The Undeclared War We Fathers Fight

We fathers - and our families - are engaged in a battle within a larger undeclared war against our culture - against Western civilization - against our entire way of life. Unless we respond immediately, we are headed for extinction.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Deadbeat Dad - First Two Chapters

Deadbeat Dad

The story of how the author lost his children,
his home, his business, his city, his country
and was labeled a ‘deadbeat dad.’

Charles Fockaert

A True Story

Dedicated to my two youngest children - Matthew and Maggie - who paid a dear price for being dragged into the American family legal system and separated from their dad.


Fleeing America 11
My Father 15
My Children 19
My Business 25
Happy Birthday, Bitch 37
Got Beer? 46
“Come Out Come Out Wherever You Are” 58
Another Restraining Order 68
My Turn to Turn to the Legal System 85
Court Appointed Special Advocate 101
Center for Child Advocacy 103
Preparation Preparation Preparation 109
Finally - the Truth 115
Truth is Stranger Than Fiction 127
“Why? Daddy” 140
No Order in This Court 143
Visitation 156
Going Postal 167
And Justice for All 175
The Divorce and the Judge’s Rulings 182
The Bankruptcy 198
Role Reversal 202
Where Was Stephanie Spain? 211
Jury Misconduct 219
California State Court of Appeals 222
Deadbeat Dad v. Humboldt County 233
A Deadbeat Dad’s “Anger Problem” 235
Contemplating Suicide 240
‘Certain Unalienable Rights’ 244

Fleeing America

The day I called hoping to talk to my two youngest children, I hadn’t seen or communicated with any of my four children in over four years. A sweet little voice said “Hello.” In my heart I knew it was my youngest daughter Maggie, but in my ear the voice didn’t sound like her. Her voice was different than what I remembered. She sounded like her older sister Hannah.
“Maggie?” Her voice was so grown up. I was still thinking I might be talking to Hannah, my oldest daughter.
“Is that you Maggie?”
“Yes, this is Maggie. Who is this?”
My voice, broken with emotion, was barely able to get out, “It’s your daddy, Maggie.”
“Oohhh… Dad.”
The tears were flowing now.
“I miss you Maggie.”
“I miss you too, Dad.”
“How’s your brother Matthew?”
“He’s okay.”
At this point I heard the phone being taken away from Maggie and “Mr. Wonderful,” the ex’s new husband, came on the line.
“Where are you?” the junk-yard dog demanded.
“It’s none of your business where I am. I didn’t call to talk to you.”
“What are you doing, calling to cause trouble?”
“I called to talk to my kids. How is that causing trouble?”
“Where are you?”
“It’s none of your business where I am. Let me talk to Maggie”
“Where are you?”
“Like I said, it’s none of your business where I am. Let me talk to Maggie.”
No answer.
The line went silent.
Anguish seared red hot through my being. I trembled with rage. Fortunately, for that very reason, I was seven thousand miles away.
Then, once again, I wept.
* * * * *
Four years earlier my brother offered his place to stay until I could get back on my financial feet. My brother lived in the desert of Southern California. He had just filed for divorce from his wife who had a boyfriend in Nevada and thought my brother didn’t know.
We unpacked the few things I had left to my name and had managed to cram into the rental truck into a storage unit. His unfurnished apartment was a one bedroom. My brother left his furniture with his ex and the children, who, of course, she had custody of. We took what furniture I had brought with me and furnished his small apartment. I slept in the living room on the floor in a sleeping bag, just as I had done my first year in college.
I put an ad in the local newspaper in the home repair section, as “House Doctor.” I started doing handyman jobs, just like I had done while attending college nearly 25 years earlier.
I eventually secured a job framing houses for a contractor, like I had done before I had gotten my own contractor’s license, after graduating from Humboldt State University, some 20 years earlier. I was the only English speaking white guy on the otherwise all Mexican crew. The change from the cool lush green climate of Humboldt County to the desert of southern California was as abrupt as one could get. It was hot. It was dry. The work was physically demanding. All of the other workers were 15-20 years my junior. My pay was $12 an hour, $13 an hour less than what the Honorable Judge John. E. Buffington had imputed to me some months before. I was being paid what I had paid my own employees while in Humboldt County. After working all day in the hot desert sun, I did handyman jobs in the late afternoons and evenings. My body ached at the end of my long day. When we finished that framing job, I was told, not asked, but told like the other itinerate workers, to report to another job in Newport Beach, a two-hour drive through Los Angeles traffic. I was expected to work for the same $12 an hour but now with a minimum 4 hour daily commute.
I wasn’t making enough money to pay child support. I was barely making enough money to live on. My child support arrears were accumulating monthly, with interest. Now I was supposed to drive my worn out truck almost 200 miles a day for $12 an hour?
I was damn near despair. And glad I had my brother to talk to.
While I was working during the day, by night I sent out resumes and applications all over southern California and Las Vegas. I applied to over 60 possible jobs. I went to interviews after work or on Saturdays. One prospective employer, an expanding automobile oil change outfit, asked me what I thought my best attribute was. “Anticipating and avoiding problems.” Wrong answer. The right answer was ‘organized.’ Organized? I figured that was a given. I didn’t get the job. I was never offered a job. I had proven the Honorable Judge John. E. Buffington wrong. I couldn’t get a job in Southern California or Las Vegas.
I took the qualifying test for a possible position for the State of California. My brother was working for the Department of Corrections and with his connections we figured I might get work with the D.O.C. According to inside sources, I passed the test. I was now in the pool of eligible and potential future State employees.
Eight months after I left my home and children in Humboldt County, I took a written test and passed the initial interview for a Construction Supervising Manager for the Palmdale Unified School District. I had letters of recommendation from several of my professional peers verifying my qualifications. With my over twenty years of construction experience, much of it working on government projects, including my alumni Humboldt State University, I felt I had a decent chance of being offered the position.
Both of these positions for which I had a fairly good chance of being hired for, brought me back full circle to my younger days when I had thought of working in the public sector. I decided then that I wouldn’t make a good government employee and, in fact, wouldn’t make much of an employee at all. I felt I was created to work for myself.
On Monday, November 8th, I received a letter from deputy district attorney John Wright of the Humboldt County Family Support Division, notifying me that my contractor’s license was suspended effective November 8th - that very day - and that my driver’s license was suspended effective the next day, November 9th. Both of these licenses were requirements for the job with the Palmdale School district with which I had a final qualifying interview scheduled for Wednesday, November 10th, just two days away.
Because of my contractor’s license suspension, which was the second time Mr. Wright had suspended my license, I was no longer qualified for the Palmdale School District job. Because of my driver’s license suspension, also the second time Mr. Wright had suspended that license, I could not legally drive to the scheduled interview.
By this time, I had had all I could take. I sent Mr. Wright copies of the 60 or so jobs I had applied for to protect my self in any future legal battle I should have with the Humboldt County Family Support Division. I also asked Mr. Wright what purpose he was accomplishing by cutting me off at the knees before I could even get back on my feet?

My Father

While growing up, there were times I wished I had a dad like other boys did. One time was when I was 10 years old and trying out for little league in our new home town in Southern California. We had just moved from Michigan where I had played baseball all day, everyday, in the hot summer sun. I was a natural third baseman, with good speed and a strong arm who could get the ball to first base quickly and accurately. Emulating my hero, Mickey Mantle, I would bat both ways, usually as lead off batter. On the day of the tryouts, I went alone on my bicycle. I didn’t notice any other boys there without their dads. It hardly ever rained in Southern California, but it was threatening to that cold spring morning. I watched from the sidelines as all the other boys were showing their skills, fielding, throwing and then batting. I never got to field or throw the ball. I was the very last eager boy to get a chance to show how I could hit the ball. By that time the rain was coming down fairly heavy. I don’t think the coaches even saw me. I never made a team and never tried out for little league again.

My father taught me many things about being a dad. He was a good example of the kind of dad not to be. My father was just that, my father. Although I called him Dad, he was never my dad. Looking back from the perspective of many years, I can’t really blame my father. He most likely never had a good example of how to be a dad. His father was an alcoholic and verbally abusive to his wife, my grandmother. I know, because I was old enough to begin mimicking my grandfather’s verbal abuse of my grandmother, much to my grandmother’s chagrin. My guess is, based upon how my father treated me, my grandfather was abusive not only to my grandmother, but to my father as well, the proverbial like father – like son. My father’s abuse of my mother and me ending up creating such a stress filled home that I developed a severe stuttering problem at a very young age, a handicap that plagued me throughout much of my life.
My father was, however, as his father was, a good provider. Although my mother often complained that she had to beg my father for money, we never lacked for any material thing. We lived in a nice four bedroom house in a good neighborhood in a respectable suburb of Detroit. I went to the Catholic school at the end of our block to get what my father no doubt believed would be a good private education. His construction business thrived in the post war mid 1950’s booming automobile driven economy. His work kept him busy making phone calls early in the morning and late at night.
The demands and challenge of his work was, I’m sure, the reason we kids rarely saw him at dinner time. Or on Saturdays. And when he was home, he would often be seated in front of the TV eating ice cream out of the carton, (something that irritated my mother to no end). Or with his head thrown back snoring loudly (something else that irritated my mother to no end).

It’s not that my father never took me anywhere. He would take me with him to the lumber yard. Once, he was gone so long I grew more bored than usual and started playing with the column shift of his green Ford pick-up truck. The truck ended up rolling out into the middle of our town’s busiest street. It wasn’t often I saw my father run, but run he did after the honking horns of the irritated motorists attracted his attention. Another time I remember my father taking me somewhere was when he brought me to a friend of his who gave me a shoebox full of fishing tackle. My dad then brought me to the nearby lake and left me alone on the pier while he went somewhere. Where he went I didn’t know. But I do know I stood on that old wood pier with my fishing pole in my hand watching mesmerized as the gusting wind slowly blew my just acquired shoe box full of really cool fishing tackle across the weather-worn wooden beams. I stood spell bound as the shoe box hesitated at the edge of the pier, as if to give me a chance to save it, then plopped over the side into the chilly water and float slowly on the short choppy waves out of reach and sink forever out of sight.

My father also brought me to the family dentist just before my mother and he split up. The dentist said I would need braces to correct my overbite. I was too young then for braces. Had my parents not divorced, I would have gotten the braces I needed.
When the battles at home escalated to the point where my mother could take no more, she left my father to live with her parents. She drove her 1955 Chevy Belair on Route 66 to Southern California. It was 1961. I was nine years old and now the oldest of three boys being raised by a single mother. We went from being upper middle class to near poverty almost over night. I don’t blame my mother, she did what had to be done. But life was not easy for her or for us. I started working at 13 years old, cutting lawns and pulling weeds. I remember buying my first pair of Levi’s with my own money for $4.52. I got my first real job on my 16th birthday, the day I could legally work, at the Sizzler within walking distance of our house. I graduated from there to working at Al’s Arco, where I learned to work on my first car, a car that I had bought and insured with my own hard earned money, a black two door 1961 Chevy Impala. I took my future wife out on many dates in that Impala.

We met in eighth grade and went steady on and off until we finally married when I was 19. Her parents were still married and her dad provided her with the kind of home life I had always craved – one where the father and mother were still married and led a seemingly normal life. Her father took me water skiing on their family vacations to the Colorado River, hunting in Kern County, camping and fishing. Her parents would come to watch me play football, something even my mother didn’t do.
I was a high school jock, playing football and running sprints as a captain on the track team. As a senior I was awarded the Coaches Trophy from three of the most influential men in my life. Sports taught me that discipline and hard work has its rewards. Because of my involvement in track, I was able to attend my first choice of a university, Humboldt State, in Northern California.

One other time I wish I had a dad to stick up for me was my junior year when I played high school football. That year was a big year for us football players. The previous year all of the first string varsity backfield graduated, leaving the first string halfback position open. I expected to fill that position. I was a junior, one of the fastest players on the team, and I had my sophomore year's success behind me. By all rights the halfback position was mine.

The head coach had other ideas. There was a sophomore who normally would have played on the B squad like most sophomores did - like I did - but who the head coach wanted to come up to varsity. The sophomore was going to be groomed to play halfback a year earlier than usual. I wasn't having any of that male cow dung, even as a high school kid. I wasn't going to sit on the bench watching a sophomore twenty pounds lighter than I play my position. I knew I was better than my competitor. Not only was I knocking the snot out of him in practice, I had paid my dues and with several MVP awards under my belt, had already proven myself. I felt the coach should have been working with me.

The sophomore’s dad was a member of the boosters club whereas my mother didn't even come to see me play let alone know what a boosters club was. Our family couldn't boost anyone, we were the ones needing a boost. I'm sure the sophomore’s dad and the head coach had conversations, and so his son had the edge on me there. The entire team had a pre-game dinner at the local country club every Friday night before the game. The boosters club was welcome to join us. I got my first glimpse of how many of the parents lived; I was intimidated by the posh country club atmosphere. I was very uncomfortable with the fact that I would be eating in such plush surroundings every week, knowing what we had at home.

I was pissed off by the fact that the head coach wasn't playing me when we both knew he should be. I was intimidated by the Friday night country club dinners. I was embarrassed that I wasn't playing in the games that my girlfriend and her parents were coming to watch with the purpose of seeing me play. These facts made me tell the coach I wanted to play on the junior varsity team. I told him I wanted to play football, not sit on the bench. I thought he would object and ask me to reconsider or give me more playing time. He didn't. I wasn't the only unhappy player. Other players quit too. The junior varsity coach was surprised that many of us requested to play on the JV team. When the JV coach watched me kick several consecutive field goals soccer style, something relatively new in 1970, he asked me if the head coach had seen me kick field goals.

The first week of JV practice, an unknown lineman spiked me in the back breaking a rib or two and bruising a couple of others. I was out for the season before even playing one game. I never played high school football again.

Perhaps if I would have had a dad - a normal dad - to talk things over with, things may have been different. No doubt things would have been different just having a dad around to look after my interests. Perhaps he would have even been a member of the Boosters Club. He may have even sat in the bleachers to watch his son play football.

One thing I knew for sure, I would not be like my father. With me, it wouldn’t be like father – like son. If I ever had kids, I would do my best to make things different for them.

I would be the dad to them that I never had.

About the author

Charles Fockaert is the father of four great children and was a foster parent to over a dozen children; he has a degree in economics, fought fires with the U.S Forest Service, started and for over 20 years ran his own real estate development and construction company; he is a private pilot and has traveled in over 20 countries and lived in Mexico, Nicaragua, Thailand, South Korea and Qatar. He has two blogs: and Deadbeat Dad is his first book. He can be contacted at

Deadbeat Dad


richard said...

what states do not jail for arrears, I pay my order, but can't afford it. I talk to my sons, daily. Always have. My ex makes 15 times what I make, Im appealing an SSI case decision. Im disabled and cant work. I pay the court order of 250, but NJ wants arrears or I go to jail.

Spade said...

"If you have time to whine and complainabout something, then you have time to do something about it".
Anthony J D'Angelo

Fockaert is the most pathetic wimp I have come across in a long time. What is even more pathetic is that he thinks anyone actually cares that he (like all of us)had a few bad breaks. What he is confessing to is that he is lacking charachter to the extent that he must find someone else to blame for everyone of his shortcomings. He must be a miserable and sad excuse for a man....