The Coalition of Fathers and Families NY, Inc., “Working to Keep Fathers and Families Together”, brings you;
TEN MYTHS OF THE CURRENT “CHILD SUPPORT” SYSTEM
1. Child support is for the children. [False]
Currently there is NO system of accountability by the custodial parent. Many parents can, and do, spend the money for the child on personal luxury items that have no bearing on child welfare. If we really wanted the children to have the financial support shouldn’t the custodial parent have to show how the money is spent?
2. Those “deadbeat dads” who have abandoned their children should pay for them. [True, but…]
There are very few parents who abandon their children. Actually most non-custodial parents were forced into being “non custodial” against their will as over 80% of divorces are against the wishes of the other parent. Over two thirds of divorces are filed by women and yet 90% of the time women “win” custody of the children even when they wanted out of the family. In New York State there is no SHARED PARENTING statute. No matter who files, one parent or the other will be forced into being a visitor and “non custodial”. The “winner” receives full control of the finances with no accountability. The overall vast majority of non-custodial parents did not abandon their children; they were forced away from them.
3. No matter who caused the divorce the child shouldn’t have to suffer financially. [True, but…]
Over 90% of parents who have shared parenting pay their financial child support on time and in full compared to under 70% for those with just visitation. Children of divorce fare better emotionally when they have TWO involved parents in their life. If policies promoted shared parenting for children they would receive both FINANCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT FROM BOTH PARENTS. A win-win situation for all involved. If we want to ensure the child’s financial well being we need to promote both parents access to the children.
4. All that may be true for divorcing couples but, we need to get those “deadbeat dads” who are fathering these children out of wedlock and dumping them on welfare! [True, but…]
Studies have shown that over 80% of out of wedlock fathers are present in the maternity wards at the time of their children’s birth. Most acknowledge their paternity and are ready and willing to be financially and EMOTIONALLY involved in the upbringing of their child. And why aren’t these mothers equally financially responsible?
5. Fathers should accept their paternity and financial responsibilities! [True, but…]
Most fathers do accept their financial and EMOTIONAL responsibilities for their children but the system is gender biased labeling fathers as financial providers and discounting their emotional value to their children. The saying goes “mommy’s baby, daddies maybe”. Even in those cases where DNA evidence has found the man NOT to be the father HE IS HELD FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ONCE HE ACCEPTS PATERNITY OR IS MARRIED AT THE TIME OF BIRTH. DNA testing facilities report that 50% of paternity tests come back negative. FALSE PATERNITY IS ESTIMATED AS HIGH AS 18% IN BOTH MARRIED AND OUT OF WEDLOCK BIRTHS! Don’t children have a right to know who their real father is? Fathers should accept responsibility for their children and mothers should be held responsible for telling the truth when it comes to paternity! Responsible fatherhood belongs to the biological father.
6. OK, some fathers may have gotten a raw deal but there are a lot of them who just refuse to pay child support to children who need it! [False…]
The number one reason given, by both custodial and non-custodial parents alike for non payment is inability to pay. 6% of those in default in a recent government study that was released to show “the arrears problem” were found to be dead. In fact women are found to be in default of child support payments at twice the rate of men. The vast majority of default on child support is due to inability to pay not a refusal to pay!
7. The important thing is children are financially cared for to keep them out of poverty. [True, but…]
The number one indicator of child poverty is coming from a single mother household. Over 54% of children in poverty come from single mother families as compared to 11.5% of children in married households. If we want to combat child poverty we need to develop policies that discourage single parenthood.
8. If non-custodial fathers or mothers can’t afford to pay they can just get their support reduced. [False…]
Support is based on a percentage of income at a fixed point in time based on ability to earn. Once the amount is set non-custodial parents are rarely, if ever, afforded a reduction. The “Bradley Amendment” states that child support arrears can NOT be reduced no matter what the reason for the arrears! Courts have even gone so far as to “impute” income, that is add on other income or assets for inclusion in child support payments. An example of this is a non-custodial parent who moves into a relative’s residence temporarily without paying rent. The fair market value of the “rent” not paid can be added to the non-custodial parent’s income in computing child support. Non custodial parents who suffer unexpected interruptions in their income are often penalized for being “in arrears”. An example of this is Bobby Sherrill, a Lockheed Employee and divorced father who was captured in the Gulf War in Kuwait and spent 5 months as an Iraqi hostage and prisoner of war. The night after his release he was arrested for being $1425.00 in arrears in child support. Non custodial parents are penalized including loss of driving privileges, suspension of automobile registrations, loss of hunting and fishing licenses, suspension of professional licenses even if needed to produce income, posting on public “wanted” posters, turned in as “bad” credit risks and arrested and incarcerated for six months at a time even if they can prove that payments were not made due to inability to pay! These same penalties are applied even when there are no arrears and the report is in error. Child support owed continues to build while the non-custodial parent suffers the above penalties, including while incarcerated.
9. These non-custodial parents are just trying to get their child support payments reduced. [False…]
The number one complaint by non-custodial parents is that they were forced to be non- custodial against their will. Of those who have accepted the non-custodial status the number one complaint is that there is no access (visitation) enforcement. Even when it is spelled out in a court order, there are no penalties for the custodial parent who denies the non custodial parent. Complaints of being labeled a paycheck and a visitor fall way behind access enforcement and lack of time with their children. Prior to separation both parents cared for their children financially without a child support unit.
10. Overall, child support payments are based on the needs of the children. [False…]
Child support payments are based on an arbitrary “ability to earn” income of the non-custodial parent. It has no actual basis in the costs to raise a child or even in the actual expenses paid towards the child. New York does not even have a proportional offset for non custodial parents who spend more time, or spend money directly, on the care of their children. Non custodial parents are assessed 17% of their gross income (35% of net) for one child and 25% of gross income (48% of net) for two children. This assessment is the same for a non-custodial parent who spends no time whatsoever with their children and the non-custodial parent who spends 49% of the time with their children with increased direct expenses for the children. The NY Court of Appeals has even gone so far as to rule that when two parents spend equal time (50%) with the children that the “custodial” parent can be determined for the purposes of child support by who makes more money, even when the financial needs of the children are being met in both households. The guidelines are strict application regardless of circumstance.
The child support system is based on the premise that after divorce/separation one parent or the other will be the sole custodian of the children and the other parent will be the financial provider. This fails to address the real world where both parents are actively involved in the child’s emotional upbringing and share in the financial responsibilities to the family. Current policies reduce the value of one parent or the other to children and in fact contribute to child poverty by promoting single parent households. Not only are these single parent households financially distressing to children but they are also emotionally damaging to children in ways that are to numerous to mention in this short hand out.
In fact the system is actually causing problems and is destroying families and is fixing no problems.
Go To www.FaFNY.org, or find us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Fathers4Kids/ for more information on this and other topics relative to “Non Custodial Parents”, children and families or to network and get help and advice from other parental rights activists.