Mark the dates! Please attend if you can.

Every four years, it is a legal requirement that the state of Iowa review its child support guidelines.  That time has arrived in 2011.  The Iowa Child Support Advisory Commission is holding the first in a series of three town hall meetings this Thursday,  February 3rd, 2001  at the Marion Public Library located at 1095 6th Avenue (5:30PM – 7:30PM).  The commission is soliciting feedback and ideas regarding what changes may be made to the Iowa child support guidelines, child support payments made in accordance with child custody orders or agreements.  The following two additional town meetings are scheduled as follows:

  1. Des Moines, IA: From 5:30PM – 7:30PM on February 15th, 2011 at the Des Moines Public Library East, 2559 Hubbell Avenue.
  2. Carroll, IA: From 5:30PM – 7:30PM on March 3rd, 2011 at the Swan House, 1024 E. 12th Street.

From the article: Child Support Forums Expected to Draw Crowds Around State

The meetings are set up to focus solely on the state guidelines that help judges decide how much money a noncustodial parent needs to pay in child support. The guidelines use a formula that considers income, employment, number of children and other factors.

What is interesting is that almost no one I’ve spoken to in many, many states seems to know exactly what those “other factors” are.  We all seem to have a general idea and we do know that the data is predicated upon information from consumer spending surveys.  We do know that child support orders are often inflated and pay for far more than the basic needs of the children.  We also know that the overwhelming majority of child support payors are fathers and child support receivers are mothers.  This is because primary or sole child custody is predominantly awarded to mothers.

Bryan Iehl, founder of IowaFathers says:

“This is an opportunity for members who feel wronged by the child-support system to address the concerns they have about the child-support system and to make recommendations for change,” IowaFathers is asking every member to attend the closest meeting to you and to submit changes in writing that you would like to see made.”

Bryan Ihel sent a follow-up e-mail to his original membership blast to outline eight critical areas which he would like to see changed, all of which can be reviewed at the article linked above.

Of course, since states receive Federal money for child support collections and enforcement, you can be that this commission and legislators will be working hard to raise the guidelines to keep the money flowing into the state budget in our worst economy in decades.  The impact on noncustodial, child-support paying parents is inconsequential to keeping the well-oiled family court system operating at peak money-collecting efficiency.

The only way to see positive changes made to bad legislation is to participate in the system.  Fathers and all child support paying parents should show up and demand improvements to the process, such as expediting hearings or conferences so adjustments can be made quickly due to job loss, sudden illness, and other involuntary income reduction occurrences.  Here is an opportunity for you to make a difference and not only help your own cause, but the cause of someone close to you.

If you cannot attend one of the town hall meetings and public hearings, you can submit written comments to the Child Support Advisory Committee, 400 SW 8th St., Suite H, Des Moines, IA 50309-4633. Written comments must be received by March 3.