“Get rid of that psychopath and I’ll feed us,” says the single mother

“Get rid of that psychopath and I’ll feed us,” says the single mother
“Get rid of that psychopath and I’ll feed us,” says the single mother

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“Above all, don’t write where exactly we are now, otherwise my husband will find me and hell will start all over again,” stresses 33-year-old Kateřina Sušila in the room of her family home in the Frýdek-Místek district.

A few weeks ago, she asked the Club of Single Mothers for a food allowance for her thirteen-year-old daughter Melanie and four-year-old Adam. She wrote in the application: “The husband is to pay child support of CZK 2,700 from 1 October 2021. He didn’t pay even once. I filed a criminal complaint, I filed a motion with the court to have alimony deducted from my salary, I applied for alimony for my undivorced wife, but nothing. Everything takes an awful lot of time. We’re having sugar noodles tonight, but I really don’t know about tomorrow. I don’t even have flour, tea, pastries at home, just really nothing. I can document everything for you, take pictures of the refrigerator. I turn to you with a great plea for help, for I have no one else to turn to.’

In the application, she describes that her rent was raised by five thousand crowns in January, her maternity leave ended in April, and since then she has been living with her children. They had to leave the apartment in July and are living in hostels, relatives and friends.

They have managed so far, now they are at the bottom

Photo: List of News

Single mothers in the Czech Republic.

The list The News looked at hundreds of applications in which single parents describe their stories to receive a financial contribution from the non-profit organization Single Mothers’ Club for housing, food, lunches for children at school, camps, clubs or IT technology.

“However, the current crisis is a headless sledge which, due to the increase in basic living costs, affects all single people. It crushes the young, the old, from cities and villages,” says founder Dana Pavlousková. “We are now receiving requests for help from single parents who have been managing the situation until now. They make up roughly a third,” he adds.

Some applicants to Seznam Zprávám openly described their stories, and thus a four-part series was created dedicated to breadwinner mothers who, for various reasons, found themselves in an extremely difficult financial situation.

“All the rent increases, energy deposits and more expensive food have knocked me out of the puddle and under the gutter. I have sunk so low that I have to beg for money for food from a non-profit organization,” she sums up her current financial situation.

“I’m not lazy, I graduated from high school, I’ve dropped out of college, I can earn for myself. I can easily distribute leaflets if it were the worst, but I shouldn’t have that psychopath behind me,” she describes her biggest problem: her husband. “No employer is going to fire you forever so that I go to the police to give an explanation and embarrass myself at work,” she explains.

My biggest mistake in life

Kateřina Sushila got married two years ago. “It’s the biggest mistake,” he evaluates retrospectively. “Inside, I felt that something was wrong, but I told myself that we had a son together, I wanted him to grow up with his father, but I had no idea where it would go,” she explains of her decision at the time.

Photo: Kateřina Sušila, Seznam Zpravy

Kateřina Sušila with her son Adam.

“After the wedding, my husband registered his permanent residence with me in the apartment where I had a lease agreement. I received seven thousand in maternity pay, two thousand in alimony for my daughter, and I earned extra money as a waitress in a children’s center.”

Half a year after the wedding, a turning point occurred. “He lost his entire paycheck. She came on the fifteenth and was no longer there on the sixteenth. Only minus amounts for online slots remained on the account,” Kateřina describes the beginning of her problems. The lost payment was repeated in the following months.

“But I had to pay rent, electricity, gas. Fortunately, my mother lent me a loan and I started driving a taxi so that I could at least have food,” she says. At that time, she was no longer able to pay the three-thousand-dollar installment, and four and a half years of the five-year debt relief cycle went to waste.

Execution: a unique survey of the News List

  • Bad credit loans are not a common cause of foreclosures.
  • Both the debtor and the creditor are responsible for the origination of the debt.
  • A tenth of people fear that they will fall into foreclosures.
  • Debts in execution are not to be collected by private entities.

Two-thirds of all respondents (regardless of whether or not they have foreclosure experience) believe that the main cause of foreclosures is unpaid loans for unnecessary items such as vacations, televisions, and other electronics. But those who face or have faced foreclosures mention it only in less than a quarter.

In addition to the above, respondents mention foreclosures as a result of unpaid child support, liability to third parties, debts due to a spouse, insolvency as a result of job loss or the gradual inability to pay increasing expenses as a result of low wages, more often in the position of a single mother.

General awareness of foreclosures is generally low, which is also confirmed by the fact that almost a third of respondents cannot evaluate the foreclosure system and do not have an opinion on it.

“Unfortunately, it is set up so that he will have to apply for a new debt relief. But the problem is that although he will work legally, he will find it difficult to manage his situation in the future. The non-confiscatable amount will not be enough for her to live and feed her children,” says the advocacy manager Iva Kuchyňková from Charity CR.

Debts, however, are not what began to burden Katerina the most. “He started hitting me. The police often came to us. But since we are married and he was a permanent resident in the apartment, they could only evict him for a few days, which never helped and was much worse.”

Kateřina pulls out of the plastic bag documents with many reports that she filed with the police, misdemeanor proceedings and court orders. They write about physical and verbal attacks, death threats. In April of last year, a friend lent her money for a rent deposit, Kateřina packed up her children and ran away from her husband. She immediately filed for divorce and custody of the child.

“It took a week for him to find me. And hell began. He yelled under the windows, embarrassed me, disconnected the fuses in the apartment, punctured the tires of the car, then poured something into my gas tank. Depreciation car. He kicked my door several times. He threatened to kill me, showed my daughter a knife that he would cut us,” she enumerates.

She was worried about her son, so she withdrew him from kindergarten. Police documents also say he assaulted and threatened her at work, causing her to lose her job as a waitress. Financial problems bought into it.

More single parents are headed below the poverty line

More single parents are headed below the poverty line

According to data from the research project Czechia 2022 – Life without payment by PAQ Research and Czech Radio, it follows that sixty percent of single parents with children have nothing left after paying all monthly expenses or have to go into the red. Which is 23% more than it was in the fall. More than half (53%) are at risk of falling into poverty. The survey shows that the monthly savings of single parents has decreased from CZK 3,200 to CZK 660. The author of the research, Daniel Prokop, points out that it is the group of single parents who are at risk of becoming indebted at this time, because they tend to have minimal savings that they can tap into.

“I was not entitled to housing benefit or child benefits because the officials assessed the income of my husband, who has the duty to support me. He did not pay the alimony determined by the court. The only advice the police gave me was to report all assaults, so I was at the station about fifty times, and to move to another city.” Which she did.

Hell that never ends

The son started going to kindergarten again, Kateřina found another part-time job, and because she proved that she and her husband had not been running a joint household for more than three months, she received a housing allowance. However, the calm did not last long.

“We had a court regarding custody of my son, I didn’t want my address to be listed there at the court, but then a judgment came on behalf of the republic and it was listed there. So he found me and it started again,” he describes.

In January of this year, Kateřina applied for a court ban on contact with her husband, and the court granted it. In the resolution on the extension of the preliminary measure, the court also states that her husband repeatedly violates the court order, continues to pursue and attack her.

“Over and over again. He attacked me while I was shopping with my son, bombarded me with texts, even broke into my apartment. I kept reporting everything, but the police don’t do anything.”

Photo: Jan Novák, Seznam Správy

Kateřina Sušila, hiding from her husband in a temporary place.

Seznam The reports asked the Regional Police Directorate of the Moravian-Silesian Region how it is that the police have been unable to protect Kateřina for a year and a half.

“For legal reasons, we are not authorized to comment on specific natural or legal persons,” spokeswoman Daniela Vlčková answered briefly.

“Perhaps Mrs. Sušila could consider the possibility of using the so-called secret residence, which everyone can find out more about, for example, on the website of the ROSA center for women,” advises social worker Johana Honomichlová from the Pilsen Home of St. Zdislava for mothers with children in need.

At the beginning of August, Katerina’s husband was sentenced by the district court to a four-month suspended sentence for a probationary period of sixteen months for failing to pay alimony since October last year. She is said to be still the same – she did not receive a single crown for her son.

“He can apply for replacement alimony, which will financially support dependent children for a temporary period in a situation where the parent is supposed to pay alimony by the court’s decision, but does not. The state then exacts it directly from the debtor,” explains Pavla Aschermannová from the non-profit organization Centrum Rubikon.

In another court case, Katerina’s husband is charged with trespassing, theft, trespassing, forgery and alteration of a means of payment, and the particularly serious crime of robbery, but he is still at large and continues to threaten and harass her.

“I’m afraid he’ll hurt me a lot. I heard him say that he knows he’s going to go to work and he doesn’t care if it’s for five or nine years.” So Kateřina is moving again.

“Now my priority is to find housing and enroll my son in kindergarten. I’m not worried about work, there’s plenty of it everywhere. Mainly, whether I can live normally and earn normally. Not like now, like in prison, when I can’t take the kids to ice cream, to the swimming pool, because I’m afraid I’ll meet him,” she wishes.

Impacts of the crisis in the Czech Republic

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The article is in Czech

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