Many jailed due to 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:

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2 thoughts on “Many jailed due to unrealistic child support orders

  1. The child support system in America is broken. The politicians know it, but even when they try to reform it, you can see the bias

    Page 7 and 8 of this proposal notes that noncustodial parents find it difficult to pay child support once the level increases to between 15-20% of their take home pay, add on up to around an extra 5% of their income for health related expenses (page 37) and you can see the issue the US system has is that it’s illogical that the IRS can withhold up to 65% of earnings for child support enforcement, and according to many state guidelines 25% of income or more is taken from the non custodial parent. Compare this to all European countries where the max taken is approximately 15%.

    The issue is clear in this report, the report notes that the non custodial parent is to entitled to live at the “subsistence level”, which basically equates to stating that the non custodial parent is entitled to live at the poverty level threshold that’s about $12,000 a year. Meanwhile the custodial parent is entitled to maintain the standard of living they had prior to divorce if the children reside primarily with them.

    Why not treat both parents equally and state that they are both entitled to have a residence that can house them and their children. Then work from their to develop a new system based on equality. Why not develop a baseline coast for what it costs to house a child, feed a child and clothe a child and work out based on these baselines what each parent needs to minimally support their child when they are with them then deduct that amount from their salary as untouchable by the child support calculator first before adjustments or wealth distribution. This is how the system should work.

    Note nowhere in these proposed regulatory changes are there provisions noted to allow:

    Parents to opt out of the child support system which they should be able to do if they agree to it in a legal document.

    Recommendations that each state require that standard transition plans are available to judges in cases where the non custodial parent requests a move to 50:50 custody, which would avoid conflict and wasted court time.

    Why if a parent wants equal time with their children, but say has 20:80 custody, isn’t there a standard transition plan that a judge can recommend to go from 20:80 to 30:70 to 40:60 to 45:55 and then 50:50 over the period of approximately 1 year or two years. Why are there no standard transition plan models?

    Where are the transition plans and resources for custodial parents who are not working to allow them to make a transition back to work, if they chose not to work? Why does the system only require the non custodial parent to commit to attempting to improve their employability?

    Is the government really so stupid that it states it wants to end incarceration and debtors prisons for failure to pay child support, but then proposes GPS tracking of parents who can’t pay like sex offenders… How is that not a human rights violation! Seriously don’t even propose this, it’s wrong.

    How about just stopping all interest fees and fines from being added to the base amount period. Then just enforce on the IRS tax return level.

    Why create another government agency to deal with this mess when the IRS alone properly resourced could do the same thing more efficiently.

    When are the politicians going to actually going to treat people equally, and think about children. The child doesn’t want one parent impoverished so that states get more funding from the federal government for their workers. They don’t want one parent impoverished at the expense of the other, just limit expenses to 15%.

    Why impute income for one parent but not the other? Just stop imputing income period.

    Stop confiscating passports of citizens and drivers licenses, this isn’t East Germany during the Cold War as an American people should have freedom of movement.

    Why can’t non biological parents get a refund for child support payed to a parent under false pretenses, this can be enforced slowly by the IRS as an income transfer either from the real father or the mother once she is living over the poverty level.

    Why are retirement savings seen as an asset available for child support, but not equity in a house. This is a one sided rule that benefits the custodial parent that usually ends up with the primary residence. Retirement for both parties should be off limits. Equity in a property is complicated but please come up with some rules around this so parents don’t fight in court over this, it doesn’t help the children only bad attorneys.

  2. Oh and the bill should have had provisions for free legal help for those with arrears just as it helps with enforcement.

    All states should allow trial by jury for custody and child support issues.

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