Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Does This Need Changed?

I've never been divorced, so I've never had to deal with child support payments.  However, I have friends who are in this situation, and have heard arguments on both sides.

With that said, I found myself in the minority this morning when the topic arose on the radio station my daughter listens to in the morning.  Here's the story:  An Army veteran, who had made faithful child support payments for ten years, suddenly found himself out of a job in 2009.  He has since found another position in recent months,  but asked for a one month extension of his child support deadline in order to make sure he was back on his feet.  The judge denied his request and sent him to jail.

The question posed by the DJ was, "Do you think this was fair?  Do you think certain circumstances need to apply?  And does the fact the man is a veteran come into play here?"

An overwhelming majority of both women and men said they agreed with the judge.  He didn't meet the deadline, so go to jail.

Meanwhile, my daughter and I both agreed the man should have had the fact he'd made regular, steady payments taken into account, and he should have been granted the one month extension.

Single parents, educate me here:  How does a man make child support payments from jail?  Is he put into work release or something, with everything he makes going to the child?

I'll agree, there ARE dads out there who shirk their duty, and don't pay.  I've known dads whose pay is minimal, yet send half their paycheck to the mother of their children.  And I've also known mothers who take that money and don't use it for their kids.

One caller spoke up and said maybe the parent making the payments should get a tax break, while the parent on the receiving end should have to count it as taxable income.  What do you think?  Would this help the system or harm it?

Another man spoke up and said this was just another blatant excuse for the 'I'm not working' card.  But if you click the link, you see the guy DID have a job at the time of the court ruling; this wasn't presented on the show.

So talk to me; I'm interested.  What's YOUR take on the child support issue?


kayspringsteen said...

My kids are all grown now, but I received child support for many years. Had we been married and living together, he'd have paid that amount and more, and yet HIS FAMILY (not him) resented the heck out of me for taking child support from him. He's an RN and the hospital he worked for downsized, cut his hours. He could have gone to court and gotten a reduced rate but he didn't. He kept up the same rate. Finally, the hospital closed and he lost his job but he went on unemployment, which reduced his income even further. He found another job but then ended up on disability after an accident. Social Security took a long time to start his payments. The child support payments stopped. For 9 months nothing. Life was rough for us. But I wouldn't have thrown him in jail at any time. The other side of the story with this guy you mention here is relevant. The mother of his kids could, at any time, have signed a waiver of child support and kept him out of jail. That's something available in every state.

Molly Daniels said...

I did NOT know that! So maybe the mom was totally dependent on his support? Or maybe she'd 'had enough' of the non-payments?

Like I said, I would have cut the guy some slack...but then I'm a forgiving person.

Hales said...

Here is my take. There are good fathers who do their duty.

There are fathers who 'appear to do their duty.'

There are fathers who skirt around the system and barely do their duty.

And here are men who want to do the right thing but are not man enough to stand up to their new wife or girlfriend and let the new woman call the shots.

And those who don't do a damn thing.

The first one is the father who not only makes childsupport on time every month but also is an integral part of his child or children's lives. Visit's, calls to the school, calls to the other parent.

The second one is the man who pays the first amount issued by the court but doesn't have it modified as his child ages. Which is totally wrong.

The third is the father that makes the minimum payment by getting a job that pays min wage and then to avoid paying higher support takes cash jobs that are untaxable so that they don't have to pay a dime more. So While they are living high on the hog with the second cash job the single mother is struggling with two or three jobs to support their kids.

The third is skirting around the system. It's a way of job hopping and the law taking months to catch up to garnish. Many mothers just give up on the job hoppers.

The forth is the man who doesn't want to rock the boat with his new family so he pays routinely but doesn't interact with his children. He also may blame the mother for his absence saying that because they don't get along he can't see his kids. Bullshit.

Then there are those who don't do anything. Not all states enforce jail time or loss of drivers licence.

I have an issue with the Military and child support. Their system sucks. I had a court order for my daughter who was two at the time for 200 dollars a month. Good for a two yr old. Paid half of daycare and her needs as an infant. She is now almost 17 and I've been trying for 7 yrs to get it modified.

Here's the issue when you have a parent in the military in another state, the child support order has to go through intrastate not where you live, it can take up to 18 months for them to take on the case...Each time the parent is transfered. Add in going to war. The Gov't won't do a thing until the soldier is back on US soil. My ex has been to Iraq 7 times. Each time a little under a year. Each time I filed to have her modified they closed the case. Each time I've had to start over. He's on US soil now and I started it but they won't go back and make him pay more. They should though he's known she needs more he just has a new family and refuses to up her pay. The rule is 32% of income for one kid. Not only has he advanced in the military 6 times, he gets separation pay and other incentives for not seeing her when he's overseas or at war.

There are some mothers who make life a living hell for the fathers and don't allow them visits or bad mouth the fathers. I don'tdo that because the kids aren't idiots they'll see as they grow older so it defeats the purpose.

Hales said...

Kay there's no waiver for Missouri or Kansas it's a State vs Paternal Father issue. The state pushes not the Mother. They have to enforce everyone the same way esp if they're paying medical care for the children and or other benefits.

Nina Pierce said...

I'm not divorced, but I watched my brothers go through this. They wanted to support their children. They stepped up to the plate, but one of them nearly went backrupt making child support payments and not having enough to pay his own bills. To add insult to injury, the mother didn't use the money wisely and constantly asked him for more money for scouts or dance classes.

It made me heartsick for my brother. It seems a good guy who's trying shouldn't be made an example for all the guys who don't care and don't even try.

Amber Skyze said...

I'm divorced and only received child support for one year. I believe this guy should have been given a break considering his good record.
What is wrong with the mother sending him to jail? The sad part is the child support keeps adding up while he's there. Wouldn't they rather him out working and paying than not?
I'd love for my loser ex to pay support, but I wouldn't put him in jail because it would only hurt his children. Instead I provide the support the need.
I don't bad mouth him to his children, but I believe they know he doesn't pay any support, because he pisses and moans about paying it for his and his new ex's child.
I find this guys situation unfair. :)

C. Zampa said...

Oh, I think he most certainly should have received a break!
There are so many 'deadbeat' dads out there who somehow manage to slip under the radar an NEVER have to pay.
So I suppose the grab the honest ones who come forward just because they can 'get' them.
In all the years my ex made payments, he only faltered once when he, too, was out of work. I never, in a million years, would have thrown an man who'd been so faithful and had rough times, in jail.
As you said, how can they pay from behind bars?

Janice said...

My ex-BIL and my hubby's best friend were both avoidance child support payers.

I would happily see them both rot behind bars for doing what they did. They both thought it was smart to quit jobs when the child support caught up with them, and take under the table gigs so they wouldn't have to pay.

But that man you mentioned, no, it sounded like he was trying his best to do the right thing.

But I wonder about the mom, was she having a hard time making it or did she just want to have him punished?


Molly Daniels said...

Well said, Hales! Wow...had no idea there were so many 'loopholes' in the system!

Molly Daniels said...

@Nina: Yeah, one of my friends was in a similar situation. Half his paycheck with to the mother of his child, but this left him very little to pay his own bills.

@Amber and Carol: That's what I don't get. How do they expect the dads to pay up while behind bars? That's why I asked about work release, or jobs they can have while locked up.

Molly Daniels said...

@Janice: Yup; I forgot about the mom turning him in in the 1st place. Was she THAT dependent on the money? What was HER financial situation?

Hales said...

@Molly they work in the prison for whatever low amount and that money is paid or the state will pay the mother while the father is in jail and then take taxes when they get out and work legal taxable jobs.

Same as arrears. I've gotten nice checks in the mail years later lol 3grand plus but doesn't make the years spent without aid worth it.

@ Kay I forgot to add that they take the fathers to court via state vs paternal father as a way of protecting the mothers too. TO avoid bullying and threats by the father egging the mother to drop charges etc...they leave the mother out and do everyone the same so the mother can't legally sign a waiver out here.

Dawn Roberto said...

I am dealing with this now with my ex-husband. The first court order had him paying $50 a month for two kids. At the time they were a toddler and a newborn. Then I modified it to include day care so I can work my two jobs to support them since he skipped all over the damn country working low wage jobs, refusing to tell the family court when he moved which by NY state law they have to do. When he finally went intot he military after me being one or two steps behind in getting him served, the army forced him to pay his child support which was in excess of over $20K owed in back child support. Needless to say NY state considers him a dead beat dad for doing this and on top of it all, he has not bothered since I left him in 2001 to see, write, or even get to know the two kids we have together. NY State has the best enforcement I have seen in getting child support for those who hold their orders and I am currently after almost 10 years, going back to court to get it modified again since the kids are older (middle school years) and my ex has received several promotions in rank and pay grade.

The first 7 years of my kids lives were rough as we struggled with him playing games or his family hiding him from being served.

In this case, I would think a one month extension was warranted since he did pay on time and was hardly ever late. That should have been taken in account.

Molly Daniels said...

@Hales: Thank you for clearing that up:)

@Dawn: Thanks for dropping by with your input! All of this makes me happy I've toughed it out and stayed with my spouse, rather than go through this hassle.