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Child Support as Politics.

  1. JP Cusick profile image76
    JP Cusickposted 5 years ago

    I am NOT campaigning here as I just want to discuss such things, but I am a candidate in my Maryland for the US Senate 2012, but if I win then my politics will affect the entire USA.

    My point and platform is to radically reform the Child Support laws under federal mandate.

    As like the law says the c/s must be taken as a percentage but instead the State Courts only order fixed set amounts which is severely abusive and detrimental to all concerned.

    Thereby the laws have unjustly turned parenting into a crime and turned parents into criminals and it destroys the family unit and alienates the children.

    The system needs to be stopped or dramatically reformed and yet most people are just determined to pretend that the injustices and ruin are just acceptable conditions.

    Child Support claims to be helping children when it is really just playing politics with our society.

    So I was wondering if anyone here has any input onto this subject?


    1. kmackey32 profile image82
      kmackey32posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I have seen child support ruen familys. You have parents who also refuse to work so they can live of the other parents child support. It takes 2 parents to raise a child and 2 parents to financially support them children.

    2. Moderndayslave profile image59
      Moderndayslaveposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Good luck, my divorce  financially ruined me. I get court ordered to prove my financial situation (which on paper doesn't work)  and the judge doesn't even look at the documents. Hit me up any time for ammo. When I get laid off the state takes my unemployment check while my ex  ( custodial parent ) and her husband are working.

      1. American View profile image60
        American Viewposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        I felt that pain. I went to Florida to take care of my parents. While there I got divorced. I paid my child support straight to her every month. No one told me I had to send the money to the state and then the state sends it to her. One morning at 7:30, the Sheriff came and arrested me for not paying child support. Even though my ex called and told them I had paid, I still had to pay the court the money they said I owed or they would not release me. The system is messed up

    3. cooldad profile image60
      cooldadposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Great forum topic.  I went through a terrible divorce and have experienced the horrible Florida child support system.  The whole system needs to be revamped badly.  My ex and I settled our dispute in mediation.  The settlement was signed by the judge and I began having my new child support amount deducted from my check and electronically sent to the state for disbursement.  Three months later, I received notice that my license was going to be suspended.  I went to the office and they hadn't entered my modification paperwork yet.  It took them four months after the judge signed the order to enter it into their system.
      I would have been arrested if I hadn't jumped through hoops.

      I just recently was laid off from my job and have again had to jump through hoops to avoid being arrested.  I'm a good dad, never been arrested, pay all my child support, except since I've been unemployed.  This system truly makes me feel like I'm a common criminal.

      The father is almost always guilty until proven innocent.  It's terrible.

  2. Lisa HW profile image82
    Lisa HWposted 5 years ago

    I have plenty to say here, but I don't know if anybody is going to want to take the time to read it all:

    Personally, I don't necessarily think it's the child support laws, by themselves, that are the root of the problem.  I've never been a big fan of Deadbeat Parents thing (and I thought it was beyond comprehension when, in Massachusetts, everyone thought it was great to publicize who was a deadbeat parents, in the hopes (I guess) of humiliating them.

    Living in Massachusetts (a state that I despise to an extent that I'd never be able to express it), I've seen first-hand how a state's policies and laws can essentially amount to "invalidating" any right citizens are supposed to have under the U.S. Constitution.  So, to me, if states are disregarding a Federal child support law, that's no big shocker.

    I don't know enough about the details/overall picture associated with the Federal versus state child support laws.  My immediate reaction to your question here is that I tend not to think the real root of the problem is (as I said) with child support laws.

    I think the problem is that there aren't laws to protect both parents (in a divorcing situation; or, I guess, in whatever other child-custody situation may show up in the courts), and make sure that the courts don't contribute to a situation that limits either or both parent's ability to work AND remain in close enough contact with children that neither parent's grief, worry, or even horror (in some cases) at having children with the other parent becomes such that the person's stress/distress level is so high his "mental energies" are too compromised for him to be able to figure a way past any challenges he faces in working, finding work, or otherwise remaining generally stable and whole.

    As you said, the courts (and people who are ready to vote in some laws) are "all about" "All we care about is the children.  We don't really care about the parents."  (Everybody loves children.  Most people would rather tax dollars be spent on laws that take care of children.  Most don't even consider that truly watching out for the best interests of children is to make sure (or as much as possible) that both parents' rights are protected enough that both parents remain whole and reasonably "on their feet enough" to meet their responsibilities as a parent, but also to have their rights as a parent preserved.

    In 1991 I had no choice but to take my three young children and leave the house.  Because I hadn't told family members about some of the difficulties I was having with my husband, none of them knew.  So, it was a big shock to him when I fled; and it was a big shock to them that I'd do such a thing.  He and they thought I "must be crazy" and had the "mental place" come after me.  lol  (I can laugh now - sort of.)  When I got there (I was allowed to leave a few hours later), it was clear to those people that I showed no signs of being "crazy". 

    There is apparently, however, no law that says if someone gets picked up for a mental-health "talk" (it wasn't a complete evaluation I've been told), and if that person shows no signs of being out of touch with reality; the mental-health people have to say, "Oops.  Sorry.  You can go."  Instead, some pretty mediocre people decided they would remain "involved in the case" (and since there's apparently no law that says if a person says that all she needs is a divorce lawyer they should refer her to one). So, these mediocre (and in some cases fairly aggressive) government people stayed involved, dragged more people in to be involved, got a whole "garbage in/garbage out" situation going in reports/files; and made a giant mess of a not just my family, but my extended family.  Enough of the details on that particular example and need for a law.

    Fast-forward to court (which, by the way, took months to get to):  I'd been told if I handed in a clean bill of mental health (which I did) I could have my children.  The judge changed the rules when that was handed in, and suddenly it was "when you have a house of your own you can have your children".  I won't go into more details here.  The point is, there should be laws that prohibit judges from moving goalposts.

    In any case, I lost custody of my children (who were left with a father with whom they really hadn't been normally close), and I was ordered to pick them up each day after school and also have them on every weekend from Friday afternoon until Sunday evening.  (That ought to tell someone that nobody really believed I had "mental problems", or at least not the people who mattered.)

    I was living in my car, and as inspection sticker time approach a tail light was cracked.  I asked the appointed attorney to at least try to get me money for the light (about $16).  I was ignored.  I didn't get the sticker in time and drove the car with a bad one.  In the meantime, the exhaust pipe developed a leak.  Later the brake fluid had to be replaced daily.  I raised these issues with the lawyer, and I was ignored.  There are apparently no laws that say a parent shouldn't be ordered to pick up, and "entertain" (for lack of a better word) children without making sure there is a safe vehicle in which that parent can transport those children.  Without more details on that particular story...

    Over a period of months (I'm sure the police ignored me for awhile because they knew some of what had gone on), I would end up with three tickets for the inspection sticker issue, and I couldn't pay them.  In 1993 I wasn't able to renew my driver's license. 

    My thinking when I drove the car was 1) that the court had failed to protect my children (I won't go into what ways here), and that I had a right to at least pick them up each day and at least be their source of emotional stability when I could (since the state hadn't protected them); but also that if I refused to drive the car I would (or so I thought) be considered in contempt of a court order that ordered me to get the children each day.  Also, I had nowhere to bring them other than to our own neighborhood (where they stayed with their father, but where I couldn't get into my home).

    Fees built up, and at first I didn't have the money to pay them.  Sometimes I'd have the money; but after after having people "play games" so often I was afraid that if I handed the money over I still may not get the license.  Later there was talk about people who hadn't driven for awhile needing to take the whole written test again (and I had concentration problems because I'd been living under such "ridiculous" conditions for so long).  In any case, I lost my license for - now - 17 years, for a cracker tail light (because if someone had protected my right/responsibility to work; I would have been working before the exhaust system went).

    I was told by the Registry "there's nothing in place for a situation like yours".

    There's also nothing in place in Welfare programs that would give a parent who needs to find a place to live and maybe a job (in the case of stay-at-home moms who have been "accused" of being "out of their minds!!!!  mad  mad ) a small chunk of cash (even if in the form of a loan) that would let that parent get on on his/her feet, set up a normal home base that could be shared with the children during that parent's time; and generally creating a normal life and lifestyle for all involved.

    I asked the Welfare office if there was some kind of temporary assistance for someone like me.  I was offered food stamps (which I didn't need), health insurance (which I didn't need), and whatever else they offer people that most people don't really need.  I was offered job training.  I told the woman, "I don't need job training."  Her reply:  "Well, maybe you'd like some anyway."  mad  (No.  I wasn't interested in getting job training that I didn't need for the heck of it.)

    Welfare programs are pretty much an all-or-nothing thing.  Either someone has to sign on and go with the whole, awful, thing that pretty much assumes people are incompetent, irresponsible, and/or welfare cons; or else get no help whatsoever.

    It's hardly "watching out for the interests of children" or "taking care of the children" to tie the hands of one or both parents to the point where children from otherwise middle class (and on the highish end of middle class) are left with one or both parents being a big, compromised, mess.

    More child support would be paid if people understood that the way to take care of children is not to destroy one or both of their parents.

    There are apparently no laws that hold "court people" and anyone associated with a family court case accountable for screw-ups.

    Here's one:  There are no laws that prohibit lawyers and/or GAL's and/or other case-associated people from dragging in the family members, friends, and neighbors into a case to offer "input".  Not only does this cause serious problems in the extended, as well as immediate, family; but it muddies up the chances that the truth will ever get to court.  As a result, with each non-professional who is allowed to put in his two cents on either parent, there is yet more opportunities for stupidity and/or lies to be entered into the case; where further increases the chances of destroying one or both parents in one way or another.

    If a person goes to any state agency and says there was a screw-up in the court, of course the state employee is not the person who can do anything about it.  What would be good, however, would be an office (or just a volunteer attorney somewhere)that the state worker could contact and say, "I have this person here who claims there was a big screw-up with her divorce case."  The person could then be in touch with the attorney (if that's what it was) in order for that attorney to, maybe, look into things a little more closely. If it wasn't a false alarm, maybe that's when the individual could be put in touch with a different attorney.  If these kinds of things happen only occasionally in each state, it wouldn't take much to create that ombudsman-type of situation.  If they happen hundreds of times a year in each state, then tax dollars would be better spent on creating an office/agency to handle such situations than spent on offering unnecessary job training, unnecessary parenting courses, unnecessary food stamps, etc. etc.

    Basically, the states (if they're like this disgusting state I no longer consider my own) have to acknowledge those ways in which laws/policies are destroying people's ability to keep and find work; and child support won't be the kind of problem it is.  I can't tell you the thousands upon thousands of dollars I lost by not being able to get to the kind of job I could have done (not to mention the sales taxes on purchases and any income taxes that would have come resulted from my being able to work full time over the last 20 years).

    In my own situation, I've seen the government waste (and this is not an exaggeration) millions of tax dollars over the years unnecessary and/or destructive government involvement (GAL's, lawyers, agencies, mental-health people, whoever) just on one simple little family of two parents and three children.  I wish I'd been given a statement every time the court dragged in someone else, or else caused unnecessary expenses to taxpayers or even my ex-husband and family members.  (And yet people don't even know the extent to which this kind of waste goes on, so instead they worry about whether a library stays open Wednesday nights or not, or whether someone gets some prescription for something paid for by the government).

    As far as child support goes, I'm not sure I agree with a percentage either.  The parent who makes "a zillion dollars" a year (I don't think) should automatically be required to spend x percent of that on "child support".  There's only so much standard of living even children from the wealthiest of families need.  In the situation where a parent made that "zillion dollars" a year, I think having something in place whereby the case would be considered (and where the children's education were, of course, factored in) would be better than just a standard percentage.

    With a low-end income parent, the percentage could mean the difference between the non-custodial parent's getting a little ahead and always having anything "ahead" he earns taken from him.  People with lower incomes can manage them better (and aim to improve them better) if they have a fixed amount to pay for something each month; and if they can work within that.  Ideally, I'd think that the parent who started out as a lower monthly payment, but who knew it might be raised later once he got on his feet; would know what he was dealing with and could work with it.  The problem, of course, would be the custodial parent who didn't have enough to get by on (in which case, I guess, in an ideal world it may be good to have some kind of moderator, maybe a "financial counselor", who could work with the family, figure out a plan, and maybe even consider some limited assistance to one parent or the other over a short period of time).

    So, having said all that...   I have to say that I guess I am not in favor of a percentage-based child-support law.  That's one of those things that would seem to make sense on the surface, but that, to anyone who has ever lived in the "real world" isn't as sensible and fair as it seems.  I think if states figured out the ways they're running up wasted bills for taxpayers in divorce courts, they might be able to save tax dollars AND put something in place that would allow for a little more "personalization" when it comes to the shifting needs (and especially when the non-custodial parent is first getting set up) of each parent (and the children, of course).

    What I'd like to see someone do is have the Federal government step in and really get a solid look at all the ways any of the states step on any number of people's Constitutional Rights (because all it takes is a few lies, a few confidential files, a few people who won't admit mistakes, and some other fairly simple things; and the only one aware of any violations of rights may be the person who, himself/herself has had his/her own violated without just cause.

    (Oh - a couple of other things I'll throw in:  There needs to be a law that requires more than a phone call or two from an angry husband, and/or a couple of relatives who happen to think the wife is "crazy" for leaving her marriage, to get a woman picked up by either an ambulance or else have two or three police cars show up to pick her up instead.  There should also be a law that applies to marriage/family counselors to whom a couple is referred (if they must be "referred" at all by the court system, when all they want/need is a divorce).  That law should prohibit family counselors from placing themselves in the role of judge with regard to "whether or not there really should be a divorce".

    If someone says she wants a divorce (and there's a good chance she's been thinking about it for a good long time), no court-associated counselor should have the right to presume to be the judge of whether that divorce should (as the counselor, in all his "coolness", said to me) "come down".

    Another one:  Student loans should require the signatures of both parents, regardless of who has custody.  If, for some reason, the non-custodial parent is not willing or able to provide a signature for any student loans; then I guess someone should be required to get authorization, or allow the application, through the courts (perhaps).

    Speaking of student loans, I'd like to see Welfare departments completely changed to approach (at lease some cases/families) more the way student aid is approached for college students (a mix of different types of assistance, depending on the student, his needs, what's available, etc. etc.).  If Welfare programs would designed in a more efficient, more intelligent, way that encouraged individuals' independence and autonomy (as opposed to discouraging it), a lot of people would/could get freed up from Welfare programs; so that maybe then there would be a little money available to offer some limited, short-term, assistance to non-custodial parents just getting up and running.

    Some kind of "education program" (it could be a simple as sending around a "ton" of e.mails strategically to Federal and state employees, as well schools to make the general public better understand that "no money" doesn't necessarily (particularly in a bad economy, but any time) equal "stupid" and/or "irresponsible". Include in this type of public-education program there should also be more open talk about how divorce courts mess up.  I think if the public had a better idea of how things happen "in real life" and in families, people might be more likely to vote for some things that weren't specifically and directly "for the children".  Similarly, if the general public had a better understanding of how things can wrong in families or with people's aims to get on their feet (and support their own children both financially and emotionally), there would be fewer people thinking that the father who didn't come up with a couple of months payments is "just a deadbeat".

    Something else the general public could stand to learn a little (a lot) more about are children's (and adults', for that matter) needs (including emotional needs, developmental needs, and academic needs).  As things have pretty much always been, most people think that as long as people (children) can eat and have a roof over their heads that's all anybody needs.

    This is why there are so many kids from divorce with unmet needs and anger (or else sadness).  It's why you have parents who can barely function and are either penniless and jobless, or else trapped in a Welfare system that can rob them of what little ability to "be up and running" they may have had to start with.

    I'm aware of the fact that there's only so much involvement in what the states do that the Federal government can/should have, but something like an education program that gives the general public credit for being able to understand something more than sixth-grade reading material; and that was "made available" (nothing more) to each of the states (to be distributed as seen fit, perhaps) would lead to a far more understanding and educated public, and awareness; which, in turn, would help couples and children of divorce understand important things that much better, help people dealing with them to understand them better, and help voters better understand the real needs when it comes to being in favor of, or against, spending tax dollars on one thing or another.

  3. JP Cusick profile image76
    JP Cusickposted 5 years ago

    Wow, you said a lot, and I agree with what you say.

    I have a long shot chance at winning the election, but if I do then the Child Support and Custody laws will have to face up to the honest and determined opposition for the first time.