This is an excellent, yet controversial discussion. I think everyone understands that a child has a right be supported by both of their parents, yet support in the eyes of the family court system is purely monetarily. As previously stated, this system is in place to create the “deadbeat”, not foster what is in the best interest of the children. The government benefits greatly when a man/woman gets behind on his/her support for any reason.
Once a court order is in place, should you come upon a time in your life when you cannot afford to pay what you were previously ordered, it is left to the full discretion of a Magistrate, or Hearing Examiner to determine if you should have that order modified. When a person, who is not even a judge is given full autonomy to decide your fate, seemingly based on what type of mood they are in at any given time should show how flawed this system is.
I have seen first hand the alienation of the non-custodial parent due to decisions made by the government. Can’t afford to pay the amount of the current order due to losing your job and having to take another that pays less money? Too bad, you have the potential to earn what you once did, therefore, you must still pay the amount from the initial order. Can’t afford to feed your current family, or pay your bills because you now have fallen into arrears and are being tapped for 65% of your weekly pay? Too bad, get a second job. This system has created a bustling underground economy, as it is the only way people are finding they can take care of their children, but also their families and themselves by working cash jobs.
I think anyone who has ever paid child support to a custodial parent has heard the words “Where is my money?”. Those four words to a non-custodial parent are the reason that people are reluctant to hand cash over to the custodial parent under the guise of actually supporting your child. Your money? What happened to the child’s money? If a non-custodial parent was given a list of things each week he was responsible to purchase for their child, there would be much less animosity. What a wonderful feeling, having to take the bus to family court and seeing the custodial parent of your child getting out of a thirty thousand dollar car only to cry in front of the hearing examiner how they need more money each week for support.
This is big business, and the best interest of the child is the furthest thing from the mind and intentions of the government being involved in support collection enforcement. It is also unfortunate that it will never change. If any politician wants to win an office and mentions child support reform, they have just dug their own grave. The words “you don’t believe in children getting support?” will open a can of worms and no politician wants to be the one to try and take this on, even if they know that the system is inherently flawed.
The system creates the “deadbeats” by not allowing people to take care of themselves. The million dollar doctor who isn’t paying his support because he would rather not isn’t showing up on Pizza boxes, its the blue collar worker trying to take care of two families and getting behind on his bills while trying to survive who gets all of the embarrassment. The system encourages a non-custodial parent to get and keep work, yet when you do they take your drivers license rendering you unable to get to your job easily. Tax and Finance, if you are in arrears, then comes and takes that car and sells it at an auction to help try and satisfy this debt. You will have your passport removed, and be stigmatized by society for being irresponsible.
There is no wonder why more and more non-custodial parents are out of their children’s lives, the system is designed to encourage that.