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I am in the same boat with Vermont and their custody and child support laws. I recently went through a separation In which my first born daughter is just turning 2. My ex left me for a convicted heroin dealer along with abuse and theft on his recent record. I have had a couple of instances where drugs have been seized by police officers while with this new man she is seeing. Rutland city police confiscated the drugs and did nothing. I filed for a relief from abuse order. That took atleast 4 months for a court hearing. Nothing was ever done!! I was essentially told she has to be beaten or abused before anything can be done. On top of it the court system gave me 50% custody but am still obligated to pay child support to her because she is on the system. I am really fed up with Vermont and it's child care systems. I am 28 years old I bought my first house 2 years ago. I have a steady good paying job and am a standup citizen with not even a traffic violation. What is wrong with this state and it's child care system. Especially Rutland,VT.!!!!!!
Shared custody should be a given! In cases of verifiable alcohol abuse, drug abuse, sexual abuse and obvious "deal breakers", the absence of shared custody should be just as much of a given. A child needs both parents in their lives on a REGULAR basis. A mother naturally brings certain idiosyncratic necessities to child's life and a father naturally brings certain idiosyncratic necessities to a child's life. Together, they generate differences, yet balance. Each parent, as well as having equal rights to participate equally in their child's life also has equal responsibility to be there for their child for equal time. If each parent wants half of the 50/50 custody arrangement, they had better be committed to the necessity of being there physically, emotionally and completely unfettered from a stream of other adult distractions during their 50% of time. Raising a kid requires this more than clothes, Iphones and summer camps. A new baseball glove's worth nothing if Dad's not in the bleachers. New nail polish is worth nothing without Mom's hand holding her toes while her daughter tenuously applies it. Automatic shared custody removes the trump cards of money or gender and puts both parents in the often humbling position of being two equal parents. It takes two to make 'em and it takes two to raise 'em.
I have had the pleasure of taking many artist development courses through BCA and the VT Arts Council, and now get to teach some of those BCA workshops, including the etsy one mentioned here. It's a blast. I can't recommend them enough to other artists. So much of the business side of making a living from your art can be so counter-intuitive and just plain intimidating, but it's actually not a big deal once you break it down and - as Beth said - have supports who keep you accountable. Sitting in a workshop with other people who know what you're going through and can share stories and tips is a pretty great way to spend a day.