Monthly Archives: May 2012

Child Support

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I decided to write today on a subject that I have heard a lot of debate and controversy over lately.  Especially in my job.  I have been doing pro bono work for an attorney who is trying to finish up her divorce/family law cases and focus on other things.  And in my past legal career this same issue came up time and time again…Support of the children of a divorce.  

All international and national child support regulations recognize that every parent has an obligation to support his or her child. Therefore, both parents are required to share the responsibility for their child(ren)’s expenses.

Support monies collected are expected to be used for the child’s basic expenses, including food, shelter, clothing and educational needs. They are not meant to function as “spending money” for the child.

Over the last 25 years I have heard parents who receive support (mostly women) say that the other parent never pays for anything.  When I point out that they are receiving support, their response is usually the same….”but that doesn’t count.” Well, yes, it does.  When questioned further, I usually find the complaining parent is upset because he or she believes that the parent paying support should continue to dig further into their pockets (to the point of financial hardship or even bankruptcy) to continue to pay for the things that they want to buy for the children.  Sorry, it just does not work that way.  

As stated earlier, support is ordered to pay for food, shelter, clothing and EDUCATIONAL NEEDS.   So when a mom says to a father who pays child support faithfully…”you have paid $0.00 towards your children’s educational needs this year.” Her statement is a lie. In fact, the very money he gives her for the support of their children should go towards paying for educational expenses. In addition, many fathers spend additional money out of their own pocket buying things such as mandatory school supplies, specialized supplies for a specific class, and other expenses necessary for school.

Many divorced mothers want to continue control their family financially, so it becomes difficult when father takes control of his financial life and doesn’t necessarily agree with mom’s terms. The bottom line is, if you are receiving child support, your children’s father IS paying for his children’s expenses. And saying otherwise is a lie. And if your children’s father is paying for additional things such as clothing, school supplies, extra classes or specialized classes, etc., be thankful he is willing to do so. Many fathers call it a day once that child support check is written.

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Our Path

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Let me begin by first saying, I do not enjoy writing about religion. I rarely discuss faith with anyone other than very close friends or George. It isn’t something I enjoy. I am going to make a rather small exception this time.

Over the last year George and I have rediscovered our Catholic Faith. We were both born and raised Catholics. I am not sure I speak for him, but I got a little lazy. It was easy to say I was Catholic and believed in God, but I never really did anything about it.

About a year ago George and I started taking the kids to mass at St. Aloysius on the Ohio. It is a small parish in our neighborhood of Sayler Park. Many of our neighbors attend St. Al’s. Many of their children go to or have gone to St. Al’s school and then onto Catholic High School here in Cincinnati. George’s twins went to PSR there on Sunday. It is a lovely parish full of wonderful caring people.

For a few weeks, we went thru the motions of being church goers. Then one day as we sat and listened to Fr. Rick’s homily, George and I looked at each other as if a lightbulb had gone off over our heads. We realized our lives had a path. A path that had been there all along, clearly lit for us. All we had to do was open our eyes and our hearts to see that path. It is lit with compassion, benevolence, humility, charity, courage, and unselfishness, among other things.

Another thing that we have learned in the last year is how to pray. I think many people pray to God to give them things. We treat God like a drive thru…we ask him for things…”Please God can you give me just this one thing super sized and for dessert can you make me prettier?” God has already given us what we need, our path. And from the beginning, he made sure it was clear and brightly lit. It is up to us to keep it luminous for ourselves by not giving into feelings of anger, bitterness, revenge, and greed, among others. Those are what thwart the peaceful and smooth ride down our path.

None of us are perfect. And it is not always an easy ride. For example, yesterday the thorny vines of revenge were spreading down my path, and me without my pruners. And as I felt the vines grow stronger, I realized I was the only one that could find a way to dissever and remove them from my path. As I sat with George, we discussed our path and how we wished to live our lives. I said a prayer, not asking God for anything, but praying that I find the strength do the right thing with the gifts he has already given me. And in the end, those vines were destroyed and my path was lit clearly again.

If I were sitting with a close friend or George, I would continue this conversation about religion and what is means to me now, at age 47. But at nearly 600 words, I am already treading the line of comfort for me. So for now, I will just say, if you hear George and I discussing our path, it is something we work hard on clearing every single day. Some areas are easier for us than others, but together we cut back those vines that wish to grow and block our path and make the path of our life more difficult. Now, off to Home Depot for some Round-Up.