Mom needs court $ so kids can go to better schools

Not all of you may know my story but EVERYTHING that I’ve done, every step I’ve taken since my ex left me when I was 8 months pregnant with our 3rd child has been for the betterment of my children’s lives.

The “system” is in place for good reason. To keep children in homes where their parents are doing their best just to keep food on the table, a roof over their heads, and make sure that they continue to go to school. But what happens when that system fails? What happens when there’s another parent who can provide all that and more with the guarantee of a safer neighborhood, state of the art school districts, and a loving home with two parental figures who will always be there for them? What happens when the other parent can give their children an opportunity to thrive and not just survive.  

The Detroit court system is broken. Life there can be hard and "good enough" is all that they can hope for in some situations. But sometimes "good enough" isn't enough when there's another option. That system is failing my children and I. I've established a beautiful life for us in Southern California with some of the best schools in the country. Now all that stands is my way a selfish ex, a broken court system, and $10,000.


I miss my children terribly and only want the best for them. If you’re feeling generous, please consider donating. If you’d like to help, please consider sharing. I only ask that you don’t tag me in any posts. I’m trying to keep my ex from catching wind that I’m taking him back to court.


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I never wanted it to come to this, but I don't know what else to do. 

I am in the middle of a custody battle which has come to a halt because of a lack of funds. I had no idea that it would cost as much or take as long as it has, and have come to a point where I need to ask for help if I want to continue with my case.

A quick rundown of my situation:

My husband left me in 2012 when I was 8 months pregnant with our third child. At the time, I was on doctor mandated bed rest because I was having complications with my pregnancy from being too active and trying to work late into my pregnancy. 

I didn't know what I was going to do. The only job experience I had was in Restaurants, and even though I had worked my way up to management it was never going to be enough to support my 3 children and I.

I struggled for the next few months and was unable to pay my rent. We were already on food stamps, government assistance, and had government insurance. I was going to food banks and reaching out to friends to help with food and clothing. It was rough.

After a few months of struggling on my own, I met a wonderful man who 6 years later became my fiancee. At the time he was working in Michigan, but while we were dating received an amazing work opportunity in Los Angeles. 

I had a decision to make,  struggle in Michigan, lose my home, and continue to live in a terrible situation unable to get out because there's only so much money you can make in the Restaurant Industry, or make the move to California and start a new career in Special Makeup Effects and Prop Making, something I had only ever dreamed about.

I chose to move. I chose to make the hard decision and let my children remain in Michigan with their father so I could build a better life for them and eventually move them out California.

I gave up everything in the short term so I could provide for my children in the long term. I wanted to be able to give them the opportunity to get out of a bad situation and have a chance for a good future. One where they can go to the best schools and have the best opportunities and not just deal with the hand they are dealt in Michigan and continue to struggle as adults. 

In Michigan my children are still on state aid, are going to outdated schools with terrible ratings. Their neighborhood wasn't as safe as it once was. So much so that they don't even go trick or treating in their own neighborhood. Their house doesn't have air conditioning, so on hot days they are forced to sleep on the concrete floor in the basement to cool off. My son has a makeshift room in the basement that doesn't have an egress window, so should a fire occur he would have no way out. In Michigan my children have 8 caretakers. That's right, 8! Between their father, grandparents, babysitter, and the babysitters parents and grandparents, my children have 8 different people taking care of them.

Over the past 7 years while in California, not only did I start an entirely new career but I am now working for one of the best Material Manufacturers in the Country. I have established a home in Orange County California, giving my children the opportunity to go to some of the most highly rated schools in the Country. Our City was for the 15th year in a row deemed one of the safest cities in the Country. I'm paid well, have full benefits, and am able to provide for my children in a way that I never could while in Michigan. My hours at my job allow me to be home just after my children would get out of school allowing me the most amount of time with them as possible. My fiancee works from home, so my children would only ever be watched by myself and him, we would never need childcare. I have gone without so that I can provide a better life for my children. I sacrificed time with my children in the short term, so I could provide for them in the long term. I have been driving a scooter year round to save money, I do not have a car. I was supposed to have a beautiful wedding this Fall, but we are choosing to drastically cut our budget and have changed our intended date to have a small wedding this summer while the kids are here to save money so we can put everything we have towards lawyer fees.

Because I am the one who moved, I was required to pay child support and pay for 100% of travel costs to and from Michigan.  When we divorced, the judge ordered that we share claiming our children on our taxes. He was to claim our oldest every year, I was to claim our daughter, and we were to alternate claiming our youngest. For two years he went outside of our order and filed for taxes before I could and claimed all the children, cheating me out of $5,000. Luckily I was able to file in time last year, claiming the correct number of children per our order with the judge, allowing me to buy their plane tickets to come to California for the Summer. I pay for their haircuts, their father doesn't feel that it is a necessity. So I make appointments and pay for them across the country so he only has to take them there, and take them to get haircuts when they are with me on vacations. When my son moved into his basement room with barely any furniture, I bought and shipped a desk to him so he could have a surface in his room to do homework on. When I picked up my children for Christmas vacation from their fathers and my daughter had lice, I took her to get her hair cut and treated and picked out the Nits myself. That same vacation my youngest son was sent with clothes that were 3 sizes too small so I had to purchase him an entirely new wardrobe. I am constantly picking up the slack because their father consistently fails to provide the basic necessities to our children.

Unfortunately even all this isn't enough for the courts to change custody. Because they have a roof over their heads and are going to school, that is considered good enough. I have asked their father to reconsider letting our children go to school in California because of the amazing opportunities that they could have, but instead of putting their needs first he's chosen to only think of himself.

My oldest son will be starting his freshman year of High School this Fall and I would love nothing more than for him to attend it here, in the brand new $300 million dollar high school facility that is right down the street from our home, instead of the outdated High School in Michigan that was built in the 50's that has no air conditioning and is rated below average in school quality compared to other schools in Michigan. The school in California is rated above average in school quality compared to other schools in California and Students there perform above average on state tests. Students at the Michigan High School have below average college readiness measures, and are making below average year-over-year academic improvement.

All of the children's schools are outdated, underfunded, and consistently fail to meet Board of Education testing standards. Because their schools do not have air conditioning, on hot days they have "water play days" outside where they play games that allow them to get wet and are given popsicles. My children say that when it is this hot in their schools, it is hard to concentrate and learn. 

In Michigan my children complain of bullying, and children that act so badly that they cannot concentrate on their studies. My oldest son loves robotics and coding, but is often distracted by "bad kids" who keep him from doing his work. This would never happen here. The children in Irvine are there to learn, and we've been told that there are no bullies. Children who go to the Irvine school district go on to do great things because they are given amazing opportunities with a top notch education in state of the art facilities. 

I just want what is best for my children. I want to provide them a loving, safe environment, where they don't have to struggle. Where they don't have to sleep on concrete in the basement to stay cool. Where they are able to study and learn in some of the countries best schools. I want them to have a good future, and I feel that they can do that if the custody arrangement is changed and they are able to live with me during the school year.

Because of the complexity of my case, it is very expensive. Most lawyers wouldn't even take my case, but luckily I found one that would. While she is amazing, she is costly. I have already blown through my initial $10,000 retainer with her since we started this process in January of 2019. I am now in the hole $11,000 because she was gracious enough to continue to work on my case even though I was unable to pay her.  Luckily our tax refunds will cover what I currently owe her. But we haven't even gone to court yet, and that will require an additional $10,000 retainer.

At this point, I need $10,000 to bring my case in front of a judge and hire an attorney ad litem to represent the children.  They will take an unbiased look at both living situations and determine what is best for them. I have to prove to the courts that my children will be better provided for and have a better opportunity for a good future while living with me in California compared to staying with their father in Michigan.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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***If you'd like to share this fundraiser, sharing via private message, email, or text is preferred. If you choose share on social media, please do not tag me or mention my name in the post. I'd like to keep this semi-private.***


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More info about the kids current schools in Michigan vs. the ones here in California...


Michigan Neighborhood Schools:
- Botsford Elementary: 3/10 Rating on GreatSchools.org, Opened in the 1950’s
- Clarenceville Middle School: 5/10 Rating on GreatSchools.org, Built in the 1950’s.
- Clarenceville High School: 3/10 Rating on GreatSchools.org, Built in 1950’s.

California Neighborhood Schools:
- Portola Springs Elementary: 9/10 Rating on GreatSchools.org, Opened 9/14
- Jeffery Trail Middle School: 10/10 Rating on GreatSchools.org, Opened 9/13
- Portola High School, 7/10 Rating on GreatSchools.org, Opened 9/16: $300million dollar facility on 42acres

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Clarenceville High School, Michigan:
https://www.clarenceville.k12.mi.us/high-school/
https://www.greatschools.org/michigan/livonia/835-Clarenceville-High-School
This school is rated below average in school quality compared to other schools in Michigan. Students here have below average college readiness measures, are making below average year-over-year academic improvement, and this school has below average results in how well it’s serving disadvantaged students.
- A worrisome sign: This school is below the state average in key measures of college and career readiness.
(Remember: high graduation rates don't mean much if students are graduating without the coursework and test scores they need to succeed.)
- A worrisome sign: Students at this school are making less academic progress given where they were last year, compared to similar students in the state.
- Very concerning: Disadvantaged students at this school may be falling far behind other students in the state, and this school may have large achievement gaps.
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Portola High School, California Opened 9/2016:
https://portolahigh.iusd.org/
https://www.greatschools.org/california/irvine/32661-Portola-High
This school is rated above average in school quality compared to other schools in California. Students here perform above average on state tests, and this school has about average results in how well it’s serving disadvantaged students. A $300 million dollar facility, Portola High School’s state-of-the-art campus conveniently close to Portola Springs’ neighborhoods provides an exciting array of new facilities and athletic fields, from a performing arts building with a 720-seat theatre to a video production studio to high-tech science labs. Encompassing 43 acres, with eight tennis courts, two softball fields and Olympic-sized aquatics center, the school will benefit today’s students, surrounding communities and generations to come. Car Cover parking lot structures with solar panels and plenty of bike racks to encourage riding your bike to school.
- Good news: Test scores at this school are far above the state average, suggesting that most students at this school are performing at or above grade level.
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Clarenceville Middle School, Michigan:
https://www.clarenceville.k12.mi.us/middle-school/
https://www.greatschools.org/michigan/livonia/834-Clarenceville-Middle-School 
This school is rated about average in school quality compared to other schools in Michigan. Students here perform about average on state tests, are making above average year-over-year academic improvement, and this school has below average results in how well it’s serving disadvantaged students.
- Worth a deeper look: Test scores at this school are about the same as the state average, though still below the top-performing schools in the state. Because test scores in some states are so low, many students at this school may not be performing at grade level.
- A worrisome sign: Disadvantaged students at this school may be falling behind other students in the state, and this school may have significant achievement gaps.
- A worrisome sign: Test scores for low income students at this school fall below the state average for all students.
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Jeffrey Trail Middle School, California Opened 9/2013:
https://jeffreytrail.iusd.org/
https://www.greatschools.org/california/irvine/31106-Jeffrey-Trail-Middle/
This school is rated above average in school quality compared to other schools in California. Students here perform above average on state tests, and this school has above average results in how well it’s serving disadvantaged students. Car Cover parking lot structures with solar panels and plenty of bike racks to encourage
riding your bike to school. Jeffrey Trail Middle School is part of the award-winning Irvine Unified School District and takes its name from a nearby landmark known as the Jeffrey Open Space Trail, which links a number of the city’s parks, paths and wildlands. Jeffrey Trail Middle School is focused on developing students who exhibit a true love of learning, who demonstrate the ability to think critically and creatively, and who appreciate the value of education and community beyond their classroom.
- Good news: Test scores at this school are far above the state average, suggesting that most students at this school are performing at or above grade level.
- Good news: Disadvantaged students at this school are performing far better than other students in the state, and this school is successfully closing the achievement gap.
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Botsford Elementary K-12, Michigan Built in the 50's:
https://www.clarenceville.k12.mi.us/botsford/ 
https://www.greatschools.org/michigan/livonia/833-Botsford-Elementary-School/ 
This school is rated below average in school quality compared to other schools in Michigan. Students here perform below average on state tests, are making below average year-over-year academic improvement, and this school has below average results in how well it’s serving disadvantaged students.
- A worrisome sign: Test scores at this school fall below the state average. This suggests that most students at this school may not be performing at grade level.
- A worrisome sign: Students at this school are making less academic progress given where they were last year, compared to similar students in the state.
-  Very concerning: Disadvantaged students at this school may be falling far behind other students in the state, and this school may have large achievement gaps.
- Very concerning: Test scores for low income students at this school fall far below the state average for all students. Low progress with low test scores means... that students are starting at a low point and falling farther behind their peers.
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Portola Springs Elementary, California Opened 9/2015:
https://portolasprings.iusd.org/ 
https://www.greatschools.org/california/irvine/31847-Portola-Springs-Elementary/ 
This school is rated above average in school quality compared to other schools in California. Students here perform above average on state tests, are making above average year-over-year academic improvement, and this school has above average results in how well it’s serving disadvantaged students. Car Cover parking lot
structures with solar panels and plenty of bike racks to encourage riding your bike to school.
- Good news: Test scores at this school are far above the state average, suggesting that most students at this school are performing at or above grade level.
- Good news: Disadvantaged students at this school are performing far better than other students in the state, and this school is successfully closing the achievement gap.
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***If you'd like to share this fundraiser, sharing via private message, email, or text is preferred. If you choose share on social media, please do not tag me or mention my name in the post. I'd like to keep this semi-private.***


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Michigan Neighborhood Pics:

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***If you'd like to share this fundraiser, sharing via private message, email, or text is preferred. If you choose share on social media, please do not tag me or mention my name in the post. I'd like to keep this semi-private.***


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Californina City Info: 
The city provides its residents with more than 16,000 acres of parks and open space, and is among the greenest cities in America thanks to a 20-year plan designed to increase the use of renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Residents have access to three top medical facilities, and has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation, according to FBI statistic.

California Neighborhood Info: Portola Springs Named Village of the Year. Surrounded by the picturesque landscape of Loma Ridge and conveniently located near shopping and businesses, the Village of Portola Springs was masterfully planned to enrich the Irvine experience. Residents enjoy resort-style recreation at more than 15 neighborhood parks, a network of open space trails, and access to high-performing Irvine Unified schools. https://www.irvinestandard.com/2019/village-of-the-year-portola-springs/ 

Open space embrace Portola Springs and a network of trails connect neighborhoods with village parks and natural open spaces. The vast Lomas Ridge, part of the 50,000+ acre Irvine Ranch Land Reserve, offers a wide open journey. We have access to all of the following community center, club rooms, parks, playgrounds, barbecue and picnic areas, 11 pools, tennis courts, basket ball, volley ball & pickleball courts, baseball & soccer fields, and putting green.   https://portolasprings.org/community/amenities/



California Neighborhood Pics: This is the drive from our 3 story town home to our local shopping center. Along the way there are 2 Lap Pools, 1 Children's Wading Pool, 2 Jacuzzi Spas, 2 playgrounds, 1 basket ball court , and multiple BBQ and picnic areas surrounded by walking paths that we have access to. 

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***If you'd like to share this fundraiser, sharing via private message, email, or text is preferred. If you choose share on social media, please do not tag me or mention my name in the post. I'd like to keep this semi-private.***


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Donations

  • Amber Boswell 
    • $100 
    • 3 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 3 mos
  • Vianca Frias 
    • $30 
    • 3 mos
  • Grant Fisk 
    • $200 
    • 3 mos
  • Bobbie Eller Perez 
    • $25 
    • 3 mos
See all

Organizer

Haylee Rose-Dewar 
Organizer
Irvine, CA
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