Monday, October 31, 2011

Why so Contentious?

A friend of my family’s was a Clerk of the Court in the Los Angeles area for 30+ years, and often she would make the following point when the subject of Family Court and or Child Support would pop up. Her position was, basically: “If people could privately settle their personal affairs in a civil and respectful manner, there would be no need for Family Court”
Now of course, this opinion makes perfect sense, but as we all know, at least as often as they do, people do not make much sense. Today, I replied to a comment(s) posted at a newspaper website by a woman in New Mexico, who seemingly proudly and loudly proclaimed: “I am owed over $50,000 in child support. I have been trying to work with NM Child Support for many years. Somehow the payment went down”. Now this gal’s comment(s) was posted in response to an article about how New Mexico’s Governor proclaimed that the State is extending a “child support crackdown Statewide“. This commenter has had, apparently, ongoing problems with the NM Child Support Collection Department in it's efforts to extract subsidy for the gal in the form of child support from her ex-husband. I replied to this woman’s comments with one statement and one question: "First, be careful stating in public that YOU are owed child support arrearages; that is SUPPOSED to go to the kids, and the Court might not like the way you stated you‘re owed child support” - And secondly, I asked: “Why didn’t Dad get the kid(s) in the first place, then you wouldn‘t have had to deal with all that frustration?” - Of course the woman doesn't need to answer the question (though I'm hoping she will) because anyone who knows the nightmare of Family Court and Child Support Collection knows that Mom gets the kids over 90% of the time when juvenile children are involved in divorce or custody cases.
Not half the time, or 75% of the time, over 90% of the time. As I always say, until society and the Family Law Industry change their posture from the current one of fiscal custody being most important, to physical custody (and truly strive for the best interest of the child) being paramount, nothing else in Family Law will change and the bias against men and fathers will remain as the status quo. More dangerous is the fact that unless changes are made in this regard, our society will keep trudging down its dusty road to oblivion as more and more Dads are removed from the homes they share with their kids via Court Order....I await a response from New Mexico……..

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I fear I have been in error....

For about five years now, I've been expounding here - and other places - about the "$980+ million Federal Dollars California receives annually for its child support collection and case management efforts" - That figure is wrong, WAY wrong, and frankly, I'm not entirely sure how I came to have it as a benchmark; Not only am I extremely embarrassed, I humbly apologize, my bad!

A more accurate figure, based upon the statistics available (2002 - $40 million dollars in annual Federal subsidy) when AB 2240 was vetoed by then California Governor Gray Davis would have to account for inflation and other factors and I’m neither a mathematician nor economist, in fact right now, I‘m feeling like a bit of a nincompoop. Hey I fucked up, I admit it….However, the fact remains that the only Federally Funded study ever conducted on the subject of child support showed that when they are employed, men pay between 83% and 91% of all court ordered child support in the U.S. and that they pay without intervention of any kid. Couple that with today’s tremendous - and extremely rare - victory for Orange County, California resident Pedro Soto and one begins to understand the tremendous cash cow that Child Support Collection really is for Government, elected and appointed officials, and countless “agents” and representatives” in both the public and private sector.

Ho-Hum The Holidays will Come!

Obviously, I have been derelict inasmuch as I have not been consistently writing here.
I could go into - and on, and on - about how much worry, sorrow, grief, agitation, anger, and remorse I, as well as most of my family (largely, my wife) have passed through in the last nineteen months trying to get my youngest daughter to see some glimpse of the proverbial, and mostly mythical, light. Her exploits are a constant, ever present source of stress, concern, and apprehension for me, and for those who love and care about her. Mine are not words of whine, mind you, but of the harsh reality that comes with dealing with a young person, the abuse of whom at the hand(s) of her biological mother and former step-father, have left deep and profound scars from which my daughter may never recover; to say it has been heartbreaking might be a start of an explanation of where I‘ve been with all of this. The Licensed Family Counselor I took my daughter to weekly for twenty-one months, without fail, upon gaining primary physical custody, remains convinced that not only was my daughter subjected to horrific psychological abuse at the nasty mouth of her mother, but that something far darker “probably” occurred at the hand(s) of her former step-father or any of several other men who rolled in and out of my ex-wife’s households; thirty-four residence changes, nine different schools for my kid between second and fourth grades. You can only imagine my rage, and all the while, I’m begging with my daughter’s mother: “look, just give me my kid. I’ll keep paying you, just let me provide some stability and sameness“ To no avail.
The damage to my daughter was/is catastrophic and she became this angry, confused, defiant, detached, and frustrated teen; my ex-wife had created a person that not only she no longer wanted around, but was incapable of helping…Thank you, Family Law Court!
Much, if not all, of this dynamic, a dynamic that I and millions of fathers like me around the free world deal with each and every day, could've/can be avoided! But does anyone besides divorced Dads ever notice that these tragedies are never, EVER mentioned, discussed, or debated in the political arena? Why? Easy answer: Too much money is changing hands between Federal, State, and Local authorities, as well as Support Collection Agencies and Institutions for change to even be considered! No amount of “Hope” or rhetoric is going to change any of this dynamic either. Spending cuts and balanced budgets are again in the National news in the U.S. with the Presidential Election (among others) on the horizon. But until Voters are cognizant of the fact that Mom’s get the kids in divorce and custody cases over 90% of the time in the U.S. when juvenile children are involved, and that in concert with that figure, men pay all court ordered child support between 83 and 91% of the time when they are employed, and that they do so without intervention of any kind, nothing will change. The Federal Subsidy of States’ Child Support Collection and Case Management must cease! These efforts are the single largest tax payer rip-off in the Country and they’ve been in place for forty years! To understand the fiscal aspects of this, all one need understand is that over half of ALL Civil Litigation in the United States involves divorce and custody! Can YOU spell “growth industry”?