While HJ and I were riding the bike to the park the other night, the inevitable question came. “Mommy, why me no have a daddy?”
I was huffing and puffing pulling his trailer on the bike. We were on a stretch affectionately referred to as “the hill”, so I was hardly able to talk. This forced me to give a short answer while thousands of thoughts went through my head. “Because you just have a mommy.”
“Yeah,” he said, “I have a mommy!”
And that was it. I need to remember that he is only 3. As he gets older, more information will be needed, but for now, short and sweet was perfect. He hasn’t brought it up again, but it has crossed my mind numerous times. My thoughts on how to answer were all over the board. Here are some of thoughts I had…

All families are different. Some have just a mommy, some just a daddy, some have 2 mommies or 2 daddies and some have one of each. And then there are those who have step-parents, step-siblings, half siblings, surrogates, oh dear lord the list goes on and on. All families are different.

Your mommy loves you so very much, and that is all you need.

Your father is not man enough to be a daddy. Any guy can be a father, it takes someone special to be a daddy.

Your father loves you very much, he just couldn’t be with us.

It’s because of me. Your father dislikes me so much, it has nothing to do with you. You, my sweet boy, are perfect.

You see, I fear for the moment when this starts to bother HJ. I won’t be able to stand seeing him hurt. I don’t want his dad to break his heart like he did to me. I hope that I am giving HJ the information he needs for his age. I hope I never keep or hide things from him, but at the same time, I hope it never hurts him.

I feel sorry for your father, HJ. He will never know how amazing you are. He doesn’t know how much you like to help, or act goofy with your friends. He doesn’t know that when you are tired you like to cuddle up and play with my hair. He doesn’t realize how much you would love to ride in his truck or look at the motorcycle. He doesn’t know that you would love his dogs. He doesn’t know that you have memorized the names of construction trucks, and that you think mommy should trade in her car for a BIG truck.
He doesn’t see how you crawl into my bed every morning and talk to me while I get ready.
He doesn’t know that you will eat an entire container of blueberries in one sitting. Or that you call blueberries juicy-s. He doesn’t know your weak spot is for chocolate and cookies.
He doesn’t know that you love playing with your friend’s dads. When they give you attention, you swoon, laugh and do anything to keep their attention. Your dad doesn’t know that you ask to play with your friend’s dads, which makes my heart sad.
HJ, he doesn’t know what he is missing out on.
He doesn’t know that you have his eyes. You look a lot like him.
He will never know how wonderful you are. He doesn’t deserve you, sweet boy.

Wow, it has been a while since I last updated you all on where things stand with Child Support.  And no, I am not staying quiet on it for a change, it’s just that not much has changed.

When I last updated you, I had “heard” that HJ’s father sperm donor was going to request an order for modification.  About a month ago, I finally received a notification from Child Support Recovery that a request for modification was entered.  In the packet, it included all the forms I needed to fill out so they can set an amount.

This includes: pay-stubs, insurance amounts, daycare receipts, etc.  Apparently all of this is taken into consideration, you know, if the other person was actually working.  Side note: Not going to lie here, I actually figured out that I would be able to have the same life-style if I had no job and collected government benefits(because I wouldn’t pay for daycare and the state would provide insurance among other things), no wonder people find it hard to get out of the system.  That really ticked me off.

If you do not fill out the forms, they base it on the state average amount.  It doesn’t say this, however, I know this, because when we first had this done, daddy dearest was making good money.  He didn’t turn in the forms and his amount was set on the average income of all other deadbeats.  Yup, not the average salary in the state, the average for people that aren’t willingly paying child support.  The average salary was set at $18,000 for him.

However, $18,000 is significantly more than what he is making now.  Because now, his fiance and him have decided he would be a stay at home parent for their 2 daughters.

Because of that fact, I called the child support office to voice my concern.  My case worker told me that since his income will show as $0, the support amount will be $10/month.  When I receive the paperwork with that amount, I can dispute it.  This will take an additional 60 days.  The case will be reviewed.  The review will show that he still isn’t making any money, and the amount will again be set at $10.  I can then dispute it again, and it will go to court.  Which we all know how fast the court system works…

So, we will have to go to court.  This presents a few problems:

1. It’s expensive

2. Neither of us live in the city our case was established in (granted, I can drive there, but he would have to fly)

3. To go to court, I feel it is best to have a lawyer

Those 3 things led to me meeting with a lawyer.  Luckily, he is just going to be a pretty face in court and I will only have to pay him for that part (thank God for friends).  I met with him, and he said once I receive a letter showing the “new amount”, he will ask to have my case transferred locally.  The local office handles a lot fewer cases, so it is easier to get things done.  And then I won’t have to travel for the court hearing.  Of course, then the father will know what city we live in.

The lawyer agreed that the amount will be set to $10/month.  But said the court will change that, because $10/month is what people in prison are required to pay.  Yup, people in prison.  Not stay at home dads.  Not people whose families decided they had enough of an income that they no longer had to work.

Unfortunately, the best the court will do is require him to pay what a person making minimum wage would have to pay.   I am hoping that the court will also require a set amount of back-owed support to be paid.  It is currently close to $20,000.  I don’t think it is fair that they will just ignore that amount and hope that the court will agree with me.

Has anyone had to go in front of a judge for child support?  Were you able to get an arrangement on back-owed support?

 

**Don’t forget to enter my giveaway!!

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”
–Mary Engelbreit

Notice anything different about the blog?  Look up at the address bar.  Or the Title.  That’s right.  Things are changing around here.

There are numerous reasons why I went for the change.  It has been a long time coming, it just took me a while to figure out how to change EVERYTHING (not the best with computer stuff).  The thing is, yes I am a single mom.  That is where the original Single Mama Life title came from.  No, I didn’t go and elope, I am still a single mom.  But that’s not all I am.

When I started the blog, I think I still held a large amount of bitterness and resentment for Harrison’s father.  Little by little, that has been going away.  I wouldn’t say I have forgiven him completely.  But I don’t cry over it anymore.  I don’t get angry or stressed after talking with him (which might happen every 4 or 5 months…I can’t even remember the last time).  And now that I have come to the realization that I may never get child support, the doesn’t infuriate me.

Over time, I have been able to let go.  Even though I have said in the past we are better with out him, now I know for sure.  I know it would be hard to hand off a child every other weekend or holiday.  I am also aware that the parenting Harrison would get by going to his father’s would be challenging for Harrison and myself.

I know I have said these things over and over, but since last spring, I have been able to truly let go.  Healing brings about change.  You may have noticed a change in my posts in the last year.  I occasionally have the “UGH what a deadbeat” rants, but not nearly as many.  I have realized that the path my son and I are on is amazing.  Wonderful.  Happy.

Harrison and I have a special bond.  One that not many get to experience.  We are lucky.

I am no longer “just” a single mom.  I am a mother.  I no longer wanted to be pigeon-holed.  I know some people wouldn’t look at the blog because they thought it was primarily about “single-parenting” as opposed to just parenting.

I will still write about my struggles and successes.  In fact not much will change but the title.  And the look (yup, I am really excited about that one!).

HJ was born at 3:15 am on November 4th.  Being born at that time of the day means not many people are awake.  I went into labor the evening of the 3rd, and pushed from midnight on.  It was exhausting.  But at 3:15 am, I knew the greatest joy.  This little person was placed in my arms and everything changed.

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My wonderful friend Amy had helped through the labor (don’t worry, she is a labor and delivery nurse).  She had been at work when I went into labor, just finishing a 12 hour shift.  And then continued to finish off a full 24 hours by helping me through it.  She got to cut his umbilical cord :).

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After all the craziness following labor (weighing, measuring, crying, pictures, more pushing and lovely stitches), Amy went and got my mom.  Shortly after, Amy went home, to finally get some sleep.  My mom stayed with us for a bit, but then went to my apartment to finally get some sleep.

About this time, a nurse came in to take HJ’s footprints and give him his first bath.

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She said another nurse had made a hat she wanted HJ to have.  We laughed that he looked like a little cupcake.

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And then she left.  It was just me and the most perfect person I have ever laid eyes on.

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And then it hit me.  We were all we had.  I was alone.  The tears came quickly as I told HJ over and over, “I am so sorry.  It’s just me and you.  I am sorry.”

I knew throughout the pregnancy that I would be raising him alone.  But it never really hit me like it did at that moment.  And I had never felt so alone.  Or scared.

I held him tight as the tears rolled down.  I tried calling my mom, my sister, a few friends, but no one answered.  It wasn’t even 6am.

6:15 rolled around and I figured I could send the obligatory mass text. “Harrison James was born at 3:15am, 6lbs. 15oz, 19 inches”

The “congrats” texts started rolling in.  But I was still alone.  Feeling guilty that I didn’t have more to give my son.  That I couldn’t give him a dad.

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Ugh.  The never-ending, on-going cycle of child support frustrations.Here is what recently happened…

HJ’s dad told me he submitted a new modification order.  Since he is not working, receiving no benefits/assistance, and has had 2 other kids since our original order was put in place 2 years ago, he will probably get his child support lowered to about $10/month.

Are you frikken kidding me?

When he told me this, I remained calm.  What I wanted to say was, “you just bought your girlfriend a frikken diamond engagement ring.  You are going on a vacation in a week.  Your Christmas tree was piled high with presents.”

What I really said was, “have you found a job yet?”

He said no, and that he isn’t looking.  His fiance and him have decided he will stay home with the kids while she works.

But the thing is, he still has another child to think about.  That is fine and dandy that they can afford to have him stay at home, but they should also be able to provide the support for his other child.  AmIRight??

Naturally, I was frustrated.  I called the child support office right away.  And like always, the lovely lady who is my contact, explained to me this…

She said as now, there is no modification order in her hands, so he still owes me the previous set amount.  Also, in May, he had said he would start paying a minimum of $200/month, which has never been received.  Meaning, his license has been sanctioned in the state of Iowa.

Great, he doesn’t live in Iowa.

The state of Nevada has 30 days left to acknowledge that they received our order.  Once that happens, his license should also be sanctioned there.

If a modification order does get submitted by him, it is likely the amount would be changed to the $10.  On one hand, that is $10/month then I am getting now.  On the other hand, WTF.  $10 does not help raise a child.  That doesn’t even cover 1/3 of a day of daycare!However, it takes a minimum of 180 days to put a modification order in place if both parties agree to it.  If I don’t agree and want to dispute it, it will take much, much longer (gotta love how damn slow the system is), meaning he will still owe me the larger amount until the judge makes it official.

But a judge will also look at the fact that he has 2 other kids to support.  And no income.  So either way, the amount is going to go way, way down.

The state of Iowa does not seek work orders, meaning that even if he owes support, they won’t ask him to get a job.  He can stay at home raising his daughters, while his fiance makes more than enough money to support them all.  While I am struggling to make ends meet for his son.

HJ’s dad and I rarely communicate.  I know the type of person he is and chose to keep our conversations minimal if we have to talk.  There isn’t much that he can do that surprises or shocks me enough to warrant a phone call or send a text message.  I just don’t care anymore.

So this past weekend, when I found out some news about him, it wasn’t the “news” that bothered me.  He is having another baby.  His gf and him have 1 daughter, that is 5 months younger than HJ, and now will have another daughter sometime this month.  I actually was relived it is a girl.  He deserves a house full of girls.  Hopefully, trampy girls (yup, I went there).  I actually laughed at this a little.  Yes, a house full of girls.  I hope he never knows the amazing-ness of a son.  He missed that chance.  He gave it up willingly.

My thoughts went to, “wow, I feel bad for his gf.  She has put up with a lot.  Dating him on and off for years, now living with him for 3 straight years, with 2 kids and no ring?  what is she thinking?”

And I thought about it some more…you know what she is thinking?  If they get married, she stops getting alimony from her ex-husband.  And then I realized she is just as class-less as him.

Then I got to thinking about WAYYY back in May when Nate told me he was going to file for a child support modification.  I kept thinking he was being lazy and just not filling it out.  But you know what he is actually thinking?  He is probably thinking that you can only request a modification every 2 years.  So he is waiting for kid #3 to be born so he can pay me even less money.  With him currently being on unemployment and having numerous kids, he could owe me less then $10/month.

Told you they were class acts.

Does it bother me that he is father to other children and actually accepts them? Sure, how could it not.

But none of these things really “got” to me…I am use to those faults.   There was nothing that was keeping me from falling asleep.  Like I said, nothing surprises me.

UNTIL THIS…

I was shopping online at Babies R Us for a friend’s shower gift.  In stalker like fashion, I thought, “huh, I wonder if they have a registry?”.  Thinking there wouldn’t be…because who the hell has registries for 2nd babies?  Correction, 3rd!

But they do.

I skimmed through it, not caring until I saw this.  They had registered for and received many numerous expensive gifts.  These people, who have not been able to afford a dime in child support since April can afford to get a $500 crib?  And a dresser?  When they should already have things like a crib from having a previous baby?  He can buy things like this but can’t afford $100 in back owed child support?  WHAT. THE. FUCK.

How is this okay?  How can people get away with this? AND WHY THE FUCK IS IT BOTHERING ME SO MUCH THAT THEY GOT A NEW CRIB?

There had to be something to make me break down.

But how messed up is our system that someone who the child support office can not track down is so easily found via Babies R US?  I mean come on, they even list their address on there in case you want to send them a frikken gift!

Seriously.

I officially got a phone call that our child support case has been referred to interstate.  What does this mean exactly?  From what I can tell, it is a very long, drawn out process that does not guarantee anything.

Our new case worker called to tell me the news.  She said with-in a few weeks I would receive an affidavit in the mail.  If I sign this, it means that DB (HJ’s father sperm donor) will not have access to our address.  He will know that we still live in Iowa, but that is it.  Once she receives the signed form, it will have to go before a Nevada judge and be approved.  This can take around 3 months to complete.  And, this part is not mandatory, but I WILL do it.  While I do not think DB would ever do anything, I would rather not have him know where we live.  What if his family/gf were to find out he has a son?  It might make him snap.

After that, I will have to fill out paperwork on my employment status, income, etc.  CS office will work with Nevada CS office to insure paperwork is getting complete.  Nevada has 60 days to file the paperwork.

About 6-8 months from the start of this process, DB will finally receive paperwork letting him know what is going on.  He then has 60 days to fill out the paperwork and get the support amount changed.

Then if he begins paying, nothing happens.  If he doesn’t the state of Nevada could find him in contempt of court.

Here are my thoughts:

-The process takes about a year.  I am guaranteed to not get any money until then.  Really?  Something seems wrong with that.

-Once the new amount is set, he only has to pay that amount.  All the back owed support is still due at some point in time.  Shouldn’t the Child Support Office enforce a payment plan on back owed support?  Making sure it is paid in a timely matter?

-He isn’t working.  He doesn’t need to.  His gf supports him.  If he doesn’t have a job, he doesn’t have to pay.
I wish all my bills magically disappeared if I stopped working.

-He mentioned he had sold his company back in Iowa.  Shouldn’t some of that money go to pay of his debt?  Why wasn’t that an option?

-WHY DOES THIS TAKE SO LONG?

-Why do I know things, like he owns  rental property, yet the state can’t figure that out?

Basically, the whole process just gets more and more frustrating.  He is oblivious to what is going on.  He has no responsibilities in this matter.

Does anyone have experience with interstate cases?  I could you some advice on how to handle everything!

 

You have heard my rants about child support.  I have never received the full amount.  Not once.  Typically, I receive enough so that the child support office does not get the deadbeat in trouble with the law (about $50-100 a month).  Since his employer starting withholding income (OMG, I had to laugh typing that), I have received even less.

Along came April…I received nothing.  I waited until May 5th to call in and point out the fact that I had not received a dime.  Naturally, they were shocked and surprised.  I guess they don’t actually watch the cases to see whats going on.  Goes to show that parents need to be proactive about this stuff.

His “work” (laughing again…) said that he had chosen not to work the previous month due to vacation, so that is why there was no check sent.

Finally, a month where deadbeat did not comply with the rules set before him.  He went 2 years doing the bare minimum to not get in trouble.  And it finally got him.  Right?

Well, I think so at least.

After a few phone calls, it appears the Child Support Office sent a certified letter stating if he did not pay at least $100 within 30 days,  his license would be suspended.

He did not comply.

I don’t know if he thinks he is smarter than the system or just that dumb.  The letter he received stated that he would lose his Iowa Driver’s License.  I confirmed that even though he doesn’t live in Iowa, any driver’s license would be suspended.  As would any other licenses he may have (he has other licenses’ due to work).

I was then informed that the case is being turned over to an Interstate Case since he is so delinquent.  My case worker told me this would help them move quicker in doing things like having him held in contempt of court.

Unlike the time I found out his income would be withheld, I am not hopeful that this means I will receive any money.  I am just hopeful he might finally be held accountable. But really, I have learned that hoping for anything in this situation is just another way to be disappointed.

I do not understand the Child Support system.  I feel as if it is built to help dead beats.

You may remember a few months ago when I excitedly posted that HJ’s father was finally going to have money withheld from his check to pay his support.  I REALLY thought this finally meant I was going to be getting the money.  And the right amount.

I was wrong.

First off, the company had 30 days to comply with the withholding order.  That 30 days made it so I missed out on receiving ANY type of support for the month of February.  Once the 30 days hit, I called the CS office.  They contacted his employer.  The employer said that they would be making payments once a month.  At the end of the month.  So I received nothing for February, and finally received some support at the end of March.  The amount I received was not the full amount, in fact it was only about 60% of the full amount.  This week the CS office decided once again to contact his employer to see what they were doing.  They said that HJ’s dad is not working many hours, so they are only obligated to take 50% of his take home pay.

No one mentioned that he hasn’t been working much because they were on vacation for two weeks.  If I take a vacation, my bills are still due.

The amount was set almost 2 years ago, and there have only been 3 times where I actually received the full amount.

I am not a financial genius, but if I was to not pay my bills, I would get in trouble.  I would lose my house.  I would lose my car.  I wouldn’t be able to survive.

But a dead beat dad can apparently skip out on payments and they just “add it to his tab” like it’s no big deal?  Oh, he only owes you $12,000 in support we all agreed and signed on?  No big deal.

Why does it feel like the system is set up against the people who are actually supporting their children?

For the longest time after I had HJ, I would panic whenever my phone rang.  I would wonder if it was HJ’s dad calling to tell me how I ruined his life.  It was an awful feeling.

The feeling eventually went away.  HJ’s father and I have communicated only once every 5 months or so.  So when my cell phone rings, I don’t worry that it is him.  Then Tuesday rolled around.  I was updating some documents for work, snacking on peanut butter M&M’s, and my cell phone rang.  I glanced at the screen figuring I would ignore it (I was working!) and I panicked.  The name on the screen was Nate.

I took a deep breath and answered, knowing if I didn’t talk to him right away he wouldn’t call back or answer any of my calls.  Here is a little replay of our conversation..

Me: Hello?

Nate: Hey, How’s it going?

My thoughts…Oh are we making small chat here, what the hell?

Me: Er, fine.

Nate: That’s good.

Me: Uh-huh

Nate: So I am confused

My thoughts…no kidding.

Me: About?

Nate: My employer received a letter saying that child support recovery is going to be withholding child support.

My thoughts…big smile, oh my goodness, I might finally be able to get some support!

Nate: Why?

Me:Because you are supposed to pay child support?

Nate: But why is it a set amount?  I can’t afford that, can we change it?

Me: Did you contact the child support office?  I believe it is based on of a percentage of your income.

Nate: No, I thought I would call you first.  Can you call and see if it can be lowered?

My thoughts…HAHAHA.

Me:I think it is a pre-determined amount, plus they are probably factoring in back owed support.

Nate:So should we contact your lawyer again and have him draw something up?

Me: Why don’t we wait and see what is going on first?

Nate: OK.

Me: Sounds good!  Bye!

Nate: See ya.

First of all, he was a company owner when we dated.  Numerous times he would comment on the amount withheld from people’s checks for child support.  He KNOWS how the system works.  Secondly, NO I WILL NOT CALL THE CHILD SUPPORT OFFICE FOR YOU.  I am quite certain he is a capable adult who can handle calling them and figuring it out.  Most people know that amounts CAN be changed, but like I am going to freely give that information.  He can do some work on his own (but he won’t, he is lazy).  Thirdly, contact my lawyer to write a new amount?  MY lawyer?  Who was hired to help ME?  That sounds like a smart idea, get right on that.  And last of all…why does it still crush my heart that he does not even ask about HJ?  He did not bring him up, ask how he is doing, nothing.  When does that stop hurting?  Can someone truly be that heartless?

Hopefully, my phone ringing won’t be setting me into a panic again.  And hopefully HJ might actually start getting child support.