To: conservative cat
Actually, there's no significant difference in "collection" (payment) rates between before the creation of the government collection system and after. Percent of payment of total award amount actually dropped somewhat after the system was created because amounts awarded were artifically inflated at the same time -- something most journalists don't write about -- or at least have never been accurate / honest writing about. Mostly the problem of non-payment due to artifically inflated awards is one experienced by lower income fathers -- mostly, but not exclusively. But there is and never has been any sign of increased percent paid of total awarded related to the creation of the government collection system.
There has always been a history of fathers getting behind because for some reason or another, it's sometimes difficult or impossible to pay all that is owed. Intact families adjust to varying financial circumstances all the time ... whereas divorced fathers are expected to provide the steady stream of payments no matter what. What's worse for them is that it doesn't even matter if they encounter a long term problem, like having a new job that pays less. Often, periods of unemployment are not taken into account to adjust awards according to ability to pay.
Washington State does have a somewhat unique arrangement regarding fathers with other children ("second families") to support. An organization called P.O.P.S. sued the state over its cs guidelines on constitutional grounds. P.O.P.S. was composed primarily of fathers who had remarried and had other children to support in the new family. Their legal process ended after the Washington State legislature passed a law that essentially excluded such cases from guideline decisions by providing an arbitrary deviation from guideline results to account for children of second families.
I do agree that low income fathers are hit the hardest by the child support rules. I know men who pay almost as much for one child as my ex-husband pays for two (one of whom is disabled, but that is a non-issue for the courts), yet make HALF as much as my ex does.
My ex was able to take almost a year to pay back the month and a half he missed last year (where his income wasn't cut, but his source of income was different), yet I was not able to wait a year and a half to pay my mortgage, car payment, car insurance, utilities, gas for the car, food for the kids, etc. Plus, he didn't pay a cent of interest, which is what I would have had to pay had I the opportunity to spread my monthly expenses over the year.
I know someone whose ex voluntarily quit his high paying job (on purpose), is not working (because he is living with a very well off woman), and successfully was able to cut his child support in half just a few months ago due to his lower income.
I have found the people hit the most unfairly by our schedules are the women who work and have a decent income. (i.e. probably the women not getting any govt. benefits...hmmmmm..)
I wonder if WA state should also look into an adjustment for women who have a second family (or actually an addition to the first.) Wouldn't that be fair, too?
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