Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Fathers, Sweden & Child Support

I read this story a couple of days ago and it touched me so much I decided to share it with you.

I find it interesting that I have been divorced from my first husband for almost 17 years now, and during that time I did everything I could to get him to pay child support for my oldest son. But Washington never could find him, not even after I gave them his parents' address. My son has never met his dad and he never got child support. Needless to say, times were hard. Extremely. But I pushed on. Now, here I am in another country. Things aren't perfect, but they are a hell of a lot better than they were. We have medical. Never had it, couldn't afford it. We have a decent apartment. I won't go there. Generally, things are ok....Not perfect. But ok.

My Swedish MIL pushed us to fill out paper work, because somehow she believed that Sweden would go after my ex. How? How when I am not Swede, my son is not Swede, and my ex is not even human. Ok, uncalled for. But you get the idea. Well, guess what, we filled out the paperwork....Not only did they find him (why couldn't Washington or Georgia??!!), but they are going after him for child support and back-payment of child support.

Once again I ask, why couldn't Georgia and Washington????

I miss my home, but because they didn't pursue it, we struggled in ways that I care never to go through again. We are in no way considered rich by Swedish standards...We don't own a car, we don't get to travel for vacations, we don't have the latest model of anything. I live in a rented apartment that isn't big enough to cuss a cat in, yet we are living better than we did back in the States. It is my ho
me and I miss it, but why could they not bother to go after him? There were times I couldn't afford shoes for my son, or pay for field trips. I worked two graveyard shifts at two different gas stations to pay bills, and put clothes on him. That child support could have helped us in such a big way.

I'm a bit angry and bitter. I have that right too because there were times I almost couldn't feed him and pay the bills. Then a country that owes us nothing is stepping up to bat to try and get the child support that was owed? What’s wrong with this picture?

When the guy called, he was all apologetic because they are going to try and get the full amount, but because it has been a long time (17 years), he doesn't know if they can get it all.
He told us that my ex has the right to contest it, but because there is an agreement between Sweden and the US he can't escape it.

I spent several years letting the anger and resentment towards my ex overwhelm me. Then I got too busy supporting my son and his father faded away from my thoughts. Then when my son was 10 he told me that he had a father only in name, "because if he really cared for me then he would be here. He would want to see me." He never met his father, only talked to him on the phone occasionally, only when he wanted to borrow money from me. He hasn't given him much thought since. Neither have I. The anger, bitterness, resentment, and hatred was nothing because he was nothing. But just hearing it, brought it all back to me. All the hard times, the tears, the sick feeling of dread when my son would come to me for something he wanted, or needed.

No man or woman has the right to brush away their responsibility for the child they helped to create. They shouldn't be allowed to hide. They should be held responsible....its just a shame another country is making mine step up to the plate.

I can find fault with Sweden....and usually on one of my truly homesick days, I rant to my husband about all the faults of Sweden. But when it comes down to it, I do have to say, Sweden has done by good by the children. I'm going to go and watch a movie, think about all of this and most likely just shake my head. I can't understand it, but am grateful all the same. I had to vent because...well, because I had to and because I don't understand why it is taking another country to catch up with this dead beat "dad".

I still miss Washington, and it will always be home. But at this point and time, Sweden is a much better place for me and my family. I guess there, my husband was right....just don't tell him that….

The best thing is I have is my son. I got to watch him grow. We have had some issues of late, but I can still see the baby, the toddler, the boy, that he was, and I can see the hint of the man that he will be.

"The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them.”-- Confucius

Reproduced and edited with permission from the author. Click on the picture for some great father quotes.


  1. Very Nicely written....and I love your blog=O)


  2. can't take credit for the words - just a little fine-tuning :D

    and thanks!