I don't proofread my posts before I publish them... cause I keep my thoughts au naturale.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The things they don't tell you about child support that you should know!

I decided to write this in blog form because I feel it will be easier to comprehend in writing.  So here is the back story: when I initially filed for divorce from my first husband, child support was calculated based on our incomes at the time.  I wanna say that I was getting like $181/mo for two kids.  Fast forward a couple years and my ex filed to have the support lowered based on an income of him not having a job.  In Iowa, the state minimum for two children is $48/month.  I *think* it's $35/month for one child.  For the past three years, I have been frustrated, thinking that it was yet another reason why our government was broken.  How is it fair that I work two jobs and pay for everything while he skates by with only being obligated to pay $48/month?? 

Image result for child supportIf you are a parent who has their kids full-time, you know they aren't cheap.  Child support is supposed to cover the necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, utilities.  Plus think about the extras: birthday party gifts, field trips, sports fees, club fees, school fundraisers, medicine, toiletries... the list goes on and on. 

And God forbid you complain about it on social media- I've heard every response in the book (mostly from men) about why I'm a horrible person for expecting a dad to help support his children financially.  But that's not what this post is about.  It isn't about who is right and who is wrong because I think that the majority of decent human beings know.  And this also isn't a post to bash on my ex.  I am writing this for women who thought they were getting screwed over because the biological dad didn't work (or worked under the table) and they had no choice but to accept getting nothing in child support.

THE GOOD NEWS:  So for three years I stewed about this.  I tweeted law-makers and complained on FB posts.  I vented on social media.  Then about six months ago I decided to start doing some research.  I found the child support laws for Iowa.  It was updated in January of 2018, so I don't know how far back this section goes, but I came across this:

Rule 9.11 Variance from guidelines. The court shall not vary from the amount of child support that would result from application of the guidelines without a written finding that the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate as determined under the following criteria: 
9.11(1) Substantial injustice would result to the payor, payee, or child(ren). 
9.11(2) Adjustments are necessary to provide for the needs of the child(ren) or to do justice between the parties, payor, or payee under the special circumstances of the case. 
9.11(3) Circumstances contemplated in Iowa Code section 234.39. 
9.11(4) The court may impute income in appropriate cases subject to the requirements of rule 9.5. If the court finds that a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed without just cause, child support may be calculated based on a determination of earning capacity. A determination of earning capacity may be made by determining employment potential and probable earnings level based on work history, occupational qualifications, prevailing job opportunities, earning levels in the community, and other relevant factors. The court shall not use earning capacity rather than actual earnings or otherwise impute income unless a written determination is made that, if actual earnings were used, substantial injustice would occur or adjustments would be necessary to provide for the needs of the child(ren) or to do justice between the parties.

Now that I had this information, what do I do with it?  I went to the Child Support Recovery Unit website (in your state it would be whomever is responsible for collection and distributing payments.)  I filed for a review since it had been more than the required two years.  Of course their review came back as no change because he still had no income.  I felt a bit disheartened, but when you receive your report, it says that you can request in writing a court hearing for review if you disagree with the findings.  You have to send back a letter stating that you want a review and why.  I wrote that my reasoning for why was based on the above court rules for variance from guidelines.  I was still a bit worried that it was a pointless venture, but I commented on a local FB mom support group asking if anyone had gone to court over child support and what the outcome was.  I got soooo many responses from moms in the same position I was in, but only one response from someone who had actually gone.  Her ex had taken HER to court for a reduction because she was voluntarily unemployed so she could be a SAHM.  The court imputed earnings on her based on her prior work experience and education.  This was not good news for her, but good news for me if that was going to be how it went for me.

Fast forward to the court hearing.  I had all my necessary documents, pages of notes, print-outs, everything I thought I would need to plead my case.  I didn't use any of it.  We sat down with a public attorney for the state who had all our information on record.  She presented what she thought would be fair based on his "earning potential" at the time, based on an income of $24,500 a year with me making more on my end.  The total amount of monthly support for two children based on that income was $522!  However, her job is to try and get it so that you don't have to go in front of a judge.  In order for that to happen, the two parties must agree to an amount.  Of course my ex was opposed to that amount and he tried to argue HIS side about why he shouldn't have to pay that much.  The lawyer made it clear that the judge would impute earnings on him whether he had a job or not and that it was likely the judge would impute a similar amount.  So after a couple hours of listening to him argue, we settled on a lesser amount.  I won't give the amount, but it was a lot more than $48/month and even more than the original $181/month in our divorce decree.

Justice was served... for me anyway.  Now it is your turn to try and get what you and your children deserve.  If you find yourself in the same position I was in, do not just accept it.  Iowa is definitely not leading the way for anything when it comes to fair laws, so unless you live in an even shittier state, I'm sure the law is on your side.  It just takes a bit of digging and some paperwork.  If you have any questions or need help, please contact me!  aborderlinemom@gmail.com  You deserve what is fair.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Book Review: My Magic Breath by Nick Ortner and Alison Taylor

Short, but impactful, My Magic Breath is a children's book that teaches the importance of mindful breathing.  Using beautiful, sprawling illustrations (by Michelle Polizzi), the book gives kids the instructions needed to change their thoughts into deep, magic breaths and exhale them to create something amazing. 

Since my kindergartner is rather sensitive when it comes to his emotions, I was excited to be able to try this book with him.  He loves reading and being read to and this book was able to keep his attention as it wasn't too wordy, but he also enjoyed the breathing exercises that went along with it.  At the time, he was in a good mood, but I definitely think reading this when he is upset would be a great way to redirect his negative emotions.

When he outgrows the book itself, I intend to donate it to his elementary school, as I think that it would be a great book to have in a classroom with younger students.  I was given a gratis copy for review.

This is a great book to keep at home or take along on trips, as it helps kids process their emotions and turn them into something beautiful.  With the author's permission, I have created a video of a reading of the book.  Definitely get your own copy as this video doesn't replace the great bond you can share by reading it aloud with your child.  My Magic Breath is available for purchase on May 15!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

My Thoughts On: The Current Teen Mom OG Gals

So as I was digging through my archives, I came across a post from 2011 about my thoughts on the cast of Teen Mom OG back then.  Boy was I in for a change of heart!  To be fair, this was before Farrah got a new face and body and decided to do a sex tape.  It was before Maci got with Taylor and Amber got with Matt and now the new guy whose name I forget.  It was before several more babies were popped out.  So, with that in mind, here's my new improved perspective on the ladies (as if my opinion matters to anyone.)

Farrah Abraham: Okay, so technically as of this posting, she was fired (hallelujah), but it's super fresh and still being gossiped about.  This chick is such a hot mess that the entire NY Fire Department couldn't put her out.  So many derogatory names come to mind when I think of her behavior, but I'm gonna be above name-calling.  (Picture her snapping her fingers and saying, "You don't know me!")  First of all, the way she talks to EVERYONE is awful... awful... I don't know where she got the sense of entitlement that she has, but whoa- girl needs to take it down a peg or two.  She talks to her family like she's the queen and they are waiting in line for the throne.  She talks to her employees and coworkers like they are peasants lying in a ditch full of poo.  And yet, 99% of these people are way better than she is as human beings.  And after her upbringing, you'd think she would try to give better to her daughter.  All the money in the world won't erase the memories of her mother screaming at family and other people.  It won't erase the memories of her mother being selfish and controlling.  In summation... good riddance and I hope MTV respects their producers enough not to inflict her upon them ever again.

Maci Bookout:  I know her last name is something else, but I don't remember it and I'm not looking it up.  Maci Mrs. Taylor?  I don't know.  I don't really have much to say about her.  She seems intelligent, a good mom, a loving wife... but I can't really relate to her about much.  Plus I'm jealous of how good she looks after popping out thirty kids.  Her ex- Ryan- is still immature and relies heavily on his parents for everything.  That's typical of men of his generation.  Yeah, I said it.  And his current wife is the typical new wife that thinks her man can do no wrong.  Neither of them know what it's like to be a full-time parent, so take a seat and get back to us when you do.

Amber Portwood:  I've gone back and forth over the last couple of seasons about Amber, but after her most recent life choices, I've become set in my opinions about her.  She reminds me of my ex-husband, and that's not a good thing.  I would have never thought I'd end up siding with GARY... EVER.  Dude seems yucky and a bit slow.  But his new wife seems like she's brought him around to being a decent person and caring dad.  But AMBER... I wanted to like her.  We share some mental illnesses, so I felt like I could understand her need to constantly have a man in her life to the point that she couldn't see their glaring flaws.  However, it has become clear that being a mom is not her number one priority.  Just like my ex, she had no time for her kid, but had time to find a new significant other and even get pregnant.  Explain your priorities to me there.  Yes, you were depressed, but that depression didn't keep you from actively dating and falling in love... AND making another kid!  She's in for a rude awakening when she finds out what it's like to not be able to pawn your kid off on someone else for months at a time.  I have been on the literal edge of a cliff before, ready to jump, but still hauled my depressed ass back to take care of my kids.  I chose to put them on this planet, I'm not bailing on them.  She has.  Hopefully MTV axes her next.

Catelynn Ba...: I don't know her last name off the top of my head either.  Balterra?  Can I call her Mrs. Tyler?  I appreciate her struggles.  I can only imagine the demons that play in her mind about Carly, her miscarriage, her childhood... she is understandably in need of help.  Again, I feel like there are other options for getting help than bailing on your child for months at a time, but at least she has a lot of family to help Tyler out and she isn't like Amber- ditching her kid to throw her cat around.  I think that it will be hard for her to ever come to terms with what she has gone through in life.  I'm a little bummed that she and Tyler are so forgiving of the people that did them wrong, but forgiveness is therapeutic.  I hope that she and Tyler can have a happy ending.  If she's anything like me, it might just be a waiting game until she can find the right meds that help. 

Well, there you have it- if you made it to the end of this, I'm impressed that you cared.  Now I'm off to work, where I will completely forget about these people until next Tuesday when I see Teen Mom OG pop up on my DVR.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

I have a podcast!

One of my latest ventures was to create a podcast- I find that it's easier for me to just speak my thoughts sometimes than to find the time to get to a computer and type them out.  Plus I can ramble for quite a bit longer that way.  Anywho, here is one of the episodes that has the most hits.  Feel free to subscribe!  It is called A Borderline Mom Speaks.  I will still try and get an occasional blog posted and of course, I'm always active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!