I haven’t been able to hold my two beautiful children for 4 months, ever since I left New Hampshire for Canada.
This all started when I left my husband and our “marital home” in 2009 because of years of emotional abuse. We agreed (verbally) that we would have a 50/50 schedule with no child support.
He developed additional emotional needs and had a couple episodes of what a therapist would call a “cry for help.” I asked if he wanted to keep the kids an additional weekend to help him cope and to allow me to get their bedrooms ready. He thanked me for that time. This went on for two weeks. During this time I lost my job as a full time photojournalist because the paper I worked for went bankrupt and closed without warning. I was very busy helping to create a new newspaper and a new job for myself, so I was happy to oblige him.
He used all of that against me in court, AND convinced a marital master that I was a neglectful mother with everything but the kids in mind. I qualified for pro-bono representation, but was never appointed an attorney. Just my bad luck, I suppose.
We went back to court in 2011 and our parenting schedule was changed to a NEAR 50/50 schedule. I had them approximately 43% of the time. When he needed childcare his girlfriend or his mother watched the kids. When I needed childcare I had to hire a sitter or a daycare. Our living expenses to support the kids were nearly the same. He made 4x the money I did, and yet I was ordered to pay HIM support. This put me in the position of having to leave my job because I didn’t earn enough for childcare and living expenses. I went through multiple jobs over the next couple years, always facing the same problem, and getting further and further into arrears in the meantime.
Finally the bank had had enough, and my house was going into foreclosure. My car was also repossessed. To make matters worse, their father planned to move into his parents house to help out with his parents who have health problems, and that would mean I wouldn’t live within walking distance of the kids, even if I remained in that city.
So when my significant other accepted a job in Ontario, he found a house big enough for the kids and me and asked us to come with him. I immediately filed a parenting plan modification and a child support modification. A hearing is scheduled for March, 2015.
In the meantime, I’m in a foreign country and am bound by their rules. I can’t work without a work permit, and I can’t get a work permit until I meet certain criteria. I informed the judge and the state that this would all take place in December, and instead of showing leniency the family court judge issued a capias in the amount of $1000.
This capias is actively preventing me from employment, from immigrating, and from returning to NH to see my kids. I’ve never been away from them this long in my life. In fact, I was a stay at home mom for FOUR YEARS, but because he has legal representation and I don’t, he wins. End of story.
I have another case coming up in January. The State will be asking me again why I’m not sending money… I don’t know what to do, or who to turn to. Legal Aid has turned me away because my living situation has changed. I don’t have money, but I don’t qualify for any programs because I don’t have the kids 50% of the time because I live in Canada now. I cry every day. My heart is breaking without my children, and my ex is telling them that they aren’t allowed to see me again until they’re 19. (Arbitrary age, I know.) I’m at the end of my rope.