This above picture is an overview of my situation. The french doors on the bottom floor--I want to replace them with a set of accordian doors so that when they are all open, almost the whole wall is open to the patio with no post in the middle. That leads me to my big question--can I take that 4x4 post out of the middle? There is a 4x12 header that goes across this whole wall--you can see it in this cutaway picture:
So this 4x12 beam needs to support the deck and the upstairs. The upstairs is cantilevered out about 4 feet over the 4x12 beam. The 2x10 joists in the deck go from the 4x8 beam over the deck posts back to the 4x12 beam above the doors. Here's a pic of the joists:
The 4x4 post doesn't seem to be very supportive. I pulled some of the siding and door casing away to check it out. The only thing that concerned me was that the post had one of those heavy duty brackets at the top securing it to the 4x12. I was expecting to see it toe nailed in or maybe with a couple of those thin metal Simpson straps since I thought it was there just to provide a place for the hinges on the French doors. Any insight will be greatly appreciated.