Inauguration Day and One of those Life Changing Moments

He had the television on all day watching the inauguration.  He must have run out of do-it-yourself shows.  It was a good day full of hopeful speeches and thankfulness that we are advancing as a country despite all my beer chugging republican friends on facebook.

AND THEN he had surgery on his knee, which should have been quick and the recovery time only two weeks and then back to normal.  Except that the surgeon said he has no cartilage left in his knee and CANNOT continue to work as an electrician or any other job that he’s skilled at or loves and now he can only work a desk job.  A desk job?  So now he’s sitting at home recovering and knows that he has two weeks to figure this out, that he has to drop out of school, that he has to find a job he doesn’t really want, and that our great plan is over.  Just like that.

Which brings me to the connection between the inauguration and the day that our lives changed.  Here’s a man who has worked hard since the age of 15.  He has no health insurance.  His family can’t afford the basics without his income.  And one day BAM his career ends and he has no skills and can’t take the time off to get any.  Does he do this because he likes being a victim?  Does he feel entitled?  Does he want to live off the taxpayers?

This could happen to anyone.  It just happened to happen to us.

Trump’s Ingenious Plan To Help Obama Win Reelection

I was sitting in front of msn’s morning news when I saw that one of the things they found most important to tell me today was that:

Gary Busey Wants Trump For President.

This doesn’t surprise me all that much as Gary Busey is known for being a little crazy.

But then I realized that TRUMP IS A GENIUS.

He is distracting the republican party by taking up almost all the media attention and creating a circus over issues that have already been laid to rest.

And this is the best part:

I believe it is his plan to fracture the party and steal votes from actual real politicians, in order to help Obama get reelected.  Because anyone in their right mind is not going to vote for Trump.  Not even republicans.  Which is hard for me to say, but I can type those words as long as I can control the twitching in my left hand.

Seriously, why else would Trump run?  He would never want us to take a good look at his business dealings.

Single Mother Statistics AND Statistics on Teen Crime and Single Parent Homes

In a report issued in 2009, by the U.S. Department of Commerce:

  •  About 1/4 of children under 21 live with one parent. 
  •  1/4 of these live under the poverty level. 
  • 82.6 % of custodial parents are the mother.
  • 1/3 of custodial mothers have never been married.
  • 19% of custodial mothers had remarried.
  • The age of custodial mothers is increasing,  in 1994 25% were over the age of 40, in 2008 (the year this report covers) 39% were over 40.
  • 27 % of families with custodial mothers live in poverty. 13% with custodial fathers do.

The report has many more statistics, mostly about child support and poverty.

THIS is the best article I’ve found on teen crime statistics from single parent households.  Most articles online these days are on people’s blogs and don’t have references.  I don’t read facts in articles that don’t tell me where they came from.  Anyone can make up numbers.  I have searched through the links and everything appears to be true. 

Don’t be mistaken, the first part shows where the Father’s Rights groups get their statistics.  These are NOT real statistics.  They are made in in articles and then referenced again and again as though they were true.  I trust the .gov sights a whole lot more than manifestos by HATE GROUPS.

It repeats what I was talking about before on this POST.  It’s too easy to say that being a single mother is a factor in having your teenager commit crimes or become involved in bad behaviors.  Being a single mother means having a greater chance of living below the poverty line, struggling with employment and domestic violence.  Living in bad neighborhoods and having to leave the kids home alone.  It is the circumstance she’s left in when she chooses to leave a relationship that causes harm to the entire family.

Give her affordable housing, a part-time job, educational help, and day care for teenagers and these problems might disappear.

Also, the rate of single mother homes is rising (according to FBI reports (see the above reference article) and teen crime is dropping.  Not everything is cause and effect. 

I’m not saying that children are better off without fathers.  THEY ARE BETTER OFF WITHOUT BATTERERS and VIOLENT MEN in their lives.  Yes, that is true.  I dare you to tell me it’s not.

And a good mother, who struggles and works hard, despite the overwhelming stigma and guilt and financial neglect from the men who make up our government–a good mother will still do a good job. 

My three teens are still in school, actively involved, have good friends, are not obese, do not smoke or drink, do not commit crimes, and have all A’s and B’s right now.  It hasn’t been easy.  But I don’t give up just because the FATHER’S RIGHTS people tell me I’m a failure.

How do I raise my child support?

I look through the ways people end up on this blog every once in a while and this is one question I can probably answer fairly well.  I’ve been in and out of court for 7 years now.  Just last month he filed to lower my child support again, just as I remarried. 

So I am going to assume that you already have a court ordered child support amount and for some reason you want it raised.  If you don’t have one, contact your child support office or local courthouse and they will help you with the process of filing for parentage and all that.

But let’s assume you already have an amount set.  The only way to change this is a change in circumstance.  The CP (custodial parent) might have lost a job.  The NCP (non-custodial parent) might be making more, or you think he (or she) is making more. 

Other changes in circumstance might seem important, but most likely won’t affect child support amounts:  cost of living increase, educational costs, change in housing costs, more children.  You can attempt to change the child support amount. It might be worth the effort.  But most likely not.

Your local child support office should have a child support calculator on their website.  Find the local offices here.  Find the calculator, plug in the numbers you have and find their number for the amount.

If this is 10% over what you’re getting it is likely the judge will want to review your case.  Not 10% or more and it says in most court rules about filing that they’ll just shred it.

Go to your local court house and ask for papers to modify child support.  You will have to fill out an affidavit and give them copies of pay stubs and tax returns.  They will send the same request to the NCP.  Remember that if he/she works under the table a lot of money can be hidden.

The court will set a case managers conference or a hearing, depending on what state you’re in or a hearing.  The judge will hear from both sides about why they think support should be raised or lowered.  Then they will decide on a number there, or tell you something will come in the mail. 

Remember these important things I’ve discovered:

  • The financial afidavit doesn’t really ever come into play as far as I know, because they’ve never looked at bills at any hearing I’ve been to.  He always puts down something like $3600 in monthy bills and I put down $1256 because that’s what my 3 kids and I can survive on.  I’m not sure how this would ever come into play.
  • It doesn’t appear to be based on the “standard of living the children were used to when the parents were married” as the court forms say.  They once based his amount on what he could possibly earn according to him if he moved to the area we were living.  He said in court that he could make “$10 an hour after 23 years in the food service industry” and the judge based the amount on that number.
  • Never once have my educational costs or student loan payments come up.
  • The office of child support will send a representative to the hearing if you are involved with their office.  They don’t work for you or for the NCP.  They can help or be very dangerous to you.  They once told him if he moved from state to state every six months it would be impossible to catch him.  Yeah.
  • You may get more money, or you may get screwed.  If you get to court, you’ve opened the door for the judge to raise OR LOWER your amount.  It could go either way.  So unless you can prove the NCP makes more or you make less be very careful.  He asked they lower the amount to $300 a month based on his disbelief that they could actually cost me that much to raise and he demanded an itemized list of what I spent every penny on and he was allowed to being that delusionishnesseses to court.
  • Just recently I learned that you can ask the office of child support to make a judgment on if support should be raised.  They ask each party for a financial affidavit and their system spits out a number, which they mail to both parties and the court.  They don’t file to modify, but they are a resource.  Even if the number isn’t 10% over the current amount, either party can take it to court, although if it is under 10% the court will most likely shred it.  And either party can file as often as they like.  There appears to be no limit at the child support office.
  • EVERY JUDGE IS DIFFERENT.  I’ve been to court so many times I’ve lost track.  And every judgment seems arbitrary.  They don’t know what to do with one sane party and one COMPLETELY OFF THE WALL PARTY.  One judge even let him offer his swollen ankles as evidence.  It is a crap-shoot.  And they (at least in Vermont) tend to be sexist, don’t care how professional you look, what degree you have, or if the other party wears a hat, shoes with holes, or talks over them.
  • If you can afford a lawyer, get a lawyer.  If you can’t then be careful.  Any court hearing leaves you open to being screwed.
  • Being remarried really has nothing to do with it.  The papers I received last month to fill out because he wants support lowered because I remarried and he’s a piddly-ass loser who doesn’t feel a teeny bit responsible to provide anything for his children, the papers didn’t ask for any info about my new husband.  So my income is the same and my bills have gone up!  It’s a waste of time for everyone.

I know I’m a DOWNER.  But if your income has dropped, or the NCP’s has gone up check your state’s calculator.  Call or go in to see the Clerk of Court.  Ask for a form to file for modification.   I don’t believe in just letting it go.  I will fight and continue to fight for justice.  Alot of people have suggested I give up on child support and just go on with my life.  But you know what?  If I get a penny I’ve won a small victory for my children.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask.

2009 Taxes: Don’t miss the new WORK FOR PAY credit!

I did the first three times I went through my forms.  Then I got bored today and sat down to browse through the ENORMOUS 1040 book.  Really, I did.  And I found a credit that is new this year and almost anyone can take it.  It’s called Work For Pay and it is listed on Line 8 on the 1040EZ, Line 63 on the 1040, or Line 40 on the 1040A.  The worksheet to see if you can take it is on the back cover of the EZ book, and Schedule M in the 1040 and 1040A. 

I asked my friend if she had seen this and she missed it because she has no children and thought that there were no credits for her.  She was wrong.  Now she owes me.  She says she’ll give me a BIG FAT KISS, but all I really want is a ride to the airport.  🙂

Child Support and Social Security: I’m getting both until someone fixes it and that someone is NOT me because I already tried.

I changed my mind.  I LIKE posting while I’m sick and on sinus medicine because I don’t really know what I’m writing and it’ll entertain me when I’m well again and I can look back and say WHAT? 

It’s a beautiful day when the kids get a check from Social Security and they also garnish child support from his Social Security check and all because he wouldn’t work with the basic terms of an agreement that I suggested and instead threatened to take me to court with money he never got, cause it was given to me.  Together this amounts to what I should have been getting every month from him anyway, based on what he was making when we were married and not after he decided to move from state to state to state and work under the table and for tips.  So many people told me to just give it up, and stop catching him at it, stop wasting my time and energy giving the Office of Child Support information they couldn’t find themselves.  Nah.  It all comes back around.

All I want are the kids as deductions on my taxes.  When they’re in college and I’m paying the bill and he has nothing to do with anything, he shouldn’t be able to use them as deductions.  I think there should be a line on my divorce order saying that if you don’t get to pick up their used kleenexes you don’t get to use them on your taxes.  If you don’t find red stuff all over your arm after doing the dishes that came from someone’s bronzer which is now mysteriously all over the house then you don’t get to use them on your taxes.  If they aren’t sneaking money out of your bag everytime you use the bathroom for more than 30 seconds, then you don’t get to use them on your taxes.

I think the IRS should let me rewrite that huge 1040 book they sent me this year, that I used like 3 pages out of, after reading through so many worksheets and ending up with no answer.  I could simplify things.  It would be like 20 yes/no questions and then it would generate an amount at the end to refund or tax.  Do you have more money than you need to survive?  How many pairs of shoes do you own?  Do you pick up your children’s used kleenexes?  BING!  You owe $7,300. 

Okay, I’m going to drink coffee now for the first time in DAYS because I can’t wait to see me on sinus medicine AND caffeine.

Social Security for the Kids

I received 3 booklets each for the girls from the Social Security Office, which always makes me say

 “How many trees did you kill for this?!”

Only one really means anything to me:  “A Guide for Representative Payees.”  I am the girls’ representative, meaning they are under 18 and I get the checks.  Let me make this clear that the back-checks covered some of his child support arrears and that the upcoming monthly payments will take the place of his child support payments (after he takes me to court to change that of course).  So this money is child support, not extra money.  It’s money I should have been getting for the past 6  years.  And a measely sum at that because they kept lowering his amount the more he showed them his swollen ankles (Yes, I am serious).

This Guide For Representative Payees says that each year I will have to complete a form to account for the benefits I have received so that they can tell if I have misused money.    I will have to account for money spent on basic needs, food, shelter, clothing, recreation, extra medical or dental expenses, schools, movies, concerts, activities, buying a house, home improvements, furniture, cars, or I need to put any extra money in bank accounts for them.

I’m half tempted to keep track of every penny I spend on them, hand these people 1000 pages of things like:  $1.20 for gum, $.50 for bake sale, $4.00 for a movie, $2.99 for a t-shirt on sale.  Then I would list bigger things like: $150 a month each for their share of the rent, $125 a month each for their share of food expense, $25 a month each for their share of gas money for having me drive them around and around and around, $20 a month each for their share of the internet bill, $20 a month each for computer ink and paper, $30 a month each for feminine products, make-up, and hair products.

Wait, let me add that up!  $370 a month each and I haven’t even covered clothes, movies, or birthday presents for their friends!  Yes, I’ll be putting lots of money in their bank accounts! 

And let’s talk about the back pay.  He would go months without having child support garnished out of his paycheck, by moving from state to state and job to job until I caught up to him with my super sleuth skills.  One time it was ELEVEN months of nothing.  I spent every cent I had on the kids to keep their lives as normal as possible.  Sometimes I would even go without WINE.  I worked and worked and went to school full time while working and he was paying nothing.  So I think this booklet needs to be written:

A Guide For Representative Payees whose Children have Deadbeat Dads

1.  Don’t Stress.  It’s your money and you know what’s best for your children.

2.  Since you have always been the adult responsible for the children, we trust you to do the right thing.

3.  We are paying the other parent’s debts because he is incredibly irresponsible and we will require him to itemize where he’s spent every cent he’s ever had and then question every cent that wasn’t spent to help his children.  We won’t do this to you as you seem to have your shit together balancing three kids and a job and everything else.  Here’s a free vacation in Hawaii.

3.  Part of taking care of the children is taking care of yourself.

4.  We realize that this money will never cover what is truly spent to raise three girls and we apologize and will be sending you another $236,000 to make this right.

5.  We will also be sending a representative to your house to watch the kids for the weekend so that you can take some time off and relax, along with paying for weekly housecleaning, a personal assistant, and a lifetime supply of  Love My Goat red wine.