To: David Lifferth, Jacob Anderegg, Mike Kennedy, Keven John Stratton, Kay Christofferson, Brian Greene, Val Peterson, Bradley Daw, Keith Grover, Dean Sanpei, Norm Thurston, Francis Gibson, Michael McKell, Marc Roberts,
Subject: Equal Rights for Fathers!
Date: Thu Jan 14 23:07:32 MST 2016
To whom it may concern,
My name is Shelbi Jo Schollenberger. I have never been one to stir the pot until now. I am a normal law abiding citizen of the state. My faith in the system has been sound until recently. This so called system is starting to affect my day to day life. I recently got married to Matthew Brennan Chambers. He came from a divorce situation with two beautiful children whom I love very much. These three are my world, my everything. I would do anything for them. This is why I am penning this email. I want my voice to be heard loud and clear!
I want to give some context to the situation. Matt had two boys from his pervious marriage. Their marriage didn't work out so they had to separate. His ex-wife was awarded main custody of the kids as well as child support from Matt. (All of the fine details can be found in the divorce papers.) At the current time Matt is still the non-custodial parent. He rarely gets to see his boys because he was given the standard visitation rights. This comes out to be about 6 days a month. Imagine only being able to see your child 6 times a month? Its heartbreaking and unfair.
From the moment I met Matt, up until now, he has always voiced that he wanted more time with his children. Luckily for him he got that chance last year. He officially filed papers for more time. After the filing, Matt got a letter in the mail from ORS. His ex-wife was seeking more child support. At the time he was already paying close to $800 a month. When you look at things, that's basically half of a mortgage payment. There is no way to confirm that this money actually goes to the boys. That in itself is another topic of discussion. (Hopefully that will also be addressed one day!) After the state did its evaluation it was determined that Matt's child support would be increased to $1,300 a month! This was because of his higher income over the years. I work a full time job. I'm currently not finished with college. So for the time being I make half of what I will one day. In a month I make only a couple hundred dollars more than his new payment amount. I feel robbed. There is no dollar amount on the boys. There never will be. But it's starting to come across as having my personal money being taken advantage of to see the boys.
As I stated before, we get to see the boys 6 days a month. If you were to do the math you will find out that Matt pays around $217 a day to spend time with his children! This is so wrong! Why should someone ever be put into this situation?
Now to make this very clear I want to say I will never, or will I ever, harp on stay at home mothers. It takes a great amount of strength, patience and determination to take on this role in a child's life. But I in no way find this to be a crutch in the divorce courts. This is the exact situation that Matt is falling into. His ex-wife is remarried with two children from this marriage. Her new husband works a full time job. She has chosen to dedicate her life to being a stay at home mom, but why is that me or Matt's burden? Like I said her husband works. He makes more than enough to support his family. Why is Matt being forced to pay not only for his children, but their house and two other kids as well? Should we be awarded parent time with her kids since we pay for them?
As you can see I have many frustrations with his whole situation. Matt is not a third class citizen and should be treated as such. Why can't it be equal for both parents when it comes to divorce? If both parties are responsible and great parents they should walk away from it split evenly down the middle. There should be no favoritism for the mother. There should be no unfair treatment. We are talking about people's kids here! I personally come for a divorce family. My father is what every man should be. Simply put he is amazing. After my parents separated my mother got main custody of us. If the state of Utah would have done any sort of research into the situation they would have found a very unfit mother. She was every type of abusive, not including sexual, that you can think of. Why would a state allow 5 young children to be put in a situation like that? My dad fought for a year and a half before anything came of it. He spent every penny that he had to get custody of us kids. The state failed in that position and is currently failing still.
I am finding it more and more difficult to believe that the system in Utah views the fathers, in divorce situations, as equal. It disturbs me that majority of the time, the mother is favored in divorce situations. Matt is a fantastic father, as I'm sure many other fathers are. It appears as though the father is there to just be a paycheck to the mother. This isn't right!
My main hope in all of this is change. It doesn't matter if its big or small, I just want to see change. I want to see things become fair. I don’t want more fathers to be taken advantage of. Im tired of having Matt be considered the lesser than parent when it comes to his boys. He deserves more time without have to pay a higher cost to have this.
I am willing to provide more information, as I’m sure I missed some in my frustrated state of mine. I am also looking for a response to this email in a timely manner.
Thank you for you time and consideration,