Nothing new here.
Since the early nineties, Debtor’s Prison has been in full swing should, for example, a divorced father get laid off who owes matriarchy suppor. . .errr I mean tax-free alimon. . .errrr I mean “CHILD” support and the courts take six months to determine if he, by some miracle, be granted a downward modification.
Meanwhile the original amount of CS continues to acrue resulting in instant arrears. Said father can easily lose his professional licenses including driver’s license and be thrown into debtor’s prison. Good luck getting a “father’s rights” attorney.
Know a guy whose alimony/child support was set at an income he was earning when he was making great money as a builder. Since the bottom fell out, he still has to pay the same amount. Since he can’t, he spends his nights and weekends in jail.
Know another builder who got creamed in a divorce. Ex-wife brought him in front of a judge so he would pay an $800 doctor bill. “Judge, I simply do not have the money” “Doesn’t matter, sell some of your assets. You have 30 days to pay or else”
There are fathers-rights attorney’s out there, some very good ones in fact. The problem is most father’s are so screwed over by the courts, financially and otherwise, they no longer have the funds to begin to pay a retainer; leaving many men with no representation or attempting to fight the system Pro Se.
What has happened in our nations Family Courts is a complete crime. Men are continually turned into non-entities, removed of the rights of a parent and legally termed visitors in their child’s lives where all contact is determined from the bench, left up to the mother to allow and rarely is a mother held in contempt of court for refusing visitation, phone calls etc.
Although every single statistics proves women are the higher percentage of parents who fail to pay child support, it is rare to find a women, regardless of the amount she owes, end up in jail or even have her face plastered on dead-beat lists designed to humiliate a parent.
Courts can determine the amount a man SHOULD be making, not what he literally is making then use that figure to determine support. Even in this economy where highly qualified people are forced to take lower positions, with much lower salaries, hundreds of thousands of men are being charged a monthly support payment that often is more than they bring in a month. Even when a man can achieve a reduction in support (as you mentioned) it does not erase the arrears that continually accrue interest and penalties making it virtually impossible to pay off. While this was done to prevent parents from taking lower paying employment to lessen their support obligation, that is a rare occurrence. Instead, men who have no other option but to take a lower paying job, while facing the prices of everything increasing, are harmed. Currently the laws do not allow a judge to reduce the amount of arrears owed for any reason whatsoever. Unless a man can prove fraud, they are at the mercy of the courts, sometimes for life.
But it isn’t only the courts that are the problem; there is a huge problem in the way society looks at divorced/non-married men with a child(ren). When a couple is together and one party loses a job or they face some other form of financial emergency, society is perfectly accepting of the family tightening their belts, doing with less and giving their children less, as long as the basics are covered.
When a non-custodial parent loses their job or faces another financial crisis, society immediately turns that person into a deadbeat if they do not continue to pay a set amount, each month. Even if the man (as is usually the case) loses their job, becomes ill or has an accident or is faced with a financial emergency, he is immediately considered a deadbeat. When this disparity brought up to defenders of our current support system they can only respond with anger, usually resorting to calling the parent a loser, deadbeat, criminal etc etc. Most will scream that man should work 4-5 jobs if needed to pay their support; no quarter is given, regardless of situation. Sadly, our society is so accepting of our current system, making changes to it will be virtually impossible.
I know this has been a long post, but there was one case that may interest you. This was posted to FR years ago when it happened and with some digging I could find it again.
A man in Arizona was divorcing his wife after twenty years or so of marriage. During the divorce proceedings, she all of a sudden claimed to be pregnant by the man. Their adult daughter, worked in a DNA lab whose job it was to determine paternity. Although the man claimed there was no way possible his ex-wife could be pregnant with his child the courts were presented a DNA paternity test showing he was the father.
The man, knowing there was no way his ex-wife could be pregnant (they had not had relations during the time) continued to protest being charged child support for child he had never seen, nor had a single other member of his family seen. He was also ordered to pay insurance, when his insurance company could not produce a single bill for the child he used that to fight his case in court. Over and over the judges ordered the wife to allow visitation which never happened, to provide pictures that never came. Finally the judge ordered the ex-wife to produce the actual child in court. It took years for this to happen, costing this man tens of thousands of dollars in legal fee’s. His ex-wives attorney btw was paid by the state.
The “mother”, not knowing what else to do, literally “borrowed” a neighbors child (who was slightly older than the child she claimed) and brought that child to court. In the meantime, the neighbor had called the police claiming her child had been kidnapped! The child made such a fuss in the court, refusing to call “mom” mom the police were brought in.
It turns out the ex-wife had lied about the complete pregnancy, had collected hundred of thousands of dollars in support for a child that never existed. Her older daughter simple forged a DNA report from the lab she worked at claiming the child belonged to the poor man.
Although the court stopped the support payments immediately and ordered the ex-wife to repay all the monies she had collected, the ex-husband was forced to go to court and file to get anything back. Last I looked he still had not been returned a penny. She was also ordered to pay his legal fee’s and the state back for her legal representation. The last time I looked, no action had been taken against her legally although she continued to fail to repay any of those debts. She should have gone to prison.
That is how screwed our system is. A child that does not even exist can be ordered support and the court is perfectly fine with enforcing that order even if the father has never once set eyes on his “child”.
Men have been forced to pay support simply because a woman names them the father, even after a DNA test proves the child is not the man’s, the order continues. California is the worst state for this. Thousand of men who have never even met the woman they are said to have a child with are ordered to pay support for a child born to her. The “law” says if the man does not prove, within a sufficient amount of time, that they are not the father, they are stuck. Men who have had orders sent to addresses they have not lived at for years, who never receive any court papers have found themselves arrested, their licences suspended, tax refunds seized etc. It does not matter that they never received any court order; they did not prove they were not the father, the name matches, they are stuck.
Thousands of other men are forced to pay support for a child born to their spouse from an adulterous affair. These cases are some of the worst. Not only is the jilted spouse on the under threat of arrest if they do not pay for a child they did not create the real bio-father is let off the hook to go his merry way.
There are horror story after horror story out of our family court systems. Severe changes need to be made, but as long as society continues to support our current system no politician is willing to lift a hand to do a thing.