yet this CSE agency and Attorney David Earl have managed to let him slip through the system for over a year because of their incompetence, their lack of communication with me, and what seems to be sheer laziness on both their parts.

This letter will serve as a demand for communication from now on,with CSE, DOR and the attorney handling the case. I will not tolerate any further lack of communication on this case nor will I tolerate any more subpar legal representation. If Attorney David Earl does not begin to treat this case with the necessary litigation procedures that would be carried out by any private attorney, I will have no choice but to pursue legal action against the CSE for giving me legal advice, file a complaint to the Florida Bar in regards to David Earl's representation.

I am willing to assist in any way I can to bring closure to this case. I have researched the SCRA and many cases and their outcomes when it has been invoked by Service Members. I know for a fact that when the respondents 20 days are up, we need to file a motion based on what those responses are. If he does indeed invoke the SCRA, we can make a case asking the judge not to order the stay based on several factors, the main one being that he does not need to be present for the proceedings because the military already has his dna on file and we can just subpeona it from the JAG office. I expect that from here on out, strategy will be not only used in my case, but will also be discussed with me in advance.


Vanessa Blais

1 comment:

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