A University of California professor shows that child support guidelines are 200%-400% higher than the real cost of raising children.
The study is based on thousands of households and it compares expenditures of families with 1, 2 and 3 children with those with no children, the control group. It also studies single parent households. It compares the marginal cost of raising a child (the real out of pocket cost) to the methods used in most states: average expenditures (divide all expenditures by number in the household) and the income-expenditures (IE) shares method. Both the existing methods are deeply flawed because they make hypothetical allocations of income to raising children. Real families adjust their total expenditures because the children change their lifestyle, but this is ignored by child support guidelines.
All this is clearly explained by Joe Sorge at DivorceCorp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=196XCAXfqrI&feature=youtu.be&utm_source=Mailing+Lists&utm_campaign=e56d991e78-Shocking_Facts_On_Child_Support_3_23_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b5b1488f8f-e56d991e78-165851009
… instead of achieving its intended objective of ensuring adequate support for children.
- “The system creates debtors prisons because the payments are excessive for low income obligors and payments do not stop during unemployment. Excessive support orders decrease the amounts actually collected.
- The system doesn’t acknowledge the economic realities of divorce – expenses of maintaining two households are much higher than for an intact family.
- The system overemphasizes financial contributions while devaluing other support. Most obligors are actively involved in their children’s lives, and they incur substantial expenses related to their children.”
These points summarize an article by Attorney Joseph Cordell: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-e-cordell/3-ways-the-child-support-system-rips-apart-families_b_8821130.html
The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has proposed that states revise unrealistically high child support guidelines. Details are at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/css
OCSE proposes to update Federal regulations in § 302.56 that address State guidelines for setting child support awards. Highlights of changes proposed by OCSE:
- Compliance with child support orders increases dramatically if the award is in the range of 15-20% of the noncustodial parent’s income.
- Compliance helps custodial families achieve economic stability, and this is especially important to millions of low-to-moderate income families.
- Consistent, predictable child support payments are important to families, and extensive research shows that realistic child support orders promote consistent payments.
- “A growing body of research finds that compliance with child support orders in some States, regardless of income level, declines when the support obligation is set above 15–20 percent of the obligor’s income, and that orders for excessive amounts result in lower, not higher, child support payments.” (Federal Register, v79, no 221, p. 68554)
Unrealistic orders produce incarceration and unmanageable arrearages. This can lead to a downward spiral in the involvement of the non-custodial parent with his or her child. Walter L Scott, the black man recently shot and killed by police got behind on child support, and as a result he lost “the best job I ever had.” Then his life spiraled out of control, causing him to tussle with police before being shot in the back as he ran away from his unmanageable arrearages. Source: The New York Times, http://nyti.ms/1yJelpe.
Connecticut is out of compliance. Connecticut’s Guidelines that require up to 55% of income for child support; typical amounts are 25% to 35% of income – with substantial medical expenses added on top. When is the legislature going to address unrealistic child support orders?
There is new evidence of the damage caused by unrealistic child support orders. A Washington Post article on Nov 15, 2015 says:
“Of the 2.2 million people incarcerated in the United States, about half are parents, and at least 1 in 5 has a child support obligation. For most, the debt will keep piling up throughout their imprisonment: By law or by practice, child support agencies in much of the country consider incarceration a form of “voluntary impoverishment.” Parents like Harris, the logic goes, have only themselves to blame for not earning a living”
The Post reports that this may change under new rules proposed by President Obama. The new rules would reclassify incarceration as “involuntary impoverishment.” Some Congressional republicans oppose the new rules.
For the full article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/for-men-in-prison-child-support-becomes-a-crushing-debt/2015/10/18/e751a324-5bb7-11e5-b38e-06883aacba64_story.html
A Hartford Courant article (October 6, 2015, p A1) quotes a parent as saying that this “is the worst possible experience a father and mother could have. Your children are alive, you know where they are, but you can’t see them.” This describes very accurately “splitting” or alienating behavior. Too often the state of Connecticut assists in splitting children from one or both parents.
Too often, a parent with some easily treated disability such as ADD is prevented from seeing their child. Massachusetts is moving to change court ordered alienation according to the Courant article:
A war hero has been denied access to his child and charged high fees by a GAL who never met with the child. Here is the investigative report from WTNH, Channel 8 news.
Thank you to reporter David Iversen for exposing this problem.
Our family court system is in need of great overall because it’s not working for a population of families. The GAL reform law passed in 2014 is not being followed by all and something needs to be done. Please continue to support shared parenting for the well being of Connecticut children.
Audie Cornish used the term “deadbeat dads” three times in a recent article. She is right that excessive child support is at the root of a lot of crime and illegal street trafficking, but she hasn’t done good research on excessive child support orders for low income obligors. Her use of the term “dead beat dads” is offensive and inappropriate since it omits the fact that many non-custodial women are not paying child support.
She should talk to Vicki Turetsky, Commissioner of the Federal Office of Support Enforcement. “Jail is appropriate for someone who is actively hiding assets, not appropriate for someone who couldn’t pay the order in the first place.” She should research state child support enforcement offices. In Connecticut, DSS Commissioner Rodrick L. Bremby says this about family friendly child support: “emotional, social and educational support as well as financial support is imperative to the growth of a well-rounded child.” He states that the Guideline percentages of income for low income obligors are unrealistic and “counterproductive to fostering the parent-child relationship as it may lead to uncollectable child support orders and drive noncustodial parents to underground economies and alienation from their children.” (2014 letter to Connecticut’s Commission on Child Support Guidelines)
Source for NPR’s blunder: National Public Radio program entitled “Crime Interrupts A Baltimore Doctor’s Reform Efforts” August 7, 2015, 3:25PM ET.