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Does the file ever really “close?”

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 12, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Does the file ever really “close?”
Thursday, 08.03.2007, 12:54pm (GMT12)

We have two horror stories about CYFS and its former incarnation, The DSW.

Here is the first story. It concerns my husband’s dealings with the DSW.

Years ago my husband’s first wife began to form relationships with some other men. Fair enough: marriages break down. Soon after this, she threw him out of his home, with little more than the clothes on his back, then spent the next few years attempting, with some success, to turn her children against him.

The initial shock of being evicted from his home, and subsequent ongoing problems generated by both his ex-wife and the DSW, caused him to fall ill. He stopped eating, became extremely gaunt, and almost lost his sanity. He almost gave up on life, because he considered that he had lost everything. He was homeless for a time, and there were occasions where he slept under hedges. However, he battled on, and recovered.

As soon as he was evicted from his home, he voluntarily set up payments to his ex-wife for her children. We met during this awful time. His ex-wife continued to ask him for money, ostensibly for the kids – although I doubt they saw much of it.

Eventually, the DSW took administrative control of his voluntary child support payments – and they kept shifting the goalposts. When his ex-wife’s children reached the age of 16, he was supposed to be released from his financial obligation to them; however, that age was changed to 18, and then 19. Finally, he received the letter he had been waiting for: “File closed; no further payment is required.” He rejoiced.


We took great pleasure in destroying the awful collection of DSW papers we had accumulated over the years. How stupid we were! Suddenly, some years later, he began to receive NEW demands for payment! The DSW had been undergoing some changes, and some re-branding; and either they “lost” certain crucial paperwork, or his ex-wife wanted to kick-start the gravy train again. And he did not have his precious letter – “file closed; no further payment is required” anymore!

This good and decent man, who had only ever been in a courtroom to divorce his first wife, found himself up before a judge, with no legal counsel or representation. His ex-wife and some of her children were there, with full legal representation. The judge acknowledged all the previous child support payments made by my husband that the DSW was able to account for; but he decided that my husband would have to make further payments to his ex-wife. So, my husband continued to make these payments until some of his ex-wife’s children were in their 30s.

As a result of all this, and due in part to some unpleasant statements some of his ex-wife’s children had made to him while he was in court, my husband felt unable to continue to have contact with them. He was getting older, and wanted a little peace of mind; he concluded that he had suffered enough. The only good thing to come out of that horrible time is that in spite of everything, our own marriage somehow survived, and his new family remains intact.


One Response to “Does the file ever really “close?””

  1. jay said

    The judge was an ass!
    You were ripped off.
    Free advice:
    If your marriage/ partner bust-up is happening, get your lawyer, in your plan
    of marriage settlement :for divorce,
    to put a codicil in the break-up settlement> which reads: There will be no
    monetary come-back after divorce proceedings are finalized. I will not have to pay my ex partner/wife/husband
    any future moneys or cash or assets
    settlement other than what is in this settlement document.
    Guys & girls, this sves either of you who get more income, from supporting you lower-earning ‘EX’ other half.
    Personly, I feel that this couple should have refused to pay anything after kids turned 21 at the latest.
    Yous were sucked in by the system!
    this is where Law centres are so valuable in giving advice to avoid costly pitfalls.
    Also ask around and see how others cope in certain situations, how did they sort out a similar problem.
    AND: Never through our important papers
    for at least 7 yrs. Anything where a lot of money was paid out , keep a lot longer. If important papers are lodged with a law firm for quite a while, check every so often to see that they are still there. Some law firms dump case files after a certain (Often short) time.

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