Child Support

Now, some may take this as a rant against my thinking that I’m “entitled” to receive child support for any children to whom I’ve given birth, regardless of the current situation.

In many ways, yes, I do – I have raised my son for over sixteen years, paying all medical expenses, dental costs, food, shelter, clothing, miscellaneous fees, and school tuition. The only way to calculate the exact cost would take more time than I’m willing to invest. I will, however, say that just in the last seven years we’ve spent close to $15,000 on this child, which doesn’t include a $10,000 outstanding tuition bill or the usual food, clothing, and shelter costs.

And yes, I’ve received child support, to a nearly equivalent amount – I’ve also had to deal with all headaches attendant in raising this kid.

My issue isn’t particularly the amounts spent or received, but the state’s involvement with my child support case. I was originally to receive X amount of dollars which, when certain other, court-ordered costs weren’t being paid, was lowered – the judge said it was because I took a different job than the one which I had thought to apply for and testified about. I hear she’s retired now, no surprise. Always wondered what was behind that.

But, to return to the point: when my son was ten years old, eight years after the original order, I asked for a state review of child support amounts. This is something the state says it will provide, in one document, but in another it says you must request the review. So I did.

Almost three years, later, I received an increase in child support of approximately 36%. Why three years? First, they claim to be overworked – a common complaint in a state which must be listed as number one for inefficiency – and second, they lost the original paperwork. Of course, some blame must be assigned to my son’s father, as he protested every court order, every time, every step of the way.

Perhaps the state is improving – last June, I requested another review due to my son’s escalating medical and tuition bills. I have received no word on this decision – the hearing was over three months ago.

My son was taken into state custody on April 3. On April 7, there was a hearing to determine if he should return home or if more investigation should take place; the judge decided that my son should remain in temporary custody and another hearing is scheduled for April 27.

Just six days after the temporary custody hearing, on April 13, the state issued a cryptic letter to me. It says that my son is no longer eligible for continued support. That was all, two sentences I believe.

So I called and asked a few questions. First, I had to give numerous answers to so-called “identifying” questions – cause really, WHO would be interested except me or his father? At any rate, the best part was when I answered the address question with street number and name, city, and zip code. I’d already given the girl my IV-D number, so she was looking right at the information; my city is large and um, rather well-known. But she just had to ask what state I lived in. Wow.

What the letter means is that I no longer receive support from my son’s father – kind of a no-brainer, but the wording is such that it seemed as though he’d aged out of the system perhaps, or had won the lottery, or whatever. Apparently, there are no writers on staff at the Division of Family Services. Pity.

My point is that, while the state takes their sweet time, one to three years, dealing with support modifications – in just SIX DAYS they can determine that since my son is in temporary custody I am not entitled to support payments.

Now, we aren’t destitute, we aren’t hurting financially, but there are many, many families out there who certainly are having difficulties. What about them? I suppose the state’s areas of concern for children do not extend to increasing or decreasing support amounts – only to destroying families and additional suffering.

I might also add that I was billed by the prosecutor’s office for my son’s attorney on his previous foray into family court – as his mother, yes, I understand; as his victim, no, it makes zero sense.

And yesterday’s mail also brought an EOB from my insurance company: a $950 total bill from the hospital, $400 of which I am responsible for. The state, in their infinite wisdom, decided that my son’s claims of abuse and a couple of self-inflicted bruises warranted a “fit to confine” examination – for which the hospital billed almost $1000. And folks wonder what’s wrong with the healthcare system.

Now, a simple ER visit can cost a couple hundred dollars, true. But would a thinking parent whose child, for example, came home with a few bruises from playing football or wiping out on his bike, actually run the child to the ER? Likely they’d tell a teenager to take a nice, hot shower, lie down for a bit, give him a couple ibuprofen, and watch him for signs of further injury.

The state wishes to take over parenting, but uses no common sense – and we’re supposed to trust that our children are safe in their care?


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