Geraldine Jensen and the Dead Beat Dad

The True Story Behind the Movie Abandoned and Deceived
by Traciy Curry-Reyes

In 1977, Geraldine Jensen divorced her husband and left the state of Omaha, Nebraska.  Jensen raised her kids as a single mom with two children named Jake and Matthew. Jake was just one year old and Matthew was four years old. She was able to make ends meet, and things seemed to be going ok, until her husband stopped sending child support. He stopped sending the money after 6 months without explanation. Geraldine was not able to pay her house note or make ends meet on her salary as a library assistant so she started to collect welfare payments. After losing her home she was literally almost kicked out on the streets. She was lucky to have loving parents that gave her and the boys a place to live until she could get on her feet. She decided that this was not the end of the story and that raising her children on welfare was not going to be enough to provide a good life for herself and for her sons. In 1980, Geraldine decided to go back to college to get a nursing degree. She was able to go back to college by receiving Pell grants provided by the government. She graduated from nursing school and she became a licensed nurse. Her first job was working as an LPN at a local nursing home facility. She did ok for a while, but their economic situation worsened. In 1983, Geraldine became very sick and had to be put in the hospital for several weeks. She also needed to attend to her son's hearing loss. All the while her ex husband was making over $35, 000 a year. Her ex kept making excuses as to why he was unable to pay. The real story is that he had moved on with his life by making a new family, so he couldn't afford to pay her. Gerri decided to make contact with the social worker who had helped her before to find out what she could do to get back payments for child support from her ex husband. She was directed to the child support agency. The prosecuting attorney that was handling the case told Geraldine that there really was not a lot he could do about the back child support payments because she didn't really know where her ex was living at the time. She could not afford to hire a lawyer. Mad and desperate she decided to take matters in her own hand, but placing a newspaper ad in the local Toledo newspaper with the title "Not Receiving Your Child Support? Call Me." She received so many calls she could barely sort them all out. The response from the single mothers in Toledo was overwhelming. These women wanted action so the formed themselves a small group called the Association For Children For Enforcement of Support. Within just a few weeks the number of women who became members of the group multiplied. Today there are chapters in just about every state across the US. Eventually, after going in circles, with trying to locate him, finding out where he worked, and then where he lived, Gerri was owed more than $12,000 in back child support money.

Women started developed names for this group of fathers who refused to help support their children, knowing that the single mothers were struggling. These non paying fathers became deadbeat, deadbeat dads, delinquent dads, and well....just simply deadbeats. Other states followed suit. For the first time these states started making these deadbeat dads accountable for fathering children, leaving, and not helping support their children financially. Not only are these non paying dads being publically humiliated, but they are subject to being imprisoned for not paying.

Gerri started making headlines all over the US. Her case was the subject of news shows and talk shows alike. Gerry hit the talk show circuit to let all the singles mothers know that they were not alone. She let them know that her organization helps single mothers and single fathers get collect their child support payments. To make it easier on the fathers, there are payment set ups to help them. If they don't pay they go to jail. Most of these fathers don't want to do jail time so they find a way to come up with the money. You have men who challenged Gerri's cause. Many of the dad's stated that their jobs just don't pay enough, and that it is embarrassing and traumatizing for the kids to have their father's put in jail. Statistically when fathers are put in jail for not making payments, they find a way to make the payment in most cases. So it is a system that seems to work.

Read other dad beat dad cases below.