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Main Forums => Child Support Issues => Topic started by: JVondrak76 on Oct 23, 2006, 09:43:59 AM

Title: Iowa Child Support Matter
Post by: JVondrak76 on Oct 23, 2006, 09:43:59 AM
I need some help.  My husband has been notified that a 252H review hearing has been set in his child support case.  His ex-wife is seeking an increase in support.  The CSRU’s decision was to increase his support obligation from $502.40 per month (2 kids) to $946.00 per month.  The ex does not work (voluntarily quit her job as a legal secretary) but is remarried to a man that makes substantially more than my husband does.  The ex is claiming zero income – we are arguing that she should be imputed at the median wage for a legal secretary in this region ($13.46 per hour) since she is capable of working, and that was her last documented job.  CSRU refused to impute her, so we are having a hearing on Nov. 8.  We can’t afford an attorney, so my husband has to represent himself.  We have no idea what to expect, or what documentation we should have with us.  Does anyone have any experience with this?  This is a Woodbury County, Iowa, court matter.

Title: RE: Iowa Child Support Matter
Post by: timtow on Oct 23, 2006, 09:18:31 PM
You can try IA's judicial branch website for legal aid clinics.  Also keep in mind that though her husband may make more than yours, her new husband's income is not at issue.  The kids aren't his, and are not his financial responsibility.  IA does not look at the spouse's income in calcs.  

You don't say why CSRU is increasing the support, but going by the tables, I don't think you're going to see a large change by imputing income to her.  At that wage, by the time you get to a net income for her, you might move from something like 36% of your husband's net to 31%, but that's about it.

Why was the order increased, if I may ask?
Title: RE: Iowa Child Support Matter
Post by: reagantrooper on Oct 24, 2006, 06:33:06 AM
Why are you complaining about an almost %100 increse in CS. You should be sending her much more free money each month. Why the hell should she have to provide any finacial support to the kids shes the mommy. You and your hubby should move to a smaller place and give up the new cars why do you have cars anyway you both should be on Fing bikes and why do you have a TV? Do you realy have time for that?Afterall I am sure she could use a few more Fing Bon Bons!!

End of rant!!!!!!!!

Good luck to ya!!
Title: RE: Iowa Child Support Matter
Post by: timtow on Oct 24, 2006, 07:37:45 AM
Well, that was vitriolic for no reason, but $250 apiece was not coming close to paying for  either kid's basics, unfortunately.  Likely not for half, either, once you figure up food, housing overhead, clothes, gas, non-covered med & dent and all the rest.  Somebody else really has been supporting those kids financially.  Taking care of kids is also work, even if you're a piss-poor parent.  But none of that is what the OP asked about.
Title: RE: Iowa Child Support Matter
Post by: reagantrooper on Oct 24, 2006, 10:41:23 AM
>Well, that was vitriolic for no reason, but $250 apiece was
>not coming close to paying for  either kid's basics,
>unfortunately.  Likely not for half, either, once you figure
>up food, housing overhead, clothes, gas, non-covered med &
>dent and all the rest.  Somebody else really has been
>supporting those kids financially.  Taking care of kids is
>also work, even if you're a piss-poor parent.  But none of
>that is what the OP asked about.

Whats it matter to you what I post?? I did not ask for your input to my reply to the poster nor did I offer YOU any on yours.
Title: RE: Iowa Child Support Matter
Post by: leon clugston on Oct 24, 2006, 03:00:22 PM
there is a few things, one would be the Iowa state child support plan, it is a state plan for which all states must have in place to be compiant with the mandations set forth by congress and enacted under title 42 U.S.C, child support act, Title IV-d, under the social Security Act,,A simple FOIA(Freedom of information Act) to youre closest child support office should work,,be ready for a shocker though,,what is in the plan will shock you.
Nest under U.S.C 5, all agencies must follow the Federal Administartive Procedures Act,,which binds them to the plan, and all corresponding regualtions under title 45 CFR's(Code of Federal regulations)
what does this all do for you,,it shows they are willfully and intentional operating outside there statuatory authorized authority,,and are not following the procedures set forht in the U.S.C's and the CFR's,,now unfortunately, her living with another gentalmen, and his income is not admitable,,for her debt or reponsibility is non applicable to him,,but her willingness to be unemployeed is,,for which the Child support office, and soon you will undoubtedly find, the hearing officer,will try to aid her in that, but if you get youre state plan,,they wont be as willing to assist her,,they dont like it when people can show they are bound by contract, and operating outside of there authority.
Title: RE: Iowa Child Support Matter
Post by: JVondrak76 on Oct 24, 2006, 03:58:36 PM
I don’t agree that “someone else has been supporting those kids.”  My husband and I are very much involved in everything the kids do.  Besides the child support we pay, we pay 100% of their unreimbursed medical expenses.  And my step-son has ADHD, so he has substantial medical bills and prescriptions.  We also pay for extracurricular activities (sports, dance, etc.)  These kids are 7 and 9.  They don’t have any daycare expenses (if they did, we’d be paying them anyway).  They live on an acreage.  They raise all their own vegetables.  They have chickens that provide eggs and meat, as well as turkeys.  They also raise goats for the milk.  They have hogs that they butcher as well.  They even buy a steer once a year to have butchered.  They don’t buy any produce or meat in the store.  Their grocery bill is nowhere near mine.  Their mother buys all their clothes at garage sales or gets hand-me-downs from friends.  Now, don’t think they are poor by any means.  They drive a new suburban and Honda Civic.  And, they just got back from a week long trip to Mexico, and a week long fishing trip to Canada.  I am not out doing these things, I can’t afford to.  Another thing you aren’t considering is the fact that while child support recovery unit won’t look at her husband’s income, they should be.  He is supporting the X since she won’t work.  He is her income.  And, my husband and I have another child that we are trying to support at our house.  No one seems to care that we aren’t going to be able to give her the things she needs.  And I’ve read some of your other posts wherein you think we should all work 2-3 jobs.  That’s all fine and good, I’ve worked up to 3 jobs at one time while I was pregnant.  But if my husband works a part-time job, that money just goes in the X’s pocket.  What good does that do us?  Child support isn’t supposed to be a punishment for a failed marriage, but in this case, that’s all it is.  The support my husband pays is basically welfare/alimony for his ex-wife.  The kids are no better for it.  They come to our house dirty, wearing holey clothes, in need of baths.   And if we paid $2000 a month, the situation would be the same.  We’ve been through the court system, we’ve done modifications, paid thousands to lawyers, called child protective services, etc.  Nothing ever comes from it.  So I don’t buy in to your logic in this case.  I know child support is necessary, believe me.  I came from a divorced home where my father never paid a dime of support, and I suffered for it.  So I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum, and I can tell you, this situation is not right.
Title: RE: Iowa Child Support Matter
Post by: JVondrak76 on Oct 24, 2006, 04:02:50 PM
She files for a review every two years, as per the statute.  She does it to be vindictive.  She told my husband she doesn't care about the support, she doesn't need it.  She just does it because "he's a bad person and he deserves whatever he gets."  It's her punishment to him for their divorce.
Title: RE: Iowa Child Support Matter
Post by: JVondrak76 on Oct 24, 2006, 04:51:55 PM
Seriously, I just laughed outloud.  Thanks for that one.  It's very true.  Some cases are just ridiculously biased, and this is one of them.
Title: I'm from Iowa, too............
Post by: Kitty C. on Oct 24, 2006, 09:23:12 PM
First thing to do is read the Iowa Code on of the first things you will find is that in order for there to be a 'change' in any CS amount, there MUST be a minimum of 10% change (+ or -) in income of either parent.  There's a possibility that since BM is no longer working, that's where the '10%' comes in (10% decrease, that is).

Like it or not, you'd possibly 'save' more money by hiring an atty. than end up paying the additional CS they are elluding to.  They are presently stalling you by saying they will not inpute BM's income, as there is another section of the Iowa Code regarding CS that specifically states a parent canNOT 'voluntarily' quit their job just to have their obligation lessened or to get more CS.

The thing is, right now it's not necessarily you against the BM on this, it's you against CSRU.  The BM instigated it by asking CSRU for the review, which CSRU will only do every two years, unless there's been that '10% change in income'.  And if you've never dealt with CSRU before, I strongly recommend getting legal council, or they'll chew you up and spit you out.

Here's a link to the Iowa Code on CS:

It's in alphabetical order, so just scroll down to 'Divorce' and find 'Child Support' under that.  Hope this helps..........
Title: RE: Iowa Child Support Matter
Post by: timtow on Oct 24, 2006, 09:31:34 PM
Yeah.  What I'm trying to tell you is that even if she were imputed at fulltime at that wage, it wouldn't make a lot of difference in your numbers.  CS in IA is based primarily on NCP's wage, not CP's wage.  See what a lawyer says.

Title: RE: Iowa Child Support Matter
Post by: timtow on Oct 24, 2006, 09:58:31 PM
JVondrak, I'm not trying to put down your support, but I am saying that if you look at what it costs, $250/mo per can't be the whole show or anywhere near.  They raise their food; well, that's not free.   The meat doesn't put itself in a freezer, and the veg doesn't grow itself.  I also get hand-me-downs for my daughter, but I do find myself at Target buying her underwear, shoes, pj's, other things you don't want pre-worn, and that stacks up fast.  A house costs money to maintain and heat, and usually if you've got kids living with you, you're paying more than you would if you were on your own.  It's great you pay for the activities, but there's also gas to get there, food and drink, equipment, etc.  

What does CPS say about the complaints?

I'm all for being able to make sure the money has some benefit for the kids, but I disagree about the x's husband's income.  He may be deciding to support the x, but he still has no obligation to either her or the kids; they've already got a dad who's obliged.    

I don't think this is going to win me any friends here, but I don't believe the "but we have a child too" argument is a big winner.  It seems to me there are foreseeable liabilities attached to having a family with a divorced parent who has minor children, even if the divorce is a beautiful one, and usually divorce is not beautiful.  Again, not to judge your situation, but I just don't think it's a compelling reason for why NCPs shouldn't pay support by the tables.  

About childcare: It doesn't sound like this makes any practical difference for you right now, but keep in mind that if she were working fulltime, unless there's someone else around to care for them, you'd likely be paying for before/after-school care.  Around here that runs a couple hundred a month per kid, so frankly it could be that you're better off with her home.
Title: RE: Iowa Child Support Matter
Post by: leon clugston on Oct 24, 2006, 10:17:52 PM
I know what LAWYERS say, and I know non of them will admit that under the Compact clause for those that are bright enough to study, will find under title IV-d the states have to by federal law, and under the Federal Administrative Procedures act follow the guidelines and stipulations set forht in the state plan and all corresponding U.S.C's and CFR's.
The basis of Support is still founded under the resposnibility of both parents period. Only those that play at the state level(Admin courts) are the ones who lose most.
The state plan opens a whole new door,,it is a public document that has been hidden from most of the public, for if the public as a mass got there hands on it, there would be hell to pay, especialy for the legislatures and the courts.
The Ultimate facts will come out, sometime, and boy its going to be great.
Title: RE: I'm from Iowa, too............
Post by: IceMountain on Oct 25, 2006, 09:14:02 PM
I disagree that inputing the ex's income will not make a difference in the child support calculation as a previous poster stated.  I had my ex's income imputed and it did make a difference in the amount I pay.  A few percentage points can make a big difference.  Also, if the ex's income is zero then you will be responsible for 100% of uncovered medical.  If her earning potential is imputed, then the uncovered medical is based on the percentages of income for each of you.

CSRU told me that they will NOT impute a parent's earning potential.  They claim only a judge can do that, even though it is in Iowa code.  Even after a judge entered the ex's earning potential, CSRU claimed they didn't have to impute because it was done in a private action and not in an action started by their office.  They also claimed they could review again even though it had only been 5 months since the last review, again because the prior review was done in a private action.  I got pushy and didn't back down and it was not reviewed again.

I agree that the money you would pay for a lawyer will save you in the long run.

When you go to court, take documentation with you of what a Legal Secretary makes in her area.  You can do a search and print the info from the Iowa Workforce Development website.  

How much custody do you have?  If you pass the required 127 overnights, make sure you take documentation of that.  Also, make sure you get the credit for uncovered medical ($25/month).  Do you pay medical insurance?  If so, figure what the children's portion is because that is another deduction.  Union dues?

Has your husband's income increased so much that support is doubled?  Or is the difference solely due to the ex not working?  
Title: Wrong...............
Post by: Kitty C. on Oct 25, 2006, 10:55:14 PM
CS in Iowa is calculated on BOTH parents' incomes, not just the NCP's.  I was the CP for 9 years and was specifically told by judges in 2 states that I could not, under any circumstances, quit my job or lessen my income in any way just to get an increase in CS.
Title: Good points, Ice...............
Post by: Kitty C. on Oct 25, 2006, 11:19:09 PM
The original poster said that 'CSRU' would not inpute income, but then they are not the ones to make the final decision.  That is up to a judge.  The way it works with CSRU in IA is that they will review CS obligations every 2 years and will recommend a hearing for evaluation if there's been a 10% change in either parents' incomes.  But ONLY the judge has the right to inpute wages if one parent is not working to their ability.

I also agree that you MUST stick with your guns with CSRU.  BM tried to claim that DH was behind on his CS at the end of the year, entitling her to claim SS on her taxes.  Since DH's wages were being garnished and CSRU hadn't notified us of the matter, we didn't believe her, but she pressed the issue.  (Come to find out, CSRU never deposited her checks in a timely manner........all they cared about was when they got the money from DH, not when BM received it!)

So DH asked CSRU for a notarized statement outlining everything he'd paid that year.  They tried to stonewall him, but he persisted enough that they finally gave in.  The only problem was that by the time we finaly got the notarized statement from CSRU, BM had already claimed SS on her taxes, when we already had 3 months earlier and legally!  After that, it was a case for the IRS.........

I don't know about the 'private action' thing. tho.  If CSRU does the review and it has to go before a judge to rule (CSRU cannot make a new CS ruling), it's no longer 'private'.  If they instigate it with the court, it's their doing, not the CP or NCP's.

Ice, I think their claim that they could review after only 5 months was just a scare tactic with you.  Legally, the ONLY way they can instigate a review is either every 2 years and/or and 10% change in either parent's income.  Only if you'd had that kind of change would they legally have been able to review again.

But then again, they collected from DS's dad for 5 years on a legally non-existant CS order. Long story!  At least we got along well enough that DS's dad willingly paid me without an order after that.  So they don't 'automatically' review orders, one parent has to ask for it.  I guess in our case, they were just reviewing accounts and found the 'discrepancy'.  CSRU isn't as tough in IA as some other states are, but their accounting procedures aren't much different, LOL!
Title: RE: Wrong...............
Post by: leon clugston on Oct 25, 2006, 11:48:06 PM
well Kitty you just helped the first poster, and thank you, I realy didn't want to have to look up the law for Iowa,,,by the way for clearing of record,, are you referring to family code, implemented by the legislature, or is it admin code.
Title: RE: Good points, Ice...............
Post by: IceMountain on Oct 26, 2006, 08:44:40 AM
The review was considered a private action because it was done during a modification of visitation.  It went completely through the courts and lawyers, and CSRU was not involved.  5 months later the ex tried to do another review and modification.  When I called CSRU they claimed that since the earlier review was done as a 'private action' that they had authority to review it again.  When it was reviewed by the court, it was found that there was not a change so CSRU was not notified and the judge's decision was not sent to them, but was filed in the case file.

When I questioned them about the legality of them reviewing again they claimed they could do it, they didn't have to impute the ex's income and that my expense reimbursements could be treated as income.  I asked for documentation of the laws that governed what they claimed.  I spoke to a supervisor that directed me to the CSRU website for the laws, to which I explained were not there.  He said he didn't know the laws that governed what I was asking him.  I then questioned him as to how he could be a supervisor if he didn't know the rules, and he replied that he 'only worked in the call center' so he didn't need to know the laws because they didn't do the actual orders.  That blew my mind!  I always knew they seemed like they didn't know wtf they were talking about, now I have proof!!!  :)

In the end the supervisor had the actual case worker call me.  By this point I was so ticked and was ready to do battle again.  When she called I started to state my case when she politely stopped me to inform me that she pulled the hard copy from our case file and found that the review was indeed done and that it was not appropriate to do it again.  We never received any documentation from CSRU saying the review was denied so a couple weeks later I called again and asked for a copy of the denial.  (I wanted to make sure nothing got screwed up)  The rep said they would send it to me, but wanted to make sure it was 'just for my own records'.  About an hour later the case worker called me directly to confirm the denial was done.  I wonder if she will handle me every time now???  :)
Title: RE: Good points, Ice...............
Post by: timtow on Oct 26, 2006, 09:15:51 AM
WOW, that all sounds totally illegal.  How skeezy.  I'm sorry you had to go through that.

About the dollar difference in support after imputation: If you go by the tables, assuming they've got your husband's net income correct, then even if she's imputed at fulltime at that wage, the support's not going to be knocked down by more than $125/mo or so.  (946 / .357=2738, 2738*.3= 821)  You have to think about the worksheet deductions, and no doubt she'll find some beyond taxes (don't forget that if she were working fulltime, childcare would be an issue).  So if it's worth it to you to fight about that, you need to think about what representation would cost and where the break-even is, keeping in mind that she can look for another review in two years.

If they don't have your husband's net income correct, then that's another story.
Title: Way to go!
Post by: Kitty C. on Oct 26, 2006, 08:54:36 PM
You're damn right they couldn't review it again, because there hadn't been a 10% change in income!  Talk about intimidation tactics!  What a maroon!  

DH gets reimbursements checks, too, and they'd have to fight both of us to get that considered as income.  DH works for a railroad and has put on over 50,000 miles on his diesel truck just in the 17 months, then when you consider what it costs him to eat, he's gotten some pretty hefty expense checks.  But at the peak of fuel prices, it also cost him over $100 to fill the tank and sometimes he could go thru 2 tanks a week.............if they tried to take that, I'd bring charges of theft against them!

Guess you will only be dealing with a case worker from now on, right?  After our last debacle, we've also learned that you have to press them hard for any documentation they've done on your case.  Just goes to shoe that you literally have to know the law so you'll know if they're trying to screw you!
Title: RE: Wrong...............
Post by: Kitty C. on Oct 26, 2006, 08:58:22 PM
Legislative code............definitely not admin. code.  It even goes into a lot of detail regarding what has to happen for a child's college expenses to be paid, which I am impressed with, but only to a point.  It's still discriminatory if married couples aren't required by law to put their kids thru college.
Title: RE: Wrong...............
Post by: leon clugston on Oct 26, 2006, 10:08:55 PM
being on that point so well as you are, you realy should get a copy of the state plan, as mandated under title 42 U.S.C Title IV-d of the Social Security Act, then you'll see even more stuff that will make you mad,,,by the way look up title 42 U.S.C, 650-669,,especialy 666,,then cross it for the CfR's under title 45 (code of fedral regulations) starting at 327,, you will be amazed at whats is going on..Now you were talking about parents not snding there children to college,,married that is,,the United States Suprem Court has over and over ruled ther is nor absolute right to Child Support,,its all interpretive, open to the states to decide who or how to pursue, it is a benefit, it holds no personal rights,as like so many benefits,,this is what makes this so much more enteresting, you have no right to receive, but the other party has no right to contest,,tells you where we stand now doesnt it.
Title: RE: Wrong...............
Post by: timtow on Oct 27, 2006, 07:55:43 PM
Those are two different matters.

1.  The NCP's income is the main determinant of CS.  Look at the tables, and you'll see.  The CP's income can vary widely, and it has little effect on what the NCP will pay, a matter of a few percentage points.  

2.  Neither parent can voluntarily reduce income to distort CS.  That's what imputation is about.
Title: RE: Wrong...............
Post by: timtow on Oct 27, 2006, 08:03:15 PM
It's an unfortunate consequence of the behavior of some NCPs in the past.  College used to be a standard bargaining chip (accept this crazy low CS, or make some other concession; otherwise I won't help pay for college).  Legislators decided parents should not be able to bargain with their kids' college education.  Hence law.  

I'm all for a law that says all parents have to pay.  If that happened, I suspect we'd have some fairly serious tuition reform, the return of some sense in hiring (plenty of jobs don't need a BA, but it's used as a screen), and changes at the federal level to put back some of that pre-Reagan college funding.  

It'd also reduce the odds of the kids borrowing themselves into bankruptcy before they even make it out of school.  I just talked to a credit counselor here about a grad student with $100K in credit-card debt.  Nevermind school loans.  And I passed up a prospective tenant, another student, who turned out to have similar debt, when I checked her credit report.  She couldn't have been paying the minimums on her debt given her income, let alone rent.  And these are the same kids who're going to get hit with increasing FICA as more boomers move into retirement.

Not good policy, eating your young.  
Title: RE: Iowa Child Support Matter - UPDATE
Post by: JVondrak76 on Oct 30, 2006, 12:37:58 PM
We hired a family law attorney here in Sioux City.  She just started practicing here - she moved from Lincoln, NE.  She agreed that the EX should be imputed.  We have our hearing next Wednesday, and our attorney has subpoenaed a Workforce Development rep to testify as to the wage of legal secretaries in this area (to avoid the heresay problem).  Our attorney is going to send a settlement letter to the EX's attorney, offering $750 per month (instead of $946).  That way, we will still be able to do activities with the kids, buy them toys, games and other things that they want, take them to movies, etc.  If we have to pay the $946, there is no way we'll be able to afford any extras, and that isn't fair to the kids.  We just figured we'll either pay the money to the EX or an attorney, so we're taking our chances.  Wish us luck!
Title: RE: Wrong...............
Post by: JVondrak76 on Oct 30, 2006, 12:42:04 PM
I feel that it is total crap to expect all parents to pay for their kids' college educations.  It's ridiculous.  I used to work for an attorney who also acted as a financial consult, and he told me if you have the choice of either paying for your kids' college education or saving for your retirement, the smartest thing you can do fund your retirement.  There are many scholarships, grants, loans, etc. available to kids for college.  They need to exhaust all those options before looking to their parents to pay for it.  And, the idea that only divorced parents are forced to pay for their kids' college is so biased and discriminatory!  This post-secondary education subsidy should only be done in private actions at the request of the parents, not mandated by the state.  It's totally ludicris.  
Title: RE: Iowa Child Support Matter - UPDATE
Post by: Kitty C. on Oct 30, 2006, 08:54:00 PM
Let us know what happens....I'd be really interested to hear!  Sounds like you've found an atty. who's willing to really work with you.
Title: RE: Wrong...............
Post by: timtow on Oct 30, 2006, 10:05:46 PM
I'm just telling you how we got here.

The attorney is correct.  However, the idea is to do both.  Partly so that your children will be able to save for their own retirements instead of paying off student loans till they're 50.  Not unusual anymore for kids to walk out of school owing $600-800/mo on loans.  And the thing is, if you start early and limit the number of kids you have to what you can afford to put through school, it's not that hard.  For my kid, at a state school, we're looking at saving about $150/mo. (and praying tuition inflation doesn't run more than about 8-9%).  The challenge will be in persuading her that she doesn't need some fancy private school with nice landscaping.  I've worked for public & private universities, and I think that unless a kid needs a lot of handholding, there's no substantial difference for the bachelor's degree.  (There is a difference for graduate degrees, but it's not a public/private thing.)  Anyway, I don't intend to pay for a private or out-of-state education, but there won't be anything to stop her from signing for loans.

This whole college-funding discussion has been quite eye-opening, for me, btw, and has me thinking it'd be wise to educate my kid in debt before she gets near 18.  A line of credit from Bank of Mom, with interest and late fees charged, should give her some taste of how long it takes to pay off large loans and how endless the cycle can be.  I think the loans -- and their easy availability -- are consigning a lot of kids to the underclass before they even get started.