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Hi! I am new to the boards and have been reading off and on here for a short bit. I was served today with a court summons concerning child support and I am really not certain how to handle this. Yes, I know, get an attorney… but I was hoping maybe someone had a similar experience and how they worked through it.

A bit of history…

I was with my wife for 10 years up and until December of 2005 when she had an affair and almost immediately decided to move out of our home and into her own place with her affair partner. We have two boys now 9 and 11 at the time, one of which I adopted.

We were struggling financially at the time and I was self employed. Six months later we were divorced, I had lost the house, most of my possessions and my income has dropped significantly since this all began.

During those six months and up until early August of 2006 my Ex constantly harassed me on the telephone, followed me around and tracked down where I was (stalked me), constantly confronting me on my whereabouts and who I was with, constantly threatening me with what she would do If I did not follower her wishes.

What was I doing? I stopped sitting at home sobbing over everything, started going out with family and friends both male and female, made an extra effort to be a better parent and on occasion I would have a few drinks.

The first weekend in August of 2006 I had my boys for the weekend. I asked her to please, for once, leave me and the boys alone instead of constantly calling. She had phoned my home and my cell some 45 times over two days. I should of filed charges against her but I did not wish to do her any harm, even though she has caused enough in my life.

The next night I went out with a female friend and had several drinks, more than I should have. The Ex decided to ring my cell until I answered and demanded to know my whereabouts and who I was with. I ended up giving her a piece of my mind and probably used a few more curse words than I should have.

The next day I wake up and begin my work.. I get a call from the sheriff department wanting to question me on charges filed against me. I went to their office, was questioned and when I realized I was going to be arrested I shut up. The charges were Telephone Harassment, Aggravated Menacing and Unauthorized use of a computer. She claimed that I called her, threatened her and her fiancé (affair partner) with bodily harm and that I had broken into her computer and deleted files.

There was no evidence that I had even called her home anytime, no phone bills, no proof of anything except for a few nasty emails that I had sent her in the past asking her to leave me the f alone. During the case the judge ordered that I turn in all computer equipment and forbid me from being online. I was also ordered mental health and drug and alcohol assessments, which I made it through just fine (I do not have a problem with either; I was accused of being an alcoholic and being suicidal and a danger).

The problem with all of this is my business is entirely based around me using computers and the Internet. I am a web developer and run/manage several sites for clients. During those two months without the equipment, data and the legal ability to work cost me most of my clients and my income. Grand total expense including lost wages and legal defense is about $8000 in total, including losing my apartment.  I had to move into my parent's home since I had no income and no money.

The charges were bogus with the exception of me cussing her out that evening and sending her a nasty email or two asking her to stop harassing me, not so politely. Yes, my own fault. But still. The computer charge was a felony and the courts used that to get me to plea bargain / claim no contest to harassment charges. It would of cost me 1000's more which I did not have (nor the ability to earn it) to just defend the felony case, regardless of guilt or innocence.

I also have a Daughter from a previous marriage which there is an existing child support order on.

Before the court case even began I was already in arrearages with Child Support because they backed up my starting date to a few months before our divorce. After the case was complete I was jobless and several more months behind on my child support. I knew the CSEA would be of no assistance but went to them anyway, hoping they would be of assistance considering what the Ex has done left me financially devastated. The told me nothing can be done until after 36 months have past since the order started.

For the next year or so I worked for a small internet startup which looked very promising in the beginning but ultimately close its doors in December of 2007. My pay was very erratic; it was either monthly or every other month. Child support harassed me that entire year even though when I did get paid I would pay a great deal of that money to child support, paying several months at a time. I also went back to child support several times that year asking to have my obligation reevaluated; they refused because of 36 month law.

2008 has turned out to be the worst year ever, I'm sure it's the same for everyone.  I still work at home, living at my parents. I cannot afford a place on my own. I have been trying all year to find a REAL job and I am being turned down left and right. My last attempt was a multi month interview process which ended up with a trip to San Francisco for the final interview, which I did not get that job either.

I am living off of contract work and other work I can get. My current child support obligation is about 10k per year, my current income is about 18k per year. When the child support order was set, I was making over 45k a year.

Again, I have went to child support several times this year asking for assistance, and over and over I am told its not been 36 months and there is nothing they can do.

I am doing what I can to make my payments. Whenever I do get money I set it aside and take a lump sum down to their office when I can. There have been a few times when it has taken me 5-6 weeks to get enough to make a payment.

Now, my daughter. She turned 18 in march. She lives over 3 hours away with her mother. Child support sent me a letter indicating she was living with her mother and is still in school so my support would not end until March of next year.  Fine, if she is still in school and living with her mother, I have no problem paying her mother child support (like I have a choice).

Over a few months period she literally moved in and out of her mother's home few times, to her grandmothers, to her mothers, then back to grandma.. Whatever suited her at the time. A few months back her mother kicked her out of her home because she was running around all hours of the night. She moved into her boyfriend's home and has been there since.

As of now, I am 1000 behind on my Daughter and 2000 behind on my two boys. The past two months I have had extra and I have paid 1800 in support, its not like I am not trying my hardest. I let my cell phone get shut off and decided to let my insurance and tags laps on my car (it broke about same time) so I could have extra to pay on support.

So.. I waited a month to see what my daughter was going to do, if she would move back into her mothers home or not. She is still living with the boyfriend so I contacted Child Support and requested they investigate the situation and emancipate her.

At first they told me that if she is attending school and her mother is offering financial support that the order would continue until she turns 19. Then they said if she was in school that support would continue until she is 19, regardless of where she is living, if she is planning on getting married. Then, they do not even know my Ex's proper address or even what school my daughter is in to find out if she is even in school.

Today, I receive a summons to court FOR MY 18 year old daughter's child support case. They want a lump sum judgment for $1000, they claim that I am willfully failing and refusing to obey court orders. They wish to find me in contempt and fine me up to $500 and 60 days in jail, in addition they wish to place a must seek job order.

For starters, I HAVE a job. I just do not make enough to continue to pay the amount of support they require of me. I have been trying to find a real job making a better income, its just not out there now.

I also find it peculiar that immediately following my request to investigate my daughters situation that I am being taking to court for my daughter by the CSEA.

Also, during the time I was requesting information regarding my daughter, I also asked again about having my obligation re-evaluated. Last week, after two years of requesting assistance they finally send me paperwork I need to request a hearing, when all the times in the past I was told that there was nothing they can do to assist me.

As it stands now. I do not have any transportation. I live at my parents, and I am doing the best that I can to pay my support and as frequently and as much as I possibly can.  I just do not know what to do anymore. I'm hoping that perhaps someone with some legal knowledge could offer some advice.

It is to the point that it is affecting my health. This year alone I have stressed so much over money, my support and getting my life back on track. My BP and sugar is totally out of control, not to mention I could probably use a heavy dosing of AD's (but they are to expensive).

I apologize for such a long post.


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