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Local Tax Dollars Being Wasted

In 1984 I filed for child support in Knox County Juvenile Court. My daughter's father had refused to sign her birth certificate in an attempt to avoid paying child support for 18 years.

On the first court date, the father requested a paternity test to stall for time. We had to wait another 6 months until the child was old enough to have the test done. I was required by the court to pay $250.00 for the test. The day arrived. The father did not show for court. The judge reset the case. A second time, the father did not show. He wasn't required to show until the third court date.

Once paternity was established, the judge set child support at $25 per week which, over a span of several years, was not paid. We had to go to court every 6 months, and the judge always slapped the father's hand and told him to do better by the next court date.

Each court date, the father did not appear until the case had been reset twice. This meant that I had to miss time from work and pay an all-day parking bill which I really could not afford. The judge always called my case last which caused me to sit in a court room all morning, breaking for lunch, and sit again all afternoon year after year.

For a period of time, the father was gainfully employed and paid child support on a fairly regular basis for almost a year. He supposedly lost his job from that company yet became employed there again after a short span of time. The company withdrew child support from his paycheck on a weekly basis but didn't pay the money into the court. I pointed this out to the judge during a court hearing and was told by the judge that it was none of my business and if I said something like that again he would hold me in contempt.

A number of years ago I wrote Governor Bredesen a letter asking for his help to resolve this case. Our governor simply forwarded the letter to the DHS Commissioner who sent my letter back to the Knox County Juvenile Court and told them to handle it. I then received a letter from that office simply stating that they were sorry I felt like they hadn't done enough for me.

I tried unsuccessfully numerous times to drop the case but was told that because I had received food stamps and Tenn Care benefits when my daughter was a child I had to appear in court every time until the arrearage was cleared up by the father -- somewhere around $20,000.

Twenty seven years have passed, and I am still being forced to go to court over money which no one will ever see.

Medical records from the VA Hospital in Mountain Home, TN show that the father is completely disabled and in very poor health. He will never be able to work again, and the child support will never be paid. The hospital sent documents to the court; however, the court claims they never received them. The court is aware of the medical issues yet I am still required to go to court whenever they notify me. I asked them what would happen if I didn't show for court and was told that officers would come to my home, put me in handcuffs, and take me to jail.

My daughter is now 27 years old and married to a man in the Air Force, both living out of the country, and they are making many sacrifices so that we can live in a country that persecutes the innocent and nods at the guilty.

I am an angry mom who is tired of suffering at the hands of a lame and bigoted judicial system.

Today, I received an automated phone call from Knox County Juvenile Court telling me I had to appear in court once again next week and would face severe consequences if I did not appear.

This is harassment. They have issued a lifetime sentence for me at the expense of the taxpayers and at my own expense.

Where are our legislators and those who can make a difference in situations like this? I've lost hope that anyone will ever come to my defense.

Publisher, Knoxville Daily Sun

Published August 9, 2011

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The opinions expressed on this page are the personal opinions of the writer and not necessarily the opinions of the Knoxville Daily Sun.


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