Please sign this PETITION and urge others to sign.
You would think I would be used to it now. Over 3 years of relentless bombardment – searing criticisms, financial extortions, endless humiliation and constant attempts to ridicule and undermine everything I say or do. My role as mother, my role as wife, my role as provider, analysed and scrutinised and obsessed over in the name of point scoring, and what I have come to view as the perverse sport of people with nothing better to do with their lives.
I should no longer be surprised by such desperate attempts. And yet when I was struck with another thunderbolt today, I was still horrified anew that the attacks seem to know no bounds, never a sign of abating, nobody to say enough is enough, no level too low to stoop.
Last week another judge in another court ordered me to pay almost 3,000 Euro in child maintenance, backdated to 1.8.2011, one week after the father was awarded custody. Even though I had been a full time mother for the previous 2 years, had no chance of finding a job so quickly and that my chances of finding a well paying job were slim to the point of non existent. All of which were the conclusions of an independent financial expert whom the court commissioned to assess my earnings potential for 2011-2012. Not to mention that since I have a visit every Tuesday, it is near impossible to work full time. When I was offered work on Tuesdays and applied to the judge to change my visiting day, she ignored my application and so I lost the job, my children of course taking priority.
The fact I was traumatised to the point of near paralysis at the shock of having my babies ripped away from me by the police without forewarning, makes not one iota of difference. Austrian law expected me to function like a machine, to switch off, emotions don’t even come into it. Yes, on 25th July my children were snatched but the next day I was suddenly expected to switch roles and become provider, whether I wanted to or not. Ironic, considering the father only made two child maintenance payments during the whole 18 months when the roles were in reverse. But for me at least, this has never been about money.
This latest 3,000 Euro child maintenance order came as a mighty blow, especially since all the ‘joint savings’ of the marriage had, I only later discovered, been placed in the name of my ex-husband alone. I therefore have very little to fall back on as security. I was naive and trusting at every step of this sorry story, never questioning the person I was living with and caring for could deceive me so cruelly.
I was on unemployment benefits almost all of last year, trying to adjust to my new very difficult existence, bereft of my children, my purpose to live, yet forcing myself to gather enough strength, struggling to survive between living costs and heavy legal fees as well as the added financial burden of almost 300 Euro per month to the visiting centre to see my children (a cost normally shared between the parents but in my case falling solely on me). I therefore appealed the judge’s decision, arguing that 220 Euro per month for last year was just not possible and would have left me well below the existence minimum.
Yet today, I received an appeal from the Social Services arguing that the judge’s order was not in fact high enough and needed to be raised ‘significantly higher‘ in order to give the father more child maintenance!
Many of the arguments they use is information they have most likely been supplied by the father himself.
Whereas in other circumstances I was ridiculed for poor German skills, suddenly I am deemed a ‘fluent speaker’ now that it suits the agenda – to find a high paying job and supply more maintenance. They say that I did not make use of the translator in court and that I was able to speak (3 sentences) of German on the TV report, which ‘obviously’ means I am fluent! They also have the audacity to allege, without any substantiation whatsoever, that my parents contribute to my living costs, therefore, I should have to pay more maintenance!!
The most insulting part of all is the argument that the father has to pay ‘high therapy costs’ for the children therefore he needs higher maintenance payments from me. The court commissioned psychologist, on whose dubious recommendation the judge made her custody order, said categorically that all therapy needed to take place at the University hospital on the national heath system (at no cost). That was one of the grounds for awarding the father custody- he had promised to do so. Yet instead, the children have only been taken to private therapists appointed by the father. Their reports have all alleged how ‘well’ the children are developing under his care – contrary to all the blatant evidence before them.
I will recover from yet another blow, will myself to hold it together and not lose sight. Petty lengths to extort money, however upsetting, are still only material matters and will never detract me from the real issues at stake: Sammy and Benji’s well-being. Tragically, through their continued suffering, they have paid the highest price of all.
Please sign this PETITION and urge others to sign.