I almost never talk about my personal life…unless of course you count the Depth Perception series.
The Twitterverse brought something to my attention today, something that I have not addressed in depth here, even if I have whispered over the topic.
Children – Child Support – Purpose – Misconceptions
I will use that line up there as the teaser so that if you are not interested in hearing me drop some knowledge in the upcoming rant you can skip this entry.
I hate a fucking bully.
That photo is of NBA star Chris Bosh and his former girlfriend/mother of his daughter Allison Matthis.
I wish that bullies would pick on people their own size.
I got into a “debate” on Twitter today over child support. Normally when I see that topic in my timeline I ignore it. Usually no good can come from trying to convince bitter men that child support is the correct thing, the moral thing, and beyond a legal obligation. Trust me, 11 years of battles with Clyde’s father has shown me that when the bitter grabs hold you can not melt that heart of stone.
I’ve gone years upon years fighting for under $1000 a month towards support of my son.
I even thought (for a fleeting moment) that I would never have to file, that he would be the father to his son that he was to his daughter. I’d seen him in action, he was a good father.
I swiftly discovered though that Mario’s hatred for me leaked into everything and that Clyde would pay the price if I did not take steps to secure his rights. Yes, HIS rights not my own.
Children have the right to know where they come from. It is why we took the DNA test. As it turns out Clyde won’t need things like college tuition assistance, but legal establishment of paternity does things like make Clyde eligible for Social Security Survivor’s benefits, and it gives him legal claim to an estate if one develops in his lifetime. The DNA test was not for me, and not even for Mario, it was for Clyde.
Legally determining physical and legal custody was for Clyde as well. All children need stability, even those born to unmarried parents. It turns out that Mario never appeared for the custody hearing. You see, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania there is no penalty for missing a custody hearing other than you might lose. There are no fines and there is no chance of incarceration. Being the only parent present, I was awarded 100% physical and 100% legal. The case was closed without prejudice so at any point and time in the past decade for the small, small, small fee of $29.00, Mario could have re-opened the case and gotten a new hearing. He has not. Not ever, and I suspect that he never will. Legal custody was again for my son. He needed the consistency that a legal order would provide, and he got it.
Child Support was also for my son, not for me.
When I got pregnant, and in the 18 months following Clyde’s birth I made three times as much money as Mario. We did not need child support for Clyde to life a full, happy, and healthy life. I did not need child support to put shoes on his feet nor a roof over his head. Clyde needed child support because of what child support is:
The obligation of the non-custodial parent to contribute financially to the needs of the minor child.
The needs of a child…..there are a lot.
They need something every day. Custodial parents know this and understand this, non-custodial bitter parents not so much.
I had to file for child support, after watching 5 months of my son’s life go by as Mario impersonated a petulant girl. I dislike speaking ill of him, yet I have no other way to describe his behavior.
The first order went into effect in 2001, and since 2001 I’ve been back to court 10 times.
Mario’s constant argument to the court is that he is paying too much in child support. Every fucking time.
No matter what the numbers said for what it actually costs to raise this child, with his special needs, the argument was always: I am paying too much.
Are there men out there getting financially raped in support obligations? Yes there are, people like Terrell Owens. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for him, yet I am reasonable enough to understand that a child support order generated when you are making million a year, can not be sustained on a salary of $100,000 a year.
Child support is the court’s way of financially maintaining a child’s life. In a case like Owens when his income dropped so drastically, a decrease is warranted. The minor children would suffer the same decrease in life status if they lived with Terrell or not because his earning capacity fell through the floor.
That is not the case with Mario. His earning capacity has remained steady.
My earning capacity has diminished significantly.
Despite my inability to earn even half of what I made when I was pregnant, the Commonwealth Court System still, a decade later, says that I have the ability to earn more. I certainly don’t agree but the court does not necessarily make that distinction. I am not entitled to a child support increase because of my finances, nor is Mario entitled to a child support decrease because he feels broke.
Which takes me back to the people in the picture.
Tiny Allison worked as a secretary for a construction firm until just a little while ago when she was laid off. She has a home and a child and she did what many women and men do, she applied for food stamps.
For the millions of families across the nation that receive benefits this is not a news story.
This one kind of is though.
Bosh left Allison when she was 7 months pregnant. I certainly do not know why, I simply know that is when the relationship ended.
Bosh legally impeded Allison’s attempt to earn more money by becoming a cast member of the Reality Show Basketball Wives.
Bosh currently pays $2,600 a month in child support to Allison.
Now, I am not one to say that most 2 person households can’t get by on $2,600 a month. I am saying that for a man who in 2010 signed a $110 MILLION dollar contract, $2,600 a month is bullshit. Absolute bullshit.
Now I don’t know what kind of agreement the two of them had, and frankly I don’t give a shit. I simply know that it is immoral for the child support amount to be $2,600 a month when you earn that kind of money.
Now before you leave me completely let me say something else.
No matter how on earns their money, a custodial parent has an obligation to their minor children to live within their means and to not put in jeopardy their safety and stability.
Should Allison live ONLY off a child support order? Of course not. Yet, she has the obligation to run her household in a fiscally responsible manner. The $2,600 a month that Bosh pays is not enough to keep her current home from being foreclosed on. I know lots about foreclosure, I also know that something has gone terrible wrong when her mortgage exceeds $2600 a month.
If she had a handshake deal with bosh for $2,600 a month in child support then she had the obligation to live in a manner that supported that plus her own salary, if she worked outside of the home. What she is also obligated to do in my opinion is to apply for a child support increase, because well her child has rights.
It does not appear that she did that and for that I have lots and lots and lots of questions.
The story here though is not unlike myself, Allison is confronted with the bitter man who is determined to make her life miserable even if it harms the minor child.
Allison is not the first nor will she be the last woman – baby momma – jump off – whatever to have to downsize after the time with the baller is over. Especially if you are not married to the athlete, you take a chance on what will and won’t be available to you for a lifestyle when it is all over.
Sometimes like Matthis and Tami Roman and countless others before her you end up on feed stamps if you don’t adjust quickly enough.
Sometimes you start dating Chad OchoCinco when you realize that running a shoe store is actually hard work.
Sometimes you become the executive producer of Basketball Wives and after 4 seasons of creating drama you say you can walk away from the show because it does not show women in a positive light.
Allison honey? Sometimes you go back to court, and say my child has the right to more than $2,600 a month when her daddy is earning his money in the NBA finals.
oh and Chris? You are a fucking bully.