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The Child Support Scam
MensNewsDaily.com ^ | April 24, 2004 | Roger F. Gay

Posted on 04/24/2004 8:58:58 AM PDT by RogerFGay

The Child Support Scam

April 24, 2004


by Roger F. Gay

Since the creation of the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement in 1975, government workers and lobbyists for private child support collection companies have been relentless in their efforts to misinform the public about child support payments and collections. A recent article published by WRAL.com in North Carolina provides a typical look at the propaganda effort.

The long title explains the impression that the article is intended to give: "Wake County Child-Support Workers Well-Intentioned But Overburdened; Child-Support Enforcement Needs Short-Changed By County Budget." Before going into detail, let me paraphrase the message; our accomplishments aren't impressive but we want more money anyway.

The background one needs to judge the message has never been presented to the public by the press (that I know of) outside of MensNewsDaily.com and FatherMag.com. Before the federal program was operational, about 70 percent of the amount of child support that was ordered was paid directly by noncustodial parents to custodial parents. An additional amount was paid to the government as reimbursement for welfare entitlements. According to research, divorced fathers (somewhat different for never-married fathers who are more often involved in welfare reimbursement and known to be different from noncustodial mothers) paid 90 percent of what was due, and fully-employed noncustodial fathers paid closer to 100 percent of what was due. Since the creation of the federal child support enforcement program which forces higher payments through expensive government payment systems, the figure previously at 70 percent has dropped to 67 percent. The primary reason for non-payment is that noncustodial parents are not able to pay as much as they have been ordered to pay. And some of the money that is currently paid gets lost in the new system.

The WRAL report begins with an overwhelming statement on the work load of case worker Lewis Jackson. "The Wake County Child Support employee is responsible for nearly 600 cases." What they don't say is that most payments are made voluntarily. No effort is required. When reminders and late notices are needed, they are automatically generated by computer and mailed without any effort being made by a case worker.

"Last year, Wake County collected more than $26 million in child support. Though that is a lot of cash, consider that more than 200,000 parents in the state owe more than $1 billion in payments." What they don't say is that the all payments made through the system, regardless of whether or not a parent has ever been late, are labeled "collections." $26 million in child support was paid in Wake County last year. What they also don't say is that it took more than a quarter century to accumulate the $1 billion arrearage figure. This is not, what might seem to be implied, the amount owed but not paid last year. Not subtracted from the figure are amounts paid off in subsequent years, in other states after parents have moved, settled through legal process, or that should be written off because noncustodial parents have long-since died, become disabled, or are otherwise unable to provide.

"According to Child Support managers, more staff is needed to deal with the problem. But that is not part of Wake County's budget proposal for the coming year." Given that there is no justification for the staff already on hand, and certainly none in an honest view of child support statistics, let's see how moved you are by the example.

"Beth Christo, whose ex-husband owes her nearly $20,000 for the support of their two children, said well-intentioned but overburdened case managers have given her the runaround for three years." "You go to Wake County, and they want to help you, but they just don't have the resources to do it," Christo said. "I have lost my car. I have moved my children twice. There are times when I don't know if I'm going to make it to pay day."

I don't know about you, but that makes me feel sad. What Beth apparently doesn't know is that most of the "collections" process simply involves waiting until a bloke can pay something. Sometimes payments are much more greatly delayed because threats connected to unreasonably high orders create psychological aversion to staying in contact with the system which in most cases is now the only legitimate point of payment. What to do? Let's look at the suggestion.

"Wake County Child Support Director Lillian Overton asked for 17 permanent positions in the next county budget. The request was denied by Wake County Human Services."

There is no word on why Beth's ex-husband is behind, but if he's typical, it's because he can't pay what has been ordered. Putting more workers on the government payroll won't help unless he's one of the people hired; perhaps providing the income he needs to make payments. I really have no personal knowledge regarding Beth's situation, but there are many noncustodial parents who can't make the payments they've been ordered to make. It is a fundamental consideration in setting child support amounts properly, that the amounts are based on what parents are able to provide. When circumstances change, such as loss of employment, timely adjustments need to be made to the amounts they are ordered to pay, so that uncollectable debts don't pile up – as they do now – giving the impression that more collection agents are needed. Custodial parents need to adjust their budgets and spending habits just like married couples and single adults would under similar circumstances. Just because a mother is divorced, doesn't guarantee a particular standard of living.

The lobbying effort is aimed at Wake County Manager David Cooke who presents budget requests to the county commission on May 17 subject to a final vote in mid-June. What should concern Wake County residents as well as people throughout the country, is the extent to which child support program employees misrepresent the status, benefit, and needs of their program. It is extremely unethical for government workers to mislead the public, and quite strange just that child support program employees are allowed to participate in lobbying activities as part of their official duties. Nothing lies within the ethical box except to accurately report as required. What really needs to be examined is whether program managers are violating ethical practice standards to such a degree that it is inappropriate to allow them to continue to hold positions of responsibility.

Roger F. Gay



Roger F. Gay is a professional analyst, international correspondent and regular contributor to MensNewsDaily.com, as well as a contributing editor for Fathering Magazine.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: North Carolina
KEYWORDS: cowardinsweden; deadbeatdad; scam
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To: cyborg
.


Cyborg,


Even after people are divorced, children are still their responsibility.

That goes without saying.


As a father paying child-support for four (4) teenaged kids (actually paying more than required by the courts, plus news computers, video camera, et al) ...

I continue to be amazed how Divorced-Women feel they have the God-Given right to effectively lock father out of the Parental Guidance Loop.

After fighting WW-III to install pornograpghy-filtering software (on the two computers "I" purchased) ... and then failing to get Report Card Grades & School Updates, I've basically given-up.

Their mother wants to be the "Children's Best Friend" -- NOT their disciplinarian (sp) and Academic Counselor.

Frankly, the tables are SO turned on American Men today.

Who will suffer in the Long Run ?

First, I'm sure my two Sons will wait decades before getting married, after seeing the nuclear baloney their Dad's been through.

Next, my two beautiful Daughters will find it difficult to find Men willing to make the "big committment".

Well ... I guess this is called Venting.

All I want to do is spend six-months in Iraq (that's the honest truth) ... to escape the emotional agony of having a mother poison her children against their dad.



Patton@Bastogne

Free Republic Member since 1998



.
41 posted on 04/24/2004 3:52:55 PM PDT by Patton@Bastogne (Nuclear Victory in 2006 over Iran & North Korea !)
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To: Patton@Bastogne; sauropod
***I can't blame this situation on one particular situation but liberal feminists don't care about the institution of marriage and men's feelings (or children for that matter). Patton your statements below pretty much summarize my concerns esp. as a single lady am running into men who don't want to committ thanks to nasty divorcing parents:

Who will suffer in the Long Run ?

First, I'm sure my two Sons will wait decades before getting married, after seeing the nuclear baloney their Dad's been through.

Next, my two beautiful Daughters will find it difficult to find Men willing to make the "big committment".

Well ... I guess this is called Venting.

All I want to do is spend six-months in Iraq (that's the honest truth) ... to escape the emotional agony of having a mother poison her children against their dad.
42 posted on 04/24/2004 4:01:24 PM PDT by cyborg
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To: sauropod
Rates in Minnesota are 25% of net income for one child, 30% for two, 35% for three, 40% for four, and so on. I'm not sure where the cap is, or if there is one.

I'm only paying for one child, but IMO 25% is ridiculous. Show me one family that spends one dollar out of every four dollars earned on it's one child and I'll show you a family that's on the road to financial ruin.
43 posted on 04/24/2004 4:02:43 PM PDT by NorthWoody (Hey, politicians! Stand up, be men, do your jobs and close the borders while there's still time.)
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To: SC Swamp Fox
My brother's wife sure as heck doesn't. Of course, she doesn't give a damn about the kids anyway.
44 posted on 04/24/2004 4:03:23 PM PDT by stands2reason ( During the cola wars, France was occupied by Pepsi for six months.)
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To: Gabz
I'd like to put my two cents into this issue. I make my last child support payment, May 1st. I've been divorced almost 18 years. In California, the system is so screwed up you can't believe it. Neither of my kids spends more than 2-3 nights per month at Mommy dearests home. Yet, because of income disparity, I've had to pay her. She remarried and chose not to work outside of the home for the past 10 years. Yet, if I go back to Court and they look at her imputed income versus my real income, the judges get p.o.'d at me. Now that the kids are in college, have car issues etc. I pay that in addition to child-support payments for someone to sit home on their lazy butt all day. You're right, the system is broken. Keep in mind, the large payments that are ordered here in California is due to the fact California is awarded federal bucks based on how much child support is collected. I'm done venting now, thank you for reading.
45 posted on 04/24/2004 4:05:24 PM PDT by Phinanceguy
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To: DeaconBenjamin
In fact, I advise noncustodial parents that, if they keep paying regularly, it is far more likely than not that they will not see an increase in their child support obligation.

Your advice is good. My ex has not sought an increase in more than 10 years. My daughter is nearly 16 and I still pay the same amount. It's there on time every month.

She wants to move back to live with me for the last year of high school. She said, "I'm sorry that it'll be more expensive." When I told her how much I paid each month, she was astonished, saying, "I don't cost nearly that much each month."

46 posted on 04/24/2004 4:06:44 PM PDT by CholeraJoe (I'm just here to Mosh!)
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To: NorthWoody
I would think that child support should be half of what is needed to support a child, considering the custodial parent should pay half as well. Is that not the standard is? What percentage of the childcare costs are the custodial parent's responsibility?
47 posted on 04/24/2004 4:08:51 PM PDT by stands2reason ( During the cola wars, France was occupied by Pepsi for six months.)
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To: stands2reason
In North Carolina, CS is defined as the amount necessary to keep the children in the same comfort level and lifestyle as was had when both parents were married....on paper its about %17 of your gross pay per child for custody arrangements where the non custodial spouse has the children less than 121 days per yer.


48 posted on 04/24/2004 4:13:09 PM PDT by Rebelbase ("Kerry is the female version of Hillary"............FReeper Paul Atreides)
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To: Hildy
First hand case in point. A Hispanic friend of mine (ex boyfriend) was married and had a son. The marriage went south and they divorced, and he started paying child support, (she had never lifted a finger to work her whole life). Shortly thereafter, like REAL shortly thereafter, she came up pregnant. Guess what? Turns out, it wasn't his kid. So he ends up supporting the ex-wife, his son AND the kid she had by another man, after they divorced. But that's not the worst part. To continue, about 2 years after that, his car tangled with an 18-wheeler driving home from Dallas one night. He says the truck didn't have it's lights on, or he would have SEEN the truck pulling out from a rest stop. But he could't prove it. To make matters worse, the company he worked for had committed fraud and instead of covering the employees health coverage, the owner disappeared with the 'premium money', leaving my friend in the hospital, with a life-threatening injury (they had to cut him out of the car with the jaws of life), and no insurance. They didn't think he would ever walk again, at first. He was in rehab for over a year but finally was able to walk again. Point is, during this time, child support services was hounding him for the child support payments, even knowing he was incapacitated. Their comment to him: "Doesn't matter. Unless you are DEAD, you have to pay up." His son is now 24 years old and he STILL has not been able to catch up on the CS payments + interest that they garnered his wages for, and then charged against his credit all these years. As an aside, the ex wife dumped his son on his doorstep one day, announced that she was moving to California with her boyfriend (the other kid's father) and basically, here he is. Having no money for legal action, he failed to file for permanent custody at that point. Big mistake. She returned 6 mos. later, yanked the kid out of school and resumed her 'pay me' routine. At this point, she should have had to pay HIM child support for that 6 months, but the courts just don't work that way. Fairly, that is.

This kind of thing happens all the time, from what I've learned. It's unfair and should be changed, radically.
In going after the fathers like this, the courts do more harm than good to the child, cause the father would have/should have been able to afford legal representation to get full custody. Instead, the kid was stuck with a sorry excuse for a mother that had abandoned him, and then yanked him out of school in the middle of the year, just so she could resume getting PAID.

49 posted on 04/24/2004 4:14:39 PM PDT by XenaLee
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To: cyborg
If someone does not want the responsibility of children then don't have any sex.

I salute you for having ruined a perfectly good article about dishonest and probably counterproductive government bureaucrats, and turning it into the usual flaming pissing contest in which married men are told to keep it in their pants.

50 posted on 04/24/2004 4:42:23 PM PDT by Nick Danger (carpe ductum)
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To: Nick Danger
spare me your misplaced wrath...research my posting history and you'll see I'm not into 'pissing contests' as you so respectfully put it.
51 posted on 04/24/2004 4:44:18 PM PDT by cyborg
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To: cyborg
If someone does not want the responsibility of children then don't have any sex

The key word there is responsibility

I think many in this society have completely abandoned the notion of being responsible for personal actions and commitments. If a marriage doesn't work, end it. If a baby is not wanted, have an abortion. If you are too lazy to get a job and work for yourself, go on welfare. All of these things have been made easy to do through the work of leftist activism.

And the problem is getting worse.

52 posted on 04/24/2004 4:58:20 PM PDT by SaveTheChief (The most crooked, you know, lying...)
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To: SaveTheChief
I question the government getting too involved in the affairs of families. I bet if the government didn't get so much involved that things would be different.
53 posted on 04/24/2004 5:07:24 PM PDT by cyborg
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To: cyborg
I agree completely. This is a problem that has been advanced by the government, but only because of busy-body advocy groups who think they know what is better for your family than you.

Possible solution? Stop electing politicians who take up these nutball causes.

54 posted on 04/24/2004 5:20:58 PM PDT by SaveTheChief (The most crooked, you know, lying...)
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To: Gabz
It won't happen..............it is very rare the systems will adjust payments down when the support paying parent has a change in financial status.

I live in Wake County. I have a friend whose two daughters are supposed to stay with their Mother. Both, sickened by her lifestyle, moved back in with Dad. Dad is still sending the support checks to Mom, it's easier.

When she did have them, when it was time for them to have visitation with him, she'd would literally send them over with rags for clothes, he'd buy new wardrobes, she'd pocket the cash. When the girls would return, she call their father the fool.

Different Family - We went to a wedding today. A co-worker of my wife married her second husband. His first wife left him to find herself and moved in with a lesbian. When she heard that he had found a new wife to marry, she decided to inform the kids that she and her les lover would start sharing a bed. The kids were understandably upset, ruining whatever joy they would have had today. They are 4, 7, and 11. The 11 year old asked his Mom if she and the les would be 'doing it'. She told him, 'of course, that's what people in love do'.

Men are not blameless in broken families, but women seem to really know how to twist the knife.

55 posted on 04/24/2004 6:04:50 PM PDT by TC Rider (The United States Constitution 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: NorthWoody
With all due respect, I was neither asserting that my experience held true either for the country as a whole, or for the ever-so progressive state of Minnesota.
56 posted on 04/24/2004 6:31:46 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin
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To: paulsy
Anyone who marries, without the thought of a divorce is a blind fool.
57 posted on 04/24/2004 6:38:03 PM PDT by BOOTSTICK
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To: sauropod; hellinahandcart; Lil'freeper; big'ol_freeper; no_problema; clyde asbury; Gabz; ...
The Alimony Hidden in Child Support
58 posted on 04/25/2004 6:14:15 AM PDT by RogerFGay
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To: Phinanceguy
"Keep in mind, the large payments that are ordered here in California is due to the fact California is awarded federal bucks based on how much child support is collected."

That is true and also is a dirty little secret.

If your kids are 18, you should petition the court to have your Child Support stopped. That is the law in MD where I live. But I have to initiate the petition, otherwise it keeps on going and going....

59 posted on 04/25/2004 6:45:44 AM PDT by sauropod ("How do you know he's a King?" "Because he doesn't have sh!t all over him.")
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To: RogerFGay
Thanks for the ping. Bump for later.
60 posted on 04/25/2004 8:14:53 AM PDT by TheSpottedOwl (Torrance Ca....land of the flying monkeys)
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