Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Do you know any reporters?

If you read my blog you know all the drama that happens w/ Jonathan and I. Well I am sick of sitting back and doing nothing. I know other parents are in similar positions as me. So I have written this letter that I will try mailing to different news stations. If any of you know a reporter (TV or Print) and can send this to them please do. Or if you know anyone who could add to this story w/ their own to help bulk up the case for doing to story please tell them to leave a comment and I will contact them.

To whom it may concern;

If you do not normally do criminal or family law stories so please send this to someone at your station who might find it newsworthy?

I think looking into the legal system and how family law and criminal law aren't linked to each other would be an eye opening story. It would help educate people as to how negligent parents are able to get away with so much. And maybe encourage some reform to the system.

I have a child and her father was abusive and is also delinquent in his child support. When we first separated I tried to take out a protective order for myself and my daughter. The sheriff's department could never find him to serve the paperwork so my request was denied. I tried 3 times consecutively so they were looking for him for a 4 month period. However during that time he was pulled over and given 3 tickets for criminal offenses. When the officer ran his record no mention that he was being looked for for the protective order came up so he was given the tickets and allowed to go on his way.

Recently a sheriff has been trying to serve him with contempt paperwork b/c he is $14,000 in arrears for child support but again cannot locate him. However 2 nights ago he turned himself in to the 7 Locks detention center. While there they updated his criminal offense file and released him after 24 hours saying they would mail him the paperwork to appear in court for his criminal charges. Yet again there was nothing that showed about his child support.

When I look in the Maryland Judiciary Case system I see all the cases against him, including the child support and that papers have been issued but not served. I don’t know why this doesn’t happen on their end as well. If my ex is not served by Aug 22nd than the case for child support arrears is dismissed. He can be charged again but it will be another 6 months before all the paperwork is filed and a new court date is issued.

How can it be that twice now he has been in custody or at least in the presence of law enforcement but never been given the paperwork for the family law issues? So many politicians (including presidential candidates) talk about making the system for tracking “dead beat” parents better. If they can’t find them when they are in custody how are they going to find them else where?

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I will share any more information you need to help get this story on air.

Clare Stewart

Friday, July 18, 2008

Risky Business

A few months ago I wrote a blog about Jonathan getting served papers for being in contempt of child support. As a summary he has paid a grand total of $32.15 this year and that was back in Feb. He is supposed to pay about $700 a month, which doesn't even cover day care but would still be helpful. If any of you think that is a ridiculous amount I didn't pick it, the court has a system where they have a predetermined amount that they think a child costs based on if it needs daycare, medical expenses, etc. Then they input both the mother and father's salaries and based on that determine a percentage of how much each is responsible for. At any time Jonathan could go in a say he was earning less money (because he gets paid under the table) and they would lower the amount he owes and I couldn't' do anything about it. But he is too lazy to fill out a one page form and mail it so therefore he is still responsible for the full amount he originally agreed to.

The court issued the paperwork to the Sheriff's department to serve him back in April I think. Unfortunately Jonathan has still not been served. The deputy has tried to find him at home but he is either never there or doesn't answer the door. Since he hasn't been working because he's on workman's comp they can't find him at work either.

If Jonathan is not served by the end of this month than the case is dismissed. He gets off scot free with no penalty. They will refile against him again but that will take another 6 months and again if he avoids the sheriff then he gets away again. Here is where the legal system is a little messed up. Family Law and the Criminal/Traffic Law systems apparently don't match up. if he gets pulled over by a cop for any reason it won't flag that they are trying to serve him the contempt papers b/c they technically aren't a warrant. Hopefully the other 3 or 4 warrants will show up and when they arrest him in for those they can walk to contempt paperwork over to him.

But back to the title of this blog. Officer Rodriguez and I have devised a different plan rather than hope he gets pulled over and the cop runs his info. I don't want to put any details in here because I don't know who reads this blog but pray for me through the end of the month that I can help Jonathan be served the paperwork (that he knows he is supposed to get) without him taking any retaliation back out on me or my family.

It's a fine line right now for what I want to happen. it would be great to have Jonathan start paying child support so I could start saving money to pay my parents back and have money to spend on fun stuff in the future. But the less he does and the less involved in Reese's life he is the easier it will be to have his rights switched to companionship rights and get Reese adopted.

Ok Funny Reese story: She didn't know she was telling a joke but this made me laugh so hard:

Reese "Mommy, how was your day?"
Me "Good"
Reese "How was your work?"
Me "Busy but good"
Reese "How was your school?"
Me "I didn't go to school today"
Reese "How is your bridge?"
Me "I don't know"
Reese "It's falling down"

Hilarious. . . I walked right into that one :-)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Being the Baby of the Family

So after rereading my post last night I feel like I should expand a little more about why loosing this name means alot to me.

I am the baby of my family by 5 years. All the babies out there can relate to me, especially if there is a big difference in ages. When I was 12 my grandmother (the one who maiden name was Carter) died. At that time my grandfather moved down here and my mom and her sisters began dividing up the furniture in the house b/c my grandfather was getting an apartment and didn't really need as much.

I didn't really pay much attention to the process and what was going on except that my mom and her sisters were fighting alot and it actually caused a huge fight in our family that was only resolved last year at Pop-Pop's funeral. But that is a different story.

Anyway fast-forward to a few years ago. I was chatting with my mom about the stuff in our house that had come from Grammy and Pop-Pop's house and I mentioned how I really loved this one sideboard in the house. And my mom replies "Oh your sister already gets that she asked for if years ago" Then I comment on a desk that my grandfather built "Oh your brother already asked for that and alot of the stuff Pop-Pop built b/c they were really close" All these requests were made back when I was 12 and they were 17 and 20. Because I was to young and didn't know what was going on my mom already promised away alot of the pieces from their house.

I am not materialistic in any way, it's not about who gets more stuff. It's more that b/c they are older apparently their memories are better than mine so they automatically get some of the things. Granted some of my memories with the furniture is only of it being in my house. But the desk for example I have always loved but I was too young to know I had to start "claiming" things. And now it doesn't matter b/c some items have already been physically given away not just verbally promised.

After the affair w/ my mom's family she has mentioned several times that they would create a list of item in the house and then we can all go through and mark what we want and how badly we want it. Then together my Mom and Dad would compare the lists and try to split things up evenly and fairly. They still haven't done this but I hope they do soon. I have already seen what might happen when they do move or one/both of them pass away. When Pop-Pop died and we had to distribute the last of his things we had to decide what to do w/ the grandfather clock he had built. We have one in our house that he built as well. Needless to say all three children on my Mom's side wanted to have one to remember Pop-Pop by (none of the other grandchildren wanted either of them). In the end my brother got the clock from his apt and I get the one in our house but I had to remind my mom that Meg and Jon each already have 2 pieces in their house and another 2 pieces at our house promised to them while I only have 1.

I know that sounds materialistic b/c I am counting by numbers but in this sense I think comparing the number of pieces was a fair decision since we only had 2 days to decide. When we do the big split I am sure there will be things that mean alot to someone and they will pick that one thing over 3 other things.

Ok so hopefully now everyone can see how there was only one thing I "claimed" back when Grammy died. Not any furniture or physical mementos. But he dream of carrying on her name. And once again my big brother took it away b/c he had a boy first.

Monday, July 14, 2008

What's in a Name

My nephew Jake Carter Stewart was born on Friday morning at 5:22am. He was supposed to be a scheduled C-section today (Elaine had problems w/ Sami that resulted in an emergency C-Section). But apparently Jake didn't want to wait till Monday :-)

We are all very excited to have Jake esp b/c he will carry on the family name.
I unfortunately have mixed feelings, not about my nephew, but about his name. For both children my brother and sister-in-law chose not to find out if it was a boy or girl. They also didn't tell anyone the names they were thinking of choosing b/c that way no one could say something that might make them think negatively for one of thier choices (like "Oh I knew a ____ but she was a B*^ch").
I on the other hand love to tell people about the names I am thinking about using. For example . . . . My grandmother's madien name was Carter and she always dreamed of naming a boy Carter so she didn't loose her maiden name. But alas she had 3 girls. Of of the 3 girls one had no children. The second had one boy but named him after her husbands side of the family. The third (my mom) had a son and named him after my dad's side of the family. Had her third child (me) been a boy I would have been named Kevin Carter and called KC. But I was a girl.
I like telling that story and ending it with how when I have a boy I want to name him Carter or put Carter in his name b/c it meant alot to my grandmother and would have been my name. Anyone see where my problem w/ my nephews name is? I told my brother that I wanted to use the name Carter before they had Sami. My SIL told my mom they tried to figure out how to use Carter as a first name but couldn't make it work with Stewart so since they used it as a middle name I was welcome to still use it.
Thanks!!! I'm so glad I have thier permission to use the name I have wanted since I was 13 to name my son, if I'm lucky enough to have one, because they couldn't make it work themselves. I know you can't call dibs on a name but still I would hope that when you tell a family member how a name means alot to you they wouldn't turn around and use it just b/c they had a boy/girl first.
Yes I really can use it and I might but I don't know. I have already heard my mom on the phone w/ all our family telling them how Carter is her mom's maiden name. Kinda takes the fun out of me telling the story in a few years b/c everyone will already know where Carter came from. Obviously I have some time to decide but I'm kinda cranky about it right now.
Ok enough venting right now time for bed.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The beach

Well we made it home from the beach. It was just as awesome as last year, possibly better since Reese was older. We stayed in the exact same house as we stayed in last time which was 3/4 of a mile walk to the beach. I love the community we stay in. It's called Sea Colony (serioulsy I should get a discount for how many people I tell about it ;-) )

Next year, however, Mat will be joining us so we'll need a three bedroom place (He get's his own room lucky him). We found one even closer to the beach and cheaper than where we were so that is exciting.

Reese got to swim in the ocean and she learned to swim by herself in the pool (w/ a floaty vest on). By the end of the week not only was she going 2-3 feet on her own but she was spinning in circles as well.

We also went to this awesome brewery called Dogfish Head out in Dewey. Thier beer is really good and the whole process they use is very eco-friendly :-) yes Hillary that is my Pampered Chef bag w/ me (unfortunately more people wanted beer instead of kitchen toys)

Besides swimming Reese had fun playing on the swing sets that are on the beach as well as in the fountain at the marketplace which is 1/2 way btwn our house and the beach. It's where we walk every morning for coffee but there a bunch of other stores and resturants there as well.

As you can see Reese had an awesome time and went to bed very easily b/c she was so tired from playing all day. In the picture is her new puppy Duncan. Named after her favorite puppy at Mat's house. It was very cute when she picked him out. He went everywhere with us the whole trip.

Funny Post beach Reese Story: I bought Salt Water Taffy and decided to let Reese try some. We happened to be watching Monster's Inc togther (her 1st time seeing it) so I let her eat a whole piece and then I hid the box away. A few min later she says she wants more Caffy. I say "I've created a monster" and she replies "I not a Monster, I a Reese-E Cup"