After all the years of not being with my daughter, I have often asked who I can hold accountable for the lost relationship with her. She is now married and finally living away from her mother. It has been over 15 years since I have seen her even though I paid all of the child support. Issues arose during my visitation times to the point where they no longer took place. I teach school and have no criminal record of any kind (except for a speeding ticket). What can I do?
Unfortunately, your situation is too common. Legally there is nothing you can do. Your daughter is an adult, and therefore the family law courts do not have jurisdiction over matters concerning her as your child. To expand on your comment that even though you paid your entire child support obligation, you have not seen your daughter in over fifteen years, it should be pointed out that paying child support or not paying child support does not necessarily have a bearing on court ordered parenting time. If a parent is not paying his/her child support obligation, the other parent cannot refuse the nonpaying parent time with the child. Likewise, being current on the child support obligation does not entitle a parent to a more generous schedule of parenting time. Those issues – child support and parenting time – should be looked at separately. Returning to your question who can you hold accountable for the lost relationship with your daughter; what can you do? My suggestion is to look forward and reach out to your daughter and start a new relationship with her now. Looking back and trying to solve a problem that has come to pass will only deepen the hurt you obviously feel. Don’t fixate on an issue that can’t be changed. She’s an adult now, and she’s probably more understanding, and my guess is that she probably wants a relationship with you.
Claudia J. Weaver is an Associate Attorney with Cordell & Cordell, P.C., in Overland Park, Kansas. Ms. Weaver practices exclusively in the area of domestic relations.