Reduce Family Court Conflict by Reducing the Amount of Money at Issue

When there is a lot of money at issue in divorce court, parents have reason to hire lawyers and then get locked into expensive court battles. High conflict in court can be reduced by reducing unrealistically high child support orders. Massachusetts took steps in this direction in 2014.

Existing methods for calculating child support are deeply flawed because they make hypothetical allocations of income to raising children, resulting in  divorce orders more than two times the actual cost of 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 explained in a fun and informative youtube video 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

Did you watch the 15 minute video on a new way of thinking about child support?

 

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Unrealistic Child Support is a Root Cause of Shootings

Unrealistic child support is a root cause of escalating violence between police and black men. Vicki Turetsky, Commissioner of the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement says: “One third of young black men will serve time before they are 35 years old…. Many of these men are fathers—55 percent of state prisoners have children under 18….Fathers typically enter prison with a $10,000 child support debt and leave owing $20,000 or more.” P 1, Turetsky, March 2007, Policy Brief No. 2.

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. Source: New York Times

Read more at http://nyti.ms/1yJelpe

When setting child support amounts, should priority by given to encouraging both parents to be actively involved with their children?

 

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Gwyneth Paltrow on divorce: “the children are our commitment.”

Gwyneth Paltrow says co-parenting with ex Chris Martin has been “hard” but that they have made their two their priority and commitment and have remained friends since their split.

The 42-year-old Oscar winner, who shares daughter Apple, 11, and Moses, 9, with the Coldplay singer, made her comments on Friday at the #BlogHer15 conference in New York, presented by SheKnows Media.

“I think, unfortunately, though we couldn’t stay in a romantic relationship, we’re very, our values are very much around the importance of family and the importance of those relationships and I’m lucky that we’re aligned in that way,” she said. “And it’s been hard, and you know, like, we’ve gone through really difficult times with it but we’ve always said these children are our priority.

“What that really means is, ‘Even though today, you hate me and you never want to see me again, like, we’re going to brunch, ’cause it’s Sunday and that’s what we’ll do!’ You know, like, ‘That’s what’s happening!'” she said. “Like, the children are our commitment.”

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Child support guidelines are 200%-400% too high

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

When setting child support amounts, should priority by given to encouraging both parents to be actively involved with their children?
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Three Ways Child Support Tears Families Apart

… 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

 

 

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Your Turn: Comment on Guardian ad Litem Reform

Connecticut’s Judicial Branch is seeking written public comment on its draft report to Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers. Written comments will be accepted on or before Tuesday, January 12, 2016. The comments may be e-mailed to external.affairs@jud.ct.gov or mailed to the External Affairs Division, Supreme Court Building, 231 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106. Anonymous submissions will be considered but afforded less weight than signed submissions.

This is a great opportunity to be heard on GAL reform.

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NPR Reporter Audie Corish doesn’t understand low income dads

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 EffortsAugust 7,  2015, 3:25PM ET.

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Dividends from Involved Dads – Benefits from Shared Parenting of Babies

The Economist, a highly respected weekly news magazine reports that “Chaildren whose fathers take even short spells of paternity leave do better (May 16th, 2015, p 54).” The Economist article covers parental leave policies – and the trend towards parental leave for both parents – in 185 countries. Nearly half these countries now offer new fathers short periods at home. Unfortunately, the US has one of the least accommodating policies, covering only a subset of women, and no men, with unpaid leave.

Why encourage both parents to spend time with their new baby? One reason is that women will then face less discrimination in hiring, since they will be able to return to work more quickly after giving birth. Their skills will not suffer from extended absence from the workforce, so their lifetime earnings improve. Secondly, dads who took time off are more likely to pitch in on basic child care like changing diapers, feeding, bathing and playing.

The patterns established early in the baby’s life persisted into childhood. The data suggest that school children with two involved parents benefit with better grades, lower truancy and fewer behavioral problems.

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Many jailed due to unrealistic child support orders

Over 2% of the US population is in jail, and many are low income parents who got behind on excessive child support orders, according to a New York Times article. For example, in Georgia, one in eight inmates is there because of unrealistic child support ordered from low income parents with fluctuating income and little ability to pay.

Unfortunately, the Connecticut judicial branch keeps such data locked away from the light of day.

The situation has gotten so bad that Vicky Turetsky, commissioner of the federal office of Child Support Enforcement is calling for reform. She says: “it’s nuts … she gets the [welfare] assistance, he gets charged the bill.”

“Parents who are truly destitute go to jail over and over again for child support debt simply because they’re poor,” said Sarah Geraghty, a lawyer with the Southern Center for Human Rights, which filed a class action lawsuit in Georgia on behalf of parents incarcerated without legal representation for failure to pay. “We see many cases in which the person is released, they’re given three months to pay a large amount of money, and then if they can’t do that they’re tossed right back in the county jail.”

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.

Read more at http://nyti.ms/1yJelpe

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