On December 7th, 2020, the day before my son Franklyn’s 16th birthday, a Judge awarded full custody of Franklyn and his brother Daniel, 7, to my estranged wife; I’ll have them every other weekend. The boys are required to live in her current jurisdiction. No offer for extra travel on my part to expedite visitation was considered. The direct testimony of my son requesting to live with his father was rejected.
Explaining to my sons that a Judge said we could not be together was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
Franklyn sent me a text the day after the court verdict. One word. “Fight.” I had spent the night before at home, alone, “sinking into the muck and the mire”. He snapped me out of it with one word. In a text! Fight. After all the preaching I’d done over the years about how life can knock you down, but you have to take the hit and get back up, my son brought it all back to me in one word.
My name is Darrell Wilson. I have two sons, Franklyn and Daniel, ages 16 and 7. Three years ago my wife walked out on me and the boys. I’m an older father (don’t ask but I’m eligible for Medicare in 2021), but have loved the experience of raising the boys and we did our best on my pension, social security benefits, and driving for Lyft. COVID has taken Lyft away for the last 9 months. I was an at-home dad when Daniel was born, working part-time in business development. He was 4 when his mother walked out. She told the boys they would stay with their father. I was left with a 13-year-old, a 4-year-old, and a strong resolve to do the best I could to give my boys all they need and a lot of what they want.
Then my wife found out she would have to pay child support, and as you can imagine she suddenly had to have the boys. She and her new man could afford a lawyer; I could not.
My sons were devastated on December 7th, 2020. I was devastated. It had taken two years, but we had put our lives back together, just the three of us. The boys were visiting their mother regularly every other weekend but we could no longer afford to live in the place that had been our home from the time the boys were born. We had to move but we were hopeful that the courts would understand our desire to be together and that the boys needed stability. We even made it through the first months of this pandemic locked in the house together. Think that was easy? We believe in our scientists and see the light at the end of this dark tunnel. We are positive that we will see the end of this healthy and together.
I promised Franklyn we would fight and now I ask for your help to keep my word to him and Daniel. I have identified a lawyer, and I will try to wait for a vaccine before returning to driving Lyft to help pay for his services. As I said, older dad. I am taking all precautions. I want my sons to see that their father is working for them, fighting for them, loving them. Otherwise, I am on a fixed income and paying child support. I will not be a dead-beat dad! Please help me. They are wonderful young men (I know I am biased, but I am truly blessed) and I do my best for them. We will appeal. We will stand together.
The boys are troupers. Daniel now plays the piano and can read music, and Franklyn plays piano and cello. They are wonderful, moral, ethical, and respectful young men. If you have 3 minutes, take a look here to hear (see what I did there?) their music and know that they are real people.
Now they are in a place they don’t want to be, confined to the house because of Covid-19, and at odds with their mother. Their music is gone, their school grades have dropped, and their smiles are forced, and fail to hide their sadness. Because I could not afford a lawyer. I cannot explain how humbling it is that I could not afford a lawyer to protect my sons.
I was hesitant to try GoFundMe. That was pride. “Pride Goeth Before the Fall” and is certainly not more important to me than my children, so here I am, humbly asking you for your help. See? Sometimes you can teach an old dog a new trick. The projected legal fees look like a mountain before us. I set the goal of $10,000.00 based on advice on how much it could cost. With your help we will reach the summit.
Thank you for taking the time to read my request and I promise you your donation will go toward bringing my sons home. If you are unable to currently donate, and many of us are right now, sharing our story is just as valuable.
Darrell, Franklyn and Daniel
If you would like to see them play a little music please Click Here
- Alyce Watkins
- Lincoln Pitts
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