Prego and the Loon

The Catch 22

In Family Law on March 21, 2013 at 6:11 am


Imagine everyday having to relive the same nightmare… racing thoughts fill my head daily as I pass by various landmarks where I shared a random moment with my Ex. Over there on the right was our first date, in that little shopping center was his place of business, one of our favorite restaurants is tucked away over there, the house we once owned, the jail he spent time in, and the courthouse we spent many grueling hours in. Every inch of this city holds a memory. Some good, some bad, and some still to be decided. Everyday I am reminded…

Now for the catch 22… I often think about moving for my sanity, safety, security, and support. The facts regarding the situation: My little one is currently tied to the county. I have a restraining order against my Ex-husband. He is currently MIA (missing in action), and not paying child support. I don’t feel that I will be granted a move away order unless I have a job lined up in another area, but I’m afraid to look for a job because if I find one I don’t have the legal documentation to leave the county with my little one. Furthermore… How do I find, and serve a missing person?

This scenario constantly plays out in my head, and every time I am disappointed with the results. I feel like I am still being abused because I am caught in this crazy catch 22 and unable to escape. If you have any informative knowledge regarding this situation PLEASE help!!!

  1. have you spoken to a legal representative ?

  2. Legal counsel is a good idea since you’d probably have to divulge too much specific, private information to someone here in order to get anything close to usable advice. I have family members who’ve had situations with restraining orders and the like, but resident state plays a big part, as well as previous legal proceedings, etc. My heart goes out to you and your child and my prayers are with you. Can you get a conditional move away order on the condition you find work within a certain amount of time? I would find out the specifics, any loopholes, etc. which is why legal help is one of your best options at this time. My best to you dear.

  3. I don’t know how it works there but you can get free legal advice in Australa. I hope someone has great advice for you. I wish I could help! It’s good that you have the energy to reach out and think about moving. What is in your head is more important than your physical crcumstances.

  4. My heart hurts for you…I live in the same small town as my abusive ex and have the same issue with every corner holding a memory…I can’t advise you, but want you to know that there’s others out here who know how you feel

  5. I totally understand about all the landmark reminders but I do not understand why you feel the need to be held to someone who is not there. Fly away.

    • It’s a legal issue…if she leaves the county without the blessing of the father or courts, then it could be a kidnapping charge.

  6. You need legal counsel. Your ex is continuing the abuse by keeping your hands tied. I will keep you in my thoughts.

  7. It varies a lot by state. Check for a domestic abuse coalition or hotline where you can connect with informed legal counsel sometimes free, and perhaps supportive advocates who know how to navigate the system in your county or others.

  8. Also, lousy but for consideration, I have heard two women in support groups (AZ, in US) say that they fearfully obeyed the mandated custody arrangements with abuser then had their kids removed by CPS because they were injured by the abuser and mom didn’t show due diligence to protect them. Although custody/visitation isnt your issue, I wonder if similar thinking applies to remaining in the county if ex is a threat to your child also, and it would lend any legal clout to your desire to move.

  9. I agree with everyone here on the point of seeking legal counsel. I think based on the extreme circumstances – they should allow you to move. If you find out the ins and outs please share with everyone. I have so many questions myself ! Hopefully a resolution can be found. I, too, know about the haunting.

  10. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Just do the next right thing, over and over again. A change in location is not as important as taking care of yourself and your little one and letting your heart heal. 🙂

  11. I’ll reiterate the need for legal advice from a professional…but I do have a sense that you cannot indefinitely be a captive to your county if he remains in a state of MIA indefinitely.

  12. The print court form is so neat and concise looking, designed for the gathering of information. It is unfortunate, resolutions to family distress are do not fit into neat and concise settlements without emotional pains. Sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly certainly provides some relief– ever with the tears.

  13. In the area where I live there is something called Legal Aid which helps pair people with attorney’s who will represent them at little to no charge. Attorney’s have to agree to participate, and many are willing to take at least one free case a year (I worked for an attorney who participated, she is an awesome person). I know we would get calls from people who couldn’t afford to hire an attorney, so we would refer them to legal aid. If cost is an issue with seeking legal counsel, try calling up some local attorneys, explain your situation, and see if they can refer you to a similar service.

    Good luck, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  14. I’m so sorry, my heart goes out to you and your little one. You should speak to your legal representative I’m sure he or she would have better advice for you and I’ll pray for you over here. Stay strong!

  15. Find the local support group or seek counseling, for your legal issues, please refer to the comments above, seek professional help. That is the best advice, we are all but just strangers online. You need to do it in person.

  16. I have been in your situation. I strongly recommend legal counsel. You need to keep your “hands clean” as they say in legal circles. I haven’t seen child support in 5+ years. I wish you much luck. Take care

  17. […] Catch 22 – ( […]

  18. I am no lawyer and don’t live in the US. However, since your ex is MIA, youprobably can get a recognition of his lack of presence by the court. Then you can ask a lawyer how long it would take for you to be granted the possibility to leave after you have legally declared that he has abandoned his child. All you have to do then is wait and pray that your ex does not show up again suddenly.
    About all the places that remind you of your relationship. I go through this, not with one relationship but with two. I have a new found way. I claimed my memories to be my own, I do not see them as something that belonged to “us” because “us” should never have existed. I see them as belonging to “me” only. It helps. At least with songs, movies… Time helps too. Hang in there.

  19. As for moving and finding a job elsewhere, I am sure that this could be achieved. (at least in England). If the father is MIA, then he could not contest a change of location for his child, and you could give assurances not to be secretive with your location. In the UK, we have free Legal Aid, and Family Law Advice Centres. Not sure how it works over there, but surely there must be something similar? Maybe a law firm who will do the work ‘pro-bono’ for experience. Publicise in the local media. Get on TV in your area,try to get your plight reported in the local newspapers. Someone will take up your case eventually, if only for the cynical aspect, free advertising! I wish you well. Regards, Pete, England.

  20. Look into local legal aid

  21. Hey there,
    Reading through all the comments and it all seems like the same advice. My thoughts are more on the line of breathing. Take time for yourself. Realize you are beautiful person worthy of being loved. There is definitely a core group of folks here that care deeply all over the world. May God bless you and keep you. Alesia

  22. i would hope the plethora of information, previously, gives you an idea or two. there could be a thread or two of ‘commonality’ through-out, which, when identified, you should consider following. good luck and i hope you get around whatever corner it seems you need to, soon.

  23. If you have legal custody and a protective order, and he is missing and not exercising any visitation, you have the right to move across state lines. I’m assuming you are in the U.S. Child support enforcement is universally recognized, and you can and should register your custody/child support order in your new state of residence. As long as you make an attempt to serve him at his last known address, that counts. You can also sometimes serve someone who is missing by “advertisement”- for divorces, this consists of taking out an ad in the local paper for a period of time. For other things, it means posting on a board outside of the courthouse where you obtain the order. That counts, legally. If you move into a new state, their division of child support enforcement can and will take over the case from your former state, and they will enforce it. There are also federal laws that apply, depending on how large his arrears have become, that govern child support no matter where you live. If he has a passport and is out of the country, it can be revoked and he’d be forced to come back to the U.S. If he has a driver’s or professional license, that can and will be suspended, etc. It’s all a big hassle, but these are the processes and options available to you. You have a right to move.

  24. You need a “move away order” and one of the things that will convince a judge to grant it is a job waiting for you. Moving to be near family or for education are other valid reasons. I went through this myself.

    Since you have an order of protection, and he has absconded, you will have a very easy time getting your move approved. But I would still line up a job in your new place for extra ammunition.

    The way that you serve someone who’s MIA is you place an ad in the paper of the city of the person’s last known address. You have to give them 30 days notice of the hearing. If they don’t show up, the trial goes forth with the person considered “in absentia” and that by not appearing, they are voluntarily forfeiting their right to speak in court.

    You must get legal counsel to help you make a plan and who will prepare your legal filings. You don’t want to get it wrong and have him challenge the ruling later. You desperately need a lawyer for this.

    Also, check with your county’s department of child support enforcement. They can usually find people via SSN if they’re working, and they will garnish his wages for you. You don’t have to talk to him or anything. It’s very easy to do, and it’s a free service.

    • Just Jane… Thanks so much for your insightful response. I spoke a little bit with a lawyer, and I have been receiving similar feedback. The main part I am still unclear about is how does one obtain a job in another city, and be able to move at the drop of a hat without a move away order in hand? Obviously I need to seek further information regarding the situation, lol! In addition thanks for touching on child support. I am currently signed up with them, but unfortunately he is MIA and possibly working under the table. Maybe we should think about creating a new law: If any such parent is MIA for a certain length of time all parental rights are revoked, and the head of household (myself) may move to their destination of choice. Anyhoo… Thanks again, I greatly appreciate your input and support!!

      • Re: job. Whenever I respond to a job notice or referral, I am usually asked the date that I’m available to start. If you’re relocating, you can say 30 days or something like that if they know you’re moving to be there. I’ve never had a job where I got hired and started the next day. There’s usually a transition period.

  25. My prayers are with you! I was once married to an abusive man. Stay strong, find all the legal and necessary support you can find. People will be there to help you. And trust your heart! Namaste!

  26. No advice, really, but lots of support. It is so difficult to figure out the legal obligations in these situations and lawyers can be really expensive. In some areas, organizations that help abused women can be helpful in securing free/low-cost legal representation. Good luck.

  27. Whether or not you move, you are still giving a totally undeserving individual power over you by allowing yourself to be disturbed by the memories or the surroundings in which the drama was played out. You need to grab back your self-esteem, hang on to the good recollections – which created the miracle which is your child – and dismiss the rest. Then aim for your dreams. If those involve a new scene, simply progress towards that, without haste but with determination. However, if he didn’t exist and you would then be happy where you are, then how DARE he ruin it for you? Don’t let him. Look at the worst scenario – his return and making trouble – and plan for it. There is always a solution. Find it, and the fear goes away.

  28. The truth is that the best way to locate a missing person is to to most of the work yourself. , Always be on alert. Never assume that you won’t happen to spot him in ordinary places, such as an elevator, a parking lot, a grocery store, etc. Most people who find the missing do so because they are always focused on looking for the person at all times. It sounds too easy, I . But I have had tremendous success in locating missing people. And I attribute my success to always looking for them. I don’t mean that all of yo ur energy has to be focused on the single project — but I do know that your best chances of locating him is to be aware of your surroundings and look for him everywhere you happen to be.He won’t be looking for you, because he is not thinking along the same lines. As for child support, take advantage your county child support agency. I don’t recommend hiring a lawyer who will want a percentage of the child support that rightfully belongs to you and your kids. You will need to open a case with the county child support office. You can’t just open up a case and expect for them to do all of the work. You will need to be the dog who barks the loudest if you expect to get fed first.Don’t allow your case worker to make you feel like an idiot for constantly calling her and following up. She won’t like it, but she will work harder on your case.I know. I am telling you these things out of my own personal experiences. Don’t assume that any government agency is going to do the leg work for you.Bu after you do the leg work, I would bet you that they will take credit for the work that you have done.

    Below is a link that is to good book that tells you how to collect child support. I was once friends with the author,but we eventually lost touch.

  29. I have been there too. It is a horrible situation. My oldest two children have suffered many injustices because of their father. It is a difficult situation to be in and many people do not understand how a person can stay in that situation for as long as they do. Fear and denial are powerful emotions. They can stop you from making the right decision. It took me several years to be brave enough. My oldest is 19 and my youngest with him is 17. We are still dealing with some issues. They don’t live with me anymore, but I still feel the effects. Until my youngest with him is 21, he can drag me to court. He also owes me a lot in back child support which I will most likely never see.

  30. I am so sorry that you have to go through this.

  31. My heart goes out to you and I can only imagine how tough this must be. It seems so wrong that this man can still hove so much control over you after he’s already caused you so much pain. I will be praying for you.
    I recently noticed that your are following my blog I appreciate you visiting my blog and wanted you to know that I have started a new blog, and I would love for you to visit me there as well. Have a great weekend!

  32. Hi,
    After reading all your positive & helpful comments, I hope you are finding the help you need to move forward with your life.
    God Bless.

  33. I have no help for your situation EXCEPT, when people couldn’t be found to be served, there was an option to publish service. Usually in a legal newspaper/magazine or local newspaper. You have to try to serve him regularly, and then when you can’t affect service you apply for service by publication. It costs money to serve him by publication (have to pay for the notice in the periodical). However, it then counted as valid service and there are legal ramifications on his end for not answering service. (In NV that means a bench warrant.)

  34. I don’t know if someone has suggested this already, but I do know that in some areas if you are trying to serve someone who is MIA, you need to put something in the newspaper stating that you are looking for them. I forget how long it needs to run, but if there is no response, then you automatically get the terms you are seeking.

  35. Also, if he doesn’t turn up via a registry’s social search, then consider hiring a well-respected PI, who can locate him not only for service of process, but also to know where he is so you don’t move there unaware. Also, ask your lawyer how to make your restraining order active in your new jurisdiction without tipping off your location. Also, ask counsel about all of the legal things you can do to protect your location information. Understand which future filings in courts can show up in public records searches. Perhaps some creative means for a local agent for service in your former place of residence could help. Also, if you remarry, see if it is possible to have your maiden name redacted from the public record on the strength of your restraining order.

  36. Also have your counsel look into stalking statutes, the implication of his moving interstate to avoid obligations or to stalk, to see if other remedies may exist to change his conduct.

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